Review of the Kodak Zi8 Pocket Video Camera (Black)


Videos are becoming the preferred method for recording special events in our lives, so it’s not surprising that compact, pocket-size video cameras are now very popular.  The dominance of Flip Video in this field is now being challenged by Kodak Zi8 Pocket Video Camera.  This pocket camcorder, available in black, aqua and raspberry, can record in high definition with impressive video quality.

Product Features

  • High definition video recording (1080p at 30 frames per second)
  • Integrated software allows quick upload, editing and sharing
  • Expandable SD/SDHC card slot; up to 32GB
  • Rechargeable Lithium-ion battery
  • Brilliant 2.5-inch LCD viewfinder
  • View captured videos on HDTV via the unit’s HDMI output; AV cable included

Sleek Design

Improving upon the design of the Zi6, the Kodak Zi8 has a sleek and more modern look.  It measures 2.4 inches x 4.5 inches by 0.9 inches.  It may not be the smallest pocket video camera but it is compact enough and lightweight at 4.8 ounces.

The unit’s shiny, plastic finish is a fingerprint magnet.  It is also susceptible to scratches, so you will want to keep it in a protective case.

High Definition Video Recording

Like most pocket camcorders, the Kodak Zi8 Pocket Video Camera produces the best results if the unit is held as steady as possible while shooting.  A tripod is the best accessory for this.  The Zi8 is one of the first pocket video cameras to come out with electronic image stabilization to help reduce the effect of small hand jitters while shooting.  Image stabilization, however, drains the battery faster, so turn off this feature if using a tripod.

Video image quality is much improved with the Zi8’s 1080p, 30 fps video capture.  It also features 5-MP still image capture.  Like the Zi6 before it, the Zi8 can also record videos in 720p resolution at a rate of 60 fps.  According to Kodak, this mode is best for sports and action.  The device can also record at 720p/30fps, described as “best for sharing on YouTube or Facebook,” and WVGA which is “best for conserving memory card space.”

It’s best, however, to maintain a sense of perspective.  Pocket camcorder may be classified as HD models but they cannot compare with full HD camcorders that are much more expensive and equipped with superior lenses and sensors.


The Kodak Zi8 ships with a Lithium-ion rechargeable battery instead of standard AA NiMH rechargeable batteries.  While this move helps to keep the chassis slim, you do not have the luxury of being able to swap readily available standard alkaline batteries should you run out of battery on the road.  The Zi8 can be recharged from your computer using the USB cable, but the video camera can also be recharged with an AC adapter (included) connected to a wall outlet.


Internal memory is limited, so it’s best to have an additional SD or SDHC card.  The Zi8 can accept SDHC cards up to 32GB, allowing you to record as much as you want.  High speed memory cards are recommended especially if you will be recording in HD mode.

Ease of Use

Pocket video cameras like the Kodak Zi8 are designed to be easy to use.  The user interface is more intuitive, with a 4-way rocker control to navigate the menus.  The Zi8 features four speeds for fast-forwarding and rewinding, including frame by frame.

Playback on the 2.5-inch LCD is clear and the sound is quite good.  The built-in microphone is suitable only if you are recording from a few feet away.  Otherwise, it is best to use an external microphone to get a better audio recording.  Unlike many pocket video cameras, the Kodak Zi8 has an external microphone jack.

ArcSoft MediaImpression Softwre

The Zi8’s included software allows you to upload your video clips to YouTube or Facebook.  You can also edit and splice video clips together.  However, it is also possible to use third party software for your video-editing requirements.

Good Points

  • Can capture HD video up to 1080p resolution
  • Image quality is very good
  • Equipped with SD card slot
  • Rechargeable battery
  • Comes with bundled composite and HDMI cables
  • Works well under low light
  • Equipped with external microphone jack
  • Comes with electronic image stabilization
  • Can capture 5-MP still photos
  • Has macro focus mode

Weak Points

  • Bundled software is not Mac-compatible
  • Does not come with extra memory card
  • Uses rechargeable Li-ion battery in place of standard AA batteries

What Customers Say

The Kodak Zi8 Pocket Video Camera is a good option for people who want something affordable and simple to use but capable of capturing quality video.  This product fits the bill to a T.  Customers say it’s great for home videos and making no-fuss videos that are easy to upload online.  One of the best features noted by many customers is its portability and ease of use.  Another thing they like is its ability to take still photos.

A number of customers noted some problems with the unit’s internal microphone, which produced a whining noise in the video recording.  It seems that the problem has been resolved with an upgraded firmware.

Currently selling for about $115, the Kodak Zi8 is so good that some people expect too much from it.  As some customers pointed out, the Zi8 delivers so much more than its low price warrants.  Some people forget that it’s an inexpensive, pocket size video camera and expect it to perform like a $3000 camcorder.

If you are looking for an affordable, compact, HD video camera that delivers quality videos, the Kodak Zi8 is it.

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