A few months ago I did a Digital Soul Hour episode about Vlogging and I promised to do a review of the different pocket camcorders that I own. This is the promised review. As I was starting my review process, I noticed JVC came out with the JVC Picsio and I tweeted out that I would love to include it in my review. JVC contacted me and sent me a blue Picsio (yes, in the name of disclosure, that means free). For the FTC, here is the list of the 4 pocket camcorders I will be reviewing and how I came to have them in my possession.
Kodak Zi6 – This camcorder was in my swag bag from the SocialLuxe party at Blogher
Flip Mino HD 60 – I won this one through a random contest at yourtribute.com
Sony Webbie PM-1 – We purchased this one ourselves last year.
JVC Picsio GC FM-1 – JVC sent to me to include in this review
I have included the iPhone 3Gs in the video comparisons at the very end, but it was because I was curious how it compared. I didn’t expect it to do as well and I am not “officially” including it in the review, but it’s there if you’d like to see how the video looks.
I spent at least 2 weeks with each of the 4 camcorders. Using it as I normally would, carrying it in my purse, taking to dance, school, vlogging, etc.
All of the videos below were recorded at the same time using the highest quality HD setting for each camcorder. I uploaded them to my 24″ iMac and used iMovie to put together the short clips. I uploaded directly to YouTube using the default HD settings. All 4 cameras allow you to put the camcorder on a tripod.
Comparison of Basic Features
|Features||Sony Webbie||Flip Mino||Kodak Zi6||JVC Picsio|
|Weight||4 oz||3.3 oz||3.8 oz (no batteries)||3.36 oz|
|Display Size||2.5 in||1.5 in||2.4 in||2.0 in|
|Zoom||4x optical||2x digi||2x digi||4x digi|
|Video HD Hightest Quality||1080||720||720||1080|
|Still Format & Quality||JPG/5M||N/A||JPG/3M||JPG/8M|
stick PRO Duo up
to 32 GB
|128 mb internal
up to 32 GB
up to 32 GB
Here are my findings and at the end I’ll let you know which one I am ultimately going to use as my camcorder.
Kodak Zi6 Pocket Camcorder
I have been using this camcorder since I brought it home from BlogHer as my main camcorder and I’ve been very pleased with it. Pair it with the eye-fi video and it worked really well for me. It wasn’t easy to just easily slip in my pocket so a few times I opted to take my iPhone only and leave the Zi6 behind. I sometimes find the video to have a slight bluish tint to it which I was able to easily fix in iMovie and I didn’t see it all the time.
- The Kodak Zi6 pocket camcorder feels very comfortable in my hand. I like the texture of the outside and it feels very sturdy and I don’t worry about dropping it.
- It has a large display which I found quite easy to see even outside in the sun.
- The controls are very easy to master one handed which leaves one hand free (great for Moms)
- Both the batteries and memory are removable, so you can carry spares and never run out. It also comes with 2 AA rechargeable batteries.
- Comes with a pouch to carry the camcorder in so it does not get scratched up.
- Turns on very quickly and ready to begin recording.
- Has a close-up and normal mode.
- The Kodak Zi6 pocket camcorder does not easily fit in your pocket.
- The sound was not very good and I could often hear the wind blowing in my outdoor videos
- No Mac version of the software
- Hard to use for vlogging because I can not see if I’m in the picture, but I was able to make it work.
Flip Mino HD Pocket Camcorder 60 min
I can’t say enough positive things about the Flip Mino HD pocket camcorder. I was very pleasantly surprised. I had one of the very first Flips that came out a few years ago and while I loved the ease of use, it didn’t take very good video at all. I have stayed away from it since then. But, WOW, they have definitely improved on the quality. I do miss the screen they had that “flipped” to make self recording much easier.
- Very small size makes it easy to carry in your pocket or purse everywhere you go. My arm did not get tired holding it up to record a 1 hour dance recital.
- Excellent sound. I took video at a concert and I heard the concert music just as well as the sounds right around me
- Turn it on and begin recording within seconds (about 3 sec)
- Excellent quality video in all types of scenarios. I tested at a concert, outside, sports, recital, scenery, at night and I was pleased with all of the video.
- Offers a Mac version of the software.
- I never have used the software that comes with a camera or camcorder in the past because I never found it useful, until the Flip Software. It makes transferring the videos effortless and I can easily upload to a private location for others to view or to YouTube. When I want to change where they are located on my computer, I can do that easily also.
- The still picture capture feature in the software was a huge plus because I could get the exact shot I wanted.
