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Kodak Mini review

Expert Reviews Staff
7 Feb 2011
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
39
inc VAT

Great for low-light web-quality footage, but the Mini’s dim daytime video counts against it.

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Specifications

1/5in CMOS sensor, 320x240, 640x480, 0.0x zoom, 71g

Kodak’s Mini is an ultra-budget mini camcorder. High-definition video isn’t the order of the day – instead, the camcorder is designed to be slim and light enough to be unnoticeable in a pocket while robust enough to survive knocks – it’s also splashproof.

It’s a simple camcorder with a simple interface. Rubberised buttons provide the zoom controls and select between 640x480 at 30fps and 320x240 at 60fps modes. The lower setting is smooth, but the resolution is really too low even for YouTube. You can also take photos, but these are at a low 640x480 resolution. The minimal menu system lets you adjust screen brightness, play back your videos and format the Micro SD card – a memory card isn’t included, and Kodak recommends at least a 2GB version.

Kodak Mini front

Video quality can best be described as serviceable. The low resolution means footage has visible pixels when viewed full screen, and there is significant grain even in daylight shots. In fact, for a camcorder aimed towards outdoor use, the camcorder struggled to expose video properly, resulting in footage that is often too dark. As there are so few spare pixels, using the digital zoom usually results in a blurry mess.

We were far more impressed with the camcorder’s low light performance. Despite not having an LED light, it was able to amplify dim conditions and maintain a smooth frame rate even at very low light levels. This made footage taken in a restaurant slightly noisy but more watchable than with many mini camcorders – and the lack of a blinding LED light makes your subjects happier to be filmed. Despite the Mini’s low 11KHz audio sample frequency, voices are remarkably clear, with only a slightly muffled sound. Overall quality is better than most non-smartphones.

An advantage of the low video resolution and audio sample quality is that video doesn’t take up much room on the Micro SD card – we could fit around 30 minutes of footage in a gigabyte. At current Micro SD card prices, you’ll be able to record an hour of video onto a 2GB card for £3 or eight hours on a 16GB Micro SD. The Mini also has long battery life – managing two and a quarter hours of film on a charge.

Kodak Mini

It’s easy to transfer video onto your computer. The catch at the bottom reveals a USB plug, which you release by flicking a tiny switch. It’s fiddly to plug into a USB port – you have to hold the floppy catch out of the way as you plug it in.

The memory card mounts as a drive in Windows, Mac OS or Linux, and you can copy files off the camcorder in the same way as a digital camera. These are MJPEG AVI format, which are readable by most video-editing applications such as VirtualDub. If you have a PC, when you plug in the camera you’re also given the option to install ArcSoft’s MediaImpression software. This is a simple video-viewing and editing suite, which lets you view videos on the camera, add effects such as sepia and black and white and trim the videos before import. It also integrates with YouTube and Facebook, and will convert the files to the most efficient format and upload them automatically.

Kodak’s Mini video camera is easy to use, is compact, has long battery life and produces surprisingly good low-light footage. It’s also by far the cheapest flash camcorder we’ve seen, and makes a better-quality alternative to a mobile phone video camera. It’s just a shame its daytime video is so gloomy.

Basic Specifications

Rating***

Recording

Optical zoom0.0x
Digital zoom3x
Sensor1/5in CMOS
Sensor pixels307,200
Widescreen modenone
LCD screen size1.8in
Viewfinder typenone
Video lampNo
Video recording formatMJPEG
Video recording mediaflash memory
SoundPCM 11kHz mono
Video resolutions320x240, 640x480
Maximum image resolution640x480
Memory slotmicroSDHC
Mermory suppliednone
Flashno

Physical

Digital inputs/outputsUSB
Analogue inputs/outputsnone
Other connectionsnone
Battery typeLi-Polymer
Battery life2h 14m
Battery charging positionUSB
Size90x60x12mm
Weight71g

Buying Information

Warrantyone year RTB
Price£39
Supplierhttp://www.jessops.com
Detailswww.kodak.co.uk

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