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Showing 1-10 of 106 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 133 reviews
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.

Rick Bennette
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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
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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.
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I bought this camera as a low-budget helmet camera to document my commute to my jobs and school. It's also occasionally a dashcam The resulting video is very crisp, and compares to my friend's much more expensive GoPro. It's really holding up to the abuse I'm throwing at it, and the blue/black color blends in very well to my helmet and dash cover.

I actually bought two of these, but one was stolen, but I liked it so much that I bought another.

Stuff it's survived without making a fuss about:

- Being partially submerged in water.
- Falling from the height of about 5' 4" (helmet mount fell off).
- Being shaken around on some gravel.
- Falling off a bike at the speed of 25mph.
- Children.
- Dogs.

The USB transfer isn't that great, but that doesn't matter to me since I can just shove the SD card into the handy SD slot my laptop's got.

The camera's held up to everything I've thrown at it, and the video quality is great for the cost. If you're looking for an inexpensive HD cam, go with this.
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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.
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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.
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on November 30, 2013
The screen is too small, as compared to my Flip Video which , unfortunately "died" on me. The Flip had problems with its on-screen PC helper portion, but it appears that Kodak is not perfect either. But, the Kodak grows on me, it is small, but I think a bit thicker than the Flip. But less wide. About the same height. It has features the Flip doesn't, like 1080 p option shooting, still photo optional shooting, and also faster frame shooting for sports. Color doesn't seem up to the Flip, nor is the exposure as accurate, but it is passable alternative. The big deal to me was the price, it was cheap and better (to me) than using a still camera's video feature. The iPhone is, however, using the "Capture App" from Google/YouTube is a good alternative. But for longer scenes and adding many clips together, you need the Kodak or it's equal in my opinion. This product works, and comes with nice wall charger, hand strap and other essentials. Note you have to download or use CD to get the PC portion to let you create movies from clips. A plus -- it has a mini HDMI cable port, I ordered a 15 foot cable to connect it to my big screen TV, so now I can watch clips on the big screen in 1080 p. That, you can't do on the Flip.
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on October 7, 2011
Cheap and records FullHD.

* Fixed focal lens means that you can't make sharp shots below 1 meter (4 feet).
* Still photos feel a little "over-software-processed" and have a quality that resembles my old 2MP HP camera more than my (also old) 4MP Canon A80.
* It's hard to hold steady because of its virtual weightlessness (but the cam does digital image stabilization)
* 720p@60fps is cool for slow-motion
* The LCD display is small - harder to see, but longer battery time (since the display can't be turned off during recording, this counts)

Best thing about it is, that it is cheap and small, so you can just put it in your pocket/bag/whatever, and record great resolution videos any time.

Update:
* when the memory card does not have a lot of free space, startup gets slow (the camera wants to show you how much time/photos you have left and you have to wait seconds for that info)
* sometimes the camera acted as if it was recording all right but stopped updating the time counter at 6-10 seconds. So I press the button and it shows the standby screen - but in reality that is the exact moment it really starts recording and the previous take turns out to be a single photo... I suspect this behavior is related to the memory card filling up too.
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on November 3, 2012
I am pleased with this item, it is easy to record videos and also allows you to take digital pictures 5 meg
Here is my take down of this camera;

The pros are -

* easy to take videos/pictures
* small and easy to carry around
* very affordable for HD camera
* has the ability to be mounted on a tri-pod
* easy to upload videos/pictures on computer
* has auto-focus

The cons are -

- videos can be fuzzy in low light areas
- there is no time-stamp capabilities
- there is no flash
- does not come with remote, but you can purchase one separately

Overall I think my experience with this camera is positive. It is very easy to use and I like to mount this camera on a tri-pod for easy recording. Later I will probably invest in a remote control. I also like the option to upgrade the flash memory to 64 GB if needed.
This camera is small, easy and convenient to use. I am actually impressed in how easy this camera is to use, if you are looking for a easy camera to take good quality videos without the hassle of buying an expensive camcorder then this is a good option to consider.

The only downside is that the videos can be a little fuzzy in low light, sometimes the sound quality can be low when you are a little farther away. If you want a time-stamp there is no options to add it for some reason.
Otherwise this is a good camera to use, especially if you are looking to upload videos on the internet then I think this camera will do the job.
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on December 23, 2011
I really love this camera. I got it to have for the holidays and visits and to be able to record things unobtrusively and it is perfect. The charge held for a very long time, but in order to find out how much charge was left I had to pay attention when the camera was turned on since the battery icon disappears after that. Piece of cake loading pictures and videos to my mac and I love the feature that I can take one frame out of the video and turn it into a picture. Also, if the video of the dog was too long because he didn't do that cute thing he does until the camera was rolling for 2 minutes, you can trim out all the boring sitting around waiting stuff. And the software included also lets me do it on my computer as well. Love the camera, glad I bought it.
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