Customer Reviews: Kodak PlayTouch Video Camera (Black)
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Color: Black|Change
Price:$167.99+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime
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The manufacturer commented on the review below
on 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.
3232 comments| 349 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
Color: Black|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This item is an EXCELLent caera/ video recorder. It has simplistic instructions that anyone can follow, a set of touc-screen options that are so easy to understand that it makes me wish all my itesm would come with set-ups like this, and it makes for great keepsakes. Considering the size of the thing, you also have a cool streaming piece of electronics that takes 11 5MP photos on normal with its internal memory and takes around 30 seconds of video with the internals. Thats nice and only has one downside that I noticed and I'll not later (I say that because I am being objective and I want this to be noted but not too take away from the camera/ recorder).

I think the first thing I should note is that facebook, twitter, and other sites are not my noraml routines. Still, this hooks with them easily and I say that being a novice on the sites. I also saw how easily the thing is to program and send video and pictures in emails to people, and that astonished me. It just plugs into the computer and it is gone.

Speaking of computers, this has to be one of the easiest plug and go options on the planet. It does most of the work for me and it has a lot of idiot-proofing to go along with it. I am not a person that likes to read a lot of instructions and likes to learn on the fly. This is designed for that type of person BUT has a great set of prompts that allows you to read OR look at pictures. Also, it has a lot of language variations in its paper insert (which I note because some people are not good with computers at all and do not like their instructions on a file).

As far as features, you have a few things you can do with the film that are really awesome and that come with a lot of things now. That includes film differences, zoominging, facial finding software, and so much more. This is all done with the ease you find in so much touch streen stuff that doe not have that many options, only this does so much. Its just easy to udnerstand and seems to be designed by a person that planned on using it.

You have glare guards, the ability to fix your pictures, review and fixing abilities, ways to crop, and ways to clean up the images. That is good if you take bad photos, or if you are in a rush. I noticed I could set this to take great stuff in the light or in the night, and that home or outside are all great and easy. Honestly, I would see this as a great gift potential, allowing someone from a pre-technolgoy generation to place their stamp on whatever day they want.

The one downside to this is that it does not have an SD card with it. It DOEs have internal memory, but no SD card makes it a little confusing. Still,t his is simply a note and not a flaw. You are treated so good here that it seems like a hand-out is expected. Even the bag is sooo soft that I would use it to clean glasses - you sort of get spoiled by the thought of what could come next.

The charge last a long time, too, and I was surprised by that. I charged it and was playing with it for three days and it did not give me any problems. I simply plugged in the stuff it said, starting with the battery that was clearly shown in a picture, and then hit the switch on the side that looks just like my power icon on my computer/X-box/ a million other things. And then I used the big button that seems like the natural option to get me going. Everything else sort of came together and within two hours I had done everything I could with the intructions - and that is not a slight on this machine.

It is amazingly good. I have played with other things, the Flip and whatnot, and they are nothing compared to this. Other pieces seem like toys setting on a table with an electronic device.
This EASILY deserves the 5 stars because it is HD, blows images up where you can play, has a mic that you can adjust to get sound from (these are hard on that one thing and I always seem to think they are all a little low), and it responds to tilting. Icons like to go where I am going and i like it a lot.

Thank you.
11 comment| 101 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on November 22, 2010
I recently purchased the Panasonic HM-TA1... straight out of the box, I was immediately disappointed by the build quality - just seemed too "delicate" to be trotting around town with this thing in your pocket. Picture quality is decent however. A note to all: with any of these "shoot n' share" cameras, please don't expect picture quality to be like prosumer Sony's HDV lineup or Panasonic's HD P2 cameras... and don't compare these with HDSLR's like Canon's 7D and 5D MarkII. If you're looking for that quality, then go buy those cameras.

So a couple days later, I got turned on to Kodak's lineup of these pocket HD camcorders -- and I saw the Playtouch. Loved how they took the best of the Zi8 and incorporated it into a slick, sexy, touch-screen camcorder (like iPhones and Androids). I just had to get one! So I began my research -- skimming all over the internet reading customer's reviews... and well, even here on Amazon, they're just not that flattering to Kodak's Playtouch -- WOW, I was shocked - especially coming from such positive feedback with the Zi8. The reviews are so negative, that I almost stopped right there.

So I went into Best Buy to see what all the fuss was about -- instantly liked the feel and build quality much better than the Panasonic. But was still wondering if all these complaints I've read are true -- horrible picture quality... awful sound recording... focusing issues, camera crashes, etc. Well, I guess the only way to find out was to bite the bullet and buy one. So I did.

That was 9AM this morning. It is now 11:00PM. I've played with this camera ALL DAY -- shot in all its recording formats, tested all the picture filters (which the "70s movie" rocks!) -- even the internal mic isn't horrible (c'mon peeps, lets not be dramatic)... the focusing and auto iris/exposure compensate very well and transitions smoothly in changing environments, my movies are all in focus and I had zero crashes. The big question: picture quality? Listen folks, the picture quality is FINE, SUPER, DANDY. Again, don't expect an HD Sony F900 picture result - but for these little portable cameras, this is probably even better than my Panasonic HM-TA1.

