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Showing 1-10 of 246 reviews(4 star). See all 847 reviews
on August 22, 2009
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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on November 15, 2010
In the interest of full disclosure, I purchased this camera for my father as a gift. The reason being, my father is real big on shooting home videos and has been trying (ever slowly) to enter the digital age. He has used the video function on his digital point and shoot cameras, but I figured the Kodak would be a simple and easy way to help him transition into digital home movies.

I'm basing this review on my dad's experience (which is in short, someone who doesn't feel extremely comfortable with technology, but wants to get into it more).

He really enjoyed using the camera thanks to its easy to use interface. The instruction manual is pretty slim, and there is a reason for that. It literally is a point and shoot video camera, much like the flip cam. But what made me buy this one was the fact that it came with an included HDMI cable and an SD HC slot. While the flip is all about internal memory, the Kodak only has a small amount of that built in. It's more of an SD HC card video camera, so please keep that in mind before purchasing this camera. If you're looking to shoot only on internal memory, this camera isn't for you.

As I mentioned, the interface is simple and easy to figure out. The picture quality of the camera is surprisingly good. His first video was shot on 720p and when I hooked up the camera to my HDTV the image looked pretty decent. Shooting on 1080 produced a surprisingly crisp and clear picture, which to be honest I wasn't totally expecting as I bought a Kodak camera at a relatively low price. However, this camera definitely surprised me. I did not use an external mic so I am unable to describe it here, however, from a pure point and shoot perspective, my dad loved the camera. Even in low lighting conditions I found that the camera produced some pretty sharp images. Impressive.

My only gripe is that the camera battery needs to be charged with the entire camera itself. There is no stand alone battery charger included with the camera (which is a pain if my dad say, wanted to charge one battery while using the camera with another).

Bottom line:
I like:
1. Great budget friendly camera
2. Not intimidating to use, and great for even tech noobs
3. Nice big screen on the camera itself for easy viewing
4. Has SD HC slot
5. Includes HDMI cable for camera

I don't like:
1. No battery charger included (i.e. have to charge battery w/camera cable)
2. No real internal memory
3. Seems a bit light/cheaply made, but that's just nitpicking

All in all, I still recommend this product to anyone who's looking for a pretty good camera for a good price. This one fits the bill just fine.
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on September 9, 2016
This has been a sweet little video camera for the price. Kodak has discontinued them, but I am very happy with it. It fits on tripods I already own, I didn't have to buy additional equipment like I would have for a phone video. Our little history museum uses this camera to make quick videos for social media sharing.
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on March 7, 2010
At first, I wasn't so thrilled with it. I ran into a problem where my SD card apparently wasn't fast enough to handle recording in HD modes. It would record for 2-3 seconds and stop. I finally took a guess that it was indeed my card and switched to a spare SDHC card that I had around. That fixed that problem....whew!
Now for the recording. At first, it was a little disappointing. I started testing the camera around 7pm and the light was minimal. My first impressions were not so good. Low light shooting on this camera is not the best in the world. It's acceptable but certainly not impressive.
This morning I decided to give it another go. Am I glad I did! The video quality I am getting from this little Zi8 is VERY Impressive indeed! With the right amount of light you can't ask for better HD video quality from something under $200. It's quite unbelievable how much video taking power one can have in there hands for so little money these days. Colors are vivid and accurate. Sound quality is quite good from the built in mic as well.
I would suggest giving this camera a try for sure. Set your expectations accordingly. I think a lot of hype has been given to this camera since it was first released and possibly too much expectation has resulted from this hype. Keep in mind what you paid and what you're actually shooting video with and I think you'll be just as thrilled as I am with it.

Make sure you have a good quality SDHC card!
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on November 24, 2009
I wanted a very portable, easy-to-use, basic camera for family use, and this fits the bill perfectly. Picture quality is very good (high density is available) and focus is fine. I like the fact that you can switch from "landscape" mode (most uses -- a meter or more away) to "macro" mode (for ultra close-ups just inches away). My biggest concern was how my less-than-steady hand would affect jumpiness, but it's no worry at all.

What I failed to recognize when I bought the camera was that it really can't be used without a memory card; internal memory gives you maybe 20 seconds of video at the lowest resolution. Memory cards are anywhere from off-brand cheap to high-end expensive. After reading reviews, I decided on the moderately priced Kodak brand and went for the 8 MB card ($39.95 + free shipping at HSN as of Nov 09). You'll also want to buy a case, since the lens has no cap.

The biggest disappointment is the zoom (digital not optical), which is very jumpy. I've read online that Kodak has a firmware update that you can download to resolve this problem, however. Another thing to consider: apparently XP has a problem reading the 8 MB memory card. But there's a download on the Microsoft site to fix this (KB934428). I haven't done either of these yet, but plan to do so.
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on November 13, 2012
I bought this camera on a whim and didnt want to spent a bundle on a hand-held camera so this one stuck out to me. I was very nervous it wasnt going to perform well but it has surprised me quite a bit. I have had it now for over 3 years and its still works fantastically. I will admit the sound quality isnt top notch but for such an inexpensive and small camera it is pretty good and I am very picky about audio quality let me tell you. The on/off button is a bit odd to me simply because it is rubbery and slightly difficult to press down but it isnt enough of an issue for me to dislike the camera at all. The WOW FACTOR is the storage which is awesome since you put in the card you want. I have over 2 hours worth of video saved on the camera right now and it still has room. Another WOW FACTOR is the battery life to me which when I first got the camera worried me because it was so inexpensive but I havent been disappointed. My mom was able to film my entire graduation ceremony without stopping which came to over an hour of filming without the battery giving out or the camera getting hot. Its also got a pretty stable lense- I went horseback riding and filmed a little while doing so and the video came out steady. Over all a great camera if you are looking for something inexpensive and for fun. :)

