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Creative Vado HD Pocket Video Camera 8GB (Black)
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Average Customer Review:
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593 of 619 found the following review helpful:
Great HD Pocket Camera, Only 1 issue for me!!!Jan 22, 2009
I am comparing this camera to a Flip Mino HD....while it may not be fair, it is the only way I could give an accurate review to this product.
Camera, removable battery, mini hdmi to hdmi cable (wow), usb extension cable, rubber/silicon skin, and documentation.
So it starts....the battery comes pretty charged and thus it was easy to install and get the unit running. The first set of options you are presented with are the setup for date, time, country. Here is where the first issue begins....the buttons (scroll arrows up, down, right, left) are WAY too sensitive and thus you are moving around even if you dont want to. So I start to set the date...without paying attention....and I quickly notice that the format for the date is dd/mm/yy which is primarily how the eastern part of the world uses the date. I finally figure out that my mind is lacking without coffee and I get the date and time set.... Lets move on.
The camera notifies you that you can hit the play/pause and trash buttons simultaneously to get back to the setup options. Works perfectly. In the setup menu you are presented with the following options:
Most of these are self explanatory. The ones with options are as follows:
Video Quality: HD+, HD, VGA
Instant Record: On / Off
TV System: NTSC/PAL
Language: English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Portugese, Dutch, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Bahasa (Indonesia), Turkish, and Arabic
The main screen shows you what mode you are in (record, ready, etc), the available recording time, the mode (hd+, hd, vga), and a battery meter...these are at the top of the lcd screen. The bottom of the screen shows the date (dd/mm/year) and the current time.
When looking at the LCD the mini hdmi port is on the left hand side of the unit and the right hand side has a power button for on and off. The usb connector is at the bottom....folded into the body with a tab sticking out so you can pull the connector out. There is also a standard tripod hole.
The shooting begins....I tried taking small clips of things inside the home as well as outdoors (although with the weather up here its not worth standing outside more then 4-5 minutes :-) ). I shot completely in HD+ mode as there are a lot of units this size that do regular vga and hd.... The image quality on the lcd screen was superb...even when outside under the sun I was able to see what I was shooting. This I like. My issue still remains that the rocker buttons are way too sensitive and it was driving me nuts for a while until I was able to mentally adjust the pressure I was applying to them.
The viewing begins... I plugged the mini hdmi to hdmi cable from the camera into our 46" Sharp Aquos 1080p LCD Panel. The playback was indeed 720p/1080i as the unit should do. It was flawless and the quality of the video stunned me. I loved it. It was comprable to the Flip Mino HD. Of course, I need help with my stability...since I noticed that movement was apparent...but hey this is no image stabilization camera... HAHA!
All that being said, Creative has created a great HD Pocket Camcorder.
What I liked:
Included accessories (cables, silicon skin)
What I diskliked (which is why its 4/5):
The buttons (right left up down) are way too sensitive for my needs.
MAC OS X Leopard:
No drivers needed.
Showed up as a usb Volume immediately.
iPhoto automatically detected camera and came up with import options.
Video Played in Quicktime. Awesome!
Was also able to browse to the camera and manually open AVI file.
Windows Vista and Windows 7 (32 and 64 bit operating systems tested)
Drivers installed automatically.
I did not need the Creative software on the device.
I was able to browse (windows explorer) to the Vado and open the AVI file in Windows Media Player. I love this functionality. I dont like cluttered software on my machine if I dont need it.
In case you are wondering...I am a cross platform user and thus I can review gadgets like the Vado and give accurate reviews. This unit would have earned a 5/5 but I am not quite there on the rocker buttons...
I hope that the review above is informative and helps you make the right decision in this category.
Quick Note for MAC Users: 01/26/09
You will probably need to install Perian to view AVI files on a mac using quicktime. You can get the software free at [...]
