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Old Jul 24, 2011, 12:56 AM   #1
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Default Advice for home video camcorder

Thanks everyone for all the great information here. I am researching a compact camcorder for simple home video recording and think I have settled on a pocket camera. Right now the leader is the Zx3 but would like some input on whether something better fits my needs (whether a pocket cam or a larger "full" camcorder).

- Portability; I am not (yet, at least) one to carry around a camera bag.
- Typical uses will be vacations (we enjoy beach and winter sports which is why I opted for the Zx3 rather than Zi8), friends' weddings, etc. I do not plan on using this to shoot underwater video so a simple water resistant cam would do as well (I just want to be able to shoot video if we are kayaking, or if it's snowing, etc)
- Good battery life. I do usually carry a general purpose charger that could charge USB devices (it also charges my iPad/iPhone, bluetooth headset, etc) so being easily recharged is helpful. I would probably buy a replacement for just in case we need some extra juice and don't have a chance to recharge.
- Removable/replaceable storage. May go on long trips without access to a computer to clear space
- Prefer full HD resolution and 60p frames
- Video and audio quality is NOT the most important. These are mainly for the memories and for sharing experiences with families, not production.

Based on the above it seems like the Zx3 fits best with the Zi8 close behind only because of water/snow resistance issues. I am not tied to Kodak but it seems they are very well regarded in a few of the forums I visited.
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Old Jul 24, 2011, 1:51 AM   #2
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Thanks everyone for all the great information here. I am researching a compact camcorder for simple home video recording and think I have settled on a pocket camera. Right now the leader is the Zx3 but would like some input on whether something better fits my needs (whether a pocket cam or a larger "full" camcorder).

- Portability; I am not (yet, at least) one to carry around a camera bag.
- Typical uses will be vacations (we enjoy beach and winter sports which is why I opted for the Zx3 rather than Zi8), friends' weddings, etc. I do not plan on using this to shoot underwater video so a simple water resistant cam would do as well (I just want to be able to shoot video if we are kayaking, or if it's snowing, etc)
- Good battery life. I do usually carry a general purpose charger that could charge USB devices (it also charges my iPad/iPhone, bluetooth headset, etc) so being easily recharged is helpful. I would probably buy a replacement for just in case we need some extra juice and don't have a chance to recharge.
- Removable/replaceable storage. May go on long trips without access to a computer to clear space
- Prefer full HD resolution and 60p frames
- Video and audio quality is NOT the most important. These are mainly for the memories and for sharing experiences with families, not production.

Based on the above it seems like the Zx3 fits best with the Zi8 close behind only because of water/snow resistance issues. I am not tied to Kodak but it seems they are very well regarded in a few of the forums I visited.
The Kodak ZX3 should meet your needs definitely fits snug in your pocket. The 720P 60 FPS is the best mode, 1080P is a bit clearer but very shakey and has a weird wobbly effect in the video if you do not use a tri-pod. Battery life is not that great probably maybe a little over an 1hr on a single charge, definitely have 2 around. In doors not very good either, nearly worthless for still pics indoors, video gets grainy and color is faded indoors. Outdoors both do well. If water resistantance was not a requirement, lots of better options, I like the Sanyo line of camcorders, best quality for the price range. Most camcorders can handle up to 32 GB card so that should be plenty.
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Old Jul 24, 2011, 3:26 AM   #3
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The Kodak ZX3 should meet your needs definitely fits snug in your pocket. The 720P 60 FPS is the best mode, 1080P is a bit clearer but very shakey and has a weird wobbly effect in the video if you do not use a tri-pod. Battery life is not that great probably maybe a little over an 1hr on a single charge, definitely have 2 around. In doors not very good either, nearly worthless for still pics indoors, video gets grainy and color is faded indoors. Outdoors both do well. If water resistantance was not a requirement, lots of better options, I like the Sanyo line of camcorders, best quality for the price range. Most camcorders can handle up to 32 GB card so that should be plenty.
I guess another question is whether this would be much of an upgrade over what I already have, an iPhone 4 and a regular point & shoot camera (a Lumix I got as part of a plasma TV bundle I bought 2 years ago. The Lumix never really produced very good video the few times I tried it which is why I'm looking for a camcorder, but would I be better off just getting a slightly bigger full form camcorder?
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Old Jul 24, 2011, 8:57 AM   #4
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the Kodak zi8 or Zx3. for waterproof the zx3 will fit the needs. the zi8 has lens reflection, the zx3 does not, the zi8 will do a lil diff in shade over the zx3..

the Sony WX9 and HX9 I just got and gotrid of the wx9, kept the HX9

night and day.

Kodak zi8 70.00

Kodak playtouch 70.00

Kodak zx3 70.00

Sony wx9 200.00

sony hx9 350.00

you will carry one spare battery and be contented wit hteh zx3, zi8 they can be plugged in and use an external pack while the battery is functional of the cam good luck.
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Old Jul 24, 2011, 1:53 PM   #5
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Saw the Panasonic WA-10, looks like a slightly larger form factor, also waterproof, but better specs. I guess this is the followup to Sanyo CA100/102. Also much more expensive. But it looks like it is not widely available; any word on this?

The HX9 does look impressive -- what kind of battery life do you get when shooting video?

Will all of these automatically switch over to a new file if the maximum file size has been reached (don't mind if I have to stitch the video together myself later) or will they say I reached the limit for a single clip and make me start a new one?

Last edited by mgchan; Jul 24, 2011 at 2:21 PM.
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Old Jul 26, 2011, 11:54 AM   #6
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Will all of these automatically switch over to a new file if the maximum file size has been reached (don't mind if I have to stitch the video together myself later) or will they say I reached the limit for a single clip and make me start a new one?
The Kodak Zx3 has max file size limits - I can only give those for 720p/30fps = 3.67Gb (=~1 hour) and for WVGA - 2.72Gb (=~1.25hours)
(see Post #173 and #174 link in Sticky: Kodak Playsport ZX3 Full review )

Kodak Zi8 720p/30fps 2Gb (=~1.5 hours)

Both have automatic "continuation" files - when playing back with the camcorder the continuation is automatic - but once loaded on one's computer - they are two separate files - I do not know if the supplied SW ArcSoft Media Impression treats them as a single video.

Notice the Zi8 uses only 2Gb for over 1.5hours of 720p/30fps
but the Zx3 for just over an hour fills 3.67Gb.
This is because the Zi8 uses a much more efficient variable bit rate (vbr) compared to the Zx3 (and most other camcorders) cbr (constant bit rate)
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