on August 31, 2011
First, let's consider this is a 99 dollar camcorder that's also one of the smallest capable of 1080-30p video and five megapixel stills. As such, it is an amazing piece of technology that does what it was designed to do, and does it quite well, I might add.
Compared to the FLIP, the Kodak has many advantages. In addition to the silky smooth 720-60p video setting (same as FLIP) it offers three other video settings (1080-30p, 720-30p and 480-30p) and one still setting (5 megapixel) that the FLIP does not. It is smaller than the FLIP. It allows up to 6 hours of shooting at 1080p and 13 hours at 480p (which is DVD quality video). The MP4 format is very Mac and PC friendly, and works well in Final Cut Pro 7 without needing to transcode to Quicktime first. It also plays well in Sony Vegas 11.
The built in lithium battery runs nearly two hours on a full charge, but it can not be removed or replaced. When it's discharged, you're done shooting until you recharge it. The good news is you can charge it from a wall charger, a car's lighter plug or a computer USB port. Yes, it has a flip-out USB connector that appears flimsy, but actually is quite ingenious since it minimizes the torque strain the FLIP puts on your computer's USB port as it hangs out fully extended. I broke a USB port charging a FLIP on my PC this way.
The small size is amazing. It's much smaller than the FLIP, but on the down side, so is the LCD. If you need reading glasses, you won't be able to see this LCD well without them.
The lens is very sharp considering it's only about 1/16th of an inch in diameter. In fact, I can see no edge softness or chromatic aboration in the stills or in the video images. Of course, it's a fixed focus, prime lens, so your creativity is limited to wide angle shots. Don't bother using the digital zoom, as this only makes the image look pixelated. You're better off zooming in during post production and leaving the total image intact on the memory card.
In bright sunlight or hazy outdoor light, the Playful delivers a razor sharp image at 1080p. It does display small compression artifacting that some people mistake for grain. It is not predominant, and most users will never notice it sitting at a normal distance from their TV screen. I should also like to note that playing the memory card through my BluRay player's SD card port yields a cleaner looking image than playing the same card through the camera's HDMI port. Same with playing the card on an iMac using it's own SD slot. I suspect the playback circuitry in the camera adds a little grain itself, but it does not matter once you import the files into your editing software.
In bright indoor conditions, such as a daylit room or normal office lighting, the image is still very clean. The color is very accurate, with skin tones having that rich, filmy look. In dimly lit rooms, the grain does indeed show up, but it looks more filmatic than electronic, creating sort of a 16mm film look. Regardless, the sharpness and color are much better than the FLIP, and the grain is not as much as the FLIP under similar lighting. Exposure seems to be more accurate than any other camcorder this size. While the FLIP tends to overexpose many outdoor scenes, the Kodak always seems to be spot-on. Naturally, there are no manual controls over the color or exposure. Luckily, the camera seems to do a good job of this automatically under varying lighting conditions. There is no focus control. Focus is fixed from 4 feet to infinity. You can get in a little closer in bright light, but less than three feet and the focus becomes too soft.
Still images look sharp from corner to corner, but seem to lack the higher contrast that is evident in the videos. You can easily fix this in any photo editing software. Five megapixels is impressive for a camera this small. Yes, you can capture stills from video, and even at the two megapixel limitation of 1080 video, they still look pretty good.
There is electronic stabilization, but don't count on it to remove the jitters in one's extended arm holding the camera one handed. You need two hands cupped strategically around the camera so as not to block the lens or microphone in order to maintain a steady image.
The sound is mono, but has much more punch in the bottom end than the FLIP. But the FLIP's better directional mikes work better picking up individual voices in a room filled with party guests. Wind noise can be annoying, and there's no way to monitor the audio as you shoot. There is also no external mike input. Then remember, this is a shirt pocket 99 dollar camcorder.
This is a simple camcorder to use, and it offers a few setups that FLIP doesn't, including audio level controls and a few video effects. But if you're not interested in changing the settings, you can use it as it comes. Just be aware the factory preset is the middle video quality of 720-30p.
Some early models had locking up problems, but Kodak has a free firmware download that solves this problem. Most recent batches already have the newer firmware installed.
While some users complain of graininess in low light, I think this is one of the best in it's class and size as far as image quality goes. The Kodak Play Sport model offers slightly better imaging in low light, a bigger viewfinder and is also waterproof. Most other features are similar enough to make it hard to distinguish the images between the PlayFul and the PlaySport.