166 of 172 found the following review helpful:
XLNT Mini-HD Movie Camera-Best of the Bunch of Them!!Feb 14, 2009
By Wavey Davey
This camera is fun, easy to use, works with PC or Mac (surprisingly good on multiple Macs!...more about that in a minute), just like the other knowledgeable reviewers wrote, and best of all it makes an XLNT 720P HD image for viewing on 40" and larger HDTV's. There are caveats to using the Vado HD, but they are few, and just simple common sense would tell you these things if it weren't for reviews and manufacturer advertising:
1) When shooting, you've GOT to hold your hand steady, and sure, or camera shake will ruin your HD movies and clips. You can use a tripod to minimize shake to the maximum amount, perhaps one of the "mini" tripods that you see here at Amazon.com. RE tripods, I found that even my Joby GorillaPod "SLR ZOOM" heavy-duty portable, flexible tripod fit the Vado HD easily, and contrary to other reviews, the USB port on the bottom did NOT get in the way of it one bit
2) This isn't a substitute for a full-sized HD camera, like my Canon HG20 AVCHD camera, but it will suffice for casual, quick takes of virtually anything your creative mind will allow, and up to a 1 hour uninterrupted HD+ quality video in true 720P/1080i HD format, with big depth of field, up to 2 x 1-hour videos of course, utilizing a full battery to the limit
3) You've got to watch out, and protect the lens, otherwise it gets to be full of dust and dirt easily, as there's no lens cap with the camera--I carry my DSLR's lens brush and air "poof" when using Vado HD which solves the problem...give the lens a quick brush off a couple times a day during shooting, just to be sure it's clean, and it's ready for action
4) Accessories are REALLY hard to get right now, but maybe that will change soon, as the camera's popularity and rave success has the manufacturer/seller (Creative Labs) scrambling for inventory on the extra battery, charger, etc. In fact, I am on the "waiting email list" at Creative Labs right now because I want to get the external charger, and an extra battery, for those days when I'm using Vado HD for more than its 2-hour battery and filming "window" of opportunity-caveat on the battery, the normal Vado battery will NOT fit in the Vado HD and function!! If you want the extra battery, it's got to be from Creative Labs at this time, and they have been out of stock for weeks now
Those things being written, the rest is just cake, candy, and ice cream-easy to write about, and describe. Here's the positive things I've found about Vado HD so far, and I'll come back and add more after I use it more...this list is compiled after just about 1 week's use, and doesn't represent even 25% of what I have in mind for using Vado HD:
1) It's just like you imagined it would and should be, using the camera that is--it's easy, fun, and with XLNT ergonomics for being so small, pretty much all-user-intuitive controls which I go into further on in the review
2) The camera makes incredible 720P/1080i HD movie/clip footage for viewing onscreen, immediately without editing, by using the supplied Mini-HDMI to HDMI Cable--it's easy to use your HDTV as a viewer/editor vs. wasting all your time downloading the video to your PC or Mac, editing it, etc.
3) A steady hand/tripod yields an XLNT clip or video movie, up to 60 minutes long it turns out (Windows FAT File System limit of 4GB of data problem), so look out for that window once you get rolling and all will work out great...of course you can make 2(two) 1-hour HD+ quality movies which equals the 2 hour "window" of Vado HD
4) To use on a Mac, as I have both PC and Mac here in my studio, it's very simple-have QuickTime Pro (yup, you've gotta upgrade if you want full compatibility with cameras like this, and for other reasons too!) support the movie, use the Export Video command, and a huge array of possibilities is there for the taking--for converting the AVI formatted film from Vado HD into an M4V H.264 QuickTime Video for iPod, iPhone, or other media device from our friends at Apple. Or you can simply import into iMovie/iDVD if you want to go full-boat and edit your footage, add music, etc.
My favorite command is just "AppleTV" command, and in a few short minutes of conversion on an Intel Mac with a lot of C2Duo horsepower, or better yet a Quad single or double CPU in a Mac Pro...but hold onto your hats Mac Heads, I even had success using my "dated" Dual Core 2.3Ghz G5, albeit one with a ton of RAM (16GB), making hour-long AppleTV movies, no editing, no hassle, just straight into ATV format and BAM! It's onscreen with great clarity, depth of field, a true HD experience quickly via Vado HD
5) On the PC, or Virtual Machine in Parallels or VM Ware Fusion, XP Pro/Vista, whatever...I tried them all and they are equally easy. The video codec automagically imports and installs itself into your Windows Client, be it WMV, Windows Movie Maker, or the Vado HD Client itself, Vado Central Software (a bit limited of course in scope, ease of use, or mechanics...but it WILL work if necessary and you don't have fancy video editing software on PC).
Now, to get specific about the controls and functions of the Vado HD, which is important in any review of the camera, let's dive right into it!
The USB 2.0 port, which is necessary to transfer video to your computer for whatever purpose you have in mind, is on the bottom of the camera, and there's a pleasant "Click" that it makes when it's open, or closed, so there's no doubt about it being in either position. I LIKE the flexible port/device USB male plug, which extends out and away from the bottom of the camera an inch so. The design is well-thought out, I think, because there are times when you might need a flexible "cable-like" function, and this provides it. As I wrote above, this does NOT compromise the fitting of a tripod!
