Tag Archives: zi6

Kodak Zi8 Review


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You might remember my review of the Kodak Zi6 awhile back. The folks at Kodak recently sent me the new Zi8 to review – and I’m very thankful they have. I really like what they have done with it!

For one thing, this video was recorded using the Zi8, and no tripod. I wanted to show off the amazing Digital Image Stabilization on this little machine. Pretty awesome, isn’t it? The Zi8 also allows me to hook up an external microphone, to allow for better sound quality. That, my friends, makes this gadget priceless in my book. The frame-rate is perfect in low-light situations!

I recorded in 720p at 60fps! That may not be apparent if you’re watching on YouTube, but it will be if you use the download link below. Kodak also kept with the macro feature. You can see while looking at my Bamboo tree, the tree comes into focus and fades away the background. You can easily switch between focal points with just the flick of a button.

There is, of course, a built-in USB port, allowing you to connect to your computer and upload direct to YouTube and other sites if you wish. The Zi8 has a slot for additional storage of up to 32GB. That will hold more pictures and videos than you will likely ever take.

I highly recommend the Zi8. It’s a great recorder, with excellent quality video output. At less than $200.00, it’s an excellent buy, as well.

Want to embed this video on your own site, blog, or forum? Use this code or download the video:

Still Image Quality from the Best Video Cameras

“musicmaster890” was awestruck by the scenery in Seattle (specifically, the landscape shot in my recent video camera field test). He decided to take high quality stills and sew them together into single panoramic photos. I say the results were quite striking – further lending credibility to my argument that the Creative Vado balances color better than the Zi6 and the Mino HD.

I’ve uploaded these images to my Flickr account (obviously, opting to embed them in this post as well). If you’d like to view a higher resolution image, simply click the thumbnail. They were all taken from the videos in this series. No, I don’t live on a lake; the mirror effect was added for artistic purposes. The photos were not retouched in any other way.

  • Pure Digital’s Flip Mino HD is, as expected, a bit washed out. Yes, all it needs is a bit of contrast and saturation adjustment, but this was lifted directly from a video. Wouldn’t you have better colors from your video camera without needing to edit in post?
  • Kodak’s Zi6 does fairly well with contrast, but the sky is a tad oversaturated (almost looking like the Mino HD’s sky – minus the Mino’s inexplicable green tint).
  • Thanks to its wide angle lens, Creative’s Vado HD captured much more (vertically) compared to the other two devices. The sky’s blue and the clouds’ orange seem true to my memory of the scene, too.

Which one looks best? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. One thing’s for sure: I love my backyard!

Kodak Zi6

Kodak Zi6 Stitched Landscape.jpg

Creative Vado HD

Creative Vado Stitched Landscape.jpg

Flip Mino HD

Flip Mino HD Stitched Landscape.jpg

Video Camera Comparison Test: Mino, Zi6, Vado!

I kept the camera(s) as steady as possible as I panned across the landscape from the vantage point of my bedroom window this evening. Watch the full HD version on YouTube, or scroll down to watch the high-quality embedded version.

Each series of clips were taken back-to-back – the first series, earlier when the sunset was striking the clouds in a dramatic fashion; the second series, when it was a bit more overcast (and there were both pink and blue hues on the horizon).

In each set, the cameras were used in this order: Flip Mino HD, Kodak Zi6, Creative Vado HD. You’ll see annotations lead off each scene (then quickly disappear).

I removed the audio from this video to alleviate volume level discrepancies, as well as to provide further concentration on the video quality at hand. Obviously, viewing in HD is required for fairest judgment.

Processing was NOT done to any of these videos; these recordings were sewn together in a seamless fashion and uploaded to YouTube in their near-original condition.

  • The Flip Mino HD pretty much washed out the sky’s vibrant colors in the first set, and effectively made a drab mountain view appear even more drab in the second set.
  • The Kodak Zi6 did a good job with the colors, but couldn’t strike a good balance between the bright sky and the dark landscape in either set.
  • My verdict still favors the Creative Vado HD – not only with its wide-angle lens capability, but its truer-to-life colors and exposure balance (between dark and light in the same shot).

Best Video Camera: Creative Vado HD vs Flip Mino HD vs Kodak Zi6?

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First, I got the Kodak Zi6. Then, I got the Flip Mino HD. A few hours ago, I received a recently-ordered Creative Vado HD and decided that instead of doing a full-on review of it, I’d compare it directly against the Mino HD and the Zi6 – in a short video shootout.

  • Flip Mino HD Likes: small and lightweight; has decent software that runs on both Mac OS X and Windows; decent “foreground subject focused” audio in noisy situations.
  • Flip Mino HD Dislikes: Touch controls are too sensitive; there’s a plastic protector that flips out along with the USB connector; colors are always washed out; flat video quality; white balance is impossible; tons of noise in low light; my skin tone never looks right indoors; built-in YouTube uploader decreases quality automatically; tiny LCD screen; cheap plastic wrist strap.
  • Kodak Zi6 Likes: decent saturation; decent audio; great LCD size; uses AA batteries; uses SDHC media; macro switch; great quality when not blurring.
  • Kodak Zi6 Dislikes: unpredictably blurred recordings in low light; no clear audio when noisy; no Mac software support; can be oversaturated in certain scene; heavy construction.
  • Creative Vado HD Likes: great balance of color and saturation in the average shot; tends to favor skin tones; wide angle lens; can record two hours; replaceable / rechargeable battery via USB; lightweight; sharp definition.
  • Creative Vado HD Dislikes: included skin doesn’t accommodate battery replacement / hard reset; audio is treble muted from behind (in narration); skews to light which isn’t always neutral; has a wrist strap slot but doesn’t come with a strap.

The Flip Mino HD is the worst of the bunch to my eyes and ears, and I’m looking to sell it (hardly used) at a good price. The Kodak is completely unusable in artificial light (due to uncontrollable blurring), which rules it out for where I’d need it most. I don’t think Flip is going to fix their problems with a software update, but I’m holding out hope for a Zi6 fix. Kodak has to get its act together – so does Pure Digital.

For my money right now, it’s the Creative Vado HD. The wide angle lens is absolutely essential when you’re trying to get closer to a subject – or if you want more in the scene. That’s all you need to know – and all the reason to go with a Vado HD over the others. Even if you think the Zi6 isn’t bad, the Vado’s wide angle lens trumps it. You have to be much further away from your subject to get the same shot as you can with a Vado (closer, and with MORE in the frame). Keep that in mind the next time you’re in tight quarters, or when you have to take three steps back just to get the shot you wanted.

Plus, the Vado does a much better job with skin tones and saturation (generally) compared to the other two in indoor situations. The HDMI cable may be another win for you and the Vado, but I seldom use video out in these cameras – so that’s just a value add. Hardware controls are comfortable on the Vado, and I like how its USB connector is flexible.

Now, you can watch the following videos inline – but I’d also recommend viewing them on YouTube (where you can watch the original 1280×720 as recorded and uploaded without editing). I’ve linked to the HD versions in the list above. Understand, too, that the Zi6 was at least six inches behind both the Flip Mino HD and Creative Vado HD in this test – even though it appears as though the Creative Vado HD was the furthest away. I’m telling you: that wide angle lens is AWESOME.

Flip Mino HD

Kodak Zi6

Creative Vado HD