Review: Kodak PlaySport HD Camera | Gear Talk | Forum
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July 24, 2014

Review: Kodak PlaySport HD Camera | Gear Talk | Forum

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Review: Kodak PlaySport HD Camera
January 28, 2011
8:54 pm
Owl Jones
Georgia, USA
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This is a review of the Koday PlaySport camera! 

The camera uses SDHC memory cards and a dedicated battery. I purchased the camera in a "bundle" on Amazon for around $150 – but you can get just the camera for around $115-125 from time to time if you keep your eyes open. The camera works as advertised in the 720 HD 60 FPS (frames per second) mode. I haven't tried it in the 1080p mode, so I really can't tell you about that. What I can tell you is that the 720 mode works great and I've had no problems with the camera – using it for regular video or underwater shots. It's waterproof down to about 10 ft. and I haven't pushed the boundary of that but in foot deep 35 degree creek water it's been flawless. I did have a problem with some "glitching" in one video, but that seems to have been a memory card problem and not a camera problem. 

The Kodak PlaySport is light, has decent battery life, and is great in bright, outdoor light. It's got a great image stabilization feature and also takes 5MP still shots. 5 MP isn't the greatest these days, for for blogging and online photos it's adequate. The battery charges fast – about an hour or so, and you can get them in a number of colors: black, blue, purple, red, and I think even pink.

 

The Cons: Again, the still pics are only 5 MP. You're not going to be able to get stellar 8 X 10 shots from this camera, but it's a minor complaint for an HD camera that performs well at a very reasonable price. Also, I will go ahead and tell you that you can forget about getting really nice video in low-light conditions. I would go so far as to say that this camera HATES low-light. A rainy day, clouds or dark inside room and you lose much of the detail and sharpness in the video, even in 720 HD. The tripod mount is FRAGILE. Many people have reported "stripping" the threads right out of the camera. It's hard to see how they overlooked this problem, but it's there and I've been really careful not to twist the tripod mount on too hard. Once it's stripped, there is apparently no fix.

 

If you have questions I didn't cover, please post them up below and I'll be glad to help you out if I can. All of the videos on my youtube page except the Amicalola Creek video that is not in HD were taken with the Koday PlaySport camera. The link to those videos is:  http://www.youtube.com/user/OwlJonesdotcom

January 28, 2011
9:13 pm
troutrageous1
Limerick, PA
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I have the same camera and Owl's review is quite accurate.  

I'd add two things:

  • On the still camera function, it doesn't focus well for closeups…i.e. no macro mode all of your artsy fartsy folks..but in the bright sunlight, the pics are more than acceptable.
  • Regarding the tripod mount, I use a Gorillapod and have 0 issues whatsoever.

 

And yes, this camera does hold up quite well underwater.  I took it to the Florida Keys last summer and it tolerated a day of snorkeling off Fort. Jefferson and then some.  

 

Underwater video

 

Example Pictures

see, close ups are a little fuzzy

January 30, 2011
9:34 am
Owl Jones
Georgia, USA
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Trouty, just make sure you don't bend any of the joints too far or they will pop out. You can pop them back in, but then they'll be all loosey-goosey. I've had three Gorillapods (two name brand ones) and all of them eventually did this. But if it does happen, some loc-tite will make everything ok. :) I added three one ounce barrel sinkers (one to each leg) on mine for the video I took this week. It helps to hold the camera on the bottom in current. It's so flat and wide that it wanted to tip over underwater. 

 

And thanks for the macro tip. Apparently there are some aftermarket lens adapters out there that you can use for macro and wide-angle, but I haven't tried them. Anyone wanting to look at them: you can find those on Amazon, I think. Maybe ebay too by now. 

I'll post up some underwater video in a bit that I took yesterday. One thing that was really interesting to me yesterday was that in the middle of the day, the camera's underwater video looked as good as always, but when it got close to darkness, say an hour to 30 minutes before sunset – I took some video underwater and it looked like a lighted aquarium in comparison! My buddy Milliam tried to explain to me the light refraction something or other, but I never quite understood why it was so light under there as it was getting so dark in our world! But it was super cool! :) I'll get some video up on that too very soon. 

