Customer Reviews: Kodak PlaySport (Zx3) HD Waterproof Pocket Video Camera - Black (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
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on April 11, 2010
OK lets start off with this camera is $149 keep that in mind.

The 5.3MP still photos are fairly good, not to bad, but remember this is a video camera first
a dedicated 5MP still photo camera will take much better photos, but again hey these aren't to shabby it just depends on what your trying to do. Quick shots here and there...excellent and better than any cell phone I've had. At a wedding where you want crystal clear and sharp photos....well not so much.

The HD video camera is pretty nice, easy to use and I was just stunned at the digital zoom.
It actually works and works well, not to blocky or grainy...more so at the extreme 4x level but at 2x to about 3x the camera compensated nicely and actually cleared up the image...not sure how they do it, but they do.

As others have noted, with rapid movement of the camera you will notice your image jumps or shakes.
Now remember what I told you to keep in mind $149. Yes it does have that little "feature", but it's not
a $299 video camera with a higher quality lens and CCD. Slow down, don't go from left to right or up and
down at 100MPH and it's not bad. Moving images within the video are fine, it's just if you move the camera
itself very rapidly you will notice it.

I tried the 3 HD video modes, and it also has a standard resolution mode as well that I did not try.
I compared all 3 with and with out the image stabilization on which did not seem to improve or degrade the
image at all.

At 720p 30 fps - Not to bad, noticed the jumpyness or shakyness of the image as I moved left to right in my test,
but slow down and it's not to bad.

At 720p 60 fps - Now were getting better, really not bad at all, again not $300 video camera good, but
pretty darn nice, and clearer and the shakyness of the video smoothed out a bunch, again slow down in your
movements for best quality.

At 1080p 30fps - Nice quality...really nice, but the jumpyness of the video is back, you have to take it a bit
slower but nice quality all in all.

I did not try the underwater mode, but assume it works as advertised everything else has so far.

Now I throughly loved the fact that there are no CD's with this camera, nothing in the box to load.
You simply plug in the provided USB cable and the software...every bit of it and all the drivers you need for
the camera are built right in and install on your PC from the camera...this is an excellent feature, I always
misplace the CD's and have to download from the website anyhow.

Speaking of downloading from the website ... this camera is flash upgradeable with new firmware I went to the
Kodak website and found that there was an upgrade I could download to correct a few minor anomalies that they so hopefully this camera gets even more corrections in the near future and maybe a feature update

I also loved the fact that ALL the cables came with the camera. HDMI, USB, and Component video cables...
All of them... they can charge you at least $10 for each individual cable, but they give them to you with
the camera for $149, now how great is that ?!?!

As at least one other reviewer has said, yes - there is no case or protective sleeve that comes with the camera,
but I would take the cables over a case anyday, you know what ever they included it wouldn't be what you wanted.
Either they gave you a sleeve and you wanted a case for your accessories or they gave you a case and you didn't
want to carry all the accessories so you go out and buy yourself a protective sleeve or pouch. So just go get what you want ...
I myself purchased the Kodak Case that Amazon recommended to me .... also a nice purchase, perfect size not to big,
not to small and has a little accessory area that you can carry one of the cables and a spare battery if you need.

This camera feels rugged and well built. It's easy to use, lots of features like image stabilization and face
tracking, it comes with all the cables, free software that's always with you in the camera, and costs only $149.

So not to bad at all, and my conclusion is this if your looking for a sharp and crisp still photo camera drop the
$100 just for that and buy one, if your looking for a excellent video quality camera drop the $300 just for that
and buy one. But....If your looking for a pretty nice, simple and decent quality camera that does it all and
is rugged enough to go out in the rain or underwater drop $149 and buy this one.

I've included a video I compiled and edited down to show the different resolutions and the photos. Keep in mind
that while your viewing that this is an flv file and the actual quality that the camera will give you will be
much higher than what I was able to upload to Amazon, meaning you'll get better quality than what you see on here.
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on March 27, 2010
I shot this using the Kodak PlaySport while snorkeling off of Ixtapa, Mexico. The water wasn't the clearest, but I did get pretty good results. It looked really great in the pool. It also looks great above water! I use it at my son's baseball games and I have been amazed at the quality. Hands down the best thing about this camera is the size. It's so easy to slip in a pocket and just carry around. Great little vacation camera. My only complaint is that the control wheel is a little small. I would often accidentally stop recording while trying to zoom in or out. You get used to it though and it is a minor annoyance. I highly recommend this camera.
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on March 9, 2010
I am a Canon diehard fan. But Canon does not have anything that compares to Kodak Playsport HD waterproof pocket video camera. At 1080P the video recording is acceptable. But, at 720p and 60 frames per second this camera rocks, the results are great. I have used it around and in water, the blue filter helps under water. I am planning to use this for our Disney World vacation this year in the Water Parks.

