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First Look: Kodak Zi8 Pocket Video Camera

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First Look: Kodak Zi8 Pocket Video Camera

3:26 /

Kodak's 1080p pocket camcorder, the Zi8, overtakes the erstwhile leader Flip with better video quality and a nicer feature set.

[ Background music ] >> David Carnoy: Hi, I'm David Carnoy Executive Editor for CNET.com and I'm here with the Kodak ZI8 pocket camcorder. This new model from Kodak is designed to compete with the flip video models and its actually got some features that the flip video models don't have. For starters this is an HD model but this is the first one that does 1080 P video previously they did 720 P this one goes all the way up to 1080 P and the video is quite crisp for a pocket camcorder at least and overall we're pretty impressed with the video output. It also does still images, 5 megapixel still images. The still shots you take won't come out great but they're still passable and this is a step up from your typical camera phone. This model is a bit bigger than some of the other pocket camcorders out there. It does have a lithium ion rechargeable battery in it though and it does have a larger 2.5 inch LCD on the back. There's a little bit of memory on board but you really have to supply your own SD memory card and this does support cards up to 32 gigabytes and you will definitely need that if your shooting 1080 P video. You can shoot 720 P video on this as well as WGVA video for basic web stuff. This is the first model we've seen that incudes an external mic jack. The internal mics on these guys tend not to be that great. You can only capture audio when someone's talking a few feet away. This model is also the first pocket camcorder we've seen to have electronic image stabilization. Ideally when you shoot with these types of cameras you keep your hand really still but people's hands tend to have a little bit of jitter in them. It does suck down your battery power though so you can disengaged it if you say have it on a tripod mount that's really the ideal way to shoot with this. With these pocket camcorders they don't focus very well close up but with this one you could flip a little switch on the top but you can focus on objects and people if they're very close up say within 6 inches or a foot away from the camera that's something that flip video cameras currently don't feature. We did like design. This model does come in 3 different colors; black, red and the aqua featured here. The red is a little bit more pinkish, kind of magenta but they are attractive. The 1 drawback is that the finish is definitely a fingerprint magnet, especially on the back of the unit. You will find yourself wiping it off and another small drawback it doesn't come with any sort of carrying case or cover. This model carries a list price of 179. You may find it a little bit cheaper online but all in all it's a pretty good deal but you do have to factor in that you have to buy an SD card with it and you probably do want to get some sort of carrying case. The last unique feature this model has is face detection. You can engage it and it will try to find faces in your shots and focus in on them. Kodak also offers an optional remote. It does cost about 15 bucks but that allows you to connect the camcorder to your TV and actually operate it from a far. You could also shoot videos from a far using the remote. All in all we were impressed with the ZI8. It is probably the best pocket camcorder we've tested to date. There is some small issues with playing the 1080 P back on your computer but this does come with HTMI output so you can put it directly to your tv and those blown up images do look pretty good [background music], especially for a pocket camcorder. I'm David Carnoy and that's the Kodak ZI8 pocket camcorder ^M00:02:23 [ Music ].

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