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Old June 30th, 2011, 02:36 PM   #1
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Location: Cambridge UK
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Kodak Zx5 Waterproof 1080p Cam

This seems the best place to post this - I did broad DVinfo search and could not find anything on here so far.

I've just bought one of these little waterproof/shockproof/dustproof Kodak Zx5 1080p cams as a "suicide cam" for getting shots in places I really don't want to risk my expensive camera gear. It's the successor to the Zx3 (and has both advantages and some disadvantages over that previous model - and mixed reviews).

I have not got it yet and I'm aware that it's 1080p30 and 720p60, i.e. not ideal for me in PAL land with our frame rates but since it cost about 100-130, depending on colour (plus the cost of the SDHC card I'm sticking in it), I thought I'd "give it a go" and see if it's useful for both work and play - as I'm sure my kids will love borrowing it when snorkling on holidays etc. anyway, assuming it works OK.


Anyone got one/wan't to share any thoughts?
Andy K Wilkinson - http://www.shootingimage.co.uk
Cambridge (UK) Corporate Video Production
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Old July 10th, 2011, 08:41 PM   #2
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Princeton MA
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Re: Kodak Zx5 Waterproof 1080p Cam

I bought last years model and I love it for $120 bucks. I use it when I take the kids swimming and it works great wet, sound gets a little muffled but it clears up. Just today messing with it I bolted it to my riding lawn mower and I need to turn the video 90 degrees in post but it came out great. For the money you can't complain to much about it.

This was taken a few months ago when I got it.
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Old July 16th, 2011, 01:53 PM   #3
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Re: Kodak Zx5 Waterproof 1080p Cam

Just found time to teach one of my kids to use the Zx5 this afternoon - been so busy lately that this was the first opportunity. It's a really great fun camera, especially for an 8 year old (so she tells me!)

Let's start with some negatives.

1. Probably the most noticeable thing is that the lens is not as wide angled as I'd hoped.
2. For sure, video falls apart in poor light (not unexpected with such a tiny sensor). Certainly over-saturated. The 720p60 looks a bit suspect (not good resolution and lots of aliasing) when viewing the MP4s on my big monitors (I've only tried 720p60, not the 720p30 yet). No 25p on this baby for us PAL dwellers.
3. The Zx5's autofocus seems to favour medium distance items when I'd rather it focused on the person talking 3-4 feet away (especially if you go for the classic 1/3 look across the frame interview shot - seems the item of interest has to be right in the middle - but then other camera AF's suffer from this).

Now the positives.

1. For a 100-130 cam it produces remarkably good quality 1080p30 video in good light.
2. Quality from the on-board mic is amazingly good...surprisingly!
3. It's terrific fun as it's so easy to use, so small and pocketable.
4. There is a macro option and you can adjust the gain on the mic - not really tried either yet but will soon

Not had it underwater yet - but I'm sure my kids will test that capability given half the chance!

Overall, for the price it's going to be a lot of family fun (and will even see the occasional use for selected shots in my corporate work for sure). I won't be shooting the whole of a high budget corporate film on it though - but then I wasn't expecting to - of course! For that "always in your pocket" ability to simply capture something for quick YouTube etc. uploading (video travel blogs or whatever), then the Zx5 is fine.

As an aside, I met a video friend last night in a local pub and he showed me his GoPro Hero with it's LCD adapter and case. That looks very interesting. Maybe I should have got one of those! (maybe I will one day anyway).

EDIT: Just found this - sure he put the Zx5 in an additional waterproof housing to dive to this depth - but worth watching...

Andy K Wilkinson - http://www.shootingimage.co.uk
Cambridge (UK) Corporate Video Production

Last edited by Andy Wilkinson; July 17th, 2011 at 12:24 PM.
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Old November 17th, 2011, 07:08 AM   #4
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Re: Kodak Zx5 Waterproof 1080p Cam

Andy .. I have bought about seven Zx3s in the last few of months. Virtually everything I do is centered around use in water. (I guess I cannot be specific because my post praising the Contour ROAM was deleted..) I only avoided the Zx5 because the 3s were sooooo cheap. I have paid as little as $50 ..no more than $75 ..one came with three batteries, close up lens, etc.. All used - off Ebay.

I would argue the other side of the wide lens discussion. I have a GoPro, and along with the fussy controls, I do not like Bug Eye lens. I hate the results, like doing acid. The Contour ROAM is a good compromise if you need some Wide, but like I prefer women without silicone enhancements, I prefer a standard view.

If dropped into the water from 20+ meters, the seals of the Kodak will be breached - bricking the cam. Sand in the seals will: Brick The Cam. But the seals are idiot-proof, you have to slide the locks or the access ports will flap open, a great fail-safe. A can of air, or artist's brush, is needed if you are around sand.

...and a few weeks ago Kodak (who is in deep s__t) released the ZE2 Playfull. It retails for less than $100. Compared to the Zx3, it is about 1/2 the weight at 3oz (85g).. and still WP.

Andy, your kids will probably have more fun with it than you. You may need a second. Cheers.

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