This camera takes 5MP HD Stills, so now I have a camera that can take video and stills on demand wet or dry. I have other camera's in the same category like Flip and Samsung both do not compare, even at 720p 60 frames per second. $150.00 pricetag is also very affordable.

Easy to carry, very user friendly to move files from the camera to the computer or directly to Youtube. Nightvision would be nice but most of my recordings will be in Daylight. Bottom line great camera and I have no cons to talk about.
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on April 27, 2010
Over Christmas, my wife decided to award my awesomeness by getting me a Zi6. I loved this camera like a fat kid likes cake and took it with me everywhere that I went. Suddenly, my daughter was living her own personal Truman Show and everyone on my Facebook friends list was subject to video after video that I'd shot just about anywhere that we were of her being cute.

Not even a half a year had passed before I was totally devoted to the idea of the Zi6 but still wanting something with a little more horsepower under the hood (Image Stabilization, Facial Detection, Backlight Suppression). I was planning to go with the Zi8 but then I found this little bad boy. The Zx3 is essentially like the dashing, more adventurous midget version of the Zi8. It has the Zi8's guts but in a pint sized, water-proof body.


1. Its freaking waterproof! In my opinion, this is almost 100% necessary with a camera that you carry around with you all the time. I'm often too stupid to come in out of the rain so the mere fact that this camera can take the moisture makes it a perfect fit for me.

2. Facial Detection, it works! The camera does an outstanding job of metering from whoever's grill that I happen to be getting all up in while using it. There's a noticeable lag when panning from the shadows to some sun-worshiping hippy but it's not that much. Maybe 1/3 of a second.

3. The image stabilization keeps my shots steady even when I'm jogging behind my 4 year old little girl as she goes from one place to the other being totally riot. It's digital instead of optical so it isn't perfect but it's still a far cry better than the Zi6. It¡¦s definitely a welcome upgrade as my footage no longer looks quite so much like every scene in Cloverfield.

4. I don't use the backlight suppression as much as I thought that I would (mostly don't need it) but its nice having it there.

5. I personally think that the low light performance of this camera is quite crunk! I've read lots of other reviews with people complaining about it but these folks probably complain that they don't get a side of caviar whenever they order a drive through happy meal. It's a pocket-sized camera. In my opinion, the Zx3 has the best low light resolution that you're going to find without upgrading to anything larger and more financially damaging to your checking account.


1. The thing runs on a proprietary battery so, unlike the Zi6 there's no more relying on AA's and Viagra to keep me going all day long. Kodak says that you'll get 90 minutes out of a full charge but they're lying to you like a bunch of dirty liars. Expect an hour without previewing.

2. Oddly, the 1080p recording mode doesn't make that much of a difference. The Zi6 maxed out at 720p and definitely got a worse picture than this Zx3 but that's mainly due to the internal processing differences between to two devices. It's not really a complaint, I guess. I've just found that 720p at 60fps is just as good or better than 1080p at 30fps.

3. This camera's lack of a macro mode makes it impossible for me to film my fungal infections to email to my doctor for diagnosis.

4. No case was provided! :( WTF Kodak? My Zi6 came with a case. True, it wasn't a very good case but it was there and I loved it! This one doesn't have one. I'm currently using one of my kid's unmatched socks to keep the screen and lens from getting scratched while it's in my pocket. Why does Kodak want me to be so ghetto?

5. The codec records in the .mov file format. This format is big and really annoying to edit in as it eats up processing power and makes your computer stupid. Know going into this that you're going to have to convert your files into a more manageable format before splicing together the next Citizen Kane.

All in all, I'd say that the Zx3 is pretty much the most amazing thing that I've owned ever since my wife got me my Zi6. The better image quality alone makes it worth the $150 that I paid for it but it's also waterproof! My wife didn't know that before I dropped it into my koi pond. The look on her face alone was priceless and worth every dollar spent.
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on March 20, 2010
I was, and still am, blown away by the quality recording I am getting off of this compact and rugged little camera. the 1080 setting can be a little blurry and choppy, but it is still better than most other compact camcorders I have used. The 720/60 frames setting is wonderful. I was astounded at the smoothness of the video, as well as the quality. Here's the trouble though, and hopefully not indicative of a larger issue.

I recorded an event for about 45 minutes, and after I was through, I looked back at the camera. The record light was still on, the screen still showing a live preview, but the recorded time number had stopped at about 37 minutes. All the controls were unresponsive. Not even the power button worked. After about 5 minutes, I had no choice but to remove the battery to shut the camera off. I turned it back on, and was shown an exclamation point where the video I had just shot was. The video would not play. I removed the 8gb SD card and plugged it directly into my computer, and the file size of the last video shot was only 67MB, not nearly high enough for 37 minutes of 720p @ 60frames per second. I am still unable to get even that fragment to play.

