Classic Kodak Video Cameras still make a Great Gift these days

Casey Nolan

by - | 3 years ago
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25 Dec

Infinarium Rating

$67 to $129

Review Date : 12/25/13

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I have reviewed cameras before, but the scope was limited to a select number of brands or models. To be honest, I have not explored Kodak camera market at all. It is a good company, and compared to Sony, Canon and Panasonic, Kodak is not as much popular. Back in the 90s, they were mostly known for camera films and recording devices.

Here is a list of budget Kodak cameras and handy cams to help people get the most out of their investment. You can always refer to the company’s webpage, Kodak or other camera forums for detailed account of people who have used these devices in the past.

Kodak has potential, but it seriously needs to reconsider the “innovation” factor.

  • 8X Zoom Kodak EasyShare M580:

Price: $129 at Amazon for Brand New

Kodak Easy Share M580 Photo from Amazon Sales Page

The M580 was introduced a few years ago with a $200 price tag. Currently, it is available from anywhere between $100 to $130, i.e. depending on whether you are considering buying a brand new unit or a used unit. It has 14Mp lens and offers a medium range of features for trigger happy photographers.

The EasyShare M580 is affordable and doesn’t feel like a cheap bargain. Especially in cases when you are just experimenting with a limited degree of ISO settings, picture profiles, Scenes selection and etc. the camera will stand up to your expectations.

  •        Superior exposure quality
  •        8X-optical-zoom wide-angle lens
  •        In-camera tagging for social-networking uploads
  •        Simple operation with automated Smart Capture mode
  •        Bare-bones feature set for a pocket megazoom

Since it is a point-and-shoot device, most of the stuff is already automated. Let’s say, there are over 20 preset scenes to choose from. A “Sunlight” Scene will immediately give a yellowish tinge to your subject, so on and so forth. The only manual stuff in this camera is the ISO settings panel. If you’re a pro, you can choose the perfect ISO setting between 80 and 1600; combine it with one of the preset scenes and generate a breath taking result.

By the way, speaking of preset scenes, I have a Nikon S3100 cool pix series camera. It has a few scenes to capture food, party occasions, beaches and etc. Compared to the M580 Kodak EasyShare, the S3100 offers ISO 1600 and 3200. They are only two modes, but definitely with a higher limit as compared to what Kodak is offering.

  • Kodak Z915 EasyShare for Entry Level Enthusiasts:

Price: $67 at Amazon for Brand New

Kodak Z915 Amazon Product Image

The Z915 Kodak EasyShare is a mini camera. It will be a great Holiday gift for teenagers who are beginning to learn photography basics. However, considering the fact that today is already the 24th of December, 2013, even if you order this camera at Amazon, you will get after Christmas event is over.

Anyhow, for $67, the Kodak Z915 offers photo sharing feature; one of the things which Kodak likes to talk about. The company says that the real “Kodak” moment is when you share your photos with friends and family members.

Here are some of the specifications and feature highlights of this tiny little camera:

Weight – 9.6 Ounces (with battery)

Screen Size – 2.5 Inches & 230,000 Dots/None

File Format (still pictures & Video) – JPEG/MOV

Screen Resolution (still pictures & video) – 3648X2736/640X480

A nice addition to the Z915 model, as compared to earlier versions is the Mega Zoom feature. The camera goes all the way in on the subject with little or no picture distortion. To maintain the camera’s price within budget, Kodak developers minimized the LCD screen size. It is small, but makes up for the size issues by offering good image quality.

Kodak EasyShare Z915, is powered up by AA-Standard Batteries so I’d rather see you buying good quality batteries for a slight expense. Rechargeable camera batteries are good, as long as you are not looking to use them over and over again. Sometimes these batteries catch fire or start to leak, which is how your cameras end up getting damaged.

Z915 EasyShare also offers high and low shutter speed. It won’t capture very fast moving objects, such as sports cars, but pets and bicycles do make a good subject for the shooter. Also, don’t expect top notch features such as HD video recording from this camera. The movies and pics are mostly captured in a VGA mode; obviously the results are exclusive of high end image/ video profiles.

  • Kodak EasyShare Z981 for Select Audience:

Price: $71.25 for Used

Moments away from taking a photo on the Kodak Z981

The Kodak EasyShare Z981 is a camera that was made for beginner level enthusiasts. It offers good value for their money, midst small range of user friendly features. The Z981 has 26 X Zoom modes; you can use it to its full advantages during those home videos.

However, at times, you’ll regret your decision that you went for the Z981 in the first place. It happens normally because of its plasticized body work. The developers had to cut the cost somehow in exchange for good performance; this is how “budget” project usually work at times. They reduce the LCD size, or battery compartment size vice versa to allocate cost factor within a limit.

