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TOP 500 REVIEWERon June 29, 2011
It is difficult to find a pocket HD video recorder with good low light ability, I understand that. Having tested others, this one just didn't compare well, and it would seem that Kodak sacrificed the low light quality for amazing outdoor quality. This would make sense, seeing as this is an outdoor/water camera. Keep that in mind for this review. If I had more money, I would keep this camera for outdoor stuff, and get another camera for indoor/night stuff. But I don't... hence, my 3 star review.

PROS:
The quality of this outside in "normal" lighting is outstanding. The colors appear to be the closest to true life of any HD pocket camera I've seen.
The image stabilization is very good, also some of the best I've seen.
Easy to use, no software required unless you want to edit. You can pull the video directly from the SD card in a very common format. Anyone that says this requires software is either using an old OS, or doesn't know what they're doing. It may require drivers, but that isn't the same as requiring a software application. My system didn't require any software or drivers at all (Mac OS Snow Leopard). If you have an SD card reader, that will be your best option, any system can read it without software.
Removable media is good. Never let anyone tell you that 4gb/8gb fixed storage on the Creative cameras are good. You really need 16GB, and probably 32GB to be able to record at 1080p for extended periods of time.
This doesn't have the USB dongle coming out of the camera. I like it this way, I feel like the USB dongle is going to break on other cameras, and it usually requires you to use the extension anyways.

CONS:
The indoor quality / low light quality is grainy. I took video at night in a modestly lit room, and it looked like an old VHS recording.
This unit was more expensive than the zx5 when I purchased - I did this because the reviews were better and the options are about the same. Typical amazon, not really a big deal. The zx5 also has terrible low light reviews. Its the major complaint with this camera. Too bad, everything else is fabulous.
The comparable GE pocket cam goes to 16ft depth, this is only 10ft. Although neither can really do anything with diving depths, the extra 6ft with GE is nice.
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on June 8, 2011
My Kodak Playsport Zx3 arrived the first week of May and I shot a series of video clips with it (720p and 1080p) over the next few weeks. One shooting session was during an all-day rain, the camera wasn't affected at all, despite being constantly exposed to the rain. All previous videos were taken with my two Canon Powershot cameras which only produce 480p video. Neither is water proof so I have always limited my use of them to avoid getting them wet. I bought the Playsport because (1) it shoots HD video and (2) because I am outdoors a lot when doing photography and video. That's also why I bought the Canon D10 waterproof camera. I don't plan to use these cameras while swimming or diving but I may try that sometime. I do plan a trip to Yosemite and that's another reason - these cameras are both more rugged than the Canon Powershot cameras I have. (To be clear: I use the Canon D10 for still photos, it produces only 480p video, which is a shame. That's why I need a dedicated HD video camera.)

Video: overall, both 720p and 1080p modes produce very nice movies, whether on DVD or when uploaded to YouTube.

If you're already familiar with the controls & menus on any digital point-and-shoot "pocket" cameras: then you won't have trouble learning the controls on the Playsport.

Battery life is : Good, considering that it's a very small square wafer. I get about an hour of video from each charge (and have two batteries).

Memory Card: SDHC - I have one Transcend 8GB which holds 90 minutes of 1080p video. I've bought 3 Kingston ("100X") 8 GB SDHCs but haven't used them yet. These are all Class 6 (15 MB/S read & write speeds). This class of card along with having USB 2.0 ports on my computer really speeds downloading those huge video files.

One negative about this camera is that it's too small to hold steady. I have no trouble holding my (bigger, bulkier, heavier) other Canon Powershot cameras for shooting 480p video. It's just that 480p is lacking in picture clarity.. OTH: I do value portability so I guess I'll have to accept the trade off and use the Playsport with a tripod or other steadying method.

The main negative: is that the microphone is either really low quality (compared again to all three of my digital still cameras in "movie mode") - or that it's defective. I have shot simultaneous videos with the Playsport and the Canon Powershot cameras - at the same distances. The audio track on the movies shot with the Playsport is so weak that it requires boosting 100% to be even "nominally" audible.

