Fri, 24 Apr 2009 Kodak Zx1 review
Weather-resistant addition to the HD pocket camcorder realm
- Manufacturer: Kodak
- Pros: Very reasonable priced, colour-oversaturation problems resolved, looks great and feels great in the hand.
- Cons: Flip Video MinoHD is a better HD pocket camcorder but is more costly, weak microphone.
- Min specs: CCD: CMOS x 1/4.5in; 1.6Mp; 3Mp stills, JPEG; fixed focus lens; Focal Length: 4.1mm; Aperture: f/2.8; Digital Zoom: 2x; Exposure/Balance: White Balance: auto; 2in LCD; SD/SDHC card expansion slot; Supported Video File Formats: H.264 (MOV), AAC LC; Video Resolution: VGA: 640×480; Built-in Microphone; Speaker; Video Out: 1 x AV; USB Ports: 1 x USB 2.0; Input Ports: DC In; Output Ports: 1 x HDMI; Ni-MH Rechargeable Batteries included; 50.1x20x107mm; 0.09kg
- Price: £121 including VAT.
- Star rating:
Offering a lot of what we like about Kodak's Zi6 pocket camcorder, the Kodak Zx1 has a slicker, more durable frame.
Like the Kodak Zi6, the Kodak Zx1 has the ability to shoot 720p high-def video at either 30 or 60 frames per second and carries the very reasonable price of £121 inc VAT.
The Kodak Zx1 also shares some other nice features with the Kodak Zi6, such as the ability to shoot 3Mp stills (they look better than your standard mobile-phone camera's shots, but not by much); expandable storage via a covered SDHC card slot on the side (alas, there's no on-board storage; you must use an SDHC card); the ability to flip between those 30fps and 60fps rates; recording standard-def VGA video, as well; and recording all three video modes as H.264-encoded .mov files.
But the Kodak Zx1 isn't just the Kodak Zi6's guts in a smaller, ruggedised frame. First off, gone is the flip-out USB connector, which makes sense because it would probably snap off during your first snowboarding wipe-out. Instead, you must attach an included USB cable to the Zx1 to offload videos on to your computer.
Lessening the sting for flip-out-USB fans is the addition of an HDMI-out port and cable; the Kodak Zx1 is the only HD pocket camcorder we've tested other than the Creative Vado HD that has HDMI-out, so it earns a couple of brownie points there.
Also gone from the Zi6's bag of tricks is the landscape/macro mode toggle. As such, the Kodak Zx1 doesn't handle extreme close-ups as well as the Kodak Zi6 does, but video quality in other areas has actually improved when compared with its pocketable HD sibling.
For one, white balance has improved a bit. In our test shots, the Kodak Zi6 sometimes cast a bluish hue over white backgrounds, but the Kodak Zx1 shot brighter, whiter video when we put it through the same paces.
Kodak also seems to have fixed the colour-oversaturation problems we sometimes saw in the Kodak Zx1, but video looks a bit darker than most other pocket HD camcorders, even in bright indoor lighting.