Kodak Zi8 | Camcorder Review
by Matt U.
Kodak Zi8 Camcorder Review
I recently spent several months on the road using the Kodak Zi8
as well as a still camera. I really liked the Zi8 at first for its ease of use, but after a couple of months, some quirks started to become apparent. Here is my review of the Kodak Zi8. Pros:
I like the fact that it is a small, pocket-sized camera. On my journey, I did not have the space to carry large equipment. This camera with its small size made it possible for me to carry a camera and have the ability to record at a moment's notice. But there are a lot of small video cameras, so this alone does not make this Kodak stand out. Cons:
I had issues with focusing on this camera. Often times during interviews I found that the subject (about three feet away from the camera) was slightly out of focus while the background was totally in focus. This difference in focus was not terrible but it was aggravating enough to make me comment on it. The camera's monitor would consistently let me know that it was focused on my subject's face (a yellow square would frame my subject giving the impression that his or her face was focused on by the camera).
It was frustrating to review footage each night to see that the background was sharper than my subject. I had to help the camera about three feet from my subject for interviews in order to capture the sound of their voice adequately.
Speaking of sound, the Kodak Zi8 does have a unique feature that many point and shoot video cameras do not-the ability to plug in an external mic. Unfortunately for you (those reading this review) , I did not use an external mic. Pre-testing of this function proved to provide sound that was only slightly better than (or equal to) the sound that the camera's mic provided. But that may have a lot to do with the external mic I was using. The in-camera mic works very well. I was satisfied with how the in-camera mic worked.
The Kodak Zi8 did a poor job of recording fast moving (or even slightly fast moving objects). There is a stutter in the way the image rolls across the screen. This proved to be disappointing as many shots were simply unusable due to this stuttering video.
Another challenging aspect of this camera was its focal length. Like many point and shoot video cameras, the Kodak doesn't have a wide enough lens to capture nearby objects. There is a solution to this as Kodak (or third-party manufacturers) offer a magnetic wide angle lens that can be placed on the camera's lens. I did not have one of these adaptors for my trip but from YouTube reviews I think this simple add-on would be very beneficial, adding many additional shooting opportunities and angles.Kodak Zi8 Camcorder Review - Summary
All in all, the Kodak Zi8 worked well. Most point and shoot video cameras are not going to give you what you really need to capture the best video. If you want that, be prepared to spend several thousand dollars. For the price, and if you can work around the camera's short-comings, it will suffice for most low-end video production needs.