The other possible cause is that Kodak engineers didn't use the same design or mic that other waterproof cameras have when it comes to "picking up" nominal (conversation level) voices. In other words: perhaps the "water proofing" is muffling the microphone's ability to detect & record sounds. Comparing to the Canon D10, the D10 is waterproof down to 33 feet but has a microphone which is "pretty good" for everyday home video production. The Playsport is only waterproof down to 10 feet - so why would it have a weaker mic?

Personally, I would rather have a HD video camera which is designed like the conventional point-and-shoot cameras: the shape factor is important when it comes to holding onto this camera and holding it steady. There is NO need that I can see to copy the form factor of the "late" Flip cameras.

Nit-picking: The Canon D10 comes with a "wrist strap" which is much stronger cord and it has an adjustment slider so you can really snug it around your wrist or upper arm. The D10 has FOUR SOCKETS to attach the wrist strap: one at each corner. The Playsport has a tiny eyelet AT THE BOTTOM of the camera: so if you hang the camera from its wrist strap: it is always upside down. Now don't tell me that engineers can't think through these things - this appears to be just negligent design.

I rate the Playsport as 3 stars - though it produces good video (4 stars at least), the overall effectiveness is negatively affected by the poor microphone and "pretty cheesy" form factor and wrist strap. If Kodak can come out with a new design and better microphone, they could charge more than $149 and still have many happy customers.
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on May 31, 2011
First off, let me say I am absolutely delighted with this camera. It did exactly what I wanted it to do and is excellent value for money. That said, don't expect the kind of high performance you would get from a more expensive camera.
I bought this specifically for its underwater capability as I was going to the Philippines and I knew that at some point I would be swimming among the coral. The video I have uploaded is a sample of when I went snorkelling. I'm quite pleased with the result, although even in calm water on the surface it can be difficult to hold the camera steady. This camera would be ideal for scuba diving in shallow water. It has no issues with working in salt water but I was, however, very careful to follow the instructions to the letter, as I know from experience what seawater can do to electronics. I also wasn't always sure what I was filming in the water as I couldn't see the viewscreen very well. Sometimes I zoomed in on nothing instead of the brightly coloured fish I wanted to capture on film.
This is very much a video camera. It is possible to take decent stills but it seems to be a bit hit and miss. Sometimes when I thought the camera was rock steady the picture came out blurry and frankly disappointing (could be me, I'm no photographer). It fits very nicely in the hand, much nicer than the Flip, which I briefly owned and probably would have kept had it not developed a fault.
The battery life isn't great, but again, it's good enough and value for money.
The biggest problem I have is when I connect it to my pc. I have had real trouble getting a good connection. It connects and disconnects every few seconds and on occasion it has taken me a long time and repeated attempts to upload the data. Possibly I am doing something wrong, or the problem is with my pc, but I don't seem to have any issues with any other external drives.
I would also recommend protecting the viewscreen somehow. I've not had it for long but it already has several spidery scratches due to being carried around in a backpack. You could get the advertised cover from a third party on Amazon, and I'm sure it is very effective, but as the shipping probably costs more than the product I am planning to get some sort of soft pouch locally for it, which should be more than sufficient to protect it from further deterioration.
I've given this camera four stars overall, deducting one star simply for the connection issues. However please don't be put off by the negative points I have listed unless you really consider them to be deal breakers, because I just wanted to give the unvarnished truth about a product that, when all's said and done, is one of the best gadgets I have ever invested in.
***UPDATE***
Feb 2012
I took the camera on another trip in January and used it extensively, but then, without warning, it stopped working - completely unresponsive. I just spoke to someone at Kodak and have arranged to send it for warranty repair, so all being well I will have a working camera again before too long. The person I spoke to was polite and helpful, so I have no reason to anticipate any problems. I also stopped struggling with the Arcsoft upload software (which kept disconnecting and reconnecting) as I found it a whole lot easier just to copy the pictures and videos from the camera's hard drive to a folder on my computer.
So, in summary, I've had some issues but I still think this is an excellent product.
***2nd Update***
I have now changed my rating of this camera. One year after it stopped working and had to be replaced, it has once again stopped working and has become unresponsive. I get a charge light but it does not retain any charge beyond a second or so. Changing the battery might mnake the difference in my case, but as the technology has moved on considerably since I bought it, chances are I will just throw it in the garbage. Disappointing, because I thought it was great when it worked.
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on May 24, 2011
Excellent HD camera for the price that you are paying. I used it in Japan and it performed flawlessly under cold weather. The best test was while scuba diving. Although the camera has the warning "3 meters" below the screen, I used it at 12 meters. And it performed well. On one ocassion the wheel controls were not responding (I can't blame the camera as I was pushing its limits)... when we ascended closer to the surfaced they responded again. A little bit of water got into the screen but the camera is working fine.

