Average review score based on 153 user reviews
of customers recommend this product
I bought this camera for megarides, a trip we cyclists do in Brazil, in order to ride during all day long (and nights). The ZX1 camera trembles a lot (no stabilizer) and its 2x zoom (1x?) was so limited (adding the fact that its default zoom (0x) appears to be 2x already). So we bought ZX3. We can say its was a 200% upgrade!
- Its smaller size
- Klic 7004 battery - although harder to find, its only 0.4oz (11g), comparing to 2-AA batteries (50g), which support up to 1h30m of HD video.
- the camera IS a recharger itself: you can recharge using USB or your OUTLET.
- Digital image stabilizer: Sincerelly, the camera still trembles when we film around walking, jumping, cycling... but less than ZX1. The Sony Wxxx cameras with BIONZ and OPTICAL stabilizers are still the best! For grade 0 to 10, we give 8 to Sony W120/W350, 5 to ZX3, and 2 to ZX1.
- MUCH better zoom! It appears to be 5x or even more (KODAK doest show the magnification in the screen). The digital zoom acts like an optical one, regarding to quality, when you film at VGA or HD-60 because it takes the 1980x1024 CCD and 'uses its pixels' to draw back in 1280x720. So the effect is amazing, it appears like an optical zoom! We can say (for VGA) 4x, 5x will be interpolated. For HD-60, 3x, 4x and 5x. In a FULL HD setting, whichever zoom used will be interpolated.
- Its has three movie color config: normal color, vivid (high saturared) color, and black & white.
- Filming at night! The camera is amazing at night! We can even film candles and some fluorescent lights and see the surroundings! Of course, it tears up a bit (noise). The camera also adjust its inner light for distant parks and poles (using zoom). Very amazing! And the most important: the FPS does not shrink! It still remains 60fps for HD video! In ZX1, the FPS drops to 10fps or even less, in dark areas.
- HDMI output (so nice to see on TV)
- can film underwater (according to manufacturer, 3 meters)
- tripod support (nice to put in a bicycle handle bar!)
- Good price (mine was $139). Few bucks more than ZX1.
- Its small size is harder to get a grip. The camera can fall easier! Use a strap always!
- Using class 1 to 4 SD cards let the preview slow to be viewed on a LCD TV or similar via HDMI (HD or FULL HD output). Testing a Class-4 4gb SD in the camera and HDMI cable let the FPS follow this pattern: 60-60-20-20-60-60-60-20-20-60-60-60-60-20-20...
- The batteries are hard to find, although you can recharge up to 90% in less than 2 hours in the outlet. However, bring a spare if you ride for the entire day
- No flash (why have one? Its for sport activity!)
- No way to set white balance, focus (like macro), shutter speed and settings like that.
I've owned a number of digital camera and video recorders. Most had many more features than the Playsport but I never have been able to record as easily as I can with this recorder. For the Amazon price, this is an excellent bargain. Videos are in very good resolution, still shots are quite adequate and the recorder can be carried in your pocket. As long as you do not expect all the bells and whistles that are on some camcorders, you should be quite pleased with this item. The underwater feature works and I will be really testing it later when I go snorkeling.
The one feature I wish this had was an optical zoom. I realize this may not be possible with such a small lens in a relatively small case. The digital zoom works well but the resolution of the resulting videos is not great. In all fairness, this is OK for display on YouTube or on a small screen.
I'd rate it 4.5 with the only significant negative being the lack of an optical zoom.
This camera is a great little addition to my kit. As a quick point and shoot it works well, but is grainy in low light - not a big surprise. The underwater images are also very good I used it as a test camera for some underwater sequences and it was very useful.
The angle of the lens is quite narrow for an action camera and the shape of the body makes it shakes if used in a car mount which is not supported at the top. The 4X zoom is a definite improvement on previous models.
I've used this camera for 'quickie' interviews and found it to be OK, but wider shots reduce the quality of the audio so I record dialogue with a small field recorder.
All in all, a fantastic pocket camera for the price. If you have realistic expectations of a single chip point and shoot camera you will be very happy.
This is my third Playsport Zx3 purchase.
The Zx3 is superior to the Zx5 because of the removable battery. Extra batteries and a battery charger and a remote are all available for this camera. The supplied charger works with the battery while in the camera.
The other model, the Zx5, has a macro setting as it's only advantage, which most people would seldom use anyway. The Zx3 does close up pretty well as it is. But the Zx5 has no removable battery, which was a bad move by Kodak since having an extra battery or two is great when you're out filming on a trip or event. Get the Zx3.
Battery is good for an hour or two of total record time depending on how much you use the view screen whle not recording, and the power rating on the battery("mAh" number relates to how long it lasts). Some aftermarket batteries last a little shorter, some longer - read the mAh number rating when choosing what's better for you. The battery model is a KLIC-7004, but comes in different mAh.
The sound sometimes takes awhile to clear up when coming out of water, and the camera is designed as for light use and shallow submersion underwater. It's great around the pool or in bad weather like that snow sled excusion but if your actually diving you may want to choose something more heavy duty.
There is several settings. Video and Camera. The 5MP Still pictures are mediocre. There is no light or flash - so it does decent pictures for a video camera, but bring the regular camera along if you want nice pictures.
There is something to be said about the video options - other cameras may have the 1080 HD @ 30FPS (frames per second) like this one, but only 30FPS @ 720 as well. The Zx3 has a 60FPS @ 720HD setting, and sometimes the 720 HD @ 60 FPS actually makes better movies. There is no simple formula (like using the 60 FPS for action) - some of my action videos actually came out better at 1080 @ 30FPS - typically, the lower resolution seems more vivid and smooth, but it is a lower resolution, and you may find yourself using the 1080 setting most of the time.
I also recommend purchasing the Square Trade warranty if available.
I needed a water proof/resistant camera for taking videos and pictures on my boat, I didn't want to take my Cannon DSLR out in the salt or spend a lot on a camera, and this camera fit exactly what I was looking for, simple and easy to use with good video quality.
The Zx3 had better reviews than the newer Zx5, so I went with the Zx3, and so far it has proven to be a good decision.
The battery life is a little around 2 hours, and was to be expected, but this is not that big of an issue, extra batteries for this camera are cheap so I purchased 3 extra batteries to keep on stand by, and a floating wrist strap in case it mistakenly found its way overboard.
If anyone is looking for a low price camera that is easy to use with features and video quality of higher end cameras you can't go wrong with the Zx3
I have found that the playsport is everything I need in a video camera. I would ignore the critics that harp on the video quality, it is very good. The 720p 60fps setting is best for action and the 1080p is best for clarity. The underwater abilities are great and for the price who can complain about recording in High Def underwater! The only downfall is the battery which so far for me has lasted only about an hour. I have ordered the charger and extra battery off Amazon since I can not find it on ebay for the same price. We also own a Flip, the Playsports screen is bigger. The Flip has better low light performance and battery life though. The Flip does not use proprietary batteries like the Playsport, it uses AA's which I think is better. The Playsport uses SDHC/SD cards that go up to 32gb which I think is better than the Flip's on-board memory. The Playsport is also thinner than the Flip making it very easy to slip in a pocket. The Playsport feels very rugged and actually very dense for its size. Supposedly it is pretty rugged but I would not put that to the test on purpose! I purchased this so that I could take a camera on the beach, boat or pool and not have to constantly protect it from the elements. It is nice to be able to free yourself from the concern of destroying your camera with water and just have fun in the water. I would highly recommend this camera but beware of the battery...
EDIT 08/12- I took this camera to Mexico and I knocked open the battery door causing it to fill with water. The instructions say to open it and let it dry out, which I did. I am an electrician and pictured in my head capacitors popping and resistors burning as water rushed across them. Remarkably the camera dried out and is back to full working order! I am not sure if the circuit board has any additional protectant coatings but this is a very robust piece of electronics.
I've been using the Kodak PlaySport Zx3 for about a year now, and bought two more. On the plus side, they're very hardy. I've used mine for outdoor shoots on camping trips, and it survived well. I prefer the removable battery of the Zx3 over the "upgraded" Zx5, which is more sturdy, but has a sealed battery. The Zx3's image quality was best-in-class in 2009-2010, and I chose the Zx3 over the Flip line after viewing comparisons on YouTube and Vimeo. The sound quality is surprising, which it had better be--there's no A/V in, so no hope of attaching a higher quality microphone. I have seen reports of charging failure. I have yet to experience outright failure, so I assume people just aren't careful with the micro-USB port, which is notoriously fragile. The Zx3 feels good and sturdy in the hand, and the operation is super simple, and the still photos are pretty good, too. On the minus side, the viewfinder (not the lens, but the display) gets easily scratched over time. I recommend owners get some kind of protective sheet for the display. Still usable, but annoying. During operation, I would not recommend using the zoom feature--the pixels just get blown up and image stabilization gets much less effective, often resulting in a blurry, shaky picture. One disappointment is that, on occasion and without warning, slightly and instantly, the color tone and saturation will shift. It's the strangest thing, and barely noticeable. I shoot videos of fine art (where color is important) and it is a noticeable occurrence when it happens. It seems to happen more when the battery power runs low, and the cause and/or solution are unknown to me. Finally, despite the removable battery, the shortness of battery life for the KLIC 7004 battery is a drawback necessitating owners of the PlaySport to buy at least one extra battery per unit, if not two. I've had the Zx3 last anywhere from 2-3 hours on a charge, depending on conditions. If you have an 8GB SDHC card and you're shooting in 1080p, you'll run out of battery time before you run out of memory, so beware if you have a lot of shooting planned. (2 hours is a LOT of shooting.)
I decided to buy the Kodak Zx3 after reading many reviews about waterproof camcorders. I live with my family in Brazil, and during our holidays we usually go to the beach or spa resorts. As I have two very active 8 years old twin boys, recording our moments with a smartphone or non waterproof camcorders was frustrating, as I couldn't get too close to the action (they love to play in the water, as most kids do).
Video quality was my first priority when looking for the camcorder. After watching many video samples on YouTube taped with the ZX3, the video quality looked good enough for my needs, including HD video. In a bright day, the video quality is better than any other portable camera that I've used.
My other concern was ease of use, since my wife would also use the camera and she's not much of a tech savvy person :) Again, the ZX3 got that covered very well. The interface is intuitive and to start recording you only have to power it on and press the record button.
The use underwater is quite good as well. Just search for Kodak ZX3 on YouTube to have a look. There's a design flaw with the microphone though: sometimes the tiny mic hole on the front of the camera gets stuck with water, and then the audio will get a bit sloppy. The only way to avoid that is to shake the camera a bit when taking it out of the water, or by swiping your finger over the hole to make sure there's no water covering it.
The battery life is not very good, but since it's replaceable, I just bought a second one to take as a backup in my trips - they're cheap and easy to replace.
Overall I'm quite happy with the Kodak ZX3. It's cheap, with exceptional video quality, very easy to use, you can get additional batteries to use as backups/spares and it's easy to expand the memory capacity with SD cards.
Primary use; 4 season climbing, paddling, mountaineering.
You read the specs, the camera is pretty rugged; I would agree. I found the camera easy to use in terms of settings and features. It literally takes minutes to become comfortable with scrolling through the settings and making adjustments. I also found that its easy to use, it's like holding a cell phone and its fairly small. I considered the following cameras before purchasing this one; GoPro HD, Playsport ZX5, and a few others not even worth mentioning. Reason for selecting this one; Cheap batteries. The GoPro has the HD quality. However, no LCD viewer and batteries are really expensive. The ZX5 has a nicer display but, has an internal battery that won't work for trips longer than a day. For the ZX3, I purchased 6 extra batteries for $24, a macro lens for $15, a remote for $10, and case for $3. For under $200 I'm shooting digital video in 1080p in some absolutely harsh environments for a week at a time.
In conclusion, I'm pretty happy with the ZX3 for the price, features, quality, and ease of use.
If you are looking for an inexpensive HD camera that can do the job, then the Kodak Playsport is the one for you. It is simple to use as well as to transport. It's compact size makes it an awesome camera that you can fit in your pocket and go anywhere with it, even in the WATER. That's right! The camera is actually water proof up to 3 meters or ten feet. This makes the camera a step above some of the other ones on the market out there.
You haven't seen the "FLIP" camera with that function have you? So if you are in the market for a camcorder that does what it's meant to do without all the additional fancy "Bells and Whistles" then you have definitely got to check this camera out.