Vado HD will take 2 hours worth of HD+ 720P/1080i movies, the default setting of the camera by the way. Then there's HD-quality, slightly less than HD+, but still good quality film, which equals 4 hours of action. Then there's VGA mode, and in this mode (640x480 pixels) Vado HD will shoot up to 8 hours of movies, and that's a LOT of capacity, where you'd need 4 batteries to fill up the camera! Wow! That's an interesting option when you simply want to film things that are not of great import, and you have a lot of it to do, but you'd need that external charger (that I want to purchase badly and can't right now!), and 3 extra batteries!
As to the controls for the camera, let me describe where everything is, and what it does...
The 1.5" x 1" LCD display, a mini-display that is amazingly sharp and well defined, has a "Ready" indicator in the top, left, to tell you the camera is set to shoot. When you are shooting video, there's a RED DOT that replaces the "Ready" indicator. To shoot, just press the "logical controller" once, and to stop, press the control once again...dead straight simple!
At the right, top of the display is the digital Video Quality Display, which is by default set at HD+, and next to it is a Battery Indicator, which shows the state of relative charge of the battery.
In the middle, at the top of the display, is the Recording Time Left indicator, which is in hours, minutes, and seconds, so it's very, very accurate as to what is left in Vado HD's flash memory.
The left, bottom edge of the display has the time, and the right edge has the digital display for the date, all simple, but important functions that you'll use over and over again while filming. The display, "mini" though it is, is XLNT! It gives you all the information necessary about Vado HD without occluding the display at all, each one being small, digital numbers and letters.
The physical layout of the camera is also ergonomically correct, with the lens at the top of the front of the case, up high next to the microphone port. The speaker (it has an external speaker which functions when viewing videos) is on the back in the lower right part of the case. To the left, in the middle of the case, is the "logical controller" as I call it, the master control for the camera. Right side, upper is the Off/On switch, which "clicks" into the case for Off or On. On the left side is the HDMI Mini-Port, and the Video-Out port...all really nicely done!
It's very simple, really, to use and describe the rest of the controls also. There's a 2.5mm button in the middle of the "logical controller", and that's the actuator for everything, the "Selector". That is what you do everything with: film "On", stop, select, and film "stop"...that does it ALL! At the edge of that button is a concave group of touch controls, up, down, left and right arrows, which take a fair press to actuate, just right actually... not too heavy a hand to use these controls. Those control the selection process once into the menus, fast forward, or backward the video clips as you wish to view them, etc...These are LOGICAL controls, and they do exactly what you think they are supposed to do, nothing complex, or "foreign" to this setup.
On the right side are the two "Function" switches, two "clickable" switches, one which selects which video clip you're about to view, the other is the TRASH button, so be careful with it when viewing videos...of course when you want to trash, or "EDIT" the video in question there's a prompt onscreen which confirms your action, so you can't be "burned" by mis-hitting that switch unless it's deliberately done. Again, easy, simple controls that do what you think they are supposed to do.
You use those two "Function" buttons on the right in tandem also. Pressed together, at the same time yields the master menus onscreen, so you can select or change the Video Quality, Time & Date, Anti-Flicker Control (50 or 60Hz filming), Language Used, and the "Instant Record" feature, which I'll explain here and now: Instant Record sets the camera into this mode...any button will actuate an instant recording session, and the "logical controller" turns it off, with 1-minute for power-off and into standby mode. Very nice feature! Just the ticket for getting a quick shot off anytime, and easily turned back off by going into the setup menu by pressing those two "clickable" buttons together at the same time, and getting into the menus.
The Default Mode for Power is 1 minute into "Ready" mode, screen off, and 5 minutes screen off will yield a shut-down of Vado HD, with a pleasant little musical tone that goes off to tell that the camera has powered off.
EASY STUFF, and right-on! These are controls that anyone can get used to in a couple minutes of use...I've just described every single function of Vado HD, and I've done it in about 200 words or so..pretty Kuhl! So that's how you control the action, initiate changes in the menus, everything except:
Play Back Video Clips, which is done by pressing the right side "clickable" switch once, and BAM! You're in "Cue Videos" mode, and the 1st one onscreen is the one you just, or last filmed. Click the controller again to move the clips up, and back, and push down again to view! Simple!!
