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Thursday, July 29, 2010

I hate technology.

It sounds funny coming from a blogger and writer, right? From someone whose job relies on computers, the internet, and e-mail? I know it does. So let me explain.

The thing is that I really do *love* technology. I love shiny new electronics. When I started my job, I got a little giddy when they handed me a MacBook. I love new cameras and lenses. New iPods, TVs, cell phones, and even game consoles. If I'm walking by an Apple Store, I go in just to stare at the beauty of the iMac. I can't even tell you how badly I want to cancel our Verizon contract and switch to AT&T just so we can have iPhones.

But the reason I hate technology?

It seems that as soon as you buy it, it's not good enough anymore. For instance, the laptop from which I am writing this post is only three years old, but it may as well be a dinosaur. It runs as slow as hell, the 140 GB hard drive is constantly full, it freezes frequently, and the battery is completely dead and does not hold a charge. New computers these days offer twice as much memory, and hard drives are often 1 terabyte. TERABYTE! It's sickening.

I think the worst part of it all is that technology is so disposable. When we upgrade to the latest and greatest, there really isn't much you can do with the old stuff. Who wants a computer that barely works?

Aside from the computer situation (we're living on borrowed time, I fear... keeping our fingers crossed that this thing holds out), we are currently looking at video cameras.

I bought a video camera back in November 2001 when I was in college. At that time, they still used the little Hi8 tapes. I'm glad I have the footage that I have from those years, but it sucks to have to hook everything up to the TV and fast-forward through things in order to watch them.

At Christmas 2005, Michael bought me a DV (digital video) camera. It was amazing to be able to take video and then transfer it right to our computer. Video! That was digital!! Awesome. But now? Now, there are tiny little video cameras that take way better video (High Definition!) than we can, and they're relatively inexpensive, too.


And so it is time to upgrade again. We figure that with a new baby coming, we need something that will take the kind of video that we've become accustomed to seeing everywhere.

My DSLR camera actually takes HD video, which is awesome, but there are two drawbacks: 1) It's not as portable as the new video cameras available, and 2) You have to manually focus, so it is difficult to keep focused when you're following around moving subjects (i.e. toddlers!). Although we love that the DSLR has that capability and plan to continue using it, we need something that we can throw in a pocket, purse, or diaper bag and use on an everyday basis.

We're in the market for a "pocket" HD video camera. I've been collecting recommendations; does anyone have ones they want to share?

After some research and reading reviews, we've earmarked a couple of Kodak cameras as favorites:

The Zi8...

...or the Playsport (Zx3)

As far as I can tell (so far), the Playsport has the same features and specifications as the Zi8, except for one cool "extra"--it's waterproof up to 10 ft. deep! And given that it's in the same price range, why NOT go for the waterproof one? It appeals to us because of our vacations, but it's also kind of nice to know we can easily take video of our baby at "water babies" classes, in the kiddie pool, or even in the bath.

I've been looking into the Flip brand cameras as well, but all of the reviews I've found that compare the Flip to the Kodak always seem to pick Kodak as the "winner." And I saw some side-by-side comparison video and I think I like the result from the Kodak better.

Anyway, still open to hearing what you all have to say. Pocket cams in general--yea or nay? Specific cameras you like/dislike?


Erin July 29, 2010 at 9:51 PM  

I like our flip. It lives in my diaper bag with the point and shoot. It's adequate. And considering how fast everything becomes outdated, I wouldn't labor over the decision too much because you'll be getting a new one in a few years.

And the iphone is awesome, but we miss Verizon. Seriously hoping Verizon gets the iphone in January so we can switch back.

Krystie July 29, 2010 at 10:33 PM  

We own the new ultra HD flip. I love it, and I compared it to Sony, and Kodak. In the end, the price was on par, the quality is good ( well good enough for a small video camera) and it's REALLY user friendly.

Our contract is up with tmobile and we'll be getting the new iphones in October. I can't freaking wait.

Gretchen,  July 30, 2010 at 5:53 AM  

We have the Kodak Zi8, we got it when our little one arrived, it takes really great video, the sound is a little quiet, but you can't beat the HD quality video it takes for what that little camera costs. But I didn't know there was a comparable waterproof one, I think I would lean towards that if they are very similar. But I think for the price you can't go wrong either way.