The camera has 14 Megapixel lens and it offers a lot more in terms of performance. A couple of days ago, Kodak was being criticized for its high prices. But the Z981 is a clear proof of low price and brick-ish design, so don’t sweat about it now.

The camera has acceptable dimensions: 124 X 85 are not too bulky and not too small either. The slightly large size of EasyShare Z981 is a good choice for those who’ve stubby fingers. The camera offers good grip at least. For minors, it is a good thing that they can firmly grip a device this small size and not risk any fall damages etc.

I tested this camera against a couple of environmental hazards, such as but not limited to a small amount of time when it was left out in the open during the current winter season, and under partial sunlight it did well. I know it is a stupid thing to “test” electronics like this, but I also wanted to make sure if the plastic body of the Kodak Z981 showed any signs of corrosion or wearing.

As for the image quality, it was pretty good during nature photo shoot sessions, shooting objects under natural sunlight and pet shooting. In the end, this camera is part of the EasyShare family, which I did mention earlier, sharing and caring is as easy as it always has been these days. You need to push a button and you can ‘share’ the images quickly.

  • Kodak Playtouch Camera offers slick design:

Price: $79.99 for Brand New

Kodak playtouch is great for vlogging and podcasting

For starters, I disagree with the “.99” price tag philosophy; technically you are paying 1 dollar to these retailers. They only decrease the price to give the illusion of a discount. Technically, you are paying $80 for a Kodak Playtouch Camera.

Now moving on, this is another budget product for people who want to capture and share videos. The PlayTouch Kodak resembles a cell phone with a lens and flash port at its top side. The camera is great for VGA video shooting, as it does not feature the current 720p/ 1080p formats.

Back in the days when this camera was featured at Amazon, it was available for $230. Today, the huge price drop has made it possible for entry level video enthusiasts to buy it as a gift item, or for personal use. From a general perspective, I can sum up Kodak Playtouch Camera’s features as appended:

  • Very nice design, the Playtouch looks like a Sony Xperia in most cases.
  • The touch screen is super sensitive and responds actively to all sorts of finger inputs.
  • 5 MPs snaps one of the best shots ever.
  • Macro focus and macro customization menu lets you create small functions on your own.
  • There are in camera video effects. Shoot with the help of a special effect and change them as much as you want, the existing recording session will not be disturbed.
  • Microphone input for extra sensitive sound capturing.
  • HDMI Cable and HDMI Port included by default.

I guess, the lack of hi definition video recording was replaced by HDMI cable compatibility. Now if we notice on thing, Kodak was one of the earliest companies to adapt the HDMI video standard. Perhaps the reason they did not include hi-def recording was because of feasibility concerns. Still, this is a great device and as long as you are not using it in dark environment, the results will be great.

  • Kodak Zi8 Camera

Price: $91.94 for Used

Kodak Z18 is available in 3 different colors

Okay, the interesting thing about the Zi8 Kodak camera is the “HD” label on it. When the company released this sick puppy, they made it compatible with touch screen technology. The Zi8 looks a lot like PlayTouch Kodak video camera. Actually I had to double check this camera because I confused it with the PlayTouch; the looks are somewhat identical at first glance.

Here are some of the things that I appreciate about this video recording device:

  • The camera has a pretty sick looking design and the touchscreen is equally responsive.
  • There is a variety of HD video effects; the more the better and you’re going to love them all.
  • True HD video recording at 1080p with a maximum of 30 Fps frame rate and 16:9 video output.
  • Macro focus feature lets you create your own macros. In the end, it’s a one touch custom created button that does your bidding
  • Microphone input for more subtle approach
  • HDMI port and cable included in box pack

Seeing to the price tag, it sounds really interesting to know that that Kodak Zi8 only costs $91.94 these days. Overall, the cams’ size is minimized enough to snuggly fit in your pocket or waist bag. The Playtouch Zi8 is Kodak’s earliest product to feature touchscreen. Already users have dropped in a fair number of positive reviews at Amazon, so I can say that this camera is recommended to anyone who is interested in startup level videography.

Closing thoughts:

These cameras were not reviewed in detail. I just wanted to let the word out about Kodak and some of its products that give decent results when compared to the latest devices available in the online market. Sometimes, older versions of a certain product are more than capable of undermining those products that are not only new, but also cost a lot more.

If you have used Kodak cameras, films or anything before, let me know through the comments section below. I have been a Kodak customer for a long time, but never actually came back to review their products since cell phones, Android and Apple devices took over the market. Kodak does have potential but it needs to be more creative to outsmart today’s industry standards.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, December 25th, 2013 at 9:01 AM and is filed under Digital Cameras, Home Slider, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

Casey Nolan

About Casey Nolan

Hello everyone, I am Bilal Malik AKA 'Casey Nolan'; Head Editor and owner of 'Infinarium.Com'. For product reviews, article requests, recommendations, or if you just want to get something off your chest, send me an email at techguy@infinarium.com.

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