I purchased this camera because I'm getting into Vlogging. These cameras are perfect for that (pssst, that's what they're made for... internet not broadcast quality). Small, portable, easy to use. The Playtouch delivers on all fronts.

Now you can always get things to add and enhance your "production value" with these cameras. For instance, I purchased a small Sennheiser (MKE 400) mini-shotgun mic (plugs directly into the Playtouch). Really improves the audio - a worthy investment. Also purchased a small "Bracket", which is used to mount the shot gun mic and the camera. Brackets are generally considered "photography" equipment, but it works perfectly for my set up plus it adds more "stability" to handheld shooting. A great solution!

Really hope people will give this camera a chance. I don't understand all these negative reviews. I'm really happy with my purchase -- the user interface is great --- the touch screen is wonderfully responsive -- the picture quality is as good as it can be (for any of these pocket cameras)... the audio is superb with the added shotgun mic.... all the video options and editing utilities work and look terrific. What else can I say, I am a fan of Kodak's Playtouch.

P.S.: I am a Mac user / and this works seamlessly with my system (iMovie, iPhoto, etc.). Even did the firmware update :)

And for those of you who are skeptics and wondering... No, I do not work nor am affiliated with Kodak in any way, shape or form.
When I get some footage maybe I'll share it here. After all, a picture's worth a thousand words. :)

***I really really wanted the red/orange version, but no one is carrying them! I had no choice but to get the black version. Maybe Kodak can send me a Red battery compartment :)
11 comment| 56 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on October 31, 2010
This camera is excellent. Ive experienced freeze-ups a couple of times but this camera is excellent and more than capable of shooting quality footage. Completely upgradeable with camera lights, microphones and wide lens. I had the zi8 and its pretty much the same thing except for the touch screen feature and the ability to trim videos on the camera itself. I love it and have already put it to good use. I definitely reccommend this product.
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on October 24, 2010
This camera is worth having for the special effects shooting modes alone. You can choose to shoot either video or still photos in normal mode, or in high saturation (ultra vivid colors), 70's (muted and faded colors), black and white or sepia. The normal mode is excellent for a cmera in this price range. But I use it for the high saturation and sepia effects. In the past month, I have taken shots of the mountain views with the leaves changing, at dawn and at dusk for the lighting effects. The high saturation mode makes great shots into spectacular shots. Sure, you could take your normal shots and Photoshop them for the high saturation, but it's really easy to take them in the high saturation mode and be able to upload them like that to Facebook or Flickr straight from the camera. Being able to shoot video in black and white or sepia is also a lot of fun. It's easy to make old movies or moody movies with those modes. And if you shoot video in the 70's mode, it really looks like the old Super 8 footage. Lots of fun! You can be so creative with this camera, and all you have to do is push a button! Super super easy to use.

I find the quality of the video and still photos to be excellent. Obviously, they won't be as tack sharp as those from my Nikon, but certainly for the price of this camera, the photos are really great. For everyday use, the quality is what you would expect from Kodak.

Also, you can edit your video right in the camera. It allows you to delete parts of the video you don't want, so that you can upload a more finished video clip.

Yes, there are some cons. The video transfer to your computer or to an online site is accomplished via a USB arm that comes out of the side of the camera (just like a Flip camera). The idea is that you can use the arm to plug the camera directly into your computer. The arm is very delicate, in my opinion. I wouldn't plug the arm directly into the computer and let the camera just hang in the air- I think the weight of the camera would break the arm. Rather, I have a short USB cable that I plug the arm into, then plug the cable into the computer. I put the camera on my desk, with the cable running to the computer. Problem solved. You can get such a cable right here on AmazonBasics USB 2.0 A-Male to A-Female Extension Cable (3.3 Feet / 1.0 Meter)

Also, transferring video to your computer or uploading it directly from the camera to Facebook or Flickr takes a few minutes. The transfer is done through Kodak's software interface, and it seems a tad slow to me. But not a big deal.

Some reviewers have complained about the lack of responsiveness of the touch screen. The zoom is indeed accomplished by just resting your finger on the + or - button. Tapping is not necessary, and in fact ruins your photo clarity. It's not necessary. Just practice for a few minutes, and get the hang of it. It can be smooth. I will say that it is easy to touch the wrong part of the screen and switch from shooting mode to viewing mode, but all you have to do is touch the button you use to take the photos and the screen switches back.

Yes, the camera does crash. Not frequently (I use it every day and it has happened twice in a month). I spoke with tech support about this, and they are working on a fix. Meanwhile, if the camera freezes or crashes, simply remove the battery for a few seconds, and then put it back in. Fixed! And by the way, Kodak phone tech support for this camera is excellent, should you need it.

I highly recommend this camera, despite the few problems, because of the different shooting modes. Well worth the price just for those effects!
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on November 26, 2010
it deserves 4 stars, but other reviews have been more negative than they should have been so I'm making up for it.
camera works well, my one complaint is the sound. internal mic sucks, loud noises are external mic would probably be a wise investment. otherwise, its suited all of my needs and I have no complaints
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on November 27, 2010
Color: Black|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Step 1) read the reviews on Amazon for the Kodak Play Touch, both positive and negative. Then, if you have already bought the camera, make sure you read "Beth's" replies as a Kodak rep. She's right on the money. Step 2) Make sure you download the latest firmware update. Step 3) Make sure the distance lever is set in the middle (mountain setting) most of the time.

