However, this new genre of camcorder is not so much about video quality as it is about ease of use and ability to put clips online with the minimum of fuss. Like the Flip and Vado, the Kodak Zi6 comes with its own software onboard, in this case ArcSoft MediaImpression for Kodak, version 1.2. When you first plug the device into a PC, the auto-execution routine will load its software on the system.
Once MediaImpression is installed, plugging in the Zi6 calls up a splash screen giving you the option to Browse the contents of your camcorder, Import them to a local hard disk, plus of course direct upload to YouTube. With the latter, an Explorer-style interface lets you choose a video, then you simply type in your login and password, followed by the usual title, description and tagging information, then up the file goes.
Kodak also supplies a CD containing a version of MediaImpression with more features. In particular, this version adds the ability to perform some mild editing, but only ordering clips, adding transitions, opening and closing titles, plus a soundtrack. The results can then be exported as a file or even burnt to DVD. It can also convert files for devices like the iPod and PSP, or send Video Email.
Unfortunately, the MOV files created by the Kodak, whilst Mac-friendly, are not universally supported by PC video editing apps. Pinnacle Studio 12 Plus wouldn’t recognise them, although Adobe Premiere Elements 7, CyberLink PowerDirector and Ulead VideoStudio 11 Plus had no problems. If you just want to watch your footage, there are twin minijacks and cables supplied for composite and component analogue video, with RCA audio also included on the composite cable.
The Kodak Zi6 does up the ante for video quality amongst YouTube-oriented camcorders, at least in the majority of lighting conditions. But the question is, if you’re aiming at YouTube, do you need HD anyway? Fortunately, you don’t pay much of a premium for it over the Flip or Vado, although you will need to shell out for an SDHC card straight away. For simple capturing of family moments, however, the Zi6 does a competent job. So if you’re not just shooting for YouTube, the extra resolution swings things in its favour over the competition, although video hobbyists need not apply.
Score in detail
Image Quality 6