Caren July 30, 2010 at 7:26 AM  

i have zero advice for video cameras but I have two opinions about your phone/computer situation:

1. Do not leave Verizon. AT&T is the worst service. My husband has the iphone and while its a fun gadget he never gets service in our house and other random areas near us. Its so frustrating and now that I have the droid incredible, he's thinking of switching so he can have the full package.

2. when your computer dies...buy yourself the macbook or whatever other apple computer you are eyeing up. you will never look back. We bought our macbook two years ago and it runs the same as it did the day we bought it. yes, they are super expensive but in the long run you save because you won't need to buy another one in 2 or 3 years.

ok..stepping off my soapbox now! good luck with the video situation.

Heather July 30, 2010 at 3:16 PM  

Erin--This is why we don't want to spend very much money on this thing! And although I don't want to labor over the decision, I do want to make sure we're getting the best camera for the price. I research everything; I'm a researcher! :) And here's hoping that Verizon gets the iPhone in January, eh?

Krystie--Jealous of the iPhones. Seriously.

Gretchen--So happy to hear you're happy with the Zi8. Hopefully you'll check back here and see this, as I have a question for you: Do you find that you have the need to use the macro setting often? Two things that are holding us back from the Playsport are that it lacks the macro setting, and also doesn't have the pull-out USB connection that the Zi8 has. With a baby, when you're having to pretty much stand over them or hold them when trying to get smiles and such, it seems like the macro setting could come in handy, as opposed to having to be 2-3 ft. away to have the thing focus, you know? Just curious what your experience has been. Also, have you used it much in low light? Are you still pretty happy with it in those situations?

Caren--We're hoping that Verizon gets the iPhone. Seriously, seriously hoping. That would be the best case scenario EVER. And don't worry, we are soooo planning on getting a Mac when our current computer dies. We'd probably have it already if we didn't have the space constraints. Problem is that we really want the iMac but no longer have an office space thanks to the impending arrival of a certain little baby! :) We're thinking we have to move, THEN buy an iMac. Hence the fingers crossed that our dino laptop holds out for a while longer...

Mala July 31, 2010 at 9:48 AM  

I can only speak on the iphone part. Ive always had AT&T and the service is awesome. My phone works when no one's doesn't. I always have signal even when playing hide n seek with my twins. My bills are always correct.

Now the iPhone, I was a blackberry girl until it crashed. It was cheaper to get the iPhone vs the blackberry bold. You couldnt pay me to get another phone!!! I have the 3Gs, my hubby has the 4. I'll get the new one after I make other purchases that I want. I got this phone last year so its still fairly new.

Gretchen July 31, 2010 at 3:12 PM  

Heather, we used the macro setting for when we gave her the first bath, because otherwise it was a little bit blurry, but really not too bad. As for low light, I haven't used it in that yet, but I bought ours off of Amazon, that was the cheapest I could find it and there was a reviewer there that had a video showing it in low light and it seemed to work really well. Hope this helps out some!

Catherine August 1, 2010 at 5:08 PM  

Totally off topic - but was wondering if you were going to do a post about cloth diapers before the baby? I know you have also read Julia's blog about her experience, but was curious as to what your plans are going to be.

Heather August 1, 2010 at 10:11 PM  

Hi Catherine--

Yes, such a post is in the works. :) It'll probably be a few more weeks, though. I feel like I need to wait until we have a little bit more of our "stash" in our hands.

Catherine August 2, 2010 at 10:58 AM  

Oh good, I can't wait! My husband and I are pretty reserach obessed, so it's fun to see what you will choose. We are going to do a combo of prefolds and pocket. It took us literally over a month to come to this conclusion!

I'm not due until the end of November, so it will be nice for me to see your experience first.

Katie,  August 2, 2010 at 11:36 AM  

Heather - I found this review on the cameras and thought it might be helpful to you!! Thank you for sharing your journey!


Kylee Wall August 7, 2010 at 11:23 AM  

Did you ever decide on one? I asked my husband who works in electronics and he recommended kodak over the flip.

I guess you just need to upgrade your DSLR since the newer models got a firmware upgrade for autofocus during video capture :) And don't capture in weird frames per second anymore. REAL video! :D

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