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~Filmic Inspiration~ Two and a half years ago my sister and her partner went to India with my husband and me. Sister went into a bit of a head-spin at the airport trying to find a small Flip video camera to take on her travels and paid about £120 for one. I hadn't even known up to that point that such things existed. Aileen had been inspired by my mother 'winning' one a few weeks earlier, absurdly as it might sound, by checking the codes on bottle of Coke. The absurdity was that she doesn't even drink Coke. Aileen wanted to have one but didn't like to ask to borrow mum's since it was almost new and she felt it would be cheeky to ask for a loan. On our trip she caused quite a stir with the Flip with locals crowding round to look at the tiny screen and see themselves. As a method for breaking the ice, this little camera had big impact. When we returned to England I decided to get something similar for my husband as he'd been quite taken with the little Flip. However, I wasn't sure he'd really want one or that he'd use it very much so I wanted to explore for cheaper alternatives and as a result of reading a review on one of the review sites, I discovered the Kodak Mini ZM1 which I picked up on Amazon for about £40 at that time and which is still available today for a few pounds more. If you are the kind of person who likes to get a lot for their money, then it's hard not to suppose that you are going to love a product like this. I bought it in bright metallic red, thinking he was less likely to leave it somewhere if it was rather 'loud' and being rather bored with the amount of grey, black and beige stuff we already have in our lives. In addition to paying for the camera, you'd better pop a micro SD card in your basket as that's the memory system used by the camera and the camera itself has only a tiny 128 Mb built in storage. ~Outdated but they still have their place~ Writing this in 2013 it's only fair to reflect that products of this type have passed their peak of relevance and are heading into decline. I believe Flip cameras aren't even available any more and it's increasingly difficult to find something like this because more and more of us have video recording facilities on our phones or smart phones so having a separate video camera may seem less relevant. At the time we bought this there were of course smart phones around but there were nothing like the amount there are today. You may find that if you want to use your camera as a way to communicate with other people on your travels by showing them what you've just filmed, you may still feel a lot less reluctant to hand over a £40 mini camera than to offer them your £500 iPhone. The ZM1 is a tiny little thing with the same dimensions as a credit card but thicker - though admittedly not a lot thicker. It weighs just 71g (or two and a half ounces) and has a screen that's 1.8 inches across. That's not enormous but it's enough to see what you've captured and to show the film to others. There are very few buttons and knobs to confuse you and the operation is fairly intuitive - even for someone like my husband who tends to swear at technology. ~Caveat Emptor - or buyer beware~ There are things you need to be aware of when buying this. Firstly you will need something somewhere with a USB slot for charging the camera as it doesn't come with a cable. Instead you open up the base of the camera via a rather stiff clip and pull back a small hook and the USB fitting clicks out. Just stick it into anything with a USB slot and charge away. I usually travel with my small laptop and can charge it off that but I do find it a little annoying to not have an independent way of charging although once it's fully charged, the battery tends to give plenty of charge to keep us going for a couple of days. Another thing that won't take up too much space is the instruction book - because there isn't one. Instead you get a silly little pamphlet with cartoons which makes an IKEA flat pack instruction sheet look easy by comparison. Fortunately by process of prodding and poking at all the buttons, it doesn't take too long to get the hang of how to use it. And if you are the type of person who's not relaxed until they know all there is to know, you can download an instruction book online. Downloading your videos and photos is easy - just click out that USB thingy again and plug it into the USB port on your computer and the transfer is pretty quick. I have found that we had to download additional software to get it to download on computers that are newer than the camera but that's a free and simple thing to do. Alternatively you can - if you have tiny fingers - take out the MicroSD card and put it into a suitable card reader. The only thing that my husband struggles with is closing the flap on the bottom that covers the USB and memory card. He just doesn't have the knack of squeezing it back into place and usually hands it to me when he's given up with frustration. This might be a challenge for young children or people who have problems with strength in their fingers. The camera claims to be waterproof to a depth of three meters although I've never tested that functionality but I do find it reassuring to not have to worry about using it on a wet day or being concerned about a drink bottle leaking over it in a backpack. ~On the Road~ The ZM1 has been on several holidays with us and is mostly used by my husband as I'm the one constantly with my eye to my DSLR. It lives in a corner of my camera bag where it takes up so little space that I'm not bothered about lugging it around. My husband tends to just wander around filming whatever he sees and uses it to help us remember the 'feel' and atmosphere of a place which is more easily lost in still photographs. He has used it with small kids in India who gathered around to look at the film he'd made of them playing cricket and in Morocco he once used the film of the taxi drivers who'd been arguing over who would take us back to the hotel to get them to agree a discount because they really wanted to see themselves on the screen. The quality of the films and still photos is strictly for home viewing and Stephen Spielberg doesn't need to worry about the competition. What you can do with the films is quite limited but so is what we want to do with them. If you like posting short films to YouTube or facebook then these are easily good enough for that but they won't win you any prizes at a film festival. This is a great little fun video for people who aren't looking to take their filming too seriously. ~Who's it for?~ I would recommend this as a cheap and cheerful very lightweight video camera suitable for users of all ages. It's easy to use and it would be perfect for children who want to make little films but who you don't want to let loose with something more expensive or technically demanding. If you don't have a phone that can make photos and videos, it might be worth having one of these in the glove box of your car in case you need to capture the damage in an accident or in your handbag for those 'Damn, I wish I had a camera with me' moments. At 71g in weight, it's not going to annoy you to have it with you.
