As with other YouTube-oriented camcorders, the Zi6 is not exactly jam-packed with features. You won’t be able to attach any external peripherals, as there is no accessory shoe (nor room for one), and no audio input either, although a tripod mount is available. There are no manual settings to worry about, either. The joystick on the back simply works the digital zoom and toggles between the recording modes. The photo mode is also found amongst these, offering 3-megapixel stills (using interpolation), equating to a resolution of 2,048 x 1,536.
However, like the video modes, there are absolutely no settings available other than the digital zoom – not even different quality levels. In fact, the only manual setting is the switch that swaps between tele and macro options, physically moving the lens. The macro mode works quite well, allowing focus on objects just a few centimetres away – handy for recording the antics of your local flea circus.
The Kodak’s main differentiation with others in its class is therefore simply the HD video quality. Unfortunately, although it has plenty of detail on its side, the Zi6 tends to shoot very yellow footage in very bright conditions, which wasn’t a problem with the Flip or Vado. It fares much better in more moderate, but otherwise decent lighting. So in everyday conditions its footage will be quite pleasing, and on average will achieve better results than its competitors.
In reasonable artificial illumination, the Zi6 also picks up decent colour. The level of grain is greater in HD60 mode, however, probably because the shutter is limited to a minimum of 1/60th in this mode, whereas it can drop to 1/30th when shooting 30 frames per second HD. In even worse light, the Zi6 produces quite dark footage, with some pronounced compression artefacts, but there is still a decent amount of colour information.
So, overall, if you’re not a camcorder enthusiast you will probably be perfectly happy with the quality of the Zi6’s footage. Its photography abilities, however, are marred by the lack of a flash. Results are acceptable in good light, but in low light the shutter speed is set so low it’s virtually impossible to get a non-blurry shot – something with which iPhone users will surely sympathise.
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