Color me heart-broken.

As I said, I hope this is not a sign of a larger, or more common, problem. But until I hear otherwise, I wouldn't use this camera when you really, really want to make sure you end up with a copy of the video (wedding, birthday, mat mitzvah, divorce, whatever).
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on April 23, 2010
End Result: The video attached here was shot at 720p, 60 frames per second, uploaded and processed by, then downloaded and posted to this review to show the quality of the final results you can achieve online. The camera will shoot even higher resolution at 1080p.

Overall: I have been using this tiny camera hard now for eight months, and I have almost nothing but praise for it. It's the size of a cell phone, shoots HD, has image stabilization, contains software for making movies and uploading them to YouTube and other social media site, is rugged, water proof, and best of all, shoots better video than the Flip cameras. The "almost" is minor, in that most users shooting for more than 20 minutes in the wild will want a second battery. It really is best-of-class in tiny video cams, and nothing else comes close to its environmental ruggedness. Buy it. Have a blast. Kodak did it right.

Hardware: I purchased the Black PlaySport ($150), the Kodak High-Speed 16 GB 60x Class 4 SDHC Flash Memory Card ($40), the Kodak 1706290 Resilient 1 Camera Case ($7), and a tiny flexi-leg tripod ($6). The camera comes with a wrist strap, USB charger, USB cable to connect to your computer or charger, and an HDMI cable for your HD TV. The enclosed user's guide is minimal in its explanation of the controls, and does not include shooting tips, but the camera is so simple to operate that you really don't need much more. All components worked flawlessly out of the box. The leash runs through a strong hole in the camera body, and you can use the wrist strap or even run a long leash to your belt for extended-arm shooting while paddling or skiing. I attach the tiny tripod to my life jacket with a leash, and do most of my shooting with the tripod stuffed in the life jacket's breast pocket and camer facing forward.

Charging: Initial charging and all my subsequent charges via USB took about 20 minutes. The USB cable has a standard plug on one end, and a micro-SUB on the other, which is great for me, because my Blackberry car charger also uses a micro-USB. When I shoot intermittently, turning the camera on and off a lot to save battery, I am getting 20-30 minutes of video at 720P at 60 frames per second. You can shoot while charging, which is great for the car or indoors where you have wall power. If you plan to do lots of outdoor shooting, get at least one spare battery. Charging and HDMI ports are on the right side of the camera behind a gasketed waterproof door. The battery and flash card are on the left side of the camera behind a separate gasketed door. Both doors seal very well if you keep the gaskets clean.

Controls: The center select button is used to start and stop shooting, take a still picture, or start and stop playback. Surrounding it is a black control ring that lets you choose from 720P, 720P-60FPS, 1080P or still shots. When shooting, the ring lets you zoom in and out, displaying the zoom level in a red bar-graph on the display. The ring also allows you to choose settings for underwater, sound, image stabilization, and other options. The top left thumb button selects shooting mode. The second button selects playback mode. The third button is the trash-can. The fourth button lets you set the camera's options. The controls make sense and are easy to use, even with light gloves on.

Start and Stop: When you start shooting video, the camera emits a quick chirp, and when you stop it emits a lower tone chirp, neither of which appear on the video itself. This audible feedback is wonderful when you are shooting blind, which I often do by stuffing the camera on a tiny tripod into my lifejacket pocket while kayaking. The camera takes about three seconds to power up when off, and it automatically turns off after about 4 minutes of no shooting to conserve battery life. I love that feature!

Shooting: The camera has an F2.8, 5.54mm lens, and software that tracks and focuses on faces (switchable). I frequently hold the camera in hand, arm extended, and shoot myself from the front, side, or even over-the-shoulder. The focal length is perfect for self-portrait shooting and narration. The zoom works nicely, though occasionally jumps slightly as it approaches full zoom. Image stabilization really helps when at full zoom - big kudos to Kodak for this feature. It also helps when shooting trail running with arm extended.

Video quality: The video quality is excellent, and to my eyes, far better than that of the various Flip cameras. When I shoot calm subjects, I use 702P at 30 frames per second, which gives great results with a minimum of memory use. When I shoot action with a lot of subject motion or camera motion, I switch to 60 frames per second, and the results are stunningly good. The camera responds reasonably quickly to light level changes, such as panning up and down between a bright sky and dark ground, but you may see about 1/3 of a second of under or over exposure s the camera responds. If you zoom all the way in with the digital zoom - it's not an optical zoom - the picture will become slightly bluer and fuzzier, since you are using a smaller area of the sensor chip.

