Mini-Cam is tough on big fingers, but a lot of fun!

Dec 27, 2010
Review by  
Rated a Helpful Review

Pros:Slim and lightweight
Charge lasts a long time
Simple to take video and stills

Cons:Bottom clip durability
Bad for big fingers
Manual is frustrating

The Bottom Line: The manual frustrate, the clip concerns, and the USB arm is a pain, but still, I love this lightweight mini cam.  Take time to figure it out and then enjoy.

My purchase of the Kodak Mini DVC Digital Video Camera ZM1 was actually an impulse buy on Black Friday.  I have a small digital camera, but it doesn't take video, and I always need to charge up the batteries before using it.  When I saw this very sleek looking product at a fairly good price, I decided to give it a try.

This is a very slender and lightweight personal mini cam with measurements of 3.5"H x 2.4"W x 0.5"D.  It easily fits into a pocket and isn't the least bit bulky in my opinion.  I want to protect it, though, so I did purchase a separate case to keep the mini cam in.  That bulks it up, but any time I want to, I could just as easily slip it into a handkerchief or something and use it without the case.

Now there are many pros for this unit and there are probably as many cons for someone like me with big fingers.  If you don't have big fingers, it's probably not as much of an issue for you.

Let me get the negatives out of the way.

1) I have major problems with the instruction manual which simply isn't complete enough.  It mentions something needs to be done, but doesn't provide a thorough 'how to' or accurate picture to demonstrate the process.

I'll state here that this is my first item like this, so maybe some of the fault is my ignorance of this 'gadget'.  However, manuals or instruction sheets should be written for 'dummies', that is people who haven't a clue how something works.

It's not detailed enough.  While it talks about the initial charge, it does not elaborate on proper procedures for future charging, like when it is necessary and if the unit needs to discharge fully before charging again.  It is full of omissions like that.

This fold up sheet just frustrated me, especially since it was like a language class. Each item began in English and then was repeated in 3 other languages. This money saving procedure saved Kodak from reprinting the photos multiple times, but it made it confusing.

2) The unit is charged from its bottom base.  The bottom has a little clip that you pull up in order to get the longer flap that covers the base to lift open and reveal the USB charging arm and the SIM card.  There is no indication of exactly how this works until you figure it out.  I couldn't get that clip part to open for the life of me at first.  I was even afraid that it would break because it is a very thing piece.  Again, big fingers made it more difficult.

3) Now the unit is open and the USB pushes outward.  This I get.  Plug it in and charge, only it makes me nervous because essentially the USB is in mid-air as it charges.  The picture shows it being connected to a laptop so that it would be flat.  Non-laptop users have to wonder how safe it is for this mini cam to be connected midway up their computer.

4) Try to get out the SIM card with big fingers. Trust me, it's a job, and it's not easy.  One time it literally flew across the room.

5) Pushing the USB arm back in is a pain for big fingers.  That is what still takes me a long time to do.

About the above, I actually had to call Kodak for advice and assistance.  It was during a very long conversation that I finally figured out the trick to using the clip that keeps the bottom secured.  It's now very easy for me, but I still worry about its durability.

I have been able to remove the SIM card, again with advice from the customer service rep, but big fingers aren't made for ease of use with this camera.  Truth is, I can barely tell there is a card in there.  It's all very tiny.

Okay, let's look at the good.

1) Again, it's slim. You can easily carry this on your person or in a purse.  It does not take up space.

2) It is easy to use once you figure it out.  I love pulling this out and snapping photos of the dogs.  It is a little slow as it changes from video to still, but not enough to frustrate.

3) It is simple to install into the computer and once there, uploading photos and videos is seamless.  I used it tonight to take a couple of quick pictures of something I needed to scan.  I did it in half the time it would have taken me had I used the scanner.

4) Kodak customer service was very courteous and easy to work with.

So here's the deal.  I know the negatives are long and my upset at them huge, but I really love this little mini cam.  It's been fun and I guess that outweighs the negatives for me.  I love the video I've shot, as well as the stills.

It looks sharp, too.  The charcoal gray is much more appealing in person than it is in the picture.  The video playback is great.  Like I said, I'm loving it.

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