Kodak Zi8 camcorder takes the fight to Flip

Many people associate the Kodak brand with film cameras and neighbourhood processing labs but those days are long gone. The modern day Kodak has a big digital imaging division including a range of portable video recorders: the Zi6 ZX1 and new Zi8 which recently launched in Australia.

I tested the ZX1 and Flip Mino HD recently but found they weren’t directly comparable. The ZX1’s weatherproofing was clearly more appropriate for use for travelling in the great outdoors while the Flip Mino HD was the obvious choice for family home videos.

We’ve been checking out the US-release Kodak Zi8 for some time but wondered if it would live up to the hype as a “Flip Killer” once it officially hit our shores.

After testing the Kodak Zi8 indoors and outdoors recording to a Sandisk Ultra II 16GB SDHC card (not included) we think Flip is definitely heavily bruised but still struggling on and not dead yet.

At first glance the Flip Mino HD has great features including a 1.5 inch screen 4Gb internal storage 720P HD video resolution composite out and built-in mic.

What the Flip Mino HD does well is to offer a simple interface with
well designed buttons. Kodak needs to make the buttons on its next
handheld pocket video camcorder bigger than the thin ones used on the

However the Flip Mino HD is blown away by the similarly priced Kodak Zi8’s swiss army knife collection of features including:

  • Large 2.5 inch screen which makes it easier to compose and playback video
  • Choice of video resolution between 1080P 720p 60 fps 720p and WVGA 848x480px
  • Mic jack so you can use an external mic for better audio quality while recording an
  • Wide aperture f2.8 lens which enables better low light video shooting and the potential for short depth of field (nice blurry backgrounds if shot in the right conditions)0
  • Great connectivity via pop-out flexible USB cableHDMI out and Composite out (with both cables included)
  • SDHC card storage support upto 32GB
  • 5-megapixel still photos at similar quality to a cameraphone
  • Face detection setting

That’s not to say the Zi8 is perfect.

Kodak needs to improve the internal mono microphone by windproofing it use bigger buttons make the macro/landscape switch automatic increase battery life past 100minutes make the zoom less stuttery and improve the electronic image stabilisation before it can become the winner by knockout and make Flip pine for the fjords.

The Kodak Zi8 is available online and from Australian retailers for $250-$300.