Top critical review
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Rain or shine...
on 23 November 2010
Kodak's ZM1 Pocket Video Camera is clearly aimed at the Facebook and YouTube generation who want to create and share clips online as easily and as cheaply as possible - and for that use it pretty much fits the bill. The video quality is a step up from most mobile-phone cameras (but not the better smart-phones) with surprisingly good colour rendition in lower lights - but of course you don't get high-resolution. Sound quality is a bit weak but, to be fair to Kodak, fitting a microphone in a waterproof camera must be a challenge.
The bottom of the camera flips open to reveal the memory card slot and pop-out USB connector, these are protected from moisture by a rubber seal running around the lid and a tight clip which then holds the lid in place. On my camera the fixing clip doesn't sit completely flush within the bottom of the camera and I'd be slightly concerned it could get caught on something in use and flip open the lid by mistake - it also prevents the camera from sitting perfectly straight when you put it down on a table, although this isn't really the kind of camera you'd use that way. The pop-out USB connector means you don't have to carry any cables around with you but in use it's a bit awkward - you have to release it with a tiny clip before and after use and having the whole camera hanging out of the side of your computer isn't exactly an elegant solution - but it works.
As a cheap(ish) and cheerful pocketable video camera its main selling point is the waterproof housing which should make it ideal for a British summer or for splashing around on some foreign beach. You don't get the best quality video but this camera is so small and light that you're more likely to have it with you ready to capture those fleeting moments when they happen. Don't forget to budget for a memory card as the inbuilt storage is only enough for a few minutes of video - a 4GB card for example will store approximately one hour of video at VGA quality, which is about as long as the battery lasts on a single charge.