I’ve been living with the Kodak Playsport now for a couple of months, using it as both a camera and a video camera at various events. It is a pocket-sized camcorder which boasts complete waterproof and shockproof construction, as well as a host of on-board features to make video filming, editing and uploading easy peasy.
Before we get to the videos, of which there are lots below, a few words about the Playsport in the outdoors. I’ve noticed a growing trend for ‘I must film absolutely everything’ – especially in the festival world – and the Playsport would be absolutely great for that because it’s so rugged and cheap and is happy bouncing around in your pocket or a bustling crowd. It’s also quick to turn on and take photos at an impressive 5Mp, saving them to a removable SD card.
It’s got a chunky feel to it and is easy to hold and operate one-handed (note: It’s a right-handed camera, so Lefties will have problems!). It’s also fully waterproof so I didn’t think twice about stuffing it in a side pocket of my daypack and just leaving it there until I needed it.
However, it’s no replacement for a compact camera if you’re keen on capturing anything detailed or far away. I’ve uploaded two photos to FLICKR here, which show you the difference between a standard photo and one utilising the optical zoom.
Standard – no zoom
Fully zoomed in
You have to agree that the digital zoom is pretty appalling, and I actually think it’s a shame that Kodak added it at all. I’d genuinely rather have had less zoom and better quality.
That aside, all of my other observations about the Playsport are positive.
Priced at £150 from Kodak (older models much cheaper online elsewhere) it’s not too expensive, and most impressive is that the Playsport contains software for you to edit videos on the camera and upload them to Facebook/Youtube without having to process them through Movie Maker. That’s pretty neat. You do need to connect it to a PC to upload though.
Here’s a video I took on the Playsport at a very gloomy and overcast Bournemouth Air Show.
In terms of usability and quality of production, the Playsport blows away Flip HD cameras. The microphone is leagues better (especially for blogging) and you get a choice of 4 video modes (1080p, 720p 60fps, 720p 30fps and WVGA) which I adore, because I can’t be arsed to spend my evening uploading enormous HD movie files. I use it almost solely on WVGA mode.
I’ve taken a bunch of videos on each mode, so you can compare on YouTube. Increase their size to full-screen for a better comparison:
WVGA (for iPad and standard definition YouTube)
SUMMARY: The Kodak Playsport is a great little camera for slinging in a pocket or daypack in case something interesting happens. It’s very good for blogging and travelling around with, and because it’s waterproof and shockproof would make an ideal camcorder for holidays or travelling. It charges from USB and downloads either by USB or SD card. It’s comfy and easy to use, and on-board editing facilities are very useful. Only downside is awful quality digital zoom – if you can avoid using it then your videos will be ace.
Price: £150 (less for older models)