Before purchasing this camera from amazon, I read one reviewer complaining about bad playback features with the camera... they work just fine. You can browse your pictures and videos one by one or you can scroll a bunch of them on every "page". You've got four main buttons (besides the wheel and the power button): recording mode, playback mode, delete mode and settings. These buttons and their functions are easy to use. The paint peeled off the buttons but you will remember the function of each one and if you don't remember... well you'll have to push all four of them until you get the function you want. About the paint peeling of the buttons... my camera has received one hell of a beating so no complaints there.

Good HD quality in outdoor activities during the day. At night that quality goes to hell. You need good sources of lighting or you just won't get a good video or picture.

The pictures you can take with the camera mode are decent enough.

I am very happy with my playsport and as another reviewer said, one of the best things about this camera is that it comes with all the cables... HDMI, RCA white and yellow, USB with the wall plug connector.

The battery is the only thing that is not so good. You could get 30-45 minutes of shooting time on each charge. But come on, it's a pocket size camera... How much battery life can you squeeze into it's tiny battery? Just get another one and the problem is fixed.

All in all this camera is excellent. Good video and picture quality. It's resistant. Easy to use. It fits in your pocket. It doesn't cook your breakfast 'cause it doesn't have arms.

Here's the link for my scuba diving experience captured by the playsport: [...]
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on May 23, 2011
I purchased this right before a major vacation. It has since become one of the most used cameras in our house. The HD picture quality is fantastic. For the most part it is easy to use. The menu is good, not great, but works. The best part of it is the fact that it is very durable. We have banged it around, it has gotten wet in the rain - we even took it on a ride at a water park where it got soaked. Nothing fazed it. The fact that that you can put your own SD card in it is a huge plus. You just keep a few extra with you and you never run out of space. It is easy to use and always works. Battery life is good, you get several hours. I always keep one spare charged and with the unit. The charging time takes a while, but that is common with these devices. The one complaint I have is that videos are stored in a .mov format. There is no way to change that, it's just how it works. The software that comes with it is nice and will load automatically the first time you plug it into your computer with the included USB transfer cable. It is very easy to edit and make a quality movie. However, I have different software that I like to use and .mov does not work with it. In fact, I don't know of anyone who uses .mov files. So, I use one of the free down-loadable video converters like FreeMake or IVCsoft to convert the videos into .mpegs. then I can manipulate the videos with Roxio, Ulead, Nero, or one of the other video editors.

I should also point out that it has a still camera which takes phenomenal pictures. The zoom is better than average. There all types of settings for different filming environments. It even has a built in speaker. It's got it all!

You get two batteries, USB transfer cable, power charger, video cables to hook directly to your TV and free software. Plus it's not limited with a set storage capacity (you can use 16GB SD cards). There is nothing on the market even close to the quality and durability at any price. Highly recommended.
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I got this camera after reading all the reviews, as well as comparing the prices versus the value according to consumer reports. This was the winner! I am pleased with my purchase, and so far all is going quite well!

The battery is easily charged with my boyfriend's cell phone charger, but we also picked up extra batteries and a battery charger just in case.

The video is far superior to what I was getting from my cell phone, and the microphone is much more sensitive as well. I am looking forward to testing out the waterproof feature over the summer also, as this is the main reason I ended up choosing this particular unit.

the buttons are about cell phone size buttons, and there really isn't much to it, so once you get the buttons down, its pretty easy to work. I found a bit of trouble from the start because the symbols are not similar to any of my other electronics, but was able to transition pretty easily. I like that you can shoot individual clips, or you can put it into 60 minute mode so that it keeps one long file if you want to do it that way instead.

