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General HD (720 / 1080) Acquisition
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Old February 12th, 2010, 12:44 PM   #1
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Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Omak Washington US
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Need help picking the perf hd camcorder

Hey guys,
So I applied to register here about a week ago, in which time I have researched quite a bit on which pocket HD camcorder i'll be getting, and i've came to a 99% conclusion that i want the Kodak Zi8. I've looked at all the pocket cams, Flip Mino HD, Flip Ultra, and the Sanyo Xacti.

Yet that 1% still urks me..I'm purchasing the camera to film skateboarding in GOOD quality. Right now i own a Sony DSC-F828 digital camera, *nice camera, but not meant for video* and its time to find something good.

I've seen lots of test videos, lots of review videos, and the Zi8 looks to be what im looking for for under 200$ *including wide angle lens*. What im asking you guys, Is there any reason i SHOULDNT be getting it for filming skateboarding? And if not, what would be a better decision. Please, Please help me guys. I've got very shallow pockets and cant afford to get the wrong one. Thanks for your time.

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Old March 7th, 2010, 02:05 AM   #2
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Healdsburg, California
Posts: 1,138
Hi John,
And welcome to DVi. I hope you are enjoying looking around at all the great content on this site.

I can't see how you'd go wrong with the Zi8 for your intended purposes. I have one of these and I've been very happy with it.

Of course, with a device in this class, it is also important to know what it is that you are getting, and some potential technological limitations therein.

The Kodak Zi8 is a low-end consumer level pocket digital camcorder that offers virtually no customization settings or imaging controls. Just turn it on, point it at your subject, and press the red button. You get what you get, especially with a device that hosts a lens of marginal quality, and produces content in a highly compressed format.

That being said, if used properly, the results I have gotten from this camcorder have been surprisingly good.

I bought mine specifically because I was going to be doing a lot of shooting at Macworld a few weeks ago, and I knew that neither my feet, knees, or back were going to hold up if I tried to carry around my XL2 around the show floor for 3 days. Since I was just going to be doing a lot of grab and go shooting, I decided to explore the pocket camcorder market, and after extensive searching, settled on the Zi8, specifically because of the advantages it offers over most of devices in this class; namely, external mic-in jack, 1080p recording option, macro/landscape switchable lens, and external SDHC card as opposed to fixed internal storage. The Zi8 ups the ante in this class.

Do the results of this camera compare favorably with higher-end or "real" camcorders? Typically, no. But I think there is differently a market and use for these units, and I am very glad to have mine.

If I was shooting something like skateboarding videos where I might be extra concerned about the extra weight and bulk of the camcorder, as well as the potential loss if the camcorder got cracked up in an accident, the sting of losing a sub $200 camcorder would be considerably less than if a more expensive camcorder should suffer the fate.

And in such an instance, the Zi8 is also a wise choice if a crack up makes the unit unusable. You can still remove the card and upload it into your system for editing. If you were using one of the other types of camcorder with fixed internal storage, you might not be able to turn the unit on in order to retrieve the contents from the memory. This makes the Zi8 even more practical in my opinion. (Keep in mind also that this unit does not come with the SDHC card included. That will require a separate purchase, which increases the cost of purchase. Internal storage units don't require such an extra expense, but I like having the external storage, especially since this camcorder can handle cards up to 32GB.)

As soon as I received mine, I took a quick test shot at the park with my daughter, to make sure it worked well before taking it to Macworld. The camera did great, although the clip was shot at mid-day in a bright outdoor setting. (dim indoor shots are another thing entirely). I uploaded it to Youtube without making any changes to the actual footage, so you can get a pretty decent idea of what this camcorder can do right out of the box, without any planned shooting session, or post image enhancing.

Check it out at: YouTube - Kodak Zi8 Demo Clip

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Jonathan Jones is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 6th, 2010, 06:50 AM   #3
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Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Salisbury Maryland
Posts: 161
John: I've been fooling with these kinda cams for a couple of years... I mount them on my kitesurfing kites, boards, bikes, kayaks, etc. Since this picture, I've added a GoPro, Kodaks Zx1 & zi8, Ultra HD, and a couple of others... And, since CISCO paid about $600Mil for the Flip people - you can expect the next big leap perhaps as soon as Summer '10.

Guess what? The cam makes far less difference than the subject, lighting, personality of the 'actor', environment .. all the things the cam is not. Some of the most boring video I have ever seen is me kiting along with the kite 20M overhead.

And, if it were not you are limited to 480p .. the Ultra SD make a more rich video than most pocket HDs?!

John, I really think the best videos are the stories they tell not the number of pixels.


...... and here's a kickass example:

...... and I forgot to mention the VADO HD. A 2oz little junker that you can often find on Ebay for like $100. The lens is almost too small to clean.. It can get cranky.. but it still puts out like a TJ Puta. A friend sent me a link to his winter clips. Check out how well $100 works...

Last edited by Jim Cancil; April 6th, 2010 at 12:31 PM. Reason: added Vimeo link/s
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