Saturday, June 12, 2010

Kodak PlaySport ZX3 Digital Video Camera Review

First off, check this out. It's video I shot yesterday at Fellows Riverside Gardens and on the trails of Mill Creek Park. It was my first exposure to a digital HD video camera. I'm impressed...period. How about that bee having dinner at the beginning??
I've been searching for a handheld, high-definition, digital video camera. I was almost sold on the Flip camera until my brother-in-law from Colorado recommended Kodak. I did my research and precisely at that time, CNET (a super good site to check out for head-to-head comparisons on everything electronic) posted their weekly head-to-head comparison of none other than the Flip vs. the Kodak and the Kodak just barely nudged out the Flip, mostly due to it being feature-rich for the money. Plus, it's waterproof...down to 3 meters!!! So I shopped around and found that nearly no one carries it out in town but of course, places online like has it and in 3 different colors...purple, black, and blue. If I had my way, blue it would be but for some bizarre reason, the purple was $20 cheaper so purple it was. I got it, charged it, read the extremely short owner's manual and took it out to the flower garden and to the trails of Mill Creek Park where one of my favorite ultras is held, the YUT-C 50K (Youngstown Ultra Trail Classic). I have to is EASY to use. From button push to ready to film, about 3 seconds. One touch record, one touch's that easy...just as easy as the Flip. One really cool thing this one has is Electronic Image Stabilization and face recognition. As I filmed my girls, little brackets grabbed onto their faces and stayed with them and kept them in focus. As for size, check out my pictures below. It is basically like a big camera phone. About 1/2" thick or so. It easily slips into my pocket and isn't heavy. Another concern is file size when shooting digital video. This camera has several settings. You can go all out with full HD in 1080p, 720p at 60 frames per HD, 720 at 30FPS in HD (what was recommended for uploading and what I used), or bare bones in WVGA. You can also use it as a point-and-shoot up to 5MP. When you first connect it to your computer, it'll install the ArcSoft editing software. This is where the review at CNET rated the Flip extremely high. It beat the Kodak big time. The software is decent but nothing absolutely wonderful so I agree with the review. Then there's the ability to hook up a HDMI cable to the back of your HD television and view it directly on there..and the cable comes with the camera....a $25 option with the Flip. The only thing I had to buy was a memory card at 8GB which will give me about 2+ hours of HD video.

So at the end of the day, I haven't been this impressed with an electronics purchase in a long time. Those who know me, know that I take a ton of pictures on the trails and swear by Canon digital cameras. I was prepared to be disappointed with this purchase but that couldn't be further from the truth. It's amazing that this little guy can record such awesome HD video. Technology is a wonderful thing! Oh yea, the screen on it is bright and vibrant, too...and in widescreen. Icing on the cake.

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