I wanted to have a video record of my son's firsts, and was not happy with my long term camera's video quality, especially the poor sound quality. This is far better. I have no plans to go and tape my whole life because I know it will be rarely viewed, I just wanted the quality to be good enough that I would even want to watch it!

The still frame pics are barely better than what I get from my cell phone camera, but for a little over $100 I can NOT complain about anything, really!

I love the removable memory card, the internal memory is very, very small, only enough for a few seconds of video, so make sure you have an SD card at hand if you want to use it right away

Its comfortable to hold, and easy to attach to tv / computer. ALL cables that are needed are included as well as the ones that go into the TV.
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on March 13, 2011
My main camera for a couple of years has been a Canon Powershot 570IS, a very good camera which takes nice pictures, but the only does 640X480 videos. I needed a HD video camera for an affordable price. After some research I decided on the Kodak Zx3.

I think the first thing buyers do when they get this camera is to drop it into a sink full of water to see if it really is waterproof, I can testify it holds up well in my sink. It also works well for me in a variety of other ways.

The camera is fun to use, takes pretty nice pics and vids in decent light conditions, and is easy to use. The battery lasts way longer than my Canon and I have lots of space with my 8GB SD Card. I also bought an extra battery (which I haven't had to use yet), a remote control (handy), and a $5 charger that plugs into the wall or my car lighter.

For the $98 I paid for this (undamaged refurbished) camera, there is not a better deal on the planet. My Canon can take better still pictures, but is less handy to tote and the Kodak takes pretty decent stills. In low light, my Canon does a better job, but if I'm shooting in good light, the Kodak is the camera I take along.

The video works good for me. If I am shooting a static shot I often use 1080p. If the shot is motion at all, I use 720p in 60fps. If I need to save storage space I use 720p in 30fps. Most of the time I end up using 720p in 60fpa. Works good for what I need it for.

It rain a lot here in Washington state. I always have to worry about my cell phone and cameras getting wet in the outdoors, and it makes it awkward to photograph. For the Kodak there is no problem, being waterproof. I haven't used it submerged, other than in my sink yet, but will when spring/summer comes along. In the meantime it's great for hikes or any wet and humid place I may need to shoot.

In my opinion, this is a great camera and the price is right.
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on January 7, 2011
I purchased this camera, mainly on the basis of good reviews for image quality and performance. Overall I am happy with that aspect of the camera, and have no issues with video quality. I should note that I had to return my first playsport because all video shot with it had a very green, ugly hue. Kodak suggested that I return that camera. It seemed to be a problem with white balance getting stuck (?). New camera can sometimes show a greenish image for less than a second when it starts up, then quickly adjusts exposure and white balance.

Pros:
- great video quality
- waterproof and reasonably tough
- ships with HDMI cable
- Uses common SDHC cards
- batteries are inexpensive

Cons:
- very slow, annoying startup; screen turns on instantly, but takes almost 10 seconds before camera is responsive. During startup camera buffers button presses, so if you hit the record button multiple times before the camera is ready, it will start recording, then stop, or fly through a bunch of menus, etc. Quite annoying. Same happens with the power button, and I frequently end up cycling on and off to finally get it turn on. Trick is to have patience, and wait for a complete startup. I often will push one menu button, and once the menu pops up, I know the camera is ready to go. I also just leave it on a lot of the time.
- quirky charging. Doesn't always charge with a low battery, or when connected to the PC.
- some quality issues with the product, first camera had to be returned
- Kodak MediaImpressions is brutal:
- uploads to youtube are slow, and most often fail
- basic editing capabilities are ok, but very limited
- software is slow, and crashes occasionally. Often hangs or complains when closing
- tagging is very limited
- importing videos is easy, but few options for organizing (can only opt to put in folder by day TRANSFERRED, not shot)
- quirky, and not as easy for total newbies to use
- did I mention slow?

