Kodak Playsport – Waterproof FullHD Pocket Camera
Our current test candidate is the Kodak Playsport Pocket Camcorder. From the optics Kodak Playsport reminds of a mixture of digital camera and mobile phone. The very compact video camera can record videos with a resolution of up to 1080p (FullHD) and creates photos with a resolution of 5 megapixels (16: 9).
As the name implies, the Kodak Playsport is especially for athletes looking for a small video camera as an outdoor companion. This alignment is made clear by two things. On the one hand, the ability to record at 60 frames per second at a resolution of 720p (1280 x 720). As a result, even fast movements can be recorded liquid. On the other hand, the Kodak Playsport is waterproof up to 3 meters. Thus, one can take the camera, for example, while snorkeling or swimming in the water. The well protected housing makes the pocket camcorder from Kodak also ideal for use on the beach or in the snow, for example. Here you would not use other camcorders for fear of damage. The test candidates can simply be rinsed with tap water after use. We had the Kodak Playsport for a few days on our vacation in Italy (Lake Como). Unfortunately it was quite windy so we could not make as many underwater exceptions as we hoped. Let’s get to the technical data of the Kodak Playsport.
We own even a full-fledged and very well-equipped SD camcorder with optical zoom and hard disk / memory card recording. This is rarely used. The main reason for this is the SD quality, which does not really bring joy to a FullHD television. Although the device is already very compact, it does not fit in the pocket and is unsuitable for environments such as the beach. Thus, the Kodak Playsport came in our choice. Very compact, high resolution and insensitive / waterproof. So the battery was charged, which took about 2 hours via mains cable (via USB it takes almost twice as long) and then the Kodak Playsport wandered into the holiday baggage.
Operation / Menu / Display / Zoom
Very positively we noticed the absolutely simple operation. All standard functions are easy to handle even without instructions. The settings are almost all self-explanatory and otherwise helps a quick look in the included instructions. The display is not very big but quite sufficient and gives the recording scene well and sharply again. The camera offers various settings to make the display easy to read even in difficult lighting conditions (direct sunlight).
The Kodak Playsport is very good in the hand and all controls are easily accessible. The case is rubberized in many places and therefore handy and insensitive. On the top, unfortunately, again a little high-gloss surface was installed, which is not very sensitive. Somewhat sensitive is the protective screen in front of the display, despite careful handling, micro-scratches can not be avoided here. The use of these damage but in any way and can only be seen depending on the incidence of light when the camera is turned off. Very advantageous is also a direct button to delete unsuccessful photos or videos. With my digital camera, I have to go through several menu items, so that you usually leave everything on the storage medium and sorted out at home. But especially for videos in HD quality, each storage space is important for larger memory cards and the function key very helpful. Anyone who gains the Kodak Playsport should definitely buy an SDHC memory card immediately. The internal memory is sufficient with 128 MB at most for a few photos. Depending on how much you want to film, it should be at least 4 – 16 GB. The Kodak Playsport also has a 4x digital zoom. But you should use this only if it is really necessary, as this causes quality losses. These were not as high as expected in the small to medium zoom levels.
Quality / Battery / Image Stabilizer
The quality of the video recordings has convinced us. Of course you always have to keep the price in mind. If you immediately think of Blu-ray quality at 1080p, you might be a little disappointed. Such quality is of course not achievable with a “simple” pocket video camera. In addition to the pure resolution play here the lens, the compression and bit rate of the recordings a major role. But even our good and much more expensive SD camcorder, especially on a corresponding flat screen is not as convincing as the Kodak Playsport. Nevertheless, smaller artifacts due to compression can not be completely avoided. If you want to use the videos on the Internet, they are hardly significant. The colors are rendered very well and realistically. Of course, the lighting conditions are important in such a camera. Ideal results can be achieved outdoors and in sunlight. Of course, you can also take indoor shots, but there should be a good illumination available. Videos are recorded in .mov format (H.264 codec) and can be played and edited on any computer with Quicktime support. Of course, the computer should not be too weak for HD editing. The battery has easily survived in our tests a day with movies and photos. We did not even look at the videos on the way. Who knows that he would like to take very long and extensive shots should possibly get an additional battery.