- Has a red light which turns on the front of the camcorder when recording. Works well for vlogging because you know if it is recording or not.
- Video was crystal clear and looked the most natural to me. It handled the transitions from a dark room to a lighted window very well.
- The zoom buttons are not “true” buttons, but rather a lit up ‘+’ and ‘-‘ on the panel and quite often I would press and press and nothing would happen. It was hit or miss.
- Can not remove the battery or memory, so if you use it up, you need to download the video to continue recording (you get 60 min worth of time)
- Can not take still photos (however you can capture a still photo with the software included, see Pros above)
- Difficult to record yourself without a tripod. I am often cutting off my head in my vlogs. You need to get used to this.
- The viewing screen is really small.
JVC Picsio GC FM-1
I really wanted to like the Picsio pocket camcorder. When I took it out of the box, it looked like a jewel, but it just wasn’t happening for me. Overall I found the buttons hard to use, the quality of the video wasn’t good and the battery didn’t hold a charge for very long. Maybe if I had plugged it in before each outing, it might have helped? But I tend to keep my camcorder with my iPhone and grab it and take it wherever I go. I don’t want to have to plug it in after every outing.
- Records video in HD 1080p
- Can plug an HDMI cable into the camcorder
- Still pictures can be taken up to 8mp (depending on your settings)
- Memory is removable so you can carry a spare.
- Has a close-up and normal mode.
- I found the buttons kind of hard to work. I have small hands and when I would hold it in 1 hand (which I do often), I often dropped the camcorder.
- The holographic design on the front of the camcorder was very distracting for my kids (and not in a good way). They would want to play with the camcorder and take it outside and make the sun reflect off the camcorder.
- The location of the “on” button is horrible for me. When I press the button, I cover the off/on light with my thumb and at first I couldn’t tell if it was on or off. I thought it was just me, but a couple of other people who tried it did the same thing.
- Does not come with a pouch or anything to protect it from scratching.
- Battery is internal, therefore you need to recharge if it runs out.
- I heard a humming sound on many of my videos. The sound also was very muffled.
- When you watch my video below, you’ll see some flickering that I saw in a lot of my video from this camcorder.
- The website claims 96 minutes of power, but I found that I never had enough power. I would power it up, start taking video and within 10 – 15 mintues, it would shut off (with a 4GB memory card).
Sony Webbie PM-1
The Sony Webbie pocket camcorder served me well for quite a while. I think the rotating lens feature is really ingenious. I just wish the quality of the video were better.
- The 270 degree rotating lens makes self recording for personal vlogs a breeze! I absolutely LOVE this self recording feature.
- Records video in HD 1080p
- The battery is removable and comes with recharger.
- When turned off and closed, the lens is completely covered and protected from scratches.
- I was not impressed with the quality of the video. This was the first of the 4 that I received and even before I compared it to anything, I was not happy with the quality. It was very grainy and
- This is a negative that is true across all the Sony products. I do not like that you can only use the Sony Memory Stick. We have so many SD cards for all our cameras and I always have to have a different one for my Sony products.
- I was forever pushing the display button to start the recording. You have to press either Movie (for video) or Photo (for still). Then when you stop recording, the word “recording” in red pops onto the screen. It confuses me every single time it comes up and everyone who uses the camcorder. There are numerous times that I have thought I was recording because I saw the word “recording” when in fact I wasn’t. I missed my daughter’s entire preschool graduation because of that.
- The sound near the camera is always very very loud and any sounds further away are hard to hear.
Vlogging with Your Pocket Camcorder
Since the majority of the time, I’m using my camcorder to record a vlog post, I decided to do one for a Casual Friday which showed you all 4 of the above camcorders in action. You can hear the sound and see the video for yourself and decide which one you like.
And the camcorder I will be carrying around with me every day? ::::drum roll please::::
The Flip Mino HD
It was very close between the Kodak Zi6 and the Flip Mino HD. Ultimately, I was very impressed with the quality of the video from the Flip Mino and along with the small size and ease of use, it is the camcorder I will use.
I took it to a Miley Cyrus concert (I took all of them with me) and the video was spectacular. I can not post them because I do not have permission from Miley. But we could hear Miley very well and when I zoomed in, the quality was not deteriorated at all. We compared them to some of the videos from her youtube channel of her concerts and we thought it was pretty close to the same quality and all that from the little Flip.
I also recorded my daughter’s Nutcracker show and that was probably the deciding factor. It was very simple to record, my hand was not tired after holding the camcorder up for an hour, we could hear every word spoken on stage and the quality even in the dark parts of the production were fantastic.
(just out of my own curiosity I added this one)