I asked santa last christmas for a video camera mainly for using online for facebook. I have a lot of family over seas and they just love to look at recent photos of my children. My daughter had been Mary in a christmas play and brought tears to my eyes that my mum had not been with me to see her. I also enjoy nature walks with my oldest son and often kick myself that we missed a photo or video camera of the deer that passed by. Santa got me a perfect video camera in the form of the Kodak Zm1 pocket video camera. Kodak Zm1 pocket video camera costs around £30-£50 worth keeping an eye on Amazon uk as often on special. Kodak Zm1 pocket video camera comes in a yellow Kodak box that's small and compact, you can see the size of the camera through the clear packaging window on the box. You can get the Kodak Zm1 pocket video camera in different colours, i got the electric blue colour looks very cool. The only things in the box was the pocket camera, a wrist strap and instructions. I found the instructions easy to read and follow not overly complicated. Kodak Zm1 pocket video camera is tiny measuring roughly 7cm tall and 4cm wide. Its very lightweight weighing on 73g. Kodak Zm1 pocket video camera has a metal shell an in my case its blue in colour has a small lcd colour screen roughly 3cm wide and 4cm long. The lcd screen is very clear and picks up colours well. The buttons for the video camera are on the front under the screen these are laid out well and kept simple as this camera is perfect for older kids and teenagers. On the back of the camera is the F2.4 lens. What i really like about the Kodak Zm1 pocket video camera is the pop out usb charger. It has a little rubber flap that peals back and the usb connector comes out and the camera can be plugged into the computer or laptop. When plugged into the computer it takes one hour to fully charge the battery from flat. I can record up to five hours on the camera before the batteriy goes flat again. Kodak Zm1 pocket video camera has a built in memory of 120mb this is perfect for my use although it does have a sd card slot if you wish to add extra memory, it can take an sd card up to 34mg. Kodak Zm1 pocket video camera is waterproof up to 3 meters although i have not tested this fully out yet but have played about in the skin recording my fingers and hands boring but wanted to check it. Using the camera is straight forward, there is a small button in the middle pushing this in starts the recording each button has a small symbol to show what it does for instance the bin sign is for deleting the video. You can slide through all the video recordings. This is ideal for using on facebook and youtube its even advertised on the box because the camera simply connects via the built in usb charger and you can open the files on the computer and just upload them straight onto youtube or facebook. The files save like picture folders onto my documents as there are no disks or software to upload. Kodak Zm1 pocket video camera is compatible with all windows, mac and linux. I have had so much fun with the camera from my two year old singing twinkle twinkle like a pro to my son pointing out the owl in the tree like a mini David attenborough. The sound it picks up is amazing, very clear and hardly any interference, picture quality and focus is also amazing for such a small piece of equipment. If you need a simple video camera with a visually clear coloured screen and crystal clear mic sound then this is for you.