Among the various recording modes, we have always decided after some tests always for 720p with 60 frames per second. Although this is not the highest possible resolution, in practice the higher number of images was more important to us than the resolution. With a tripod and / or less action-packed shooting scenes but also the 1080p resolution is recommended. You have to accept, however, that the recorded image section significantly reduced (about 48mm instead of 36 mm as in the other modes). Only with fast movements or pans the pictures were much smoother with 60 frames per second. The Kodak Playsport also has an image stabilizer that is designed to minimize “blurring”. This works quite well for normal recordings. In some tests when taking pictures from the car or swimming, we have this but rather turned off. The picture was basically more stable, but with stronger fluctuations came through the image stabilizer an ugly and unnatural flicker in the recordings. Ideally, you at least put on a mini tripod, to further improve the recordings.
The photo function is completely sufficient for snapshots. Of course, with 5 megapixels, the photos can not compete with today’s digital cameras. It always depends on the purpose of the photos. For use on the Internet, the photos are completely sufficient and smaller print formats are possible.
Use in the Water
Unfortunately our test in Lake Como was quite windy, so visibility under water was extremely limited. But of course the camera can do nothing. We used the Kodak Playsport several times in the water and it was completely waterproof and worked flawlessly. For underwater photography there is an extra mode to optimize the recordings. It is important to use the supplied hand strap, as the camera does not float and should therefore be attached well to the hand. The camera has a mono microphone, which records in convincing quality. Underwater, of course, the limits of course set, but even there you can quite record sound. For use under water, no special precautions or special covers are necessary. All connections are behind sealed flaps, which of course have to remain closed under water. Thanks to a pair of diving goggles, the display under water is very visible. Also on the beach you do not need to worry about the Kodak Playsport as it shows to be very sturdy and insensitive. The rubber coating on the back and sides of the case enhances the camera’s firm grip in the water.
Software / Accessories
Once you connect the Kodak Playsport to the PC, a drive is displayed with the included software Arcsoft Media Impression. So you always have the necessary software with you. The application is sufficient to manage the pictures and videos. Even simple editing such as cutting or composing videos are possible. The tool also provides support such as uploading videos to Youtube or Facebook. Unfortunately, the application is not as user-friendly as the camera. Although there are many functions, but unfortunately not clear and self-explanatory implemented. For the entry, the software should be completely sufficient. A little annoying is the fact that Arcsoft Media Impression always starts automatically after installation, if an external storage medium (eg USB stick) is connected. The accessories can not miss anything except an SD memory card. All connecting cables for USB, HDMI, A / V (Chinch) are in addition to battery, manual and hand strap.
We had a lot of fun with the Kodak Playsport in our test. It is easy to use, very small and sturdy. The results can certainly convince. It is important, of course, that such a pocket camcorder no conventional and much more expensive FullHD camcorder replace or compete with it. This is reflected in the quality of the images, especially in poor lighting conditions, but here weaken significantly more expensive models. With good lighting, interior shots also work smoothly. Thus, the camera is easily suitable for video bloggers and Youtuber. Unfortunately, the camera can not be used directly as a webcam on the PC. One of the main reasons for Kodak Playsport is its use in or under water. Who wants to do something with a conventional camcorder, has to invest a lot of money in appropriate housing. Although these enclosures may also be suitable for more than 3 meters of water, the case without a camcorder costs significantly more than the Kodak Playsport. In its price range, the Kodak Playsport is definitely a really good choice and a versatile companion. It is a pity that there is no macro mode for taking pictures below 1 meter. We have missed that in a few cases. All in all, Kodak Playsport liked us a lot.