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Kodak PlaySport review

Seth Barton
28 May 2010
Expert Reviews Best Buy Logo
Kodak PlaySport
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
111
inc VAT

A great mini camcorder with waterproofing, and all for less money than many of its liquid-adverse competitors.

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Specifications

1/2.5in CMOS sensor, 1,920x1,080, 1,280x720, 848x480, 0.0x zoom, 140g

Summer is finally upon us, which means it might get hot enough for a nice relaxing swim, and if it doesn't then you can always fly somewhere where it will. Either way, you could have a lot of fun with Kodak's PlaySport mini camcorder, a waterproof model that can shoot 1080p video and take 5-megapixel stills.

The PlaySport is rated for up to 3m underwater, deep enough for swimming pools and mucking about on the river – which is all its intended for really. It's not shockproof, like Panasonic's DMC-FT1 HD-capable digital camera, but its feels very rigid and sturdily made. A wrist strap is provided to help keep hold of it.

There are two waterproof hatches which cover all the various ports. Beneath the right are USB, a 2.5mm AV jack and mini HDMI – leads are provided for both the video outputs, which save syou having to buy a HDMI to mini HDMI lead yourself. Beneath the left is the SDHC card slot and battery. The latter lasted for one hour and 40 minutes in our test, plenty for casual shooting. You can recharge the battery over USB from your PC, plus a mains adaptor is supplied with both UK and European adaptors – ideal when you're on holiday.

It's easy to point-and-shoot and video quality is on a par with the best mini camcorders we've seen. There's a 1080p mode, but with a bitrate of 12Mbit/s it's fairly heavily compressed – there may be more pixels, but there's not much extra detail on offer. The 720p mode has a 60fps mode, which also runs at 12Mbit/s, and for the kind of action photography the PlaySport is intended for, we'd plump for the extra frames over the extra pixels.

In our tests, 720p had plenty of detail and fairly accurate colours. It dealt well with bright outdoor conditions, where we've seen over exposure from some models. Indoors it was fairly accomplished, though noise was more prevalent than on Flip's Ultra HD in low light conditions. The electronic image stabilisation helps keep things stable when you're running about.

Its five megapixel stills are more camera phone than digital camera. They'll be fine for posting snaps online, but you lack any exposure controls to compose interesting shots.

The controls work fine, but there are some niggles. There are four buttons by the main four-way control, and these could have been better used. There's separate buttons for play and record modes, when a single button could have switched between these. There's also a dedicated clip delete button, which could have been done in a menu instead.

This would have freed up buttons for switching between video and stills, currently in a menu accessed by pressing left on the main control, and switching to underwater mode, which counteracts the blur tint you get beneath the surface, again you need to access a menu to do this.

These are minor criticisms though of what is a great little camcorder for more active users. Kodak will even be launching mounts for helmets and handlebars for keen sports enthusiasts. At £111 it's very reasonably priced as well, being considerably cheaper than Flip's Ultra HD, its low light video isn't quite as good, but in every other respect it’s a better buy.

Basic Specifications

Rating*****

Recording

Optical zoom0.0x
Digital zoom4x
Sensor1/2.5in CMOS
Sensor pixels5,000,000
Widescreen modenative
LCD screen size2.0in
Viewfinder typenone
Video lampNo
Video recording formatH.264
Video recording mediaflash memory and SDHC
SoundAAC 44KHz mono
Video resolutions1,920x1,080, 1,280x720, 848x480
Maximum image resolution2,880x1,620
Memory slotSDHC
Mermory supplied128MB internal
Flashno

Physical

Digital inputs/outputsUSB
Analogue inputs/outputsAV out, mini HDMI out
Other connectionsnone
Battery type3.6V 940mAh Li-ion
Battery life1h 40m
Battery charging positioncamcorder
Size113x58x20mm
Weight140g

Buying Information

Warrantyone-year RTB
Price£111
Supplierhttp://www.lambda-tek.com/componentshop
Detailswww.kodak.co.uk

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