Sunday, June 07, 2009

Shaking Out the Kodak Zi6 Pocket Video Camera – This Could Be Love

I knew I needed something. Wanted something. My old standby was good. No complaints. Yet in my heart I knew there was something more. Sure I’ve heard folks talk about The Flip, crazy about The Flip and I checked it out. I like the size, the video were acceptable and it looked easy.

But it didn’t hit the spot. So I kept looking. It was between the Creative Vado or the Kodak Zi6 Pocket Video Camera in terms of video quality, storage and ease of use. Oh yeah and the high definition thing.

Well, I could not find the Creative Vado locally to see if it would be a good match. Friday night I was in a store. I turned the corner. Before my eyes was The Flip, the Zi6 and all the other pretenders to the throne.

 The Flip Ultra was in white. Nope – I would have it in multiple shade of gray by nightfall. The Flip Mini was enticing. Very small. But the Kodak had a large screen, a SD/SDHC slot and the ability to take AA/Rechargeable batteries. Not to mention recording in standard or 720p HD if I wanted or needed it. In 30 or 60 frame per second as well as 640 x 480. Sold!
This is a brief look at some test footage. I edited it just a bit. I did have to render it in standard definition but you should be able to see the quality of the macro mode. In macro mode if you are 2 inches away you can dive into the pores of a budding flower in great detail
Shooting was a revelation. I didn’t think a little video camcorder could do high def, even if it is only 720p.

I could see clearly it and was pur-dy! The recorded video dimensions are 1280x720. A big honking file, as it should be. Beautiful video. You can also record in 60fps but really, I can’t think of a good reason to do so unless you are planning to do slo-mo on the cheap. There are other reasons to shoot in 60fps but not for casual recording.

Here lies the problem, no matter if you have a HD Flip of Zi6. If you plan to upload it to any of the video services you are uploading a really large file. Now if the video absolutely has to be in high definition that is fine. If not, you will wind up compressing your great video to standard definition.

The standard def conversion of HD video looks good. If you don't need to record in HD it is ok for now. If you have a HD television and you plan on showing videos then yes, it makes sense to record in HD. If you are doing presentations it will look great. Web video? Hmm - it depends. Most of the time web level video is fine.

Which kinda defeats the purpose of having high def video. The bandwidth isn’t there for most of the planet or it will eat into allotted usage. Uploading a HD version of a 50 second video took 50+ minutes. Even if you upload a compressed version, and, you will have to, the Flash video format will add gunk to the video.

But even with that said, it ain’t half bad.


  1. Just bought a Zi6. Great for adding video to blog posts. My blog is on genealogy, and the macro mode will be great for copying and showing old documents to fragile for the photocopier.

  2. Yes, great idea! I took it to the library to try to record old magazine images from the microfilm/microfiche reader.

    Unfortunately the machines are starting to die out so I have to find a library that has a functional reader.

    If you keep it about 2 inches that seems to be the sweet spot. If you have a mini tripod that is even better. Try it both ways, shooting a straight photo and record a bit of HD video and then extract the image.