Edit January 2014: Still loving this camera. Just wanted to say that when I bought it the cost was only around $60. The current price listed is almost $500. That seems like a giant mistake to me. This is a great camera- yes- but it isn't a $500 camera. Maybe $150 is the max I would spent on it. The one thing I would add is that I can't seem to find a tripod or stand for this camera. I realize its handheld but even most handhelds have a stand option or ability. This camera even has a notch at the base that seems like it would be the place for a tripod. I guess I'll keep searching.
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on November 29, 2009
I bought this camera for a cruise were taking to Alaska next year.
I wanted something small, and yet easy to use and travel with, but
also with high quality video. I read a lot of reviews and
did a lot of research.

For me this does the trick. At the price of 149 buks and a free case
I could not pass it up here.

I strongly suggest that if you buy this make sure you upgrade
the firmware to version 1.06 (latest,as of now). It seems to have
fixed some sound issues. I also purchased a Kingston 32db HDSD Class
4 flash card and it worked nicely.

HDMI to TV is a real treat, the sweet spot is 720p/60 fps. I also
bought an extra battery, cause at an 1 1/2, its not much time.
Well worth it. All the cales come with it, and the Mediasource software
is simple, yet easy to use, and does what I need.

If your thinking about this, its a good choice somewhere between a "flip"
model and a high end system of $500.

UPDATE: after using this for a month and getting the latest firmware
for windows 7, I have found that in low light conditions this
is not the best camera. If you focus in closely, in low light,
the video gets grainy and dark.

Still a good camera, but for you this may be a deal breaker.
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on January 11, 2011
I've had this product for almost a month now and I have to say that it contains many features for such a decent price. I mainly shoot using the camera's 720P 60fps setting. Even though this camera has image stabilization, it is not a fix all. Sure, this camera boasts a 1080P resolution at 30fps and it is quite crisp.......... IF you use a tripod or you plan on having the steadiest hands on the planet. The EIS doesn't do much justice for this camera when shooting at 1080P. Even with the steadiest hand, at 1080P - you get a crisp but very very shaky picture. For some reason, the 720P 60fps resolution is the best and the EIS seems to work a tad better at this setting. The still pictures at 5mb a shot are pretty decent too. The option to have up to 32gb of SD memory cards is a plus. Although, I never found myself filming more than an hour's worth of short videos. The macro feature is decent too. Not the best, but this is a pocket video camera and it's pretty decent overall. I sold my Flip Ultra HD after getting this camera. Why? It just seemed to offer more in regards to features, picture quality and compact size (the Flip Ultra HD is a pretty thick pocket phone with only 8gb of space to show for it). This camera does shoot in an older video format of .mov, but it's not a big deal since ArcSoftware (the software that comes with the camera) gives you the ability to convert to .MP4 and other formats. You can also upload videos and pics from your Kodak Zi8 to YouTube and Facebook using the software. Overall, for about $100+ here on Amazon, it's well worth the purchase.
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on February 1, 2011
Kodak has made a pretty good pocket video camera. I wasn't expecting the best picture quality from this thing since I primarily use a Canon 7D for video but overall the pocket video camera has surpassed my expectations.

The video camera is very easy to use and very straight forward. The features are minimal but the secondary Audio In is a major plus since sound quality isn't that great on the built in mic. Using it with my Rode Shotgun mic or my Zoom H1 gives the best sound quality. It has a expansion slot for a SDHC and supposedly it will take up to 32GB of space. That alone should bring customers away from other pocket cameras. Picture quality is pretty good but it's no match for a Canon 7D or a 5D Mark 2. For the price I paid for this camera, picture quality is pretty good. The camera is about the same size as an iPhone 4 but almost twice as thick but it doesn't get in the way with portability. The battery life is on par with any other pocket camera but amazingly, this thing charges really quickly.

All in all, this is a fine camera for everyday use but don't think you'll blow away your friends and family. Great camera and would recommend this to anyone.
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on July 23, 2010
 Check out the video for the LONG VERSION, but here is the SHORT VERSION:

* good video quality
* easy to use and small
* approximately 50 minutes on one battery charge
* flexible, flip-out USB connection (unlike rigid flipcam / minoHD version)
* HDMI connection
* external microphone input / jack
* decent on-board audio quality
* removable SD memory card
* good resolution choices: 1080p, 720p (60fps and 30fps), and WVGA
* turns off quick
* macro setting easy and on top

* low-light situation induced vertical / purple / red / pink lines in 720p mode
* no real control over picture quality - automatic to the extreme
* back-side of camera gets hot after extended use
* image stabilization is useless
* case a bit too flexible and video aberrations noted if manhandled excessively
* no LCD to verify good shot framing
* record status LED is annoyingly placed, bright, and red
* metal strap piece will scratch the case / housing

* Buy it now!
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