Kodak Unveils 1080p, Image-Stabilized HD Pocket Camcorder

At a Glance
  • Kodak Zi8 HD

    PCWorld Rating

    The full-featured Zi8 captures the best HD pocket-camcorder footage we've seen, but its interface and digital zoom often get in the way.

Kodak has announced a new high-definition pocket video camera, the Zi8, which captures video in 1080p HD. The Zi8's predecessors, the Kodak Zi6 and the weather-resistant Kodak Zx1, maxed out at 720p. Along with recording1080p HD video, the Zi8 can snap 5-megapixel still shots at a 16:9 aspect ratio. At $180, its price falls into the same range as earlier models.

The Zi8 has an HDMI-out port and a swing-out USB arm (like the Pure Digital Flip Mino HD--a more expensive alternative) that enables users to upload files quickly. The Zi8 comes with only 128MB of internal memory, so you'll have to use the expansion slot for an SD/SDHC card to store most of the video. It's also the first pocket camcorder we've seen that has built-in image stabilization, which will certainly come in handy for recordings captured during high-speed unicycle chases.

Also noteworthy is the Zi8's external microphone jack; though the Zi6 captured great sound, we didn't love the audio quality on the Zx1, so we appreciate having the option to add an external mic. The Zi8 comes in a new color this time around, as well: tart-but-delicious raspberry (in addition to aqua and black).

The Zi8 looks pretty slick, but we'll let you know what we think of its alleged image awesomeness when we get a test model in. This newest addition to the Kodak camcorder family is to go on sale in September.

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    The full-featured Zi8 captures the best HD pocket-camcorder footage we've seen, but its interface and digital zoom often get in the way.

    Pros

    • Sharp 1080p video and shooting options
    • Can use earbuds as external mic

    Cons

    • Controls are slow to respond
    • Buggy, jumpy 4X digital zoom
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