Kodak Zi6 HD camcorder now available for pre-order!

After spending the past couple of decades surrounded by gadgets, it usually takes a lot to get me excited about an upcoming product. My inbox gets bombarded with product announcements and updates to existing products 100′s of times a week. But there is currently one product “coming soon” that is very high on my “must have” list, and it’s from a pretty unlikely source.

HD video capable? Check. Built in USB connector? Check. Runs off AA batteries? Check. Can be expanded with cheap SD cards? Check. Weighs just 3.8 ounces? Check. Costs less than $180? CHECK!

The Kodak Zi6 is a handheld digital camcorder, much like the highly successful “Flip Camcorder” that made its way to retail stores in the past year. The ZI6 is different though; it can record HD video files. No longer will you have to settle for grainy and stuttering movie clips of your kids first dive into the pool, you’ll be able to film their antics in 720p HD at 60 frames per second.

HD video recording is in its infancy, a “real” HD camcorder still costs around $1000, but Kodak have managed to shave as much off the price of the Zi6 as possible, and it will be retailing for just $179.95. Of course, at this price point, you don’t get a nice optical zoom, and the image quality will be the lowest HD resolution (720p), and not 1080i or 1080p like a high-end camcorder can produce.

The camera should be available within the next month, but Kodak have made it easier to get your hands on it, as soon as it is available thanks to their new pre-order page.

A quick recap of the specifications; the Zi6 can record in wide screen 720p HD at 60 frames per second, it has a 2.4″ LCD screen, an integrated pop-out USB jack, direct-to-Youtube uploads and it can be expanded using SD and SDHC memory cards up to 32GB. The Zi6 has just 128MB of internal memory, so an additional SD card is a must if you plan to record HD video.

The Kodak Zi6 ships with AA rechargeable batteries and recharger, AV and HD video cables (component), a wrist strap, a pouch and a special version of Arcsoft Media Impression, for editing HD video. Hopefully I’ll be able to post a full review as soon as I can get my hands on one.