1,589 of 1,618 people found the following review helpful
Best camcorder if you're on a budget and need external mic input,
This review is from: Kodak Zi8 Pocket Video Camera - Black (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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Showing 21-30 of 116 posts in this discussion
In reply to an earlier post on Sep 11, 2009 5:36:55 AM PDT
Aprille Byam says:
gromit- can you contact me offline? @KodakConnect or aprilleDOTbyamATkodakDOTcom
Posted on Sep 16, 2009 1:28:59 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 16, 2009 1:36:47 PM PDT
Derrick, great review! When are you going to post your video review? What did Aprille tell you offline? Is there a new Zi8 coming out soon?
Also, you mentioned iMovie having great image stabilization processing. How long does it take to process a minute of video in 1080p HD? Do you recommend this camcorder/camera for snowboarding or other action sports? I want something i can just throw in my pocket and not worry about the bulkiness, but i'm worried about the camcorder taking horrible video b/c of the movement.
Sorry for all the questions. It's just your review was probably one of the best ones I have ever read on any product and you appear to be responsive in this discussion.
In reply to an earlier post on Sep 16, 2009 1:34:58 PM PDT
Great news guys, Kodak created a firmware update to fix the high pitch noise. As a bonus it also appears to have fixed another issue where the video brightness would get dark as you zoomed in. Kodak is also hard at work training their technicians about the issues so that they can intelligently respond to complaints.
Video review coming very soon. The main thing I'm trying to figure out at the moment, the best way to make a video review about the video camera you are using to shoot the review..... guess i might not have the camera shown in the review...
In reply to an earlier post on Sep 17, 2009 12:56:07 PM PDT
Derrick, what do you know about the firmware update? How does one obtain it now (not posted on Kodak site as of 9/17/09)?
Posted on Sep 21, 2009 9:17:55 AM PDT
I want to change my star rating on this review. Does anyone know how to do that? When I try to edit the review it only lets me edit the title and text, is there a way to edit the star rating?
In reply to an earlier post on Sep 21, 2009 9:19:24 AM PDT
Steven Roth - The firmware update was emailed to me directly by Kodak. If they still don't have it on their site just contact them and ask them for it. I imagine it will be up on the website soon though. The version I have now is 1.03.
In reply to an earlier post on Sep 21, 2009 11:33:31 AM PDT
R. Solis says:
Okay, help this dummie girl. Purchased the Tekkeon battery through the Amazon link. None of the provided adapters fit into the Zi8 power port. Spoke with the folks at Tekkeon who directed me to inquire of you how you configured to power from the MP1800. My Zi8 did not come with a USB power plug cable, only the AC power plug. What am I missing?
In reply to an earlier post on Sep 21, 2009 11:43:54 AM PDT
R. Solis - The AC power adapter that came with my Zi8 is a power brick that plugs into an AC outlet and it has a USB port on it. The power cable that came with my Zi8 plugs into that USB port on the AC adapter and then plugs into the power jack on my Zi8. I just use the power cable that came with the Zi8 to plug into the USB port on the Tekkeon battery pack.
In reply to an earlier post on Sep 30, 2009 4:47:40 PM PDT
Alfredo D. De Jesus Jr. says:
I just ordered the Zi8 from the Kodak online store. I would like to purchase the extended warranty but did not find any being offered. Can you suggest where I can buy one for 2 or 3 years?
Posted on Sep 30, 2009 9:05:16 PM PDT
Jersey Girl says:
I wanted to thank you for such an insightful and thorough review. The work-around tips for some of the troublesome drawbacks of the device are especially helpful.
I was also wondering how easy the video editing is on Mac, since according to the review on CNET (my starting point when I research electronics) said the bundled software isn't Mac compatible. Do you just bypass the included software entirely? Sorry if my question seems simple; while I'm no stranger to researching my electronic devices prior to purchasing them, I am still trying to figure out software.