Kodak Zi6 HD Pocket Video Camera

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Kodak Zi6 Pocket Video Camera - BlackI know it’s a little strange that I’m reviewing a video camera in the PhotographyCorner Resource Center (this site is about photography, not videography, after all), but I’ve always been a big video fan, and there’s actually a couple of really great uses for a pocket camcorder for the average photographer. I’ll get to that below. Let’s first take a look at some of the features of the Kodak Zi6 HD Pocket Video Camera.

If you haven’t seen this video camera in person, it’s about the size of a cell phone (almost exactly the same size as the Apple iPhone, but a little thicker: 2.5 inches x 4.5 inches x 0.9 inches), with a 2.4-inch LCD screen and controls on one side, and the lens and speaker/microphone on the other. It’s weighs in, with batteries, at 5.6 ounces. Basically, it’s an HD video camera that you can carry around easily in your pocket. Here are some of the pros and cons that I’ve found after playing around with it for a little while:

  • Takes great HD videos (720p at 30 fps & 60 fps with a 16:9 aspect ratio)
  • Also records in standard 640×480 VGA video
  • Takes (albeit low quality) still shots
  • Easy upload to YouTube™ with built-in, flip-out USB connector
  • Can record hours of video (up to 32 GB worth via SD card)
  • Video can be viewed on any HDTV with included cables
  • Includes rechargeable batteries and charger
  • 2.4-inch LCD screen
  • It uses standard AA batteries
  • Weighs in at a mere 5.6 ounces
  • The button for the USB connector also serves as a tiny mirror for recording yourself
  • A switch that toggles between standard and macro focus distance
  • The clip to hold the batteries in can sometimes come loose
  • You can’t recharge batteries via the USB connector

There are several other mini or pocket video cameras in the same price range (under $200), but in my opinion, and the opinion of numerous other people, the Kodak Zi6 is far-and-away a better product. Take a look at a couple of the review videos below:

Here’s a look at the Flip Mino HD vs. The Kodak Zi6 - You’ll notice both the video quality and audio quality are noticeably better on the Kodak Zi6.

Here’s another comparison between the Flip Mino HD and the Kodak Zi6 by the guys at Wired.com

This is a short review of the Kodak Zi6 by CNET.

So you’ve read the specs, heard my opinion, and seen some video from other people. But the question still remains - why would a photographer want a video camera?

Kodak Zi6 Pocket Video Camera - RedThere are two good reasons that I’ve come up with (do you have other ideas? Leave them in the comments). The first reason is to help you with your photography, and the second is to help others. We’ll start with the later.

It’s all fine and dandy to try to explain how you took a specific shot and set it up in the forums (and that’s really helpful in and of itself!)… but think about how much better and easier it would be to actually show people how you took and set up a shot! With a pocket video camera like the Zi6, you can easily pack it in your camera bag, and grab a quick video of how you set up and took a shot. With the USB connector and YouTube™ upload software, you can easily share this (and post it to the Corner!). Show us your studio, lighting set up for various shots - even do a video tutorial! There are so many up-and-coming, amateur photographers that would love to learn “how you did that” from you, and with a pocket camcorder like the Zi6, sharing a video makes it SO easy.

Kodak Zi6 Pocket Video Camera - PinkSecondly, (and this is what I would primarily use it for) is to record/scout locations. When you scout a location, regardless of what type of photography you do, you usually take some photos of what you’ll have to work with next time you’re there (whether you’re scouting a church or a hall for a wedding gig, a sports location, or even a specific spot outdoors for future nature shots). Instead of taking some sample shots, imagine how much more useful it would be to take some video instead? You could be walking around a church you’ll be shooting a wedding at in a couple of weeks, and you could take note of lighting, obstacles, and you can even make audio notes to yourself on the video. If you’ll be taking some landscape shots, you can scout some locations and record where shadows are at certain times of day, good spots to set up your tripod, etc. Really, the possibilities are endless. Forget the pen and paper at home - just shoot a quick video so you can actually see and hear what’s going on in the locations you shoot most often.

Whether you do on location shooting and you scout locations ahead of time, or you just want to show people how you took some photographs and how you set everything up, adding a pocket camcorder like the Kodak Zi6 HD is a neat accessory for any photographer to add to his or her bag. And at well under $200, it’s not too hard on the wallet, either.