At Christmas time, I had quite a view Amazon vouchers and thought it was about time I treated myself to something new. I already have a digital camera for the time being but something I have always wanted is a video camera and after much researching around the Amazon website and reading customer ratings, I settled for this little number. I think what caught my eye was the design of it and being small as well as coming in a range of colours, really how could a girl say no to something stylish and interesting. APPEARANCE. To look at this video camera it comes in a Kodak box all very securely packaged and comes with instructions etc. Now, I think the thing I love most about this is that it is very lightweight, I got it in the red metallic colour which is lovely and it has buttons on the front as well as being the size of a credit card. The camera really is small and of course there is the actual screen on the front so that you can look at what you are taking videos of, it really is a compact and clever design to it. It comes in red, blue and grey. THE CAMERA The thing that first attracted me to it apart from the rich red colour was that you could take it underwater which for the price seemed perfect. It is nice to make holiday videos and this makes it possible, it goes up to 3m (10 feet) underwater which isn't too bad but I am still to try out this feature properly. The camera is only 73g in weight which really is perfect as you don't want to be carrying anything heavy about and it comes with a wrist strap to keep hold of it very securely. Now, another good thing is that you don't have a charger with this so no annoying cables, it simply has a USB stick built in and sticks right into the computer and charges from there. Now, the only downside to this is that if you take it away and have no computer access then you better hope the battery lasts a while. This is the next thing, once fully charged the battery seems to last a good while it is a Li-Polymer battery and is rechargeable giving up to 85 minutes of recording time. The other downside when buying this camera was that I noticed it only comes with 128MB of internal memory which is not a lot at all for this kind of thing but it does have a micro SD slot if you want to buy up to 16GB of memory. I bought a 4GB one really cheap and it seems to hold a good amount of videos on it so when buying this it is highly recommended you buy another SD or you will find yourself having no space for videos at all. Setting up the camera is very easy and you can get shooting videos pretty much right away once the battery is charged. At first just play about with the buttons to get familiar with how to re-play and how to delete and so on. It has a high colour LCD screen to view the videos on and it seems to take good videos in all kinds of lighting which was impressive so again really liked this and the fact it has a built in mic so it is picking up everything, all in this small design. When playing back videos it is nice to watch them and really easy to hear and see. The picture is great for a small thing like this and I have captured so many nice memories already with this and I love the camera. It holds a LOT of videos with the new SD I have and it is very easy to work as well as hold and shoot as it is that light to do so. On the further menu you can access sound, brightness, you can format the card and set the date and time also. When uploading to the computer you can watch again and again but just watch if filming sideways as you cannot rotate videos. The videos all upload in files and you can share them online on social networking or burn them to CD and share with the family, it really is a nice idea and so far so good. The battery lasts long enough to get a good amount of videos filmed. It films in MJPEG mode and has a 3x digital zoom on it as well. The camera is great for all ages and even for those who are not too good with fancy technology. It works very easily and so far I have had no major issues with it which is great as Kodak are a leading camera brand. I love the colour and it really is unique and the fact it is small is really nice as well to be able to carry it around. COST If you want to buy this camera then Amazon is a great place to buy from. I paid about £50 for this but in a few months it now seems to be only £29.99 which is annoying but it is a bargain for what it costs and if not for you it would make a great gift for anyone whether they are going travelling, filming the family or just making happy memories. It qualifies for free delivery and really is worth buying. There is more information on the Kodak website at http://shop.kodak.co.uk/ as well as the fact your can buy it here but will have to pay the full RRP of £49.99 which is not as good as Amazon's deal.
