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25 Days of Gadgets - Day 9

December 10, 2008 - Dave Hecei
We all want to take home movies of our family, friends, or just our daily life. Only a few are dedicated enough to own and regularly use a camcorder. Even then there are fewer that take the time to load that video into their computers to edit and share the finished movie. What if you had a compact and easy to use HD video camera?

Kodak has introduced a new pocket HD video camera called the Zi6. While it may not look like much, this pocket-sized camcorder shoots 1280 by 720 HD video in a Mac compatible H.264 format. Instead of videotape or a disk drive, the Zi6 uses SD flash memory cards. Most cameras in this class have only built-in memory, which is not expandable. This allows you to shoot video and quickly pop the card into a card reader and load it into your Mac. There is also a built-in USB connection allowing you to plug the camera directly to your Mac to offload the video.

What sets the Zi6 apart from other pocket video cameras is that it can also act as a still camera, something the Flip Video cameras do not do. There is also more output options. It not only has standard RCA video out ports, it also has component output so you can watch the HD video on your HD television.

Controls are at a minimum on pocket video cameras and the Zi6 follows suit. There are only a couple of buttons to control everything. There is just one on the front, to start and stop filming, and a joystick on the back to control the on-screen menus. There is a fairly large 2.4-inch LCD display on the back, bigger than the LCDs on similar types of cameras, most notably the Flip Video series.

Since the Zi6 saves video in H.264, you can load the video directly into iMovie 08 or iMovie HD for editing. The latter, iMovie 08, is great to edit together short videos. iMovie 08 has the ability to upload a finished video directly to You Tube.

Priced under $200, the Kodak Zi6 is the same price as other non-HD pocket video cameras. This and it’s superior features - larger screen, HD video, SD card slot, shooting stills, and component video output - put the Zi6 in a class by itself.


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Kodak Zi6 front and back.


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