HD Video for under $200?

Last month Kodak announced its entry into the hot mini-camcorder market, obscurely named the Zi6. Kodak’s big splash with the Zi6 is that it offers HD video for just a little bit more than the standard-def Flip camcorders.
Now, Sanyo has had an “HD” flash memory camcorder on the market for a while, though reviews have been definitely lukewarm. The difference between Sanyo’s offering and Kodak’s is that the Zi6 has a retail price of $179 vs. Sanyo’s $600+ pricetag.

As I’ve mentioned before, my interest in these small flash memory camcorders has been piqued, primarily because it seems as though their balance of quality and convenience makes sense at the less-than-$200 pricepoint. By comparison, the somewhat more fully featured Sanyo Xacti’s seem like they don’t quite offer enough overall quality for the price.

I’ll admit I was intrigued when I read Kodak’s announcement for the Zi6, but I’m also skeptical about how high the high def can be at $179.

CNet recently reviewed the Zi6 and they confirm some of my skepticism, while still giving it a good review of 7/10. It seems that the lens may not be up to the same quality of the sensor, with the reviewer noting that the HD images seemed soft, but was still sharper when scaled down to YouTube video resolution. The review also criticizes the paltry 128 MB of internal memory which is enough for only a few minutes of HD video. Luckily, the Zi6 takes SD memory cards, though adding thing adds to the overall cost.

I’d really like to get my hands on one of these and put it through its paces. I’ll have to see if any camera or electronics store will have them out for testing. Otherwise I may just have to bite the bullet and order one.

In any event, it seems like the trajectory of digital video is clear, and HD video shot onto memory cards is where we are going. As long as that video is easily edited on your average Windows PC or Mac, then I consider this to be a good thing.

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