I like everything about Vado HD's controls, it's a lot to pack into such a small place, and Creative Labs designed the camera to be easy to use, and it is. And now to describe how you use the PC functions briefly:
With a PC an AVI clip is the native format, correct? Make your movies any way, shape you want on the PC with Vado HD, and I'm not going to give a dissertation on that subject here, just suffice to say a fast CPU helps processing a ton, just like on a Mac...it IS video, not photography, and the footprint on the OS, and RAM is huge on PC as it is on the Mac OS, so the more firepower you've got in terms of RAM, and CPU power the better!
Quickly, I'll sum up by giving Vado HD 5-stars across the board. The controls are EASY to master, no room for headway here, zoom works fine with a steady hand, it's just plain simple Jane Simpleton to make great movies, and clips on Vado HD. Like I wrote, be mindful of the caveats above, especially TIME in relation to your content as it will accumulate quickly and an hour will be up before you can admit, "I'm having a great time doing this stuff!"
The LCD is clear, clean, and plenty large enough for viewing/movie making, not in direct sunlight of course, but plenty good indoors with light on the subject. Playing back clips, for viewing and editing in the camera (read "TRASH" the ones you don't like), is simple also...just one click to view, navigate with the controller up and backward in your clips, and BAM! HD video is yours for the keeping!
Vado HD is definitely the Best Bang for the $$$ right now, I mean it's so far ahead of the rest of them it hurts to try to describe all the reasons I bought this instead of anything else. You'll find that 2 hours is plenty of time to do most projects, by the way, and if it's longer, well, take your laptop with you, or netbook, you know? Download the videos into the laptop, erase the Vado HD with the Trash Icon clicker on the controls, and voila! Ready for more shooting!!
You would need an extra battery or two, and the external charger that I am dying to get my hands on and can't buy yet, but that's the state of affairs at this point. Creative Labs said on the telephone that the charger will be in stock next week, and so will be the extra batteries.
That's about it for my "guide" and critique. You Mac folks know that the latest Perian is v1.1.3, right? It has all kinds of enhancements for Mac, so be sure and download the latest driver/plug-in for QuickTime (Pro preferred), and all will be well with Vado HD and your Mac. PC people, you don't have a worry in the world as far as using Vado HD...piece of cake, and remember to not have too much fun!!
134 of 142 found the following review helpful:
Great option for all usersJan 24, 2009
[[VIDEOID:30918881]]*** Update*** Please note- by downloading Perian you will be able to use IMovie and Quicktime. Please see the link below and download Perian and you can enjoy Vado videos on your Mac! At some point I will update the video - however until then know that I was able to get the Vado HD to work on my Mac.
The Creative Labs Vado HD Is both a great handheld video camera and one that is useless. If you are a PC owner and using Windows based software you will be well pleased. However, if you are a Mac user you will be unable to watch the videos without downloading a program such as VLC, downloading Perian, or without converting the files using a program like Roxio Crunch Win/Mac.
In my video review I compare the Creative Labs Vado HD to the Flip Video MinoHD Camcorder, 60 Minutes (Black). I will say that both cameras have their advantages - the Mino has a better appearance and it works well with Macs. The Creative Labs Vado HD has more functionality, but qithout downloading Perian it is restricted to Windows based PCS.
Here are things that I like about the Vado
- Three different setting for picture quality. The truth is that not everything needs to be recorded in HD. In fact, if you are uploading to YouTube HD movies can take forever. The Mino HD only has one capture setting.
- I like the flexible USB connection
- Large screen for a small hand-held camcorder - probably about 50% bigger than the Mino HD
- Removable battery - I am not sure what you are supposed to do when the battery dies on the Mino HD
- Wider angle of video capture - the Vado allows you to record a much larger area when compared to the Mino HD.
- Comes with HD cables for connection to your television.
- Windows based software is intuitive and easy to use.
Areas for Improvement
- You must download Perian in order for videos to play on Mac.
- Compared to the Mino HD the Creative Labs Vado looks cheap.
Final Verdict -
Buy with confidence if you are using a Windows based PC -there is a little more risk if you are a Mac user Which camera should you buy... The Vado HD may have a slight edge for Window users - if you are using a Mac the Vado is still may be a nice choice, but you may need to download Perian or use a converting program like Roxio Crunch.
30 of 30 found the following review helpful:
Forget the Zi6 and the Flip, THIS is the ONE to buy!Mar 18, 2009
By Brendan Keefe
The Creative Vado HD is hands-down the best option among the current breed of three pocket-sized 720p camcorders. Sony's entry into the market segment will surely shake things up next month. Meanwhile, the Vado HD's field of view (wide angle lens) reigns supreme and makes its competitors inferior despite their other advantages.
I'm an Emmy award-winