Waterproof, Rugged, and Great for Camping – The Kodak Playsport HD Pocket Video Camera
I really liked this little video camera for outdoor camping trips – it’s rugged, but it’s still a $100 pocket video camera and as good as it is, it will not compare to the more expensive, ($400 and up), video cameras. But since I’m not a video purist – the videos I took with this little guy looked pretty good to me!
What it is:
- Pocket HD video camera that can record in 1080p High Definition at 30 fps, (frames per second), or standard 720p at 60 fps. It can also take 5 mega-pixal still photos.
- It is rugged and waterproof – go ahead, knock it off the table or toss it in the water – it can take it, and you can record underwater too!
How it works:
- Easy one hand controls – four function buttons and Kodak’s trademark “arrow-wheel” for choosing options selections – *once your have your options set, the control buttons are easy to use with gloved hands, press record and away you go, but working the arrows-wheel, and trying to press the little “select” button in the center with gloves on was a little awkward
- Records to removable SD/SDHC memory cards – a plus in my opinion – when your memory is full, just pop in another SD card and keep on recording.
- Uses Kodak’s Easyshare software to easily send your videos to social networks like youtube or facebook
- You can just pop the memory card into your card reader to transfer everything to your PC, or use the included cables and software to do it.
** You can see all the company promos, blurbs, and technical specs with this link to the Kodak Store – Playsport Zx3 HD video Camera
How it performed on a real camping trip:
I took this camera on a recent weekend camping and hiking trip to the Appalachian Trail, near Harper’s Ferry. We planned for a lot of hiking so I snapped the camera’s wristband to my neck lanyard for easy access. But this also meant the camera was swinging and banging around the whole time I was hiking.
This wasn’t a problem though, and it was nice to be able to just grab it and press the button to record whatever I wanted, on the fly.
But… I quickly discovered that the 1080p HD setting was pretty useless for recording while the camera was moving, – awful picture quality. I switched to the 720p mode and everything looked great. I think unless you will be watching on a high-end HD TV, it will be hard to tell the difference in recording quality.
I used an 8 Gig SDHC memory card which should have given me about 2 1/2 hours of video storage, but the battery died after about an hour and a half, so… No worries! I had thought of this and bought a back-up battery. I did get about 2 hrs. on that card after all.
(ps. I will add some of the trail videos, here, after I get them edited)
Later, in camp, I found that the 1080p HD mode worked great if the camera was on a tripod or held absolutely still – but how often does that happen on a camping trip? Stick with the 720p mode. You get more recording time both on your memory card and from the battery.
The camera was passed from hand to hand, plopped around the site, dropped a couple times, (on purpose?), and tossed into tents – no problems at all – still worked as advertised.
My final thoughts – a definite buy, I loved this camera. It worked great and stood up to a camping and hiking environment. It’s nice when something performs as promised and doesn’t need kid-glove care.
- Buy at least 1 extra battery and a 4 or 8 Gig memory card. (2 each if you can)
- Stick with the 720p HD recording mode – you get better quality videos in a normal camping or hiking use.
- Stick with 4 or 8 Gig cards – it makes editing and organization, (and transfer time), a lot easier than working with a 16 or 32 Gig card
- Get a neck lanyard with a swivel snap, (if you don’t have one), it keeps the camera handy for spur-of-the-moment shots.
- Price – the retail price lists as $149.99, and many sites list it for around $125, but I got mine from Amazon for $117.36, with free shipping. I also got two 8 Gig cards and one extra battery for less than $30 more – well worth it.
- This link will give you several to choose from – pick the one from Amazon itself – it won’t list the price, but it is $117.36 and includes free shipping. Get your extras there too – don’t buy directly from Kodak – the prices are three times as high!
Kodak Playsport Zx3 Pocket Video camera
ps. here are some links for those extras you will need for your camping camera. You will be surprised when you see how inexpensive they are when you buy them online.