Kodak Zx1 unboxing and impressions
Kodak sells an optional rubberized casing, a flexible tripod and a helmet mount. Oddly enough, the rubber casing doesn't have an outlet for the wrist strap, so it's an either-or proposition -- or a quick hacking job. Also, the wrist strap doesn't "cinch up," so for all Kodak's talk of rough and tumble use, we're a little wary about swinging this thing around.
Running on two standard AA batteries (a pair of rechargeables, along with a charger, are included), we don't see battery life being much of an issue at all, which is always a relief. We're not so enthused by the lack of included memory -- built-in memory is only adequate for a few seconds of HD, and you'll want to pony up for a few GBs of SD card to make this think really worth using.
ArcSoft Windows editing software is including on the device itself, and is installed when plugging the camera in over USB. It installed in a snap, and allows for simple editing, archiving, converting and uploads to YouTube and Vimeo.
Sized-down video still, captured while skating in what we assure you was an "extreme" manner.
Video quality is sort of a tale of two worlds: indoors and outdoors. Outdoors, with even an evening's level of natural light, the camera performs (relatively) wonderfully. The colors are very bright and natural (better than on the Zi6), and the image almost looks "hi-def" -- not always the case with most cheap "HD" cameras, that do more upscaling than anything else. Indoors it all falls apart. Images are incredibly grainy, and the camera just doesn't pick up on much info. Naturally, the grain is less pronounced when shooting in VGA, but we've seen much better sample footage from the competition.
The other problem with video, which seems to be shared by most of these products but is more pronounced in HD models, is that full-frame motion is painful to watch. No matter how great individual stills look, the video is just horrible jerky when the camera is being panned or tilted or jostled -- all incredibly common occurrences for this type of camera.
We'd say 60fps works well enough, but won't blow your mind, and most folks won't have a way to slow it down for their uploads -- though it's easy enough to do when playing back on a TV, and the included ArcSoft software can manage it if you know where to look. Plugging in the camera to an HDTV with the included HDMI cable is a breeze, and it's one of the smoothest methods of playback available (computers have serious trouble with the camera's codec), but be prepared for the true quantity of jaggies to be exposed.
Sample (right click to download)
Birds at the park - 720p, 60fps