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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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Instead of shooting a review, I took some video, outdoors in the dark, in a dim room, and various lighting conditions. I erased the audio portion - it was just wind and ambient noise. The original video is great quality - hopefully Amazon does not compress it too much!

Christmas lights in front of the house, the tree inside the house, and some footage at the local gym (dark, medium and bright conditions!)

I also shot some close-up footage with the close-up setting on and off so you can see how it works.

All videos are recorded by the camera in .mov format.
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on November 1, 2016
This purchase is my 3rd Kodak Zi8. It's such a tragedy of bad timing that tons of these were not sold, but it came out just about the time that phones because taking somewhat decent video. What makes the Zi8 special is that it has a microphone input, which you hardly ever find on any video camera or DSLR for under $500 to $600 and it takes 1080p HD video. You can also switch to 720p if filling up your memory card is an issue.

I used one of these cameras with a reasonably priced wireless mike and tripod a couple of years ago for a foreign mission trip taken under the auspices of a major ministry that has a daily TV program. The resulting 1080p HD video was so good that some clips from that trip are now often used in the intro and outro of their daily TV program seen worldwide.
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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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I lot of the negative reviews regarding the video quality are probably due to either a computer with an older processor or video card, or the use of a SDHC card that has too low of a rating. You will need a SDHC card of at least a 6 rating in read/write speed in order to adaquately record HD video on this device. Older computers can have a lot of trouble displaying the HD video properly.

Also, the low-light capabilty of this recorder isn't very good. Put some light on the subject or scene if you want the best video possible. Buy a $30.00 camcorder LED light unit like I did and you should be good-to-go. I recommend an external microphone, which is a VERY nice feature, although the internal mic is OK for many occasions. Note that you can get stereo sound from an external mic, but only mono sound from the internal microphone.

The software loads off of the device itself -- no CD. It's pretty simple to use, but doesn't have a lot of features. It will allow almost instant posting to YouTube, etc. which is a nice addition.

On the slightly negative side, the door to the SD card slot is remarkably flimsy and delicate, and can be broken or lost easily. The lens does not have a protective cover. I use a small rubber band around the body to hold the puny SD door in place, and cover the lens with an optical lens cleaning cloth when storing or transporting. Don't drop the unit on a hard surface!

You probably won't be filming a major motion picture with the Zi8, but for casual and excellent video recording it is exceptional. Get an external mic and a light unit, and you will be ready for virtually any recording situation.
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on December 7, 2009
I've only tested this camera for the last few days but so far, so good.

I read many reviews before buying the Zi8 and I don't agree with many of the negative comments I've read.

First off, when I placed my order I also ordered a Kingston 16GB class 4 SD card and spare batteries and a charger ([...]). The batteries arrived first so I had fully charged batteries ready to go when the Zi8 arrived. Immediately after unpackaging the Zi8 I upgraded the firmware to 1.06. This took all of 5 minutes to do.

Almost all of the test video I have taken has been at night or in low light. I have been using the 720p/60fps setting. My first videos were taken while I was driving at night holding the camera in my hand above the dashboard and only the headlights and street lights and signs for illumination. Video looks great and smooth. No problems with color or brightness.

Macro mode works great also. Took a few test close-up videos and the color and details were perfect.

The internal mic works well but I have an external on order.

Turn it on and it is ready for instant action. The controls are simple to use; HDMI works great with my 40" LCD TV, the USB, SDHC slot and charging options are all good and so is the tripod mount. The camera build does not seem flimsy, quite tough actually. I carry it around in my back pants pocket all day without worry. It does not pick up lint like I read in another review and the actual lens is recessed so it does not get scratched or dirty.

Transferring vidoe to the pc is easy but I haven't played with all of the software features yet but I did transfer video from the Zi8 that I converted to play on my Sansa Fuze and it looks great.

Overall I am quite pleased with the Zi8. I'm going to try it tonight at my son's basketball practice. Easy to use point and shoot video.
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on July 28, 2010
My husand purchased a camcorder last year and threw out the manual since he just figures these things out. I would have had trouble even with the manual but now I was totally stumped.

I kept reading reviews on the point and shoot camcorders and finally tried the Zi8. It was irrisistable at the price on Amazon. Even I could figure out some things withot the book. SIMPLE controls and buttons. To comprehend this you shold know I really am a moron when it comes to gadgets. I took it to church and recorded a skit for practice. My husband snatched it to put on the computer and was amazed at the quality, especially since it was my first time holding and following movement with a camcorder. Then he said he couldn't believe it had CMOS (huhh??) at that price. He spun it on a Cd and the pastor said it was good enough to put on the internet.

Soon he borrowed it and the battery lasted over 70 minutes of steady shooting at a seminar, although it already had some time on it.
Now he borrows it frequently and I would bet we will own another one soon.
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on August 23, 2010
Best camera purchase ever. Completely replaced our Cannon PowerShot G5, Sony Handycamcorder, and Phone cameras. Both video and still image quality is very good. The colours in particular are quite sharp. No issues with sound. Transfer to computer is fast. We purchased an additional battery, carrying case, tripod, and class 6 32GB memory card. Using both batteries, we can pretty much record all we want during a day of traveling/vacation/etc and then recharge at night. A week of vacation resulted in ~25GB of mpeg4/quicktime video. The only drawbacks to the camera is a relatively limited user interface, the need to be careful keeping it clean, 2-3 second delay when taking still pictures, and that the exported video files are in .mov format which may need some extra conversion/processing by software when creating a dvd/blu-ray disk. In general, these are all minor points. Going forward, the only thing I would have done different is get a class 10 memory card in hopes of reducing the delay between still image snapshots. The quality of the stills are amazingly good though.
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on December 19, 2009
I've had this camera for about a day now and it has so far been exactly what I expected. The video quality is excellent for the price of the camera. The audio is a bit soft but I haven't tried increasing the gain yet. Mine also came with the 1.06 firmware already on it, so I can't comment on that issue.

As for the playback/recording issues others have reported, I've had no problems at all using a class 4, 8gb kodak SDHC card in the camera, and playback/editing on a MacBook Pro 13 inch with a 2.26ghz intel core 2 duo processor and 2gb ram. iMovie did tell me that if I imported 1080 video it might suffer "Degraded playback on this computer". I imported it of course just to see, but it looks fine to me; no jerking or stuttering during playback of the video.

The only issue I have had is with the power button on the camera, which has to be pressed exactly right to turn on or off. I don't know if that's intentional to prevent accidents but I find it a bit annoying.

Overall, if you're looking for a good, budget priced video recorder I think the Zi8 is a good choice.
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on August 26, 2015
I purchased this while I was expecting my first baby so I could capture all her 'firsts'. So simple to use, which was great while I had pregnancy brain! Videos are amazingly crisp and clear and look great on our HDTV!
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