So overall, I more or like the hardware. If they could lockout some of the buttons during startup it would be ideal, say ALL the buttons except the record button, and lock that out once it is pressed. The software is not near as nice a Flip's, so I find myself regretting the purchase because I need a very simple straight, forward workflow for say my wife to be able to use this camera. I also find myself in the position of having to spend some more money on a decent 3rd party video editor.
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on January 2, 2011
For months I had been reviewing all the little hand held video cameras. I was fully ready to make the purchase of another item when, thanks to Amazon's "Gold Box Deal," I saw this bundle. In the past I haven't been too much of a fan of Kodak products, but I am so happy with this "lil guy" as I affectionately call it! Last year my husband and I went on cruise where I had the amazing opportunity to swim with sea turtles...I kept thinking the whole time, I wish I could film this! Now I can, it's waterproof! We had a big snow storm come through right at Christmas and I didn't hesitate to grab this camera and go film in the snow!

PROS:
* Great Price!
* It's waterproof up to 10 feet!!!!
* Perfect size and very lightweight
* Great quality! You'll need to adjust based on what you're filming 720/1080 and how many frames you want to capture.
* EASY to use!
* It's fast, 1 click and you're ready to record
* Thank goodness it's NOT double A batteries! Great battery life AND you can just plug in the camera to charge, not a separate charger.
* The bundle comes with SO many pieces; memory card (with plastic case), battery, flexible tripod, remote, a variety of cables including an HDMI, the charge cable has the USB connector, so it's a dual purpose cable and finally a little handle strap.

CONS:
There aren't a lot...SERIOUSLY!
* All cameras seem to "hiccup" in recording at some point, I've only had it happen once, but I knew it right away and was able to click record again for it to start. I would say if you're planning on recording for longer periods, buy a larger (faster) memory card.
* I do wish the screen was larger, the quality of the video once viewed on something else is wonderful, but the screen on the recorder is pretty small.
* A few more color setting options would be nice.
* I haven't used it a lot, but the still camera shots haven't been that great, but my main use will be for video, so not a huge deal to me, but it would be nice if the stills were a little better.

Overall, this video camera is great, I am so happy with it!
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on December 28, 2010
Watch how my daughter tests out the Kodak Playsport's waterproof capabilities by shoving it in the snow! There is a lot of movement in this short clip as she was all over the place with it but, surprisingly there is no distortion to the video quality. I bought this as a Xmas gift for my nine year old and she loves it! I think the video quality, especially, in 720HD/60FPS is outstanding in natural light. We haven't tested out the camcorder by submerging it in water yet, so how it will hold up under those conditions and thereafter, still remains to be seen. For indoor shooting you need to have a lot of light as the camera does not come with a flash for low light conditions. Video quality isn't as great indoors (unless you have great lighting) and the zoom performance is so-so and seems to blur/degrade the video quality. It seems like the zoom is better put to use when using a tripod/keeping the camcorder really steady - haven't tested the zoom outdoors yet. For the price (bought it for $115 here on Amazon), its ruggedness and waterproof capabilities, I think it's well worth the purchase. I had been considering buying a Flip but the more I read the reviews for the Kodak Playsport, the more I was convinced it would be the better purchase. This makes a great gift for a child, since you don't have to worry about it getting ruined due to water exposure or if it gets lightly dropped every once in a while. The camcorder comes with preinstalled video editing software, so all you have to do is plug it in and download and install it directly from the camera. The software is very decent for editing videos. I was able to trim the original clip from 9 minutes down to about the 1 minute you see above. There are some other enhancement features and effects you can add to your videos, just haven't tried them all out yet. The only thing I'm not crazy about with the editing software, is that it doesn't place the date and time metadata on the video clips automatically and I still haven't figured out if there is a way to configure the software so it adds that info. I like knowing when and at what time my videos/pictures were taken. Overall, I think this is a very good purchase considering all that comes with the package. Get yourself a good memory card, such as the Sandisk 8GB EXTREME III SDHC SD Card Class 6 (SDSDX3-8192 Bulk Package) and you'll be all set!
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