Kodak ZX3 Pocket Camcorder 

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Around 18 months ago I told you about the Kodak ZX1 their first foray in the very popular pocket (mobile phone size) camcorder arena. Here is - I think - their next offering the ZX3 which gives you the ability to capture movies underwater to 3metres depth.

kodak zx3 playsport camcorder
click image to enlarge

The Kodak ZX3 measures 11x6x2cm and it weights 140grams. Mine had a cream front dark grey back and sides and it was black around the top.

There is a substantial hole near the bottom for a wrist strap – very important if you swim – above this on the front four buttons in a semi circle and the ubiquitous five position joystick centered in the lower part of the front. Above this is the 4x3xcm TFT – 2inch diagonal measurement -, the base has a tripod screw, while the back has the F2.8 lens

As the top is clear this leaves the sides. The left side has a push and slide down flip door that hides the solid battery and any SD card you use. The right side has a similar door this concealing a mini HDMI and USB slots, there is also a single AV socket and the cable is provided. Finally for the controls the all important on/off button.

I do not do much swimming especially at this time of year so the best I could manage was taking some short clips in my bath – not for publication – and leaving it in a bucket of water for half and hour, it survived both dunkings.

First the good news Kodak provide as standard the mini HDMI to HDMI cable required to watch your movies on a TV. The quality of items taken in daylight is excellent and if you have a steady hand (or use a tripod) then I doubt you will tell the difference between it or normal TV programs. It gives 1920x1080 output.

In order to view them on TV you not only need to plug the HDMI lead in but also the USB lead into the small space beside the HDMI cable, it is possible but difficult, for some reason best known to Kodak viewing on TV will not work when run on the internal battery.

The 90cm mini USB to USB lead can either be used via a normal USB port to charge the internal battery or into the adapter ending in a 13amp plug for ease of TV viewing. The mini HDI to HDMI lead is also 90cm long.

kodak zx3 playsport camcorder rear controls
click image to enlarge

While in still water you can get watchable images – using the special underwater mode - this to me anyway is a gimmick. Low light conditions are a problem and certainly my aged Flip gives better low light capture but of course to be fair that is not capturing HD.

The first 19 pages of the User Guide are in English and should enable even a novice to capture reasonable movies quite quickly. The MOV extension movies use around 85MB a minute of storage space. You can also capture still images and these 5MP 3072x1728 are about 1MB each in size. Switching between the two is a little fiddly.

To sum up if you take a lot more video than still images then this may suit, if you need a unit for really low light capture look elsewhere. If you want to take movies and show them on your TV it is ideal and Kodak are one of a very small number that provide the hard to get mini HDMI to HDMI cable as standard in the box. The need to power the unit while showing movies on your TV is a pain and the lack of the ability to compress images to send via email is another minus point. My aged Flip compresses to one seventh the size and the resulting videos are still watchable.

So in my opinion dump the under water ability, spruce up the low light ability and reintroduce the ability to compress video for remote watching as this was available with the ZX1 for a time when it first came out.

Doing my Internet searches found the Kodak ZX3 at a best price of £97.99 in some colours from the link below. Black however is £5 extra.

I found the Kodak ZX3 available for $114 from Amazon, including free delivery, in various colours from the link below.

I found the Kodak ZX3 available in black for €107,60 from Amazon, including free delivery from the link below. It's also available in other colours but these are a little more expensive.

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