You might give it 2-stars or 5-stars. No matter what you compare it to, this thing is better and worse.
Compare it to a smart-phone that has a good still+video camera and it's always with you, or an iPod Touch that shoots video at 720p and does 1000 other things. Compare it to a real camera that has a flash, shooting options, protected lens, etc.
These PROs and CONSs may help you decide if it's for you.
* True HD video 1920 x 1080p
* Also has 720p @ 60 frames per second
* 5 megapixel stills (wide frame - 3072 x 1728)
* Small and Light - (3.95" x 1.6" x .7") - amazing!
* Very easy to use
* Clean, simple interface. (Note 1)
* Ergonomic. Easy one handed operation.
- Boot-to-Shoot is under 2 seconds. Few missed shots.
- Easily clip out bad footage from video
- Easily grab 2-megapixel stills from video
- HDMI output directly to HDTV
- Can mount to a tripod
- Stands on edge (any table is a tripod)
- Removable/upgradable memory (unlike iPhone or iPod Touch) (up to 32 GB SDHC) (but not included with camera)
- Not part of your phone. You can loan it, use it while your phone is in use, it doesn't wear down your phone battery.
- Built-in USB male connector (nice! See notes with uploaded photo)
- Charge from wall or computer USB
- Share utilities - easier than with most cameras, but much harder than from a smart-phone.
* No flash (but it does pretty well in low light)
* Fixed focus, no auto focus
* Very few photographic options or settings, no optical zoom, etc.
* Display is small, low res. (1.5" diag. - see Note 2)
- The Kodak Share software is icky. Skip it, use explorer. (see Note 3)
- Battery is not user replaceable
- You won't always have it with you (vs a smart-phone)
Note 1: It's not iPhone elegant, but the interface makes a lot of sense. Simple, very few layers, all the right buttons. Easy to learn, hard to forget. Few missed shots.
Note 2: The screen displays images in a 1.2" x .67" space with information bands above and below. Small, but adequate for evaluation and editing. The whole screen looks to be about 180 x 135 pixels. Zooms (2x, 4x, 8x) use the whole screen.
Note 3: I found the Kodak Share Button software lame and annoying at every turn. I only used it to auto upload pics & vids to my PC. It changes the date/time stamps (created, modified, etc.) of every file to when you UPLOADED it. You can't pick a default location for videos separate from pics. Etc., etc., etc. Better to move files manually with Windows Explorer.
26-page User Manual (posted at Kodak's site) has more specs and info.
Summary: Full HD video; small, easy-to-use package; no missed shots; affordable. Probably 5-stars if these are your buttons.
on March 15, 2011
For a basic 1080 HD digital Hand-held cam, I think its better than the flip. It accepts up to 32gig SD cards, perhaps more since it has the high capacity support. It's smaller than the flip, and its more easily portable as well.
I did have the Sanyo VPC-CG102, the resolution on playback was grainy, in addition the layout on that unit is very bad. Not easy and doesn't fit in your hand in a way you would want to hold for an hour taking video.. NO GO
I had the Kodak ZI8, great unit, and is the best $100 device small form factor there is. But, not the latest and greatest
I had the Panasonic TA-1, great size, but video was Baaaad. The quality looked very bad for me, plus no 60fps 720 setting. Not good
After going through all this I knew Kodak, from my earlier ZI8 I happened to loose somewhere, took high quality video, so I went with this new Playful. CES2011 gave some positive remarks on it, worth a shot.
So far, so good. I have taken several 720 60fps and 18080 videos, all seem to sync with your setting. 1080 does look to be the smoothest and best quality video. I like the construction, outside feels solid, the side access doors do seem a little flimsy, but the connectors that go into the device are rubber, so much better than plastic in terms of longevity.
Zoom is okay, but will kill the overall resolution. Has a very good lens aperture, when you hold it, even directly in front of you your getting a great angle of view.
Quality 4 out of 5
Video quality 4.5 out of 5
sound 4 out of 5
Overall Purchase 4.5 out of 5
I really like cameras and this one sounded really great. I have tried the Flip minoHD, Sony Bloggie, and this one now. This one is the smallest of the 3 and records in 1080p the same as the Bloggie. The Flip records in 720p.
The camera is very easy to use but does not come with any internal memory you have to buy an Sd card. It can take upto a 32 GB. I bought an 8GB and it will hold about 1 1/2 hrs of 1080p video or 5500 pictures (it has a 5Mp camera). This can be a good thing or a bad thing I really like when they include the memory as it very handy to already have it onbard but this gives you the option to upgrade and hold more video. (This wasnt a deal breaker for me.) The camer also comes with an USb cord that plugs into the side as well as into the included AC adapter.
