Kodak’s Zi6 predates the ZX1 by a few months. It offers the advantage of an SDHC slot, plus 128MB of internal memory.
The Zi6 can capture 1,280x720 video at a framerate of either 30fps or 60fps and in a 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio. Composition and results are viewed via its 2.4in LCD screen.
The unit is physically larger than its rivals from Creative and Flip (pages xx and xx), but feels more substantial and will still slip comfortably into a pocket. The larger size is partly due to the fact that the Zi6 requires two rechargeable AA batteries for power. A mini charger is included.
With smooth rubber bodywork at the front and back providing firm purchase for fingers and thumb, the Zi6’s buttons and controls are large and well-marked. Press a button next to the lens and, apeing the Flip, a USB arm flicks out from the side for attachment to a PC or laptop. Below this are outputs for HD and AV cables, and both leads are provided in the box. What it misses is an extension lead for the USB arm itself.
On the other side is a protected slot for an SDHC Card and, above this, a slider switch for manually swapping focal distance between close up and infinity – much like you’d see on a digital stills camera.
Everything feels very much in the right place, with the four-way joystick for operating the slightly jerky digital zoom falling under the thumb.
The quality of the Kodak’s larger screen is much better than its Creative and Flip rivals, displaying no obvious artefacts. However, the built-in mono microphone is quite sensitive, picking up the camera’s operational sounds.
With operation simply plug and play, video quality is a slight improvement on the Flip; colours are realistic but shadow areas are slightly noisy when shooting daylight interiors. A screw thread at the base also allows the camcorder to be attached to a tripod. Further good news: at press time, Amazon UK was advertising the Zi6 for just £85 inc VAT.