Kodak Zi8 Pocket Video Camera:Kodak's Pocket Video Wonder

Kodak introduced its first ever video camera late last year,the Zi6 it offered a number of features that the famous Flip Ultra didn't, including HD video, still-image capture, and a bigger,better-looking screen. Pure Digital soon hit back with the Flip Mino HD and the Flip Ultra HD. But with its latest, the Zi8 Pocket Video Camera, Kodak again proves that it can create a better product with more features at an affordable price.

The Zi8 is good-looking, well-built, and Slimmer than its predecessor, thanks in no small part to the switch from rechargeable AAs to a removable lithium ion battery. The 3.9-ounce camera is still a bit thicker than some of the competition, but it feels comfortable in hand. The sharp 2.5-inch screen is a vast improvement over the dull 1,5-inch LCD on the Flip Mino HD. Beneath the screen are a series of buttons: Tools, Trash, Video,and Playback, with a toggling joystick in the middle, which, when pressed also serves as the Record button. The joystick is a bit too responsive, however.You also get 128MB of on-board memory, which is paltry for HD, but you can get an SD card to boost memory to a maximum of 32GB.

The Zi8 also includes a plug-in for an external mic—one of the first cameras we've seen to offer such a feature. This is a welcome addition given the fact that, like nearly every other pocket video camera we've seen, the Kodak's built-in mic leaves a lot to be desired. It fails to pick up subjects'voices if they're farther away than a few feet.

Kodak has also improved the quality of HD video with the Zi8. adding lOSOp capture to the mix. The image quality is excellent, but this feature may be overkill for some. The Zi8 also offers 4X digital zoom, twice that of its competitors. Unfortunately, the zoom is a bit jerky, making for a less-than-ideal viewing experience. In short, the ZiS is one of the least-expensive high-quality pocket HD camcorders you'll find.

Kodak Zi8 Pocket Video Camera
$179.95 list
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PROS :Nice price. Records lOSOp video,5-megapixel still-image capture, Face detection, electronic image stabilization,and macro mode. Expandable memory,External mic slot, Ships with an HDMI cable.

CONS :Jerky zoom,Subpar still image quality, Mediocre built-in mic, Hyper-sensitive buttons, Camera can get very hot.

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