First, I'd like to let you know up front that this product review is not because Kodak contacted me about promoting or reviewing their video camera, the Kodak PlaySport Digital Video Camera. While I often share product reviews with you after receiving a product from a company, sometimes I just like to share my own experiences with a particular product. This is one of those reviews...where I didn't receive any product from Kodak in order to help write this review.
My younger daughter, Brittany, has wanted to buy a video camera for a long time now, for at least a couple of years. Since my husband and I don't normally buy the girls toys or items on their "wish list" except for a couple of things at Christmas or their birthdays (which are within six weeks of each other), the girls have always had to earn and save their own money for the joyous luxuries of life that they want.
After Brittany held several homemade cookie/lemonade stands in our neighborhood and saved other money that she had earned over a period of six months, she finally had almost enough to purchase the video camera. Because saving money has never been her forté, we rewarded her with the extra $14 she needed for the camera after saving $100 over a long period of time.
For about a year, the video camera she has wanted to purchase has been the Flip Ultra HD. She has used a friend's Flip camera several times in the past, and she liked its ease of use and flexibility, as well as its size.
One night, I stayed up late and researched video cameras. I had taken information from Consumer Reports magazine from our local library as well as several other online sources. I was a bit concerned about spending so much money on the Flip, as it had no optical image stabilization nor optical zoom. I was leaning more toward a bigger video camera that was going to cost considerably more, around $225-$250, but seemed to have much better zooming, focusing, and image stabilization. However, I knew that she would be very unhappy to hear that she might need to wait another year or so to continue saving enough money to purchase a video camera.
Then, I had a grand idea...and stayed up until well past midnight to do some more online research on YouTube. YouTube? Well, it turns out that lots of people have purchased video cameras or received them as a review product, and then have posted videos made with those video cameras on YouTube for everyone to see. All I had to do was do a search for "Flip Ultra HD" cameras or any other video cameras I was interested in seeing their film quality.
This was very eye-opening! I highly recommend that if you are in the market for a video camera, you choose several different video cameras you would like to learn about, and then search YouTube to view actual footage filmed on those cameras. It was apparent after watching 8-10 Flip Ultra HD video clips for the newest releases of video that the Flip had a lot of difficulty focusing quickly from one thing to another. In fact, it seemed like maybe my glasses weren't working well...everything was just ever so slightly blurry all the time and not sharp and clear as I would expect HD video to be.
Of course, I realize that we are talking about video cameras which are under $150, so what can you expect? Well, after looking at some video camera reviews on YouTube where reviewers were doing some great work placing three different small video cameras on one tripod and then comparing the various attributes of the different video cameras, I quickly made a decision on which video camera I thought Brittany should purchase:
...the Kodak PlaySport Zx3 Waterproof Digital Video Camera!
There are several things about the Kodak PlaySport which impress me. First, its case is not slippery for a child to hold. It is easy to grasp and hold well.
Second, its HD picture quality is pretty amazing for a camera at this price range! Seriously. I am still surprised at the excellent footage it takes around the house. We hope to venture outside with it soon! Yes, it will be grainy in low light conditions; even some $500 video cameras experience the same problem. We expected that. But in medium light conditions, inside, it does well enough for our family.
Third, this digital video camera is waterproof, up to 10 feet. While Brittany would love to submerge it into a swimming pool and take some video footage with it that way, just to say she has done it, I'm encouraging her not to do this. However, it is great to know that if she accidentally drops it into water, or it is exposed to the rainy weather, it will still work and function, as long as every cover is firmly closed (battery case, etc.).
I did notice that the Sony Bloggie video camera (in a similar price range) had a better microphone, but it didn't focus as well, nor were its colors as true as it filmed.
One of the drawbacks of the Kodak PlaySport is that it uses ArcSoft software to download the movies to the computer, and this is more of a proprietary software. However, I'm including some YouTube videos here on my website which show how to convert the files to fit with Windows Movie Maker, MP4, or other software, so check that out if you are interested. A quick search of YouTube or the internet will provide you with most of what you would need to know to work with and use ArcSoft. So far, Brittany actually thinks that it is easier to use ArcSoft's software than Windows Movie Maker, but we've only had the video camera for a couple of days now.
The Kodak PlaySport comes in three colors: purple, blue, and black. As you can see from the photo at the top of this page, the PlaySport's viewing side is white and black, as it is on all three color choices of this camera. If you purchase this video camera, it will come with the following in the box:
I recommend the following accessories for your video camera:
1. Neck strap. Remove the wrist strap and immediately place a neck strap onto this camera. It is lightweight as are all of the pocket video cameras, and it can easily be dropped. A neck strap will prevent damage from easily occurring.
2. Class 6 High Speed SDHC Memory Card. While you can use a Class 4 card, it is recommended that you use a Class 6. An 8 GB card will allow longer video footage storage. And, well, we needed two of these because my older daughter decided to use some of her saved money to buy a video camera, too!
3. Extra rechargeable battery and battery charger. Because the battery life on the Kodak PlaySport is only about one hour at its highest resolution and maybe 90 minutes at its lowest resolution, we decided to take the plunge and purchase an extra rechargeable battery and charger. This way, we could more easily record a lengthier event without running out of batteries.
4. Heavy-duty video camera storage case. We decided to wait to purchase cases for the girls' cameras until they arrived and we could try them out in stores to make certain they have the right fit.
5. Tripod. I can't recommend any one tripod yet, as we haven't purchased one, but you can find tripods in many stores in your local area for as little as $10. We hope to purchase one soon.
6. Remote. We aren't sure if we will purchase a remote or not. We don't really see a need for it right now, but it may be something we'll consider in the future.
I am pleased with the HD quality of the video footage, especially for a pocket camera.
What kind of video camera do you use? Have you been happy with yours? This is our first video camera...ever!
Hi! I'm Julieanne!
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