I previously had a Kodak ZX1 pocket video camera which I loved and was excellent but due to a rather unfortunate accident involving a large fall from an equally high height I was in the market for a new one. Looking round the shops there were loads to choose from each one promising to do better than the next. However they all looked like huge bricks in comparison with the Kodak mini video camera and as soon as I saw it I knew it was the one for me. To hell with performance when it looked like this. The Kodak mini is one of the new generation of point and shoot pocket video cameras that eschew tapes and disks and multitudes of cables and instead rely on flash drive memory such as sd cards to make them small and portable. The idea behind them is that everyone can use them from kids to old people without the complicated functions of their more grown up counterparts. They are designed for fun and with one you can take it anywhere with you and never miss a special moment again. The Kodak mini takes this concept of small portable video cameras and runs with it. This is the smallest fully funtioning video camera I have ever seen. Because it isn't constrained by having to fit in space for videos or disks or a bulky battery the Kodak mini is absolutely tiny. Just how tiny? well is measures an astounding 6cm by 12cm and weghing and almost non existent 72g it is literally the size of a credit card and can be carried in the tightest of tight jeans pocket with you barely noticing it is there. Let's be honest looks are important when buying any item and whilst this little video camera wont be to everyones tastes I think it's a beauty. I got the blue one and it is lovely and shiny and a real eye catcher and people are always amaxed when I bring it out and they see it is a video camera. It also comes in red and a grey for those who want to be a bit more sophisticated. As I mentioned it won't be to everyones taste and my friend for instance thinks it looks like a kids toy due to the colour and the size but hey it's subjective and I love it. For such a tiny little camera it packs in quite a few features. Whilst people expecting high end features may be left feeling dissapointed for me and other people who just want a fun little video camera that is easy to use then the features are surprisingly good. First the bad. There is no HD video capture with this but to be honest with my last one that was HD I really didn't notice that big an improvement. It has a lovely bright 4.6cm LCD screen which plays back your vides nicely and it is easy to watch in most light conditions. Once on it has loads of little icons to tell you things such as the battery level, how long you have been recording etc. It has a rechargable internal battery which is charged through the flip out USB port and this lasts for a respectable 85 of shooting time from a single charge. It has a frankly pathetic internal memory of only 125mb but this can be expanded to up to 16GB by way of a micro SD card. I have a 4GB micro SD card in mine and I find this is enough for just over an hour of video at VGA 30fps. I then just put the video on my computer and re use my card. There is a built in sharing app on the cameras internal memory which automatically launches when connected and allows you to sync your emails and online storage sites to automatically send and save your videos there is you wish. It is also has an app for easy youtube and facebook sharing. This is also built in to the cameras memory and once installed it allows you to edit your videos and share them qucikly. I don't really have a lot of experience with this app but it's nice to have it included. The absolute best thing about this little camera is that is is 100% waterproof to a depth of 3 metres. I have had so much fun trying this out and can vouch for it's effectiveness. IT is extremely robust which for a clumsy person like me is great and although I have dropped it a few times there isn't a scratch on it. As stated the Kodak mini isn't HD but the VGA 30 fps is really good and it takes fantastic videos. They are really clear and lifelike and colours are all vivid. I really cannot fault it's video taking capabilities. The only slight drawback is that when waching the videos back on the LCD screen they look amazing but the sound is quite low. This isn't a major problem as when they are on your computer they sound absolutely fine. The camera does allow you to take still pictures but these are average at best but this isn't why I bought this as I already have a stll camera and it is nice to have the option in a pinch and they look no worse than on a normal camera phone. There isn't really a lot more to say about the performance, I think it takes excellent videos and whilst it won't be in the same league as some more expensive video cameras it is certainly better than some of the more expensive so called HD point and shoot ones I tried out. There is a reason this type of camera is called a point and shoot and that is because it is so easy even my grandmother could use it with minimal fuss. All that comes in the box is the camera and the user guide as this is all you will need. The software is built in to the camera and launches itself when you connect it to your computer. There is absolutely no cables needed as it has a flip out USB and everything about it is incredibly intuitive. There is only a few buttons which are all rubberised so your fingers will never slip off them. You just need to turn the button on and then press the button in the middle to record and away you go. Once in your hand and turned on you will get the hang of using it within a minute guarenteed and even the most technophobic of people will be shooting video like they are James Cameron almost instantly. Adding everything to your computer or online is also really simple with the benefit of the inbuilt software. Kodak have always been good with their ability to make sharing videos and pictures simple and they have really outdone themselves this time. So how much does this fantastic little video camera cost? Well that is where I personally believe it trumps every other point and shoot on the market as it is less than £50. I paid £49.99 for it but it can be bought online for as little as £43 which is frankly a complete and utter bargain. This video camera is a bargain at the price and I have been extremely happy with it. It takes excellent quality videos is easy to use and the software is very intuitive. I have taken it on holiday and on night outs with friends and it has never failed to impress me in almost all light conditions. It is also extremely hardy which is something I think all these video cameras should be as people want to be able to take them to the beach or a nightclub without worrying they will get wet or have a fall. With the Kodak you really can take it anywhere and if it gets wet or you drop it then it will be fine. If you are looking for a point and shoot camera for either yourself or as a present for someone else then I can highly recommend this one and I really don't think you will be dissapointed.