Kodak ZX1 Launches in New Zealand

Zx1_black_screen I remember a while back chasing a Flip HD camera to review, but they weren’t interested in the New Zealand market. Kodak has a similar camera in the ZX1, and have finally got around to releasing it locally:
[quote]Reliving life’s ‘Kodak moments” in high-definition, and sharing them on YouTube, is made easier with the new Kodak Zx1 Pocket Video Camera.

The compact, high-quality video device, on sale this month, makes filming life’s special moments quicker and simpler while you’re on-the-go.

And sharing the videos is simplified with built-in software to help edit and personalize the videos and then upload to YouTube and other social networking websites.

Rugged and pocketable, Kodak Zx1 is ideal for travelers and its weather-resistant design means it can accompany almost any adventure.

Joe Naus managing director of Croxley Nutech says popular video-sharing websites have changed the way we create and use video today.

“With the Zx1, you can now record life’s adventures and easily share them with friends and family to create an endless reel of Kodak moments.

“It’s a great tool for connecting people together; uploading videos online helps you to feel that nothing is missed– birthday parties, holidays or that successful 360 turn you finally nailed on the mountain.”

Key features include:

  • Pocket-size 720p HD video capture at 60 fps
  • Records up to 10 hours of HD video
  • Vibrant 2.0” LCD for reliving the action
  • Weather resistant design withstands rain, snow, sand and dirt
  • High-quality video capture in bright or low light – at the beach or at a party
  • Built-in software for easy video editing and uploading
  • Custom accessories: bungee neck strap and adventure mount for bike or helmet
  • Available in black, pink and red.
  • Don’t miss the moment: Kodak Zx1 RRP $450 is available at all leading consumer electronic outlets and Kodak Express stores

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Video: Hi-Definition Camcorders

Good Morning and Welcome! If you’re visiting after watching TVNZ Breakfast this morning, then you’ll probably want to click here and read the post about the three hi-def camcorders I displayed.

CamcordersIf you have a specific question about any of the devices, feel free to leave a comment below, or alternatively you can ask me a question privately by hitting this link.

If you’d like to be updated whenever I add to this site, you can do one of the following:

Other than that, feel free to hunt around in the archives. Check out my previous reviews, or articles about gadgets, phones, and everything else.

Sony XR200, Panasonic TM200 and Canon HF11 Test

This is what they call a “lightning review” in the business. I’m not going to get into the nitty gritty specifics on the cameras, because quite frankly I’m not an expert. I’m using these things as they’d be used in the wild: pick it up, turn it on, and film some stuff.

camcorders From left to right: Panasonic TM200 (pre-prod), Canon HF11, Sony XR200

All three cameras have a variant on the fully automatic option. The Canon has a nice button labeled ‘Easy’ that lights up blue when you press it. Sony also has an ‘Easy’ button, that amusingly pops up a message on screen saying ‘Easy Handycam Operation OFF’ when you disable it. The Panasonic has their ‘Intelligent Auto’ mode button labeled ‘iA’. In the test below I made sure those buttons were on in all cases.

All three camcorders are within a couple of hundred (New Zealand) dollars of each other, with the Canon at $1,999, the Sony at $2,099 and the Panasonic probably a touch over that. The Sony races away on the storage front, with a big 120GB hard drive, and has a nifty built-in GPS receiver, but unforunately falls down on the quality stakes.

I set the recording quality to be as close as possible to each other, which in all cases was around the 16Mbps AVCHD mode. What struck me with these cameras was that they are all actually very technical to use, even for me. It’s possibly because I’m not much of a video guy (he’s got a face for radio) but if you want to do anything more than shoot video and watch it back on the TV, there is a serious learning curve around formats, bitrates, and editing software.

Still, the basics seem to work ok. Turn on the camera (the Sony does this automatically when you open the screen, which is nice), aim, and hit the record button. Here are the results (including me tripping on a stray Thomas the Tank Engine on the floor). Make sure you click the ‘HD’ option on the video to get the best result.

Beyond the basics, here’s where I feel the pros and cons lie with each camera:

Canon HF11

Pros Cons
  • Lovely image quality and great sound
  • ‘Auto’ mode seems most competent
  • Lots of options for stills (Shutter and Aperture priotrity), but then I wasn’t testing still shots at all.
  • Best low-light response of the bunch, but still noisy.
  • External mic input.
  • No touch-screen, joystick can be fiddly
  • Small and cramped text on-screen, confusing menus

Panasonic TM200

Pros Cons
  • Lovely image quality, surround sound
  • Most comfortable to hold out of the three, and the body has less ‘fiddly bits’ on it.
  • Touch screen
  • Menus are really clear and easy to use
  • Only 16GB of built in memory
  • No expansion shoe or external mic input

Sony XR200

Pros Cons
  • Huge 120GB storage
  • Really excellent image stabilisation
  • Built-in GPS, and the geo-location software is actually really easy to use.
  • Touch screen
  • Lowest image quality of the three, but still HD!
  • Menu buttons are tiny and sometimes hard to press.

 

Conclusion

I tend to use my still camera to shoot the odd video, rather than carry a dedicated video camera. But, if I was forced to pick one of these three cameras to use as an everyday video camera, I’d probably end up going with the Panasonic. The image quality difference is not that discernable from the Canon, and it is heaps easier to just pick up and use. However, if I was more of a video guy, I might take some more time to read the Canon user manual, learn all the tricky settings, and end up with better video. The Sony has some great features, but it just can’t seem to cut the mustard in terms of quality compared to the other two. Sony’s upcoming new EXMOR sensor (not in the model I reviewed) is meant to be the proverbial shizzle, so that could be worth looking at when it comes out.