I recently purchased the Panasonic HM-TA1... straight out of the box, I was immediately disappointed by the build quality - just seemed too "delicate" to be trotting around town with this thing in your pocket. Picture quality is decent however. A note to all: with any of these "shoot n' share" cameras, please don't expect picture quality to be like prosumer Sony's HDV lineup or Panasonic's HD P2 cameras... and don't compare these with HDSLR's like Canon's 7D and 5D MarkII. If you're looking for that quality, then go buy those cameras.
So a couple days later, I got turned on to Kodak's lineup of these pocket HD camcorders -- and I saw the Playtouch. Loved how they took the best of the Zi8 and incorporated it into a slick, sexy, touch-screen camcorder (like iPhones and Androids). I just had to get one! So I began my research -- skimming all over the internet reading customer's reviews... and well, even here on Amazon, they're just not that flattering to Kodak's Playtouch -- WOW, I was shocked - especially coming from such positive feedback with the Zi8. The reviews are so negative, that I almost stopped right there.
So I went into Best Buy to see what all the fuss was about -- instantly liked the feel and build quality much better than the Panasonic. But was still wondering if all these complaints I've read are true -- horrible picture quality... awful sound recording... focusing issues, camera crashes, etc. Well, I guess the only way to find out was to bite the bullet and buy one. So I did.
That was 9AM this morning. It is now 11:00PM. I've played with this camera ALL DAY -- shot in all its recording formats, tested all the picture filters (which the "70s movie" rocks!) -- even the internal mic isn't horrible (c'mon peeps, lets not be dramatic)... the focusing and auto iris/exposure compensate very well and transitions smoothly in changing environments, my movies are all in focus and I had zero crashes. The big question: picture quality? Listen folks, the picture quality is FINE, SUPER, DANDY. Again, don't expect an HD Sony F900 picture result - but for these little portable cameras, this is probably even better than my Panasonic HM-TA1.
I purchased this camera because I'm getting into Vlogging. These cameras are perfect for that (pssst, that's what they're made for... internet not broadcast quality). Small, portable, easy to use. The Playtouch delivers on all fronts.
Now you can always get things to add and enhance your "production value" with these cameras. For instance, I purchased a small Sennheiser (MKE 400) mini-shotgun mic (plugs directly into the Playtouch). Really improves the audio - a worthy investment. Also purchased a small "Bracket", which is used to mount the shot gun mic and the camera. Brackets are generally considered "photography" equipment, but it works perfectly for my set up plus it adds more "stability" to handheld shooting. A great solution!
Really hope people will give this camera a chance. I don't understand all these negative reviews. I'm really happy with my purchase -- the user interface is great --- the touch screen is wonderfully responsive -- the picture quality is as good as it can be (for any of these pocket cameras)... the audio is superb with the added shotgun mic.... all the video options and editing utilities work and look terrific. What else can I say, I am a fan of Kodak's Playtouch.
P.S.: I am a Mac user / and this works seamlessly with my system (iMovie, iPhoto, etc.). Even did the firmware update :)
And for those of you who are skeptics and wondering... No, I do not work nor am affiliated with Kodak in any way, shape or form.
When I get some footage maybe I'll share it here. After all, a picture's worth a thousand words. :)
***I really really wanted the red/orange version, but no one is carrying them! I had no choice but to get the black version. Maybe Kodak can send me a Red battery compartment :)