My experience is as follows. Out of the box, I had some minor problems. After I updated and made sure I had the focus lever where it should be, I got good pictures with just a little practice. The built in microphone works, but could use some improvement by Kodak. I've got an older Flip camera that has better sound, but the Kodak Play Touch takes way better images, especially using HD.

After using the camera for a while, I recommend buying it for the purpose it was designed, namely casual movies that can be uploaded onto the web or played back on your tv or computer monitor. This is not a high end video camera, but rather a very convenient and unobtrusive way to have some fun at parties or with family.

The touch screen works for me about as well as physical buttons and a menu system that are on most cameras. No complaint here, but you have to get used to it. The built in USB really helps as it does on the Flip camera. The built in editing capability also works, but you get better results using more sophisticated software on your computer.

All in all, a good camera for its intended purpose.
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The manufacturer commented on the review below
on September 10, 2010
Let me just start off by saying the low light video quality is absolutely horrible. It's blurry and pixelated. It works alright outside in an overcast sky. It doesn't look "HD" like it claims. I tried 720p 30/60 and 1080p. All disappointed me...

Jello effect is still there and there is this annoying jerk to video... Where it like stops for a slip second and skips now and then.

The mic on this is very meh... I had to crank it almost to max to get decent sound levels. The bad thing is even a very small breeze tends to make noise in the mic. I got the new firm ware that was released in September for the wind issue. Doesn't seem like it did anything.

Another major issue I had with this is the zoom feature. Given that it's touch based... It tends to not function half the time leaving to un-smooth zooming. Your supposed to leave your finger on the area to zoom in and out smoothly... But it rarely works leaving you to tap it... Even then it still doesn't want to zoom when you tell it too. I'm not sure why it does this. But all the finger oil might have something to do with it.

The software isn't stream lined like they leave you to believe. It installs many programs each with their own purpose.

The manual is little more then a very quick start up guide. Nothing in depth at all. Leaving people with little knowlage to cave man it.

Overall this cam is NOT worth the $229 asking price. Save money and get a Zi8 for $117... Unless you want touch and share features.
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on December 22, 2010
I bought this camera recently to replace my Zi8 (which still works great and is a trooper). The video quality is the same, I have not noticed any major differences except the following:

1) Playtouch shoots wider angle (33mm at 720p)
2) Playtouch appears to handle low light a little better
3) Even better build quality
4) Touch screen with onboard editing feature

The external mic jack is great for Vlogging, and the zoom takes some getting used to - (recommend you don't tap it). I have not experienced the freezing or heating issues, the camera came with the updated firmware out of the box.

The on screen editing is really cool, I like that you can also pull a picture out of the video. Overall, really great camera and I've switched off of my Zi8 because of the wider angle.

Things to consider - (issues)

1) It is easy to use, but not as "stupid simple" as the Zi8. Whenever you get away from buttons and move to an "on screen" experience with editing features you will add some complexity. However, spend a few minutes with it and you'll quickly get used to it.

2) It is a little slower in picture mode than the Zi8. Not a problem with me since I use it primarily for video, but just something to be aware of.

3) I get click with the mic (popping sound) when I plug in an external mic. I've eliminated this with playing with the gain on the mic volume, which is built into the camera - but be aware that this may take some getting used to and you should experiment with it and make a few videos to get the right settings mix before you go out and start shooting. I think this issue would be different with different types of mics, so make sure you play with yours before shooting.

4) These cameras require an SDHC card. This is actually an advantage, because you can expand the memory or put multiple cards in, and for me I have a laptop that takes SDHC cards, so I don't even bother with the USB cable most of the time. With 32GB, you can record up to 10 hours of video in 720p mode I think. But I listed it as an issue because I think if you don't know you need to buy one, you can be disappointed to find that it only has 128MB of memory on board. So order at least a 4GB SDHC card when you buy it.
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on May 7, 2012
When coupled with the Audio-Technica ATR-3350 (around $20) and a Kodak remote control ($10) this becomes a complete video recording studio that fits in your pocket. HD is the format that YouTube likes now, and the long cord on the mike lets you get high-quality audio to go with the HD video. This mike has an on-off switch and a tiny (common) battery.

The only downside I've found is that the battery cover squeaks when you squeeze the camera, and that gets into your recording. I narrowed down the problem area to a small tab the top of the cover and filed it down slightly with an emery board/fingernail file. Problem solved.

I had a leftover plastic overlay sheet meant for cellphones and cut it down to match the touchscreen. I found a pocket-size tripod for $5 and inexpensive spare batteries from another vendor. You can NOT change batteries during a recording session -- you'll have to stop the recording to change the battery. However, if you supply external power during the switch, you may be able to make one continuous recording for up to 8 hours in WVGA.

As always, get lots of practice with all the tools before you shoot something important. I'm quite delighted with this setup.
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