Image stabilization: I shoot sea kayaking videos, which contain lots of water movement as well as camera movement, and the image stabilization works pretty well. If you start seeing "jumpiness", such as when you rapidly pan, turn off image stabilization and it will get smoother. If, on the other hand, you are not panning, but simply trying to hold your palsied, shaking hand steady, turn on image stabilization and the result is very good.

Uploading to your computer: The first time you plug the camera into your computer it detects that the ArcSoft software is not installed and ask you to install it. The software is located in the camera; there is no external CD to lose, which is brilliant. Once installed, the software is extremely easy to use to select and upload shots and clips from the camera to your computer.

Making movies: The software lets you easily make movies by dragging and dropping clips into a sequence. Clips can be edited so you only get the good stuff, and you can tweak the light and color levels. You can add transitions, music, voice-over and even text frames with a variety of fonts, font sizes and colors. This is not a full-featured editing studio, but rather one that is incredibly easy to use for things like YouTube, Facebook and burn-to-DVD videos. You can save the "project", which contains all the settings for your move in an editable format, so you can come back later and add that missing scene and delete uncle Ed's belch.

Uploading to social media: The same software allows you to upload to a whole variety of social media, including YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, and burn your video to DVD. The upload process automatically formats the movie for best results on the particular social media you select. It then connects to your account and uploads the movie. I regularly upload 720P videos to YouTube. YouTube then automatically converts the upload to 360P, 480P and 720P, and lets viewers select the speed that works best on their computer/connection. You can see uploaded examples, each labeled with the shooting resolution and speed - search youtube for "erikhy". (Note that these videos are from someone who has never shot ANY video before getting this camera.)

I'm in love with this camera for travel and adventure shooting.
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VINE VOICEon April 7, 2010
Color: Black|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
IMPORTANT UPDATE February 9, 2012: It has just been announced that Kodak is exiting the digital camera business. Please see Comment #22 for further details.

This Kodak PlaySport HD Waterproof Pocket Video Camera (Black) NEWEST MODEL (Model Zx3) video camcorder was offered to me through the Amazon Vine program and, even though I already had a Creative Labs Vado HD Pocket Video Camcorder 3rd Generation,120 Minutes (Black) - NEWEST MODEL, which I like very much (and received just last month, also through Amazon Vine), I decided to order this Kodak one so I could have a camcorder to use and my wife could have one as well.

Let me state up front that I REALLY like this little camcorder. It is small, lightweight, convenient to slip into a pocket, and it is quick and easy to use. I think its price is very good also, certainly for what you get. (Of course just about the same can be said for the Creative Vado.)

That said, and now that I have both of these camcorders, I have to say that it is hard for me to decide which of them I prefer. They both have small advantages and small disadvantages in their respective feature sets.

For example, the Creative Vado has a built-in (attached) flexible USB connection which makes transferring videos to a computer REALLY easy. If you wish to transfer videos via USB with the Kodak, you must use a separate USB cable (which, by the way, IS supplied with the Kodak unit, as are ALL necessary cables, such as video cables, etc.).

But, as the Kodak uses a separate SDHC card (such as this Kodak High-Speed 16 GB 60x Class 4 SDHC Flash Memory Card KSD16GHSBNA060), transferring video is a snap merely by removing the card from the camcorder and inserting it into the SD slot on your computer (or an external card reader if your computer is an older one which has no SD slot).

(Please note that I have NO experience with the video software included with either of these camcorders. My wife and I use the Ubuntu Linux operating system on our computers; thus the included software is inoperative. In any case, Linux makes transferring files so easy and intuitive, we would have no need of the software even if it did work on our computers.)

Unfortunately, the Kodak does NOT come with even a small SDHC card as standard equipment. If you want one (and you can't truly use the camcorder without one), you MUST buy it separately. This obviously adds to the cost.

However, a MAJOR advantage of using a card is that you can choose the size you want and you can buy and carry several should you decide to do so; if, for example, you are on a vacation and do not wish to frequently transfer the videos to your computer, it is not necessary to do so with the Kodak. You can keep the video on your card and, when it is filled, you merely insert a fresh card. (The disadvantage of using cards is, of course, the cost involved.) With the Creative, which uses a built-in memory and has no means of expansion, you MUST periodically transfer the video to your computer - but, with it, there are no additional costs involved. (Another advantage of having more than one card is, if a card somehow becomes corrupted or damaged, you merely replace it with another, spare, card.)

As far as picture quality goes (and, of course, that is THE most important thing!), both of these camcorders appear to be equal in the quality of the pictures they produce, that is to say, excellent. My wife and I have been surprised and pleased with the images produced from the Creative Vado (our first camcorder) and now with this new Kodak model. The images, as viewed on a computer screen, are really fine. I can't imagine anyone complaining about their overall quality. The auto-exposure works very well with both camcorders and the sound is about what you would expect (better if you are closer to the subject). (The Creative offers the option of using an external microphone, purchased separately, which would improve the sound quality.)

