Kodak Playsport Zx5 Review – Good video quality for its class
Kodak Playsport Zx5 is an update to the PlaySport Zx3 which the manufacturer released in 2010. The two devices are quite identical but Kodak has improved the durability on the newer model. The Zx3 was just dustproof and waterproof but the Zx5 is now shockproof as well. There are other differences in features as well. However, I was disappointed to see that the battery isn’t user replaceable.
Video quality of the Kodak Playsport Zx5 hasn’t changed a lot from Zx3. There are few changes made to the newer model which has brought the rating down. On the bright side, the video quality is still pretty nice and this camera is recommended for people who are looking for mini camcorder which can easily work in rain, snow, sand, and surf.
Not as good as full-fledged camcorder
I have said before that pocket video cams like PlaySport won’t be able to compete with the bigger HD camcorders which cost lot more. High resolution isn’t the only thing that matter when making a good video. Also, you won’t bring something that expensive in a pool. Looking at the price and size, this device gives you good value for money. It operates at default resolution of 720p with 30 fps or frames per second. For this setting, the videos look a bit soft and they are more DVD quality than HD. While shooting the moving objects, you will see some artifacts and panning this camera quickly will give you some noticeable judder. Same goes true for 1080/30p setting as well. But all these things aren’t unexpected in minicamcorders and things will smooth out easily if you move to 720/60p settings.
If subjects aren’t moving rapidly, then 1080/30p resolution can be used as things start looking actual HD. There is a lot of sharpening at some times which causes artifacts ringing but that is noticeable only when you are viewing on large screen TV such as an HDTV. The exposure and colour is good enough but there were clipped highlights in conditions of bright lighting both outdoors and in. White balance too was off. Video taken in low light conditions was noisy and there was plenty of detail loss as well. I also noticed that there were some problems in focussing or sharpening on some portion of left center side of scene having fine detail. This can be overlooked easily if you are not scrutinizing the clip or watching it in smaller sizes.
Kodak PlaySport Zx5 review says that this device comes with autofocus lens which focuses from four inches to infinity. In the underwater conditions, it changes from 5.1 inches to infinity. For getting really close to the subject, you can go for macro shooting having focus range from 2.8-6.7 inches and underwater – 3.5-8.7 inches. There is also digital 4x zoom but I won’t recommend you to use it too often because the results aren’t good.
Kodak PlaySport Zx5 can shoot 5mp photos and it shoots fast too. These photos can used for small prints and Web but just like video, there were issues of clipped highlights and I also saw some visible artifacts and noise in the shots taken in low light conditions.
Kodak PlaySport Zx5 price is $179.95 but I would recommend you to check your local store for the latest prices.
It is important that video sharing should be easy on such devices. There is ArtSoft MediaImpression Kodak software stored on the internal memory of this device and you will also find Kodak’s Share Button app. The Kodak PlaySport Zx5 should be connected to PC through USB and the MediaImpression software will install automatically. You should be careful with the clicks through because the software prompts you to use this software as default for viewing videos.
After you have installed the software, you can use it for emailing the clips or uploading the content to Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Vimeo. There is an editor for cutting and trimming for adjustments to brightness, colour, contrast, denoise, and dynamic lighting. There are also some effects for Watercolor, Sketch, and Negative. You can capture the individual frames or convert video for using on iPod, iPhone, Apple TV and Sony PSP and PS3.
Transferring the content
Kodak Share Button is used for storing, e-mailing, and uploading the movies and photos which are tagged in this mini camcorder. The content isn’t sorted and hence the movies and photos all end up in same folder. Both Share Button and Media Impression app can be used on Mac and Windows; but if you are using Mac, you will have to download the app for it on the Kodak Website. Also, you can put the SD card in your PC directly and drag and drop all the content.
The weight, size, and appearance of this camera aren’t changed a lot as compared to its predecessor. The Kodak PlaySport Zx5 is heavier and bigger as compared to other mini camcorders in the market but the difference isn’t much. You won’t have any trouble in slipping this device in to a tiny hand bag or pants pocket. Body of this device is made of plastic. It is tough and thick plastic having textured ribbed sides for giving you good grip even when it is wet.
Kodak PlaySport Zx5 is water proof up to 9.8 feet (for around 30 minutes), dust resistant and shockproof. For the latter, the mini camcorder can survive drops up to five feet. However, it isn’t indestructible so I won’t recommend you to experiment too much. You should remember that this camcorder isn’t freeze proof and you won’t be able to use it in freezing temperatures.
Kodak PlaySport Zx5 has 20 MB internal memory and the SD card slot is necessary for recording. There were some reports that this device won’t work with SDHC class 10 cards but there was firmware update given to resolve this issue. I tested this device on both Class 10 and Class 4 cards and both were working fine.
Kodak PlaySport Zx5 controls are very easy to master. You will get a hang of it in no time. As compared to the button layout of its predecessor, the only change here is Share button from Kodak for tagging stuff that you want for sharing it online through e-mail or on sites. There is Kodak 3 step sharing process which is pretty cool.
Kodak PlaySport Zx5 is a really good minicamcorder. There are some shortcomings but they are forgivable considering the results, price, and size of this device. It is a simple and nice video camera which is comfortable to handle.
- $149.99 price
- 4.4 x 2.3 x 0.8 inches dimensions (HWD)
- 5.1 ounces Weight (with media and battery)
- SD/SDHC cards storage
- 5 megapixels resolution, 1/2.5 inches CMOS
- Two inches LCD display size
- 154 K dots resolution
- Fixed focus, f 2.8, 48 mm (35 mm equivalent) lens
- H.264 (.MOV) file format
- 1,920×1,080 resolution 30fps
- 80 minutes recording time for 4 GB (720p at 30fps)
- Digital image stabilization
- Li ion rechargeable battery
- 1 hour, 30 minutes (720p at 30 fps) rated battery life