Customer Review

1,598 of 1,629 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Best camcorder if you're on a budget and need external mic input, August 22, 2009
This review is from: Kodak Zi8 Pocket Video Camera - Black (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Camera)
Check out my sample footage video on Youtube. On Youtube search "djeror zi8 low light"

In my previous review of the Kodak Zi8 I was pretty frustrated at the fact that whenever I used the built in microphone the recorded videos had an annoying high pitch whine that made the audio from my videos almost unusable. Kodak recognized that this was an issue and created a firmware update that fixed the problem. It also fixed a few other things like the previous issue of the image getting darker as you zoomed in. They seem to have fixed all of the major problems with this firmware fix.

I do tech product reviews so I need the following things:

- External mic input - most of my videos are shot wearing a lapel mic
- Macro mode - I have to get close to little tiny screens
- SDHC memory - I go to all day trade shows, I need 10+ hours of video
- Power options - I need to be able to shoot while AC power is plugged in or use a large external battery.
- Under $200 - I'm poor.

Because of these requirements no other camcorder can fit my needs. One cool thing about this camera is that it is much more upgradable than the other pocket cameras on the market.

-The built in microphone is OK now that they fixed the whining noise, but it's still not amazing.

- Don't use the internal mic... I use an Audio Technica lapel mic for 1 person interviews.Audio Technica ATR-3350 Lavalier Omnidirectional Condenser Microphone For events I ordered a Sony stereo mic to use instead of the built in mic. Sony ECM-DS70P Electret Condenser Stereo Microphone . Although I wish that Kodak made the internal mic better, for the most part I am kind of excited that the Sony stereo mic will give me much better sound than any of the standard internal mics that any of the pocket cams have.

-Electronic Image Stabilization (EIS) sucks a lot of juice. Also the Zi8 uses a proprietary battery rather than cheap swappable AA's. Battery life when shooting non-stop is 1hr 16min in 720p 60fps with EIS on. If you turn off EIS you get about 1hr 41min at 720p 60fps.

- Use the USB to power cable that comes with the camera in conjunction with an external battery source. This is a must if you are going to be recording for more than an hour with EIS, cause that's about what the internal battery will give you. Tekkeon TekCharge Rechargeable Li-Poly Battery You can just stick this battery pack in your pocket and connect the charging cable to the Zi8. This will allow you to record for a super long amount of time. I haven't tested to see what my total record time with the battery pack will be but it should be around 5X the standard recording time. (about 6 hours with EIS on, almost 9 with it off) This gives you the best battery life of almost any camcorder. Sure it's an extra cost, but when you're at an all day trade show you don't have to worry about running out of juice.

- Image stabilization can't rescue video you shoot while moving around. Any camera motion makes video awful.

- Accept the fact you should probably be using a mini tripod with this camera or at least stand still. Also, although it takes a bunch of time to process if you have the new iMovie the image stabilization processing you can do is light years beyond what the EIS in the Kodak Zi8 can do.

One more important note. Make sure you buy high speed SDHC memory cards for this thing. If your SD card is not fast enough the camera will record for like 2 seconds and then stop with an error. It took me a while to figure out why the camera kept stopping recording when in HD mode but worked fine in SD mode. It was because of my old SD card. You need to make sure your SD card has a write speed of at least 9MB/s if you want to record in 1080p. These high speed cards cost more, but you need them for any camcorder that is going to record HD video to them, it's not just the Zi8. I think most Class 6 high speed SDHC cards should work.

If you want to get the most out of this camera plan on spending an extra $100 - $150 in order to buy upgrade items. Personally I've come to the conclusion that the extra expenses were worth it. It all depends on what you plan on using the camera for. For a typical mom purse cam this would not be my recommendation, I would say go with a Flip Ultra HD. But for someone with particular needs like mine this camera may be the only one that fits the bill.
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Tracked by 30 customers

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Showing 111-117 of 117 posts in this discussion
In reply to an earlier post on May 19, 2011 3:48:22 PM PDT
I'm not familiar with Adobe Premier. You could convert the files to a usable format if they aren't compatible but that will take a lot of time. Probably best to either use a different editing program or buy a different camera.

Posted on May 21, 2011 9:43:07 PM PDT
J's Amazon says:
I'm thinking of buying this camera to use for tabletop demo videos for my work. A few questions:

I already have a usb snoball mic...can I use that?

Can I make imovies from my mac osx 10.4 with these movies?

Is the little flexible leg tripod good enough for table top shots? Zeikos ZE-TR5A Flexible Tripod

Thank you Derrick.

Posted on Jul 29, 2011 8:44:53 AM PDT
I must disagree with a few things. That sony mic is god-awful. IMO the stock mic sounds so much better. 1 on 1 interview testing with the sony mic and the stock, mic sensitivity up, down, so much more well-rounded sound and so much less hiss.

That lapel mic is mono, when you play pack the vid your going to have sound out of one speaker only. Need to make sure your editing prog has the ability to bridge to dual mono. Pinnacle does.

Had a lot of probs editing with the 60p mode. I usually stick with the 1080p mode.

Panning (moving left to right or VV) with this cam is terrible. Blurry, blotchy, pixilated mess. Only with panning though. With my year+ of using this camera, it is a terriffic "fooling around" cam. Family vaca, filming the kids, etc. I would not recommend using it for anything professional.

Posted on Aug 31, 2011 6:59:05 PM PDT

You are wrong about the SD card needing to be 9 MB/s. It's 9Mb/s which is actually a little more than 1MB/s. Yes, the uppercase/lowercase are different units and you got them confused.

Just make sure you folks get an SDHC card. Any will do because the slowest one, a Class 2, is fast enough for this camera. Please see my review for the math behind this and how you can CONFIRM this on your own device. You can also verify this with Kodak technical support if you are the doubtful type! :-) ENJOY!

Posted on Sep 25, 2011 6:03:12 AM PDT
A. Jones says:
Just got one of these yesterday. Can't get the software to run at all. Also there seems to be a small "dot" in the top middle of my videos. Any comments on how to fix these issues? Here is the link to the first video I made.

Posted on Sep 25, 2011 6:46:47 AM PDT
A. Jones says:
could you please tell me if my camera is supposed to have this dot in the top middle of the video screen and videos? I got a refurbished model and am thinking maybe it is defective. I had it in 720p mode. You can see my video on Youtube if you search for "First try using Kokak zi8 - Reggie the Yokie Apso"

Posted on Nov 10, 2014 7:22:42 PM PST
Kay L. says:
Seems to get warm pretty quickly, does anyone else get that? Just received a used one. Tried recording a minute, replayed, recorded another couple minutes, replayed, already feels warm on the hands.
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Location: Corning, NY USA

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