The Creative Vado has three picture settings, two of which produce wide-screen (16:9) movies, and the third one which produces "standard" (4:3) images. All of the Kodak's picture settings (there are four) produce wide-screen movies.

The Creative creates MP4 files and the Kodak creates MOV ones; in both cases I convert them to AVI files which I much prefer (AVI files are generally smaller - with no loss of quality that I can see). The Creative has a means of adjusting the picture brightness (sensitivity); the Kodak does not but the resulting videos, taken in varying degrees of brightness (indoors, outdoors) appear equal.

The Creative has one fixed LCD-brightness (viewing) setting; the Kodak has three (normal, bright, and black-and-white); the bright LCD setting makes outdoor viewing of your subject easier but does not affect the resultant video.

Both have a digital zoom (of minimal usefulness) and the Kodak offers image stabilization for stills (the Creative does not). (The Kodak can also be used under water.) Based on my admittedly limited use (thus far) of both, I should repeat that the video (and still) images are about equal in quality. (I did notice that, during one "shoot" of our granddaughter inside a local supermarket and using the Creative Vado, initially the image appeared WAY too red but, within about 10 seconds or so, it had "settled down" to look more naturally color-balanced; I have not yet had the opportunity to try a similar shoot using the Kodak.)

The Kodak offers 1080p images as its top quality; the Creative offers 720p. For home movies, in my opinion, the difference is minor (but I have not looked at the images on a large screen as yet; I have watched them only on my computer).

The Kodak at first appears to be lower-priced than the Creative but, as I indicated above, the initial price may be deceiving. The Creative has 4GB of built-in memory (and no means of expanding it) but the Kodak, with a minimal amount of built-in memory (29 seconds of video at the smallest file setting), MUST be used with an SDHC card. This can be any size you wish, up to a claimed 32 GB; the larger the card the more it can hold but, of course, the more it will cost. I bought the 16 GB Kodak card I mention above and it holds about 4 hours if shooting at 720p or 3 hours if shooting at 1080p. (The Creative holds about 2 hours at its 720p mid-setting, which is the one I use. Its maximum quality setting is 720p HD and, at that setting, it holds about 1 hour of video.)

At this point, I do not know how long the battery will last between charges on either of these camcorders (I'll report my experiences in an update) but it seems to me (just empirically) that the Creative one will last longer. In any case, I bought (for both of them) spare batteries, spare chargers, and brand-specific camera cases. In addition I bought the necessary video cables for the Creative and a remote control for the Kodak. Some of my Kodak options are still in transit - the remote is on back order - and have not yet arrived. I have all of the Creative options I ordered. (By the way, both camcorders have removable and replaceable batteries - really a rarity, and a welcome one, these days.)

Both camcorders offer similar features and adjustments but those on the Kodak appear to be more straightforward to use than those on the Creative. The Kodak offers real buttons as opposed to the Creative's touch areas and the presence of those buttons makes operation easier, at least for me. (The Creative does have a menu button as well as a "delete" button on the side and an on/off button on the top; the Kodak has all the buttons on the rear [facing the operator] except for the on/off button which is on the side.)

The menu options on the Kodak are more intuitive and easier to access and change than are those on the Creative but the differences are not major.

I want to mention that the Creative Vado is black all around (the "controls" are indicated with silver-on-black markings - except, of course, for the white "record" button which is actually a real button!) but the Kodak, though black (or purple or blue, as you choose) on the side facing the person being photographed, is white on the side facing the user and, at least for me, this makes seeing and using the buttons somewhat easier, though this too is not major.

The Kodak comes with a wrist strap (the Creative does NOT - and it should!), a feature which I like very much, though the camcorder with the strap attached fits only rather clumsily into its Kodak 1047398 Pocket Video Case. The Creative fits perfectly and easily into its Creative Labs Vado VF0570APS Pocket Video Camera Mesh Pouch (Silver) and, in it, is smaller and thinner than the Kodak in ITS case. The Creative case has a belt loop and the Kodak case has a shoulder strap.

The Kodak is noticeably heavier and slightly larger than the Creative. Its instruction manual (actually there are two - one printed, which comes with the camcorder, and an "extended" user manual which you download from Kodak's web site) is excellent, much better organized, more comprehensive, and easier to use and understand than that of the Creative.

