Review of Kodak HD zi8

I got to play with the Kodak HD zi8 this weekend and was impressed with the quality of the video. The ZI8 is competing with the Flip HD in the pocket camcorder market. Pocket camcorders are useful for our students because they can focus on telling the story rather than trying to figure out the settings on the video camera.

There are several drawbacks that keep me from recommending this camera to everyone.

Pros:

  • HD video quality
  • external mic input
  • rechargeable batteries
  • records up to 1080p, but settings can be adjusted to capture greater quantity of video or increase battery life
  • connects to standard tripod
  • connects directly to computer via USB to upload to YouTube or Facebook
  • doesn’t require any special software to play video

Cons

  • Big one for me was this records to .mov so you can’t edit this file in Windows Movie Maker without converting to different format (though Kodak does have its own software you can download from the camera if you want to use that on a personal computer).
  • requires SDHC memory card – probably need at least an 8 GB card to get a decent amount of video before having to download it to the computer (allows up to 32 GB card).
  • not as intuitive as Flip camera. There are more buttons and more settings (though I wouldn’t say it’s difficult to figure out – it might take 3 minutes instead of 30 seconds with the flip).
  • round bottom means you can’t just place camera on table. You will need a tripod of some sort. (You might be able to get it to balance on a table if you take the wrist strap off.)
  • batteries seem to run down quickly, though I haven’t used it enough to say how long they will last. Other reviews suggest they will last 1 hour, 16 minutes at 720p with image stabilization on.

If you like Windows Movie Maker and Windows Media Player then definitely stick with the Flip.

If you will be uploading most of your videos to YouTube  and you don’t mind paying extra for the memory card this would probably be a great camera for you. If you want to use an external mic, this is also the camera for you.