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My friend had the Kodak Playsport ZX3 and I was very impressed with it so we decided to invest in our own, although when we went to buy it we discovered the newer model: ZX5. They look relatively the same which is good as it was the set up and the feel of the camcorder that we liked about it. This camcorder is an absolute bargain at the minute and costs only £79.99 which is such good value as when it was first released it was priced at £150.00. We have yet to take the camcorder on holiday and really see it in action but in March we are going to Jamaica where we hope to take part in plenty of water sports and really get some use out of the camcorder.
Exciting times! We have used the camcorder on a number of occasions and had some good experiences and some not so good ones, the not so good ones though are down to not really understanding how the camcorder works. For example, my best friend asked me to come and watch her daughter at a swimming gala and film her. I thought, ‘great! Here is my chance to use the camera around water!’ Although I did not get anywhere near the water and filmed from the far parameters of the swimming bath. I set up the camcorder and focused on Sophia as she jumped in and started swimming. With this camcorder though you cannot zoom in much (it only has 4x optical zoom) so I found myself reaching out with the camcorder and trying to get closer physically to the subject of them film. This resulted in very shaky footage as I struggled to keep it still. Coupled with this the video quality was really dark as there is no flash on the camcorder. The whole ten minutes of video shot was a blurry, wobbly dull blurry of movement, splashing of water and you could only just make out Sophia at all. Watching the video back gave me a headache! Despite this, I resolved to improve my filming skills!
The most success I have had with the camcorder is taking it to Go Ape where we had a whole hen party trying to complete the aerial assault course. The footage here was brilliant, it was outdoors so the picture quality was clear and bright and I caught some very comedy moments as people came down the zip wire. From previous experiences I had learnt to hold on to the camcorder tightly to prevent too much juddering and use the camcorder is slow fluid movements. The camcorder was brilliant too as it picks up audio really well and it captured all the screams, cheers and jeers as people completed various stages of the assault course. To round up my experiences, I will say that I would fully recommend this camcorder, it is really good quality and as long as you appreciate some of the limitations it has and learn how best to use the camcorder you will have lots of fun with it and shoot some excellent footage.
Price and availability
You can buy the camcorder for £79.99 from electrical stores or online stores such as Amazon.co.uk. This is really good value for money for a full HD camcorder.
camcorder comes in a couple of different shades but the one we bought was white with a black front. It is designed for outdoor use and boasts that this is shock proof, dust proof and even waterproof up to 3 m. The shell of the camcorder is sturdy and robust but at the same time it looks sleek and fits comfortably in your hand. Compared with most camcorders the screen is quite small at 2”. This does not bother me as I chose this upright style of camcorder for the shape and design. I would rather have a good quality small LCD screen than a large poor quality one anyway and this is more than ample to see what you are filming. There is a feature that means that you can alter the brightness of the screen and activate the glare shield. This means that you should find seeing the screen easier when out in daylight. You can even chose to view the footage in black and white as sometimes this is easier to see than colour. The footage will be recorded in full colour however.
The device has an internal memory but also has a SD card slot to expand this so that you can record 10 hours of footage rather than the 1 hour you get with the devices internal memory. Don’t let this mislead you though as you will not be able to shoot 10 hours of continual footage without the battery dying. I am able to shoot about 4 hours of footage before the camcorder needs charging up. The difference between this model and the previous Kodak one is the lack of a removable battery. You can only charge this battery up whilst in the camcorder. This prevents you bring able to have one battery on charge whilst using a spare for example. This is a little frustrating but to charge the device fully I find that it only takes around 3 hours so as long as you plan your filming around this, you should not have a problem. The camera is supplied with a plug and lead to charge it up. There is also a USB cable to transfer footage on to the laptop/computer from the camcorder. The camcorder will capture film in the following modes: 1080p (16:9) 1920 x 1080 @ 30 fps, 720p (16:9) 1280 x 720 @ 60 fps, 720p (16:9) 1280 x 720 @ 30 fps, WVGA 16:9 848 x 480 @ 30 fps, Still 16:9 5.3 MP. Full 1080p footage is superb if it is shot outside. When watching the filming back on the television it looks really good, crisp clear images with movement that flows seamlessly. The camcorder supplies you with a HDMI cable so you can view the footage direct from the device onto the television. To mix it up, there are a few different shoot modes where you can film in black and white, 70’s style and sepia. The 70’s style is interesting as it has a few scratches on the screen and offers a slightly different coloured grainy feel. I also like sepia as it gives footage an old warm feel. Black and white is really good quality and very classic.
Set up and use
The camcorder is ready to film as soon as you turn it on and it is so quick to set up and change the filming mode if that is what you want to do. Once ready, hit the one button and away you go. Once you get used to the feel of the camcorder it becomes much easier to film. A feature about the camcorder I like is that it can be used with any standard tripod. This is a sure way to stop the jerky hand movements that are so familiar with amateur family videos! Once you have finished filming you stop it with the same button you use to turn it on and record. How can you go wrong! You can watch it back with any of the normal functions you associate with watching video such as rewind, fast forward and pause. You can toggle with the volume too as along with a god quality microphone it also has quite good speakers. If you want to trim your video footage you can and as soon as you have it the way you want it, you can upload it to social networking sites or email it once you have the device connected to a computer.
Roll on Jamaica! I will have so much fun with this camcorder and I do not have to worry about it getting sand in or water damage. I will take it out swimming and get some underwater footage to really put it to the test but I have really high hopes for it. So far after a few early hiccups, I am becoming more confident with the camcorder and really impressed with the results.
Having a camcorder means that you get to capture those precious moments and relive them over and over again. Memories are really important and if you are looking for a cheap camcorder to help you achieve this then look no further. This is an absolute bargain.