When you get down to brass tacks, with the Creative Vado, the only options you REALLY need are Creative Vado A/V Cable - Video / audio cable - composite video / audio - RCA (M) - mini-phone 3.5 mm 4-pole (M) - 4.6 ft if you want to play your videos through a standard television (an HDMI cable is optional yet even Creative itself does not appear to offer one specific to this unit - nor does Amazon!) and the case. With the Kodak, you should buy the case and, of course, you NEED an SDHC card. Overall, then, despite a lower "basic" price, the Kodak is probably somewhat more expensive overall (but it does come with all necessary cables including an HDMI one). If you are cash-strapped, you need buy NO options for the Creative but you WILL need an SDHC card for the Kodak. If you were to buy a 2-to-8 GB card, the Kodak would then be less expensive overall than the Creative; the 16GB (or 32 GB) card would make the Kodak the costlier of the two.

I'm still mulling over the "problem" of which to give to my wife and which to use myself. At this point, due to the ease of transferring files to a computer, I may let my wife try the Creative Vado to see if she likes its operational characteristics; she would need only to plug in the attached USB cord; there is nothing extra she need use (with the Kodak, you need to use either an external USB cord or you need to remove the SDHC card from the camcorder and insert it into the slot on your computer). But, then again, with its buttons, the Kodak is much more straightforward to use when actually taking video or pictures.

Decisions, decisions!

I have to say that I like them both and I highly recommend them both. If I were really "pushed" to make a choice between the two, I think I would (very) slightly favor this Kodak model partly because of its real ease-of-use (including much better instructions), its removable storage, and its option to increase the brightness of the LCD screen for better outdoor viewing in bright sunlight (however neither the Kodak nor the Creative is easy to view in very bright sunlight) but someone else might feel differently. (Due to its heft, it feels more substantial to me but that's a VERY subjective opinion.) I want to state definitely however that this Kodak PlaySport HD Waterproof Pocket Video Camera (Black) NEWEST MODEL (its "official" model name is Zx3) is a fine camcorder and I believe that everyone who buys one will be as pleased with it as I am.

Thank you for reading this. I hope it has been of some help to you.


Update: April 23, 2010

Last night I "finally" got around to projecting images taken with this camcorder onto my 110" diagonal (16:9) screen using my PT-AE4000U LCD XGA 16:9 1600 Lumens HDmi Svid 16.1LBS Hdtv. As expected (see the relevant update to my review of the Creative Labs Vado HD Pocket Video Camcorder 3rd Generation,120 Minutes (Black) - NEWEST MODEL for more details), the images produced by the Kodak (taken, by the way, at 720P, NOT its "best quality" setting 1080P) were spectacular. They had excellent and accurate colors and sharpness; the monophonic sound was fine. The next time I take video with this camcorder I'm going to try the 1080P setting though I can't imagine that it will look much better than what I saw last night!

You can't go wrong with this Kodak PlaySport HD Waterproof Pocket Video Camera (Black) NEWEST MODEL and, to tell the truth, the same statement applies to the Creative Vado HD. Though they are different in their attributes, their "strengths" (all major), and their "weaknesses" (all minor), I really like them both very much.

I thank you again for reading this.


Update: July 14, 2010

Having owned this Kodak PlaySport (Zx3) HD Waterproof Pocket Video Camera (Black) NEWEST MODEL and the Creative Labs Vado HD Pocket Video Camcorder 3rd Generation,120 Minutes (Black) - NEWEST MODEL and using them side-by-side, overall I now prefer the Creative one. Really, it is just as easy to use as the Kodak, its images, at 720p, appear to be as good as Kodak's 1080p images, at least on our 110" screen, and the Creative's battery lasts much, much longer. Plus my wife prefers the Creative camcorder over this Kodak (though she can give no reason for her preference; as I have stated, I like them both).

I myself have experienced the "freezing" anomaly mentioned by some other reviewers, but only once. That was early in the ownership period and it has not recurred (so far!).

Even though the Kodak can hold, with a 16GB SD card, much more video than the Creative, its battery runs out well before you can take even a fraction of what the card can hold. I have a spare battery for the Kodak (as well as for the Creative) and I strongly recommend that you buy one or two spares also, especially if you buy this Kodak model.

With the Kodak camcorder, even with two fully-charged batteries, the batteries BOTH run out well before the card is filled. This is somewhat disappointing, even though recharging (which can be done in your home or your car) does not take too long.

Not so with the Creative camcorder. The battery lasts for quite a long period of time though I haven't actually measured it. During our four and one-half cross-country trip, during which we took several hours of video with the Creative, I replaced its first battery with my (previously charged) second battery only once. While I did recharge the first battery, it was not necessary to use it.

In my opinion, this is excellent performance. (Recharging the Creative's battery takes longer than recharging the Kodak's battery though the Creative's, like the Kodak's, can be charged from an AC outlet or from your car's DC 'cigarette-lighter' port.)

