The Kodak Playsport, commonly referred to as the Zx3, is a development of the Zx1 camera. In contrast to earlier predecessor, which was weatherproof, the Playsport is waterproof and can record at depths of 9.8 feet. Other enhancements make it a more versatile pocket video camera, both in and out of the water.
There isn’t much to complain about considering the price, however if you’re looking for certain shooting capabilities or talents, keep reading. Nonetheless, the Playsport comes highly recommended if your major worries are an affordable HD pocket video camera that can handle a day at the pool, a trek in the woods, or some time severe weather.
Playsport by Kodak
The Playsport, which is around the size of a typical smartphone, is somewhat bigger and heavier than other minicamcorders, but not noticeably so. It won’t weigh you down and you’ll still have no issue fitting it into a tiny handbag or jeans pocket. The majority of the body is made of plastic, but it has the feel of thick, durable plastic, and the slightly textured back and ribbed sides make it easier to hold onto even when it’s wet. Kodak makes no promises that it is crush- or shockproof despite its “rugged construction”. The only durability promises are that it is dust-resistant and waterproof to a depth of 9.8 feet (meets IEC standard 60529 IPX8, so I’d think it’s just for up to 30 minutes) (IEC standard 60529 IPX6). Also, it is not freezeproof, which means that prolonged exposure to temperatures below 32 degrees Fahrenheit would probably cause it to malfunction.
You must bear in mind that, as is customary with minicamcorders, the front lens is somewhat uncovered and has to be kept secure and clean. The Playsport lacks a macro option, unlike Kodak’s Zi8 model, and its standard focus range begins at 3.3 feet while its underwater focus range begins at 4.4 feet. A reasonably sensitive mono microphone, a covert IR receiver, and a record light that flashes red while you’re recording are located next to the lens. All operational noises and the light can be turned off.
The controls are simple enough to use right out of the box. The other controls are on the rear, below the Display, although the power button is high on the right side. The circular four-way directional pad selects recording modes and operates the 4x digital zoom (up and down) (left and right). Moreover, it controls playback volume, fast forward, and rewind. The buttons in the middle are for taking pictures, pausing/resuming playback of movies, and starting/stopping recordings. By pressing the remaining four buttons to the left of the pad, you may access the settings menu, enter Liveview to record, Review to view what you’ve captured, and delete photographs and videos.
Although having a 2 inch diagonal, the Screen is enough for photography and in-flight playback. This model now has an LCD Glare Shield function from Kodak, which sounds nicer than it actually is. By switching from a Normal image to a High Saturation or Black & White one may effortlessly increase screen visibility in harsh outdoor illumination. The settings can improve your ability to see what you’re capturing, but they have no impact on the video itself. The Liveview button is used to cycle through them.
Although these minicamcorders are designed for point-and-shoot operation, there aren’t many settings to alter, while I’m on the subject. Along with the Glare Shield feature, the device offers three levels of screen brightness, an auto setting option, gain control for the built-in mono microphone, on/off switches for its electronic image stabilization and face detection, and an Underwater Mode that enhances video and photo quality for clearer underwater shooting. There are four different video recording modes: WVGA, 720p at 60 or 30 frames per second, and 1080p at 30 frames per second. Furthermore, 5-megapixel stills are available.
There are two locking doors, one on each side of the body, to keep ports and other openings waterproof. A proprietary USB port, Mini-HDMI port, AV jack, and wires are all located under the right-side door. This variant lacks the built-in USB connector that is typical of this kind of camcorder in order to maintain the body’s compactness and reduce the possibility of water damage. Instead, you must utilize the USB cord that is provided. This means that not only do you have to carry a cable around with you for on-the-go uploading, but you also have to carry around this particular cable because it isn’t a Mini- or Micro-USB port. (You might also choose that option if you have an SDHC memory card reader accessible.)
The battery and SD/SDHC card slot are located under the left door. With the accompanying USB cable linked to a computer (about 4 hours for a full charge) or the included wall adapter, the camera’s battery is recharged (approximately 2 hours for a full charge). If you want to record at 720/60p or 1080/30p, I advise purchasing one or two extra batteries because those settings dramatically reduce battery life. Moreover, an SD/SDHC card is required for recording purposes. Just 20MB of the 128MB internal memory is accessible for video or still images.
As we’ve stated repeatedly, a full-featured HD camcorder that costs hundreds more just cannot compete with pocket video cameras like the Playsport. Beyond high resolution, there are additional elements that contribute to effective video production. Yet, given its class, 1080p video quality is often good with fantastic color and crispness. You’ll see some artifacts when the video is played back on a large HDTV, but they won’t be distracting (and, to be honest, if you’re so fussy, you shouldn’t be purchasing in this product category). To avoid a lot of judder in your video, switch to the 720/60p option if you plan on performing a lot of panning or capturing fast-moving objects. The results are significantly smoother but noticeably softer than the 1080p. Although the quality of the digital zoom will decrease, it won’t become completely worthless. The performance in low light is quite impressive. Clips appear softer, which suggests that noise reduction is actively taking place. Even on a large screen, the results are still pleasant, despite the apparent color banding. Outcomes underwater were good as well, however you’ll need to keep in mind to keep your target 4 feet away to keep them in focus.
It will do if you simply want a quick photo, but it won’t replace a digital camera. Photo quality is comparable to that of an excellent camera phone. It’s wonderful that there is less shutter lag than with some of the other models we tried, but it does take a few seconds for the picture to be stored before you can take another shot.
With pocket video cameras, the ability to share the footage is just as crucial as the video itself. Software for sharing from ArcSoft called MediaImpression for Kodak is kept on the gadget’s internal memory. The Playsport’s software will begin installing once you connect it to a computer using USB. The software will ask you if you want to use it as your main application for viewing various sorts of photographs and videos, so be cautious while clicking. Once installed, you may send videos by email and post them immediately to sites like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Vimeo (after entering your login details, of course). Together with modifications for color, contrast, and brightness, underwater enhancement, dynamic lighting, and denoise, there is a simple editor for trimming and clipping. You may also use a few entertaining effects like Watercolor, Negative, and Sketch. It can record individual frames and transcode videos for usage on Sony’s PlayStation Portable and PlayStation 3, Apple TV, iPhone, and iPod. However, because the program is only compatible with Windows, it cannot be used on a Mac. If you have a Mac, you can quickly upload your video and still photographs to YouTube by dragging and dropping the files from your camcorder onto your computer, just like you would with any other USB storage drive. You can then edit your film using iMovie if you have a Mac.
The Kodak Playsport Zx3 is a good minicamcorder for its price and size, whether or not it is waterproof. Although it is more durable than the typical pocket video camera, it is by no means unbreakable. The compromises made for the sturdy build are more inconvenient than insurmountable, yet the video is good for its class.