Kodak's first entry into the pocket camcorder pool, the Zi6, may be the new king of cams. My lab assistants and I have done more scientific research in the field of cheap-ass camcorders than anyone we can name off the top of our heads. In my expert opinion, this is a winner, ready to unseat Pure Digital's original Flip Ultra. Why? 720p HD video!
Yes, the camera captures video in 60fps 720p HD, the highest quality of any pocket cam so far, and it looked great when I saw it projected on a 40" flat-panel TV. The Zi6 also shoots stills and lower quality VGA video for wannabe YouTubers. Its SDHC slot supports cards up to 32GB—if you can find one—and my favorite sleeper feature is its ability to shoot well in macro focus mode.
It's thicker than the Flip, more like the RCA Small Wonder EZ210, so it has a more sturdy feel. It runs on rechargeable Ni-MH AAs and will also take regular AAs, but I'm told that standard batteries won't last as long. That all makes me skeptical of the battery life altogether.
The unit is $180, the same price as the new Flip Mino, and it has much more functionality, and so far a better look and feel. Mark me down for one of these (in black, not pink, pictured below) when they arrive in September, so I can round up some lab assistants and put it through the paces.
Here's the press release:
Zi6 Pocket Video Camera Unveiled, Boasting HD Video Capture and Instant Uploading to YouTube™
ROCHESTER, NY, July 10 — Eastman Kodak Company (NYSE:EK) today announced its entry into the fast-growing pocket digital video camera market with the KODAK Zi6 Pocket Video Camera. This stylish HD video camera! makes i t fun and simple to shoot and share high-quality videos in moments, thanks to 720p HD video capture, a large 2.4-inch LCD screen, and easy-to-use software.
"Today's connected consumers increasingly turn to video to express themselves and connect with others. The KODAK Zi6 Pocket Video Camera satisfies their thirst for an HD video camera that is simple to use and can go anywhere life takes them," said John Blake, General Manager Digital Capture and Devices, Vice President, Eastman Kodak Company. "With the launch of the Zi6 Pocket Video Camera, consumers now have a high-quality solution from the trusted brand in digital imaging."
With the exploding popularity of video sharing sites such as YouTube, the demand for easy to use video devices is also growing rapidly. At the same time, the expanding penetration of HDTVs is driving consumer demand for HD quality personal content.
The KODAK Zi6 Pocket Video Camera is designed to meet these needs at the touch of a button — no lens cap, dials to turn or settings to adjust.
A range of advanced features enables consumers to:
Capture video in HD quality on this fun and super simple pocket video camera (720p at 60 fps with 16:9 aspect ratio).
Upload your videos to YouTube quickly and easily using the built-in USB and software.
Record hours of video with the expandable SD/SDHC card slot that can hold up to 32 GB.
Experience your videos on HDTV in stunning HD quality with included cables.
Edit videos, add pictures and music, and share your creation anywhere with the included video software CD.
Go green with included pre-charged AA Ni-MH rechargeable batteries and battery charger.
Watch videos on the vibrant 2.4" LCD screen.
Catch the highlights with slow motion playback right in the palm of your hand.
Uploading to YouTube
YouTube is the world's most popular online video community. The Kodak and YouTube relationship will enable consumers to quickly and easily upload videos to You! Tube dir ectly from the Zi6 Pocket Video Camera, or from the included simple and powerful video editing software (ARCSOFT MEDIAIMPRESSIONS for Kodak).
A range of accessories will be available for the KODAK Zi6 Pocket Video Camera:
KODAK 2GB and 4GB High Performance memory cards
1-hour battery charger with 4 AA pre-charged Ni-MH batteries
KODAK camera bags
Pricing and Availability
The KODAK Zi6 Pocket Video Camera will be available from late September 2008, retailing for US$179.95 MSRP.