The cons for me where the size of the display screen. It is very tiny and hard to see things. Also the Usb that comes out of the top is very flexible and doesnt really open enough to hook into your USb slot with out an adapter. I almost broke off the USB adapter first thing it bends so much and is very cheaply made. Also I plugged the USB/AC adapter into the side of camera and hooked to my computer and I couldnt figure out why the preinstalled software wasnt downloading then I realized this is only for charging and you have to use the USB arm to install the software.
A decent camera which is a little better than the sony bloggie which I had problems with(you can check out my review for it) but the Flip is still easier to use and setup then both of these it just doesnt record in 1080p.
on March 29, 2013
First of all, let me state that this is the best video camera there is out there for the price, with very few flaws. This camera is great. It records in full HD (1080). The screen size is pretty small, so people with bad vision or glasses may need this in full screen, which the video camera can do. You can hook this camera up to a TV with an HDMI cable, which are easy to find and inexpensive. This camera has barely any space for video on it. You must buy a SD or SDHC card for it. It can hold up to a 32 GB card. I bought a 16 GB card and for filming in 1080, it can hold about 2 hours and 50 minutes. It can hold around 12,000 pictures. It takes about 5-6 megapixel photos which is great for a video camera. The sound on it is pretty amazing. It is stereo sound. There are different video resolutions for it as well. There is (HD)1080-30 FPS (Frames Per Second), (HD)720-60 FPS, (HD) 720-30 FPS, and 480-60 settings. It also has 4X optical zoom. Compared to my previous video camera, the Flip Cam, only had 3X optical zoom, and it would completely ruin the 720P picture. This camera really doesn't ruin the video quality when you zoom in, even in full zoom. You can notice the difference, but not badly. There is a settings button on the camera which allows you to adjust most of the cameras settings. The settings are LCD brightness, glare shield, video resolution, microphone sensitivity, sounds and LED, date & time, video output, language, and memory card. The battery life is around 3 hours on full charge. This camera does decent in low-light conditions. The Flip Cam was horrible about that. The video camera comes with a wall-charger, and a USB charger. Well, I hope this helps. I really recommend this video camera.
Six months ago I purchased a Kodak PlayTouch HD. I paid more for it than the cost of this Kodak PlayFull. I now also have this Kodak PlayFull and in comparing the two, this PlayFull takes MUCH better pictures.
PlayTouch vs PlayFull
The PlayTouch is the nicer looking of the two. It has a beautiful shape and touch screen that resembles an iPhone. It's sleek and expensive looking. The PlayFull simpler looking. When you look at the two cameras, you would most likely always chose the PlayTouch because the appearance of it makes it seem like it would be a better camera. This however is not the case.
The Kodak PlayFull is only about half the size of the PlayTouch. It's very small and can easily be carried in a pants pocket. It's actually smaller than my cell phone. While at first I wasn't sure I would like something this small, I have found I end up taking it with me more and using it mush more because of it's compact design.
When it comes to screen size, the PlayTouch wins hands down. It's almost entirely screen, so it has a huge display that is fully touch screen. The PlayFull's screen is very tiny, about the size of 2 postage stamps, so sometimes you have a hard time knowing if you got the picture you were trying to get. Not good if you have any difficulties at all with your vision.
The PlayFull takes much better pictures than the PlayTouch. Neither of the two Kodak cameras offer a flash (a mistake I feel), but at least this PlayFull can still take a nice picture indoors and low light environments. The PlayTouch is almost useless to use for still photos unless your outside or somewhere with fluorescent lighting. This PlayFull can also take a nice picture without blurring, while over 50% of my pictures with the PlayTouch are blurry.
Both the PlayTouch and and PlayFull take a nice video. In the end, I feel the video I have shot with the PlayFull has come out brighter and better quality.
Ease of use:
While the PlayTouch is beautiful to look at, this PlayFull is much easier to use. Dedicated buttons on the camera make using it much simpler than using the PlayTouch that requires navigating through several touch screen menus to use many of the cameras functions.
While I loved the looks of my beautiful Kodak PlayTouch, I could never get a decent picture with it. Maybe if it had been equipped with a flash, things would have been different. While this Kodak PlayFull may seem small, don't underestimate it. The end result of the pictures and video it takes will surprise you, as it more than makes up for the small screen.
