With the recent decision by Cisco to axe its previously market-leading Flip pocket camcorders, Kodak has been quick to rush into the breach. The company has upgraded last year’s PlaySport Zx3 to the Zx5, adding some new and improved features.
While the Zx3 was waterproof up to 3m, the Zx5 further enhances its rugged appeal by making it officially dustproof and shockproof, so it’s even more suitable as a companion for non-extreme sports and beach party fans. The measurements are roughly the same (58x112x18mm). At 125g, it’s marginally lighter than its predecessor and feels exceptionally comfortable in the hand with its rubberised sides and textured front. There are five funky colours to choose from – red, black, white, aqua blue and lime green.
The Zx5′s power button has moved to the top and the fan-shaped pattern of the control buttons on the back are slightly further apart, in response to earlier criticism that they were fiddly to operate with ski gloves. Kodak has also added its proprietary Share button, which allows users to instantly upload their videos to social network sites. There’s also a set of capture effects (including high saturation and a retro-styled 1970s film setting), digital image stabilisation, face recognition and a new macro facility that lets you focus on objects as close as 10cm.
Video and still image resolutions have remained consistent, with 16:9 widescreen video shot in 1080p (Full HD), 720p and WVGA at 30fps; 720p video at 60fps and still images at 5.3 megapixels. The camera’s storage capacity retains the same maximum of 32GB on SD/SDHC cards (there’s no room for SDXC).
The one alteration that might prove off-putting to some, though, is the decision to build a permanent lithium-ion battery into the device. Replacing this battery means sending it off to the manufacturer or replacing new camera.
Viewing footage still works effectively using the auto anti-glare 2in LCD display, and the underwater pictures have improved slightly with the addition of an Underwater Correction feature. Pictures are bright, with plenty of detail – and although they’re not pin-sharp, the quality is still above average for this class of camcorder. As the Zx3 is about to be retired, the Zx5 is a worthy successor.
Contact: Kodak on 01442 261122
- A new and redesigned, user-friendly control system.
- The built-in lithium ion battery can't be removed for easy replacement.
Kodak has put some work into its new PlaySport Zx5, adding some welcome extra physical protection, improving underwater video quality, and adding macro and fun filters - as well as enhancing the control layout. The non-removable battery might be a slight issue for some users, though.