Neither camcorder is 'perfect' but both are very, very good and. frankly, I could be happy with either. I think most people would feel the same. But, now having extensively used both camcorders, overall I too slightly prefer the Creative. (Among other things, the Creative camcorder REALLY excels in low-light situations.) Of course if underwater or foul-weather video is of even slight importance to you, this Kodak is, of its type, the only game in town. Also don't forget one of its MAJOR advantages: the ability of its LCD screen to be adjusted to enable easier viewing in bright sunlight. And the Kodak's ease of use with dedicated buttons is not to be ignored.

So do not misunderstand: I think this Kodak pocket camcorder is a fine product. I merely want readers of my review (really, just my opinions) to be aware of the 'battery-life problem' I have experienced with it.

As always, it's your call. Thank you for reading this and I hope it has been of some help to you.


Update: December 20, 2010

Last evening I FINALLY upgraded the firmware in my Zx3. I had been somewhat apprehensive about doing this (plus "inertia," as always, 'ruled' ...) but I needn't have been.

The instructions on Kodak's site were quite clear and easy to follow and the entire process, which took but a few minutes, went entirely smoothly.

So now my unit, which had had version 1.01, now has version 1.12. I presume that, among other things, this will correct the 'freezing' anomaly (which, in any case, I had only experienced once).

(Obviously any Zx3 purchased new, at the present time, will already incorporate the latest firmware.)

This camcorder is one heck of a unit. If its battery life on a charge were longer and if it had a faster lens, it would be my overwhelming favorite of the three camcorders I own. The battery-life 'problem' can be alleviated to a certain extent by buying one or two spares (I currently have one but I may buy another); with an external charger, charging can be effected via your computer, your home AC power, or even, via a cigarette-lighter adapter, in your car separately from the camcorder. So really you need never be without power. Obviously, with that charger, you can charge one battery while using the camcorder with another. You need not miss any situations which you'd like to capture. The lens, of course, cannot be changed; it is a relatively slow at f2.8 and this precludes the camcorder from taking really good video in low-light situations (something at which the Creative Vado HD 3rd Generation, with its fast f2.0 lens, excels). If Kodak were to take this Zx3 camcorder AS IS but replace the current lens with a faster one, I think they'd really have something!

Its overall operational design (with REAL buttons for the controls) and the accessories offered for it (as I mentioned you need buy only a few as it comes with all necessary cables - but those desirable accessories are extremely well-designed, much better than those of its competition) are, in my opinion, superlative. As I mentioned above I did buy a Kodak external charger (which can be used at home or in the car) primarily because of the relatively short battery life - but I probably would have bought it anyway even if the battery life were better (I bought an external charger for the Creative Vado as well). The carrying case I mentioned above is also extremely well-designed, a model for this kind of product; I recommend it highly.

I haven't yet tried the camcorder with the new firmware; I'll be doing so very soon (obviously!). But this unit has been my favorite for outdoor shooting (and it would be, of course, for inclement weather shooting as well) so it will be interesting to see if there is any operational or performance difference between the two firmwares. (I also wonder if the new firmware makes a difference in the battery life; I'll have to see and, if it does so, I'll report that here.)

As it is you really can't go wrong in buying one of these. Both my wife and I like this camcorder very much and we both think that you will too.

Thanks again for reading this.


Update: April 26, 2011

The new firmware [1.12] (which has been included on every new sample for most of the past year) has completely fixed whatever the 'freezing' problem was with the original firmware [1.01] (but which had happened only once to me).

Since I have installed the new firmware, the camcorder has performed flawlessly with nary a hiccup.

And the more I use it, the more I like it.

And I REALLY like the new, lower, price at which it is now being sold! Frankly, in my opinion, you just can't go wrong with this camcorder.

Thanks again for reading this. I hope it is of some help to you.
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on March 9, 2010
I've been waiting for this to be released for several months, and was surprised when I got the notice that the ship date was moved up by a month. I've had this camera only for around 12 hours but have spent a few hours with it so far, and it was definitely worth waiting for. I considered the Flip Mino but decided to wait for this to come out because of the ability to use SD cards and also to remove and change the battery somewhat inexpensively.
I'm really glad I waited, and here's why.

* Picture quality is fantastic. I've uploaded some things to Youtube, and the picture was crystal clear.
* Sound - The mic picked up a nice variety of sounds from office sounds (people typing,etc) to a loud surprise party with clarity.
* Size - It's really small. It's wide and flat. Fits in my jeans pocket and in my shirt pocket as well.
* Battery - I'm waiting to see how long it lasts, but it charged in around an hour and 45 minutes when plugged in to the wall.
* Software - I'm pretty impressed. It's simple but it does pretty much what I'll need it to do. I spent around 30 minutes messing around with it. The video uploaded quickly.It allowed for basic editing, color correction and enhancement,etc. It allows direct upload to Facebook,Youtube,Twitter,and Vimeo.
* Build Quality - It's sturdy. Not heavy but definitely "solid". I like the rubberized surface, I can imagine it will be easier to hold when it's wet. I'm very excited to be able to film my daughter swimming from inside the pool!