I have learned to love this little camera, and find I use it all the time now and take it everywhere I go.
on January 25, 2012
I'll start by saying I am not a techie person. I am a mom of 3, and my husband and I needed something that is easy to use, with decent quality. We're not looking for award winning photographic quality. We have 3 kids to chase after, and this is so small and lightweight, it fits very comfortably right in your pocket.
I love that you can take stills and videos, and that you can create stills FROM video that you shot. I do have a regular digital camera for most of my still picture taking, and to be honest, the quality on my Sony Cyber Shot is better for stills, but this Kodak Playfull's quality is much better than the camera on my cell phone, and runs a close second with my Sony Cyber Shot. The biggest pro being that you have 2 devices in 1.
The reason why I chose this over the Sony Flip is because (at the time, and I am not sure if there is a newer model Flip now)the Sony Flip only had the built in memory of 8GB, no cards. The Kodak Playfull can use up to a 32GB memory card. The Sony Flip only had the (flip out) USB to transfer the pictures/videos off of the device. If that were to break off, you would be out of luck, there is no other way to get the photos/videos off the device. With the Kodak Playfull, you can use the built in USB, or you can remove the card to transfer. Those two features are really what sold me on the Kodak over the Sony.
It's simple to use, easy to transfer photos and videos off of, priced INCREDIBLY right, and has so far, with 3 children, been very durable. I highly recommend!
On a side note...
I bought this same exact Kodak Playfull from Best Buy, and paid $23 more (regularly $129 at Best Buy, but it was on sale that week for $99) - so, it's more than a $50 savings here on Amazon than the regular price at Besy Buy. I just purchased this today on Amazon as a gift for a friend that is traveling overseas for a Basketball Torunament, so she could take still pictures and videos, with just one device.
on April 8, 2012
This camcorder has succeeded in ruining almost every holiday we've had since we bought it. At Christmas (baby's first Christmas opening her own presents!) it froze and deleted the adorable video we took of my daughter opening her gifts. Today we took a really cute video of our daughter hunting for Easter eggs (her first time!) and of course, the camera froze and deleted the video.
When the camcorder DOES work, it takes excellent video with a good sound quality and nice, still videos. It's not overly sensitive to vibrations or shaking, and unlike other camcorders I have owned in the past, it doesn't make you dizzy to watch because of all the shaking. The image quality is fantastic, and it also takes wonderful still photos. However, the screen is reeeally small, which is a bummer.
All things considered, though, for how often it freezes up (just about every time we use it, and always for the important memories!) it's really not worth it. We are going to buy a new video camera. I wish we had sent it back the first time it froze.
on November 3, 2013
A handy HD video and still camera. Excellent audio quality. Video quality is acceptable. I am a college instructor and own a bunch of the for class projects. It is a robust camera and easy to use. The fact that you can change out SD cards is most helpful. I use 16GB cards and can shoot 4.5 hours of 720p footage without stopping. Battery functions for up to 2 hours, but you can plug it in for continuous shooting.
on November 4, 2012
This is a great little Video Camera. I was concerned about the sound, but once I just loaded the video, the sound was really good. You can't really hear the sound that much when you try to watch it after making the video, but boy when you load it up, it's right there, and sounds great. I even got a good picture with not much light too. I'm new to videos, and have not put any online yet, but will be doing that as soon as I learn how to edit a bit better.
I'm really pleased with the Kodak Playfull because, as I said before, I know nothing about videos and how they work, but this camera is very easy to learn, and other than learning the editing, it's a snap. All editing is hard for me, but I'm getting there. You can't beat the price, and it's a very nice Video Camera, you will enjoy it as much as I do, I'm sure!
ONE YEAR LATER
Well, It's been a year, and I have to say that I love my Kodak. It's so easy to use that it's like playing with a toy.
I have made many videos with it, and so far, I still get tickled every time I use it. Know why? cause it's so easy, that I don't even edit! yep, I never did learn, and the video's come out so well, that I just post them. This recorder does everything right, all by it's self. No, I'm still not good at making videos, I still mess up, but for me, they are good enough to put on Youtube, and it's actually fun to use. Just thought I would let others know how much I like my little Kodak. It's a really nice viedeo/camera. It really is easy to use, and if your not looking for a camera that perks your coffee and wash your dishes, then this one is for you. Simple, fun, and easy to use. Last word, get a cheap tripod too, it comes in handy. Have fun, and enjoy, I know I do.