02.Colour & Noise Performance
03.Motion & Sharpness Performance
04.Low Light Performance
05.Compression & Media
08.Handling & Use
09.Playback & Connectivity
Manual Controls Summary
• All image adjustments are handled automatically
• Exposure and focus work fine, but white balance is terrible
• 2x digital zoom is awkward and finicky
• There are no manual controls for aperture, shutter speed, exposure, gain, etc.
Auto Mode (3.8)There is no manual mode on the Kodak Zx1, which means auto mode is really the only option. Yes, the camcorder does offer three video recording options in the form of HD60 (60p frame rate), HD (30p), and VGA (30p standard definition). These three modes all function essentially identical, however, and the only difference between them is the frame rate and image resolution.
Since the Zx1 has a fixed lens there isn't much to be said about its autofocus system. The lens has no moving parts and Kodak claims it will maintain focus from 70cm (27.6 inches) to infinity. We found most objects to be in focus even at lengths shorter than 70cm, but things definitely started to get fuzzy when the camcorder got really close. The Zx1's sister model, the Zi6 offers a telemacro setting for getting crisp, focused shots up close.
One of the biggest problems with the Zx1 is its dreadful auto white balance system. The camcorder couldn't white balance correctly under the tungsten lights we use for our bright light testing and it showed some difficulty under fluorescent lights as well. The auto white balance did work fine outdoors, under natural light, but that is the only spectrum where we can give the system our approval.
Auto exposure is rather quick on the Zx1 and it gets the job done. Adjustments tend to be smooth, although occasionally we noticed the exposure quickly snapping as we moved the camcorder from light to dark settings. The camcorder also had trouble exposing very bright objects correctly, often blowing-out portions of an image with intense lighting.
When shooting in low light, the Zx1 engages an automatic slow shutter that appears to drop the camcorder's shutter speed to around 1/30 of a second. There is no way to turn this feature off, which means you're stuck with using the slow shutter in low light no matter what. This slow shutter does help boost the Zx1's low light capabilities (as seen in its impressive results in our low light testing), but it also produces choppy footage that may not be desirable for some shooters. However, if you're planning on uploading videos to YouTube or posting them elsewhere on the internet, it is unlikely that a slow shutter is going to irritate you.
Low Light Modes
There are no low light modes featured on the Kodak Zx1.
The Kodak Zx1 has no scene modes. In comparison, the Sony MHS-PM1 includes a few scene modes and the Kodak Zi6 offers a telemacro setting.
Zoom (3.0)The Kodak Zx1 does not have an optical zoom, but it does provide you with a meagre 2x digital zoom, which can be controlled via the up and down buttons on the four-way directional pad (d-pad). While operating the controls, zoom is anything but smooth. There are about 12 zoom increments; clicking on the up and down arrows causes the zoom to leap unpredictably from one to the next. Holding down on the zoom achieves a choppy transition from 1x to 2x digital zoom. There is a scale displayed on the LCD, but no numbers to mark the increments.
|Operating the zoom with the d-pad is awkward.|
Zoom Ratio (0.0)
The Kodak Zx1 does not have optical zoom. Like most ultra compact camcorders, including the Flip MinoHD and Flip UltraHD, this petite frame simply isn't large enough to accommodate an optical zoom without increasing the price. There is, however, a modest 2x digital zoom, but remember that digital zoom ultimately degrades image quality.
|Wide Angle||2x Zoom|
There is no manual focus on the Kodak Zx1. The fixed lens doesn't even have a moving lens element to automatically adjust focus. The fixed focus is supposedly able to accommodate objects as close as 70 cm.
|White Balance Controls|
The Kodak Zx1 does not allow you to make any manual exposure adjustment. You may, however, notice a slight difference in apparent exposure when switching between HD and HD60 modes. In low light, especially, the 30p frame rate (HD mode) will appear slightly brighter than the 60p frame rate (HD60 mode).
You have no control over aperture on the Kodak Zx1. The fixed lens has an aperture of f/2.8.
Shutter Speed (0.0)
Shutter speed is entirely automated on the Zx1.
White Balance (0.0)
White balance is also entirely automated.
There are no manual gain settings on the Kodak Zx1.
Colour & Image Controls (0.0)
There are no colour or image controls on the Kodak Zx1.
Other Manual Controls (0.0)
There are no additional manual controls on the Kodak Zx1.
Kodak Playsport Zx3 Camcorder Review
The Playsport Zx3 is an exciting ultracompact camcorder from Kodak that combines a Full HD recording capability with a body that is waterproof up to 3 meters. The camcorder’s durable construction, and did surprisingly well in our video testing. Read More...
Top Rated Camcorders
With the Legria HF G10, Canon's latest flagship camcorder, the company decided to use a completely different image sensor with a smaller amount of pixels. If you check out the results from our performance testing, you'll quickly see the change paid off—particularly in low light situations. Read full 16-part reviewTypeConsumer
Other than a new silver paint job, JVC's newest flagship model, the Everio GZ-HM1, looks exactly like its predecessor, the GZ-HM400. JVC's biggest alteration comes in the form of a back-illuminated CMOS sensor that did wonders in improving the low light performance of this new model. Read full 16-part reviewTypeConsumer
Canon's new flagship model, the HF S21, has a lot of exciting new features and controls. Its 64GB of internal flash memory, two SD/SDHC memory card slots, and the touchscreen LCD make the HF S21 one of the most appealing camcorders of 2010. Read full 17-part review£966.50TypeConsumer
Camcorderinfo.co.uk Select Awards 2009
It’s time once again for our annual CamcorderInfo select awards. Each year, we honor the camcorders that really rise above the rest during our review process. The camcorders you’ll read about below have all survived a battery of tests—tests that are designed to give every camcorder fair and equal treatment. These models have also been carefully compared to the competition. Read More...