We own a traditional video camera but it's rarely used because it's big and bulky, the battery life stinks, and making it work with the computer is almost impossible. The Kodak is a natural companion for the diaper bag and I look forward to recording many future memories with it.

The closest to a negative may just be due to the format itself. I used the Kodak software and burned a standard def dvd from a 1080p source and the video looked awful. Very "blocky". I assumed it would at least be "dvd quality" but it's barely VHS. Of course, I could just be doing something wrong. If I figure it out, I'll revise this review!

Other than that issue, I love this thing! The other camera is going to be sold soon, this is all we need!
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on April 19, 2010
Just a basic hands on review of the playsport.
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on May 19, 2010

I must preface this by saying that I have a FLIP Mino video recorder which I liked but wanted to get something that does HD video.

I have had the Kodak PlaySport for about 1 month now and used it numerous times in outdoor and indoor settings. I actually had 2 PlaySport units because I had to return the original unit and get a replacement through Amazon for some issues explained below.

So, I must say this little unit look very promising when I first got it. I really like the look and feel of the unit. It fits in my hand very nicely and it has a nice weight to it. The Playsport definitely feels more rugged than the Flip Mino.

So What I liked about the PlaySport:

1) Great rugged feel. This was a major plus over the Flip mino. The curves of the PlaySport body feel much nicer than the boxy body of the Flip.

2) Great outdoor Video and Images. Well, this is the main reason to get an Camera right? The outdoor images I took are as good if not better than some point and shoot Canon/Sony cameras I have. The great thing to is, the pictures are formatted for my 42in HDTV and look incredible. The outdoor video is better than I expected from a pocket HD cam and much better than the Flip (although it's not HD).

3) I love the fact that it comes with all the accessories like an HDMI cable. Also it uses a standard USB cable to charge and COMES WITH A WALL CHARGER!! The major selling point of the Flip was the flip out USB but I hated it because you had to use it to charge through your computer, not the wall.

4) The removable battery and memory is awesome in case you are on a trip or at an event where you go over the battery and memory capacity (which has happened to me with the 60min Flip).

Some flaws for you to look for/be aware of:

1) the big white record button in the middle was a little loose. What I mean by this is that when you press the button it can stick to your thumb and rattles just a little. I recorded OK but sometimes it felt like the button could have fallen out. This turned out to be issolated to that first unit because my replacement wasn't like this.

2) The battery door and the hdmi port door were pretty loose on the first unit. I would be a bit afraid to take that one in the water. My replacement unit was a bit better but one of the doors is slightly loose.

3) Battery life didn't seem very good or the indicator is not very accurate. In fact, after charging the Playsport over night and then using for about 5 minutes it will often show that the battery only has 3/4 power left. But after 1hr of use it only was about 1/2 power used. I purchased a spare battery and it seems to be different. So maybe the battery that came with the unit is faulty?

4) Indoor pictures are pretty bad. There is no flash or video light. The indoor pictures are very noisy (grainy) and blur is a major issue. Quality wise, it is on par, or maybe worse than my smartphone camera. Keep in mind, this is a small lens and we can't expect fabulous pictures from it. I have a SLR for my indoor pics so I'm not so worried about it...however, if you are expecting to use this as a party-cam out on the town in dimly lit restaurants and will disappoint you.

5) The major one...while shooting video indoors or low light, I noticed a gray haze and splotchy dark marks (one noticeable one in the bottom center) on the image in the screen as well as in the final recording...almost like the lens was dirty. I cleaned the lens but it didn't change anything. I started testing in different environments and noticed THIS ONLY HAPPENED IN LOW LIGHT/INDOOR situations. I could get the gray haze/ dark spots to go away by pointing the camera to a brighter area of the room or out a window into daylight then back to a low light area. This happens in all of the video settings (WVGA,720p,1080p). I found this to be the case with both the original unit I had and the replacement unit Amazon sent me. I also went to Best Buy to look at there display unit and found it to be the same. When You point it at a white wall indoors what I am talking about will be very clear to see. I have since read some user posting similar problems on Amazon.

So, bottom line:

I will be keeping the PlaySport because the outdoor video and pictures are excellent and the price was right. I will use it indoors but will keep my expectations low on the results. For the price, and what is available out in the market, this camera is probably the best option available. Just make sure your unit doesn't have the built quality issues I had.
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