 

If anyone else has experience with this camera, feel free to chime in.

January 31, 2011
7:25 am
Maybe Tonight
Bay Shore, NY
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Hi Guys,

Camera looks great!! I just got the Flip and am really happy with it so far but it does require a special case if you want to drop it underwater. Is this camera you guys describe shooting underwater right out of the box???

January 31, 2011
8:24 am
troutrageous1
Limerick, PA
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Maybe Tonight said:

Hi Guys,

Camera looks great!! I just got the Flip and am really happy with it so far but it does require a special case if you want to drop it underwater. Is this camera you guys describe shooting underwater right out of the box???


Yup, waterproof out of the box.
January 31, 2011
9:57 am
yukongoesfishing
missoula, mt
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Another camera option is the go pro product line. I don't have one. Although, I wish I did. It is much smaller than both the flip and the kodak playsport. It is meant to be used while being active. As a result, there are multiple mounting options: helmet cams, chest mounts, handlebar mounts, head mounts, tripod mounts, etc. It also shoots in up to 1080p and it comes in a protective housing which is waterproof and shockproof. It is slightly more expensive at about $260. I have seen some skiing videos that were shot with a go pro hero hd and they are nuts. Worth a consideration. I think that is the direction I might go if I didn't already have a flip.

February 1, 2011
9:15 am
Maybe Tonight
Bay Shore, NY
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Yukon,

Are you sure the Go Pro is smaller that the Flip??? I don't remember it being smaller when I was looking at the two of them. The Flip is really no larger than my Blackberry. Actually it is slightly narrower. I agree though, I now DO wish I had gone with the Go Pro regardless of which is the smaller. I really love the sound of the timed stills feature it does. Set the camera to grab stills every 5, 10, 15, etc seconds. That is cool and the video speaks for itself :-)

February 1, 2011
9:30 am
Maybe Tonight
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Okay, I just double checked and I see it is SMALLER :-)

 

Sorry 'bout that ;-)

February 1, 2011
1:10 pm
yukongoesfishing
missoula, mt
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no worries Maybe Tonight. I have heard that people have to do a DIY fix for the underwater shots, apparently the Go Pro has issues focusing on objects underwater. The guys at jazz and fly fishing provided a good DIY fix on their website.

 

By the way, owl and troutrageous, I apologize for hijacking this thread with discussion about the go pro, when I entered this thread I knew it was about the Kodak camera. Then, I read a couple posts and completely forgot about the title of the thread and got sidetracked. My apologies.

February 3, 2011
4:37 am
Owl Jones
Georgia, USA
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It's perfectly fine by me. I think options are a good thing, and discussing them is what this forum is all about. No threadjacking charges filed! ;) lol

May 27, 2011
1:49 pm
leaky waders
Norfolk, Va
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well it looks like the "flip" is out of commission now. So if I were in the market for something to shoot hd, do you guy still think the go pro or kodak is where it's at with regard to price? That is an issue to because I am also going to be needing a new fly rod/reel etc set up for bigger waters.

May 27, 2011
7:01 pm
outdoorsben
Western Mass
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There is an updated playsport and IMO it sucks.  If I were in the market and money was an option i'd get the original playsport (which can be found <$100).  If you want you can modify the GoPro mounts to fit any camera (I wrote up a how-to on my site on it) but if money is no option the GoPro's are pretty neat.

Follow my New England Outings OutdoorsBen
May 27, 2011
7:39 pm
Owl Jones
Georgia, USA
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Ben, can you tell us a little more about why it "sucks" or whatever? I haven't heard anything bad ( or at least worse) about the new ones. The main difference between the Go-Pro and kodak (other than price) is that people are saying when the Go-Pro is in it's waterproof housing the sound is muffled – so forget about talking or getting sounds of the water (underwater), I guess. The Kodak's sound is the same all the time because it doesn't have a housing around the mic. 

 

The earlier problems I had with the "glitching" appear to have fixed themselves. Either that, or it was the memory card. Since I've started using newer memory cards, it's only occured once in about two months now and I shot ALOT of video on the "old guys" trip. I'd buy another one. As a matter of fact, I'm going to buy two more for Angling Across America – unless Ben has something that is a deal-breaker with the new ones? ? ? 

May 28, 2011
9:20 am
outdoorsben
Western Mass
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Here is my reasoning as to why the Playsport ZX5 is a step back from the Playsport ZX3

 

  • My biggest complaint is that there is no more external battery, it's all internal.  No more having extra batteries for long recording sessions.  That's a HUGE problem for me.
  • ZX5 doesn't come with an HDMI cable, you've got to send away for it.  The ZX3 HDMI cable doesn't work with the ZX5 either.
  • The photo sensor is smaller in the ZX5 which means the photo's would be "noisier".  Some may notice it some may not.
  • Still no external mic jack's on the ZX5
  • Same waterproof specs as the ZX3

To me it wasn't upgraded enough to make people go out and upgrade.  It was just like an "updated" version of the ZX3 was put out.  The removeable battery is HUGE negative to me and I think most people on here.  The only new great feature was macro mode for those real close shots.  I expect the next version to be MUCH better if it wants to compete with all the other pocket cam's.  I personally use my iPhone 4 in my recording with my modified GoPro mounts but I did enjoy my Playsport ZX3 when I had it.  

Follow my New England Outings OutdoorsBen
May 28, 2011
10:44 am
Clif
Illinois
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Wow, no external battery. That's a big "don't buy me."

May 31, 2011
9:52 am
Owl Jones
Georgia, USA
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Hmm…that does sound like a problem. I carry about ( believe it or not) 6 extra batteries and 5 extra memory cards. I usually don't end up using more than 2 or 3 batteries per trip. Depending on how long the internal battery lasts (and whether or not you can recharge in a short time via car ) is def. a step backward. Even if you can recharge by car, what if you're in the middle of a hike? hmmm….don't know what kind of people they have deciding what the next "improvements' should be but they need to be slapped! :)  

 

Maybe someone will take up the slack and come out with the perfect camera soon. Of course, it would cose $55,000. ;)

May 31, 2011
5:10 pm
Clif
Illinois
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My playsport just went on the fritz, it's acting like a button is stuck down….grrr

May 31, 2011
5:24 pm
Owl Jones
Georgia, USA
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January 28, 2011
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I just recorded that Farmer Bill bit today with the takemefishing.com Flip Cam. I'm not impressed with the video quality, but then again I haven't really used it outside yet. I'm hoping to use it this week on a bluegill trip. I hope I don't forget and try to dunk it. I don't know what I'd do if my Playsport died. Maybe Go-Pro will come out with a camera that doesn't require a noise-muffling case to make it waterproof. 

 

dream a little dream. 

July 30, 2011
10:48 am
outdoorsben
Western Mass
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Ironically I got my hands on a Playsport ZX5 to test.  I'm heading out for 4 days to the beach/ponds/etc… to give it a test.  I don't think i'll get to fishing but i'll put it through it's paces and write up a review.

Follow my New England Outings OutdoorsBen
August 6, 2011
7:25 am
outdoorsben
Western Mass
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Here is a quick list of Pro's/Con's I came up with during my vacation.  I will put the camera to the test more this week.

Pro's

  • The side doors open the same direction (upward).  When both doors are open it's in the shape of a "T", unlike the ZX3 which was more of a "Z" shaped
  • Battery life is good, I get almost 2x as much as I did with the ZX3
  • It displays a full photo count in picture mode.  The ZX3 stopped at 999 or something like that.
  • Flat screen instead of curved screen, I feel it won't get scratched as much.
  • Macro mode works well and is a welcome addition.

Con's

  • The D-Pad is extremely stiff, i'm hoping it breaks in.
  • The battery is not removable, so you'll need a battery pack.  Thankfully I already have one I use with my iPhone4.
  • While rushing to take a photo you may see the screen flashing light and dark trying to get the colors right before taking the photo.  It happened to me twice.  Once that lasted only a second or 2 and the other that lasted over 5 seconds.
Follow my New England Outings OutdoorsBen
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