Kodak Zi8 Review Part 2: Audio and Macro Features in HD


One of the big features of the new Kodak Zi8 that I found exciting was the macro mode as well as the ability to have an external stereo mic input in with record level adjustment. As far as I know the Kodak Zi8 is the only pocket video recorder that has both of these features as well as 1080p. The video posted here was recorded in 1080p using the macro mode and with both an external mic (see picture) and the internal mic.

I have also decided to show this video from two sources… Youtube as a HD and wordpress as a HD video… you decide which you like and you can switch back and forth from HD to non HD to see the difference. I have to mention that I was wrong about wordpress.com not allowing HD video as obviously it does… try both and see the difference as it is huge. The downside to HD is of course the file size… this short video is a 136MB file so the upload time even with high speed internet is quite long.

WordPress.com HD

YouTube HD

Stay tuned for Part 3…

29 thoughts on “Kodak Zi8 Review Part 2: Audio and Macro Features in HD

  1. I’ve been looking for a handy little vidcam to attach to the shoulder strap of my bag. Seems that I’ve been running into quite a few confrontations with the “authorities?!?!”while photographing and thought video documentation would be a nice addition.

    So with that in mind what do you think of this little EKC gem?

    My only concern would be the position of the record button but that could easily be remedied with the optional remote attached to the DSLR to trigger when the ugliness begins…

  2. The info on the Zi8 says that the software only runs on PC’s. Is there an approach that will permit use of a Mac, short of running windows machine?


    1. if it is for up close recording any good stereo mic will work… I have two put I love the Sony ECM-717 as it clips to my jacket and provides good all around sound… for something a bit farther away consider a shot gun mic….

  3. Wow.. I had no idea that the Kodak Zi8 had a macro mode! That’s super cool. I’ve been using the Flip Video Mino HD, and I’ll be upgrading this camera. The ability to shoot in 1080p and the additional image stabilization are golden buy points for me!!! Now the macro mode.. has me sold!


  4. Hi, Ive just got my zi8 and am very pleased with it. I’m still learning how to take the best pics but the quality is very nice as long as you hold the camera steady. The files are .mov files and I found the that Final Cut Express 4 can’t see the zi8 via it’s Files/Log and Transfer menu item. I managed to import them via File/Import/Files menu. I’m completely new to FCE so am now trying to work out how it works. If anyone knows how to get FCE to recognise the camera another way, I’d love to hear about it. I’ve also ordered an external mic but that has not arrived yet but overall I’m impressed and it is a real nice piece of kit. Good value to. £129 from Amazon UK.

  5. Thanks for these reviews.

    Almost all the video in this clip are out of focus. As a photographer I’m surprised your satisfied with that. There was so much movement I couldn’t tell if the camera would have focused had it been given some more time on one subject. Do you have any footage with a still subject? I think that would be interesting.



    1. My expectations for a $175 dollar camera are a lot different than for say a new Leica. That being said I think they look quite good considering… look at the other cameras in this field and it looks really, really good in my opinion…. on a tripod of a stationary object would be the best but that is now how I use the Zi8…


  6. I like the size of the Flip better I can fit it into my pocket and it not noticable and the weight is great.

    The video pic are good when you replay on the screen

  7. Is the Zi8 suitable for taking action video clips? For example I’d like to use the Zi8 with an external Mic to record some fitness exercises which I will post on my blog.

    So there will be some relatively slow movements e.g. pushups, squats etc and some more faster movements e.g jumping jacks, running fast on the spot, doing short sprints etc

    It’s more the faster ‘active’ movements I’m concerned about and whether this level of camera will produce good enough results for posting on Youtube.

    Great review by the way and appreciate your feedback.

    All the best – Paul H

  8. Many thanks Stephen. In case I go ahead and buy one do you have an affiliate link for this? As an affiliate myself I always like to give credit where it is due on good review sites.

    All the best – Paul H

  9. Hi, Stephen.

    Many thanks for the informative video and audio commentary on the Zi8. I have been thinking about getting a camcorder of some kind for years just to have handy for trips and family events, and I think the positive reviews I’ve been reading of the Zi8 just might seal the deal for me.

    One thing I was wondering about, though: How did you record the video of you driving in the Prius? Were you just holding it in your hand? If so, it’s pretty impressive that the video was so smooth despite, as you said in the audio commentary, the fact that the road was bumpy.

    Also, does the Zi8’s rounded bottom prevent you from resting it on its side on a flat surface and filming? Have you found the rounded bottom to be an annoyance? I guess I could spend $13 for the tripod on Kodak’s site, but I would prefer not to if I didn’t have to.

    Thanks again for the review.

      1. Ah, interesting. OK, thanks much.

        What size SD card do you recommend people buy when buying the Zi8, and how many hours of video will that size card allow the user to record?

      2. One more question, Stephen, if you don’t mind one from a camcorder newbie!

        I have a MacBook running OSX, so I won’t be able to use the Zi8’s editing software. But you’re saying it’s easy to use iPhoto and iMovie to transfer the videos and pictures from the camera onto the MacBook? And then is it clear how to upload the clips from the computer to Facebook and/or YouTube?


  10. Stephen,

    I have iPhoto 6, version 6.06, on my MacBook.

    I did import a video clip from the Zi8 into iPhoto, but there doesn’t seem to be a way to export it to Facebook (or any other site). I click on the video, then go to File/Export and select the Facebook tab (making sure I am logged in to Facebook), but the video is not showing up on the left-hand side of that Export Photos screen, and the Export button on the bottom right of the screen is grayed out or inactive.

    When I select an individual photo, it does show up on the left-hand side of the Export Photos screen, and the Export button is blue and active.

    I did some poking around on iLife, and it looks as if the next version, iLife ’09, has Facebook or Flickr sharing capabilities, but that’s a $79 upgrade.

    Do I have to spend the $79 to get the videos to Facebook or Vimeo or Flickr? Now we are talking about a $330 total purchase (including an 8 GB SD card, a mini tripod, and a soft case), and for that kind of money, I wonder if it would be more cost effective to just get a higher-quality camcorder that is Mac compatible.



    1. I am using the newer iLife so the issue you are having is new to me… Once again this is one of the main problems with constant upgrades forced down on us… Either upgrade or have compatiability issues

      1. Ah, I see, Stephen. Thanks.

        What I found last night was that I was able to get the video to Facebook and YouTube by going to each of those sites and grabbing the video from my hard drive. So that seems to be a valid workaround. It did take what seemed to me to be an infernally long time (it was a 3:34 video and took about 20 minutes to upload and process to YouTube on a cable modem; the upload/process time to Facebook was a bit quicker but not by much). Don’t know if the iLife method of exporting videos is any quicker.

        Thanks, also, for letting me know that in the new iMovie there is an Export option.


  11. I just got a couple of Zi8’s for work, and they are great. I have a couple of Audio Technica Pro24-cm microphones that I thought would work well with the Zi8, but I found the sound quality to be lacking. Any recommendations for similar, smaller sized shotgun mics? The ones I’m interested in have a hot shoe mount, as I’m mounting the Zi8 onto a Sima video bracket with 2 hot-shoe mounts.


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