Tell yer ma and tell yer pa if they need a little, handheld video camera for taking high quality shots of the cousins messing around in the yard, then the miniature Kodak Zx1 is for them.
A successor to the Zi6, the $150 Zx1 – the “x” stands for “xtra smaller than the Zi6” and the 1 is for the number of units that come in a retail box – is a weatherproof – but not waterproof – little camera that takes 720p video and comes in five colors.
Small, portable video cameras, even HD ones, are a dime-a-dozen these days. However, Kodak has done some good work here. This model has an SD card slot that supports SDHC cards as well as a mini HDMI port and tiny, proprietary USB port. The camera, unlike its predecessor, records directly to SD but does not have a built-in USB port for direct attachment. Instead, you have to connect the SD card to a computer separately or carry a USB cable around with you.
Video quality is quite strong, on par with any HD video mini camera, and the screen is large and bright. You can take HD, SD, and VGA quality video as well as still images.
This thing is definitely a small, inexpensive camera. It shoots great video with little artifacting and it’s fun to carry and use. The battery lasts about 12 hours on a charge – more than enough for a week’s vacation – and because it uses AAs you can replace them at will.
The new model is smaller and seemingly more rugged than the older model. A metal front and rubber buttons add to that impression but I wouldn’t take this into the ocean with you.
This isn’t a huge deal, but the camera doesn’t take 1080i or p video – which is fine. The included ArcSoft software also only works under Windows. OS X users will have to import the video into iMovie or a similar program.
Finally, while the camera supports up to 32GB of SD memory, you still have to pay for your SD cards. It comes wil almost nothing out of the box – 128 MB ain’t much.
If you’re shopping for a minicam, go ahead and pick this one up. My experience with the Zi6 and Kodak in general has been very positive and this is a nice, rugged little camera for not much money.