324 of 337 people found the following review helpful
Kodak PlayTouch vs. Zi8
, October 6, 2010
I bought the PlayTouch and spent a few days comparing it to a borrowed Zi8. I shot a couple of hours of footage in different situations and at different resolutions with the two mounted side-by-side. I thought a quick comparison of the two might be useful for others that are looking at the PlayTouch.
There were certainly some improvements in the PlayTouch over the Zi8:
* The device itself is smaller and sleeker. I think it looks a bit better than the older model.
* The low-light performance is better on the PlayTouch. Neither camera is great in low-light, but the PlayTouch would get a picture in a dark room when the Zi8 would only record black.
* The PlayTouch had a much wider angle lens. My kids always seem to come close when the camera comes out, and the wider angle of the PlayTouch was much better in these situations.
* MP4 file format (vs. MOV on the Zi8). The MP4 files from the PlayTouch played back much easier on my Windows machine than the equivalent MOV files from the Zi8. MP4 and MOV are just the container for the h.264 video inside, but for some reason everything works better in Windows with MP4. My editing software (Sony Vegas) chokes on the .MOVs created by the zi8, but works wonderfully with MP4s. Obviously QuickTime rocks if you're on a Mac.
* The PlayTouch has some nifty "effects" for your video. I don't think you'd ever use them in real life, but they're fun to play with for a few minutes and maybe kids would like them.
There were a few key ares in which the PlayTouch lost out to the Zi8:
* The video on the PlayTouch had WAY too much contrast. In a normal outdoor shot with the sun overhead and some light shadows from trees, half of the frame was blown out from the sun while the shadowy parts looked completely black. The Zi8 handled these situations with aplomb.
* The user interface on the PlayTouch was much slower and less responsive than the Zi8. Everything, from the menus to the time to start recording after pressing the button, felt much more sluggish on the PlayTouch.
* The video displayed on the screen while recording is tiny and lagged by about 1/2 a second. You'd think with a bigger screen, the video displayed while recording would be bigger, but you'd be wrong (The PlayTouch does display the video bigger on playback in landscape mode, though). The Zi8 video display didn't lag at all.
* The video on the PlayTouch didn't look as good as the Zi8 at any resolution. I don't know if it's due to a lower bitrate or something else in the compression, but the video from the PlayTouch had a lot more blocking and jaggy artifacts.
* In anything but bright light, the PlayTouch video was extremely noisy. Much worse than the Zi8.
* The PlayTouch seemed to heat up when recording 1080p video. It didn't get burning hot, but it was hot enough to cause me some concern.
* The PlayTouch crashed occasionally requiring a reset.
* Battery life was around 1 hour 5 minutes on the PlayTouch, while it was about 1 hour 30 minutes on the Zi8.
To me it was no question: I returned the PlayTouch and bought a Zi8. Perhaps some of the shortcomings of the PlayTouch can be fixed in future firmware updates, but the fundamental image quality problems cannot be fixed in firmware -- they are intrinsic to the CMOS sensor Kodak chose to put in the PlayTouch. I could overlook the crummy user interface for the low light improvement, wider angle lens, and MP4 container format, but the serious step down in video quality makes it impossible for me to the consider the PlayTouch.