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Old Dec 16, 2011, 11:28 AM   #1
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Default Kodak Ze1 Playfull

http://www.store.kodak.com/store/ekc...ctID.221644600
http://www.steves-digicams.com/camer...e1-review.html

I have bought myself another little camera.

It turns out the 60fps fullhd Poco credit card sized camera will not be available till April, very delayed (now it seems so is the Kodak zi12). I proposed a pocket sized digital cinema camera some years back, and a manufacturer was planning such a device but canned it, they have now also canned the replacement device, that could fit in a giants pocket, that followed an earlier suggestion of mine. So what is a man to do, well I bought a Playfull ze1 at half price, which may use the same sort of sensor as the Poco camera.

Well, I have not used it much and am not planning on posting much here, my prolonged profound sickness has put me so far behind in many other things. However, I can share some things, and a big warning.

Exposure/Dynamic Range:

Firstly, not having an SD card handy and spotting some record time on internal memory, I set it to fullhd and went for 11 seconds, beach dusk bright cloudy sky in the background. I thought this might cause some issues. Unfortunately the camera automatically shoots low Resolution when no SD card is present, ruined a very nice shoot. A warning, the manual, I think, also says it reverts to low resolution demo mode if it sees the power cord in, so this would exclude some hopes of running it a long time on external power for an event.

The above shot turned out nicer than I expected. It rendered people's faces nicely against the white clouds. Sure it is not perfect but you can see tone and some color naturally, without the scene dipping into darkness from exposing for the clouds. Exceptable enough for consumer video. When I got it home I tried it on my 36 watt ceiling fluorescents, again the exposure compensation of the scene for the lights was very acceptable. It did not bounce around like other cameras, and when it did dip, the room was still adequately lit. What this means is that you can easily use it across different internal lightimg between rooms, exposure wise. Unfortunately it was raining today, so I could not do clear weather daylight exposure testing.

Handling:

I own a zx1, have had zi8, aiptek hd1, Sanyo gc20?, and I was surprised just how easy this camera was to hold and self stabilize due to it smallness and lightness. However this does not tell me how it will handle and feel over a football match, or even everyday use. Camcorders work best for one reason, when you bend your elbow to hold it, you draw the weight closer to your body resulting in less leverage making it easier to rest there with less muscle power. The pistol grip camcorders bend your wrist and make it difficult to hold it this close. I do design studies in design work, and have done studies camera format studies. I identified advantages to camera shapes like used in the playful.

The screen is very small, and does not full up the width of the unit. It could be made bigger by mounting it down the body and rotated out for use.

What can I say about controls, super simple like recent other Kodaks. Seems to support trim of videos, but did nit see split it join functiins, which are needed to actually adequately edit together a movie, but they might still be in there, as I did not actually attempt to edit a video. They have wisely hidden away high satuation as a mode, and I suspect the 70's film mode is low satuation, or more like sensor direct which can look like 70's film (many cameras have had poor really dull color and it is artificially boosted for recording). This would be really useful if they had a mode to record in 10 or 12 bit depth.

Sound:

Have not really tried, but seems there and distortion meter seems to not dip into the red much.

Video output:

HDMI looked OK, but the RCA output looked shocking to me. Now, remember, this is a low Res file viewed on both.

Low light Warning:

I shot various levels of light around the house. When I played it back, I did not get the message Kodak, but crap. Horrible. However it might perform in daylight, even in a 36 watt florescent well lit btight room, the noise and patterning was terrible. This was a real shame, and the review above mentions choppy video in panning, which I have not tried. We should be well and truely beyond choppy panning etc by now. I noticed the POCO camera example seems better, but I do not know what lighting or lens they used, plus I only viewed the YouTube version, not the original. So filming a nightime fair, festival etc might produce some interesting effects.

Data rate:

Have had around 9mb/s average 1080p30 at night, lots of black, 12mb/s+ in a well lit room with lots of movement. I think I might have averaged more than that during the day. So in zx1 territory, pretty poor after all this time for the retail price here.

Battery charging:

Battery seems to discharge when off. I wonder if it is using an older batter rather than lithium.

Mine will record while hooked to a charge port, and maintain resolution mode. I do not know if it charging while it is doing it though.


No Remote Included:

Remote is optional.


Kodak has really dropped the ball since the zi8 zx3, and zx5 added some features like in camera editing. We can say that about a number of the previous leaders in the hybrid market. Now that Sanyo, who introduced the first HD hybrid, and the first fullhd p60, and one of the very earliest for consumer video, is gone the industry has been stagnating. There needs to be innovation and advancement, instead we are still getting 1080p30 cameras, some rather slack, some 60i. How many years ago did Sanyo introduce the hd2000 in Japan, yet we are still to see fullhd p50 or 60 cameras (that is another slack thing, they can't even introduce p25 and p50 modes for countries that use 50hz lighting systems usually, that cause flicker or dimness in p60 mode). We are yet to see fullhd 3d though the feature is getting old and super HD is around the corner. Fullhd p50 and fullhd 3d should be available sub $200 and sub $250 respectively. Over a year ago a 5mp video camera chipset was released, and I am yet to find one machine that uses it. Now higher resolution video should be possible.

It is even possible to make a pocket sized digital cinema camera that could even be used to make actual films and documentaries. I have looked into it and come up with many design innovations myself. But most engineers would not know how to design for something like that.

In future we might be spared the poor performance of ever shrinking pixels of higher density small sensors. Super HD is approximately 8mp, which is good for stills, so there is little practical reason, for consumers, to shrink pixels for now to fit more on a 16:9 sensor beyond that. I wish somebody could put something like that in a reasonable sensor in the larger 2/3rds inch format, on a hybrid. I also wish that Kodak could put the quality video features of their future hybrids in their still cameras with their better lens and sensors.

Last edited by Wayne12; Mar 11, 2012 at 8:22 AM. Reason: Update
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Old Dec 25, 2011, 11:48 AM   #2
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OK update, the news is all bad:

a) The camera footage in undercover areas in daylight is at least half as good as expected in the scenes tried. The darker the undercover area the worse it is until it becomes blackness next to the doorway that is very over exposed with large white over exposed areas. At best the compromise between adequate brightness in the undercover area still overexposed the objects outside the doorway. I shoot two areas, one under a house with garage doors, the other at a hall and also under cover sports area at a aboriginal native title land handover celebration I was invited too. The open undercover sports area often resulted in external areas overexposing a bit, but at times hitting a good compromise in exposure between the undercover and external areas. I suspect the chip is capable of much better, but needs additional efforts. A way to manually set exposure would ensure the exposure from the open undercover area would be correct each time, maybe even in the house scene. I also expect when it activates low light mode in dimly lit undercover areas the high dynamic range function collapses. In these dimly lit areas the frame rate seems to slow down. A firmware update could solve this, and the option to turn off the automatic low light low frame rate mode.

b) Strobing during panning, this should not be there these days. I know there is an encoding option to stop this in h264 encoding. The datarate is also too low for my liking.

c) The camera crashed repeatedly and froze up (5 or so times), not able to be turned off, even during playback . I am yet to try out an alternative SD card. I used a new class 10 15MB/s 32GB card. (the class number is the minimum maximum megabytes a second the card should do, the 15MB/s rating is an older rating system that measures something like the maximum or average data rate it can handle).

d) To make matters worse, you have to reset the camera before it goes flat with a needle or paper clip in the small hole under the SD card power door, which is in itself hard to open, requiring finger nails. So now I need to arry a reset tool (paper clip ). The power button does not respond, and you cannot just pop tgebattery out either. The power button definitely, definitely needs to be able to turn off the camera when frozen.

e) The little screen makes it hard to see over or under exposure or camera/shake, and unfortunately it did not price as good as I hoped, but I still found it the best xanera to handle and it was smoother footage more often .

f) One very silly thing is that when you plug the USB cable in the power port it goes into a/demo mode and resets your resolution option to low resolution. People should be allowed to plug their own external power supply in without the resolutiin dropping etc.

fb) Another silly thing is that through HDMI, the low resolution footage is framed in ansmall portion of the HD screen. The foitage from the USB video cable looks too low for me.

Well thanks guys, and a merry season and a happy new year to you, particularly you shakey.
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Old Jan 21, 2012, 7:13 AM   #3
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OK, I have been sick and busy in between. Tested the camera with long records, and would stop record around 30-40 minutes each time, so I took the camera back and got a replacement. This camera records for around 140 minutes nearly every time, so like the old one had bad battery or something that upset the camera.

Kodak has released a fullhdp60 playful camera, finally, the zx3 should have been. Shame it was so soon after I got mine. Fishy has got a thread on it.

Turns out my nephew has MS, and many of the symptoms are the same as I get (there are other diseases with similar ) and most of the treatments are the same I found helps me, but only tip of the iceberg for me. So, it is practically impossible to keep up unless I am in good phase, so more thoughts on this camera maybe. coming, slowly, and maybe a Playful fullhdp60 or Pico, maybe, especially water proof version.
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Old Feb 11, 2012, 8:42 AM   #4
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OK, going to go to other thread and make an appeal to Kodak, as they have announced they are chopping their camera business instead of making better cameras, like they used to.

MRI shows up a cluster of several dead spots that have dued in my brain, plus they just told me I have kidney stones, the other things are real bad as it is {, unreal.

New little playful has stumbled a couple of times but behaving itself much better. Appears to have some updated changes. Maybe Kodak would like to give us a firmware update with full unlock, 50p 720 and fullhd recording, manual settings, and any other programs to control camera. I like this little skinny camera, just a shame there won't be a better waterproof, fullhdp50, macro version with larger twist screen. A real shame.
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Old Feb 27, 2012, 9:18 AM   #5
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can it record while charging? I want to charge it from car power supply and record the road in the same time. thanks
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Old Mar 4, 2012, 10:20 AM   #6
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Have to check it out, has some funky demo mode that kicks in from memory some way.
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Old Mar 11, 2012, 8:02 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by airmike01 View Post
can it record while charging? I want to charge it from car power supply and record the road in the same time. thanks
OK, sorry for the delay lots of problems, and I realise I tested the wrong thing.

Mine will record while hooked to charge port, and maintain resolution mode, great news. I do not know if it charging tpwhile it is doing it though.

However bad news is the data rate. It was dark and it did around 9mb/s. I believe there has been some improvement in h264 compression, but 9mb/s is low, and I think it is basically an update zx1. When in a well lit environment I was getting 12mb/s and I think I have seen averages above that, or in other words as with my zx1 . For the price over here I would have expected a fine quality option of around 24mbs, or at least 20mbs top. Hopefully 720p60 should be the same which is OK (as the extra frame rate helps compression even though it has the same number of pixels). 720p60 is the mode you should look at in car use, with a good stabilising mechanism to get rid of the shudder. You can get car cameras, probably with similar resolutions.

Other bad news, when turned off this thing discharges itself by the look of it. I wonder if they are still using nih batteries instead of lithium, bad.

No remote, also not good.

Thanks

Wayne.
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Old Mar 24, 2012, 7:31 PM   #8
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Wayne

Thanks for the great info. Hope the docs are able to resolve your medical issues or at least alleviate some of the symptoms.

(hugs)
Robin
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Old Mar 25, 2012, 11:37 PM   #9
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Thanks Robin.
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