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Kodak PlayFull Ze1 Camcorder Review
According to Kodak, the PlayFull has a focus range of 1 meter to infinity (roughly 3 feet to infinity), which isn't bad compared to the range offered on other ultracompact models. But you really need to keep this focus limitation in mind when you're using the PlayFull camcorder because the tiny LCD makes it extremely difficult to tell if what your recording is in focus or not. On other camcorders, with larger LCDs, it's possible to just look and see if the image is in focus. This is not something you can do with the Kodak PlayFull.
To see the PlayFull's awful white balance system in action, just take a look at at our color and noise page earlier in this review. The orange glow all over the image captured by the camcorder is a result of the awful white balance system. The faulty auto exposure system is more difficult to show off. We found that when we moved the PlayFull from recording scenes at different light levels, the auto exposure would either change levels abruptly or produce a very juddered step-like change in exposure levels. Either way, it never looked good for the camcorder.
Look closely at the front of the PlayFull Ze1 and you'll notice a tiny black dot to the left of the lens area. Yup, that's the camcorder's built-in microphone. The mic isn't very good (it records mono audio only), and its placement is definitely a bit awkward, which is why we're very surprised to see a audio level adjustment option for this itty-bitty built-in microphone. Going into the camcorder's main menu, you'll find the option for adjusting the microphone levels. There's about 11 increments of adjustment and an audio level display appears on the top of the screen while you adjust the levels. Kodak offers this feature on other models as well, but we didn't expect to see it on the PlayFull.
In addition to the mono mic, the PlayFull also has a mono speaker that plays audio during playback of video clips. The speaker is located on the bottom of the camcorder, next to the tripod mount.
One of the fanciest and most prominent buttons on the back of the PlayFull is the camcorder's share button. This button is integral to the PlayFull's built-in editing software that allows you to easily upload your video clips or photos to the web. The button works in conjunction with Kodak's "Share Button App" that is loaded on the camcorder itself and can be installed when you connect the PlayFull to a computer. The software works on both PCs and Macs and allows for uploading content to a variety of different websites like Facebook, YouTube, etc. The system isn't perfect, but the step-by-step manner in which the software unfolds is very good for beginners. Overall, the "Share Button App" is one of the best provided applications we've seen on a cheap, ultracompact model like the PlayFull. For an overview of the software that ships with this and other camcorders, see our article: Video Editing Software For Your CamcorderKodak-Included-Software.htm.
- Product Tour
- Color Performance
- Low Light Performance
- Motion Performance
- Sharpness Performance
- Sample Videos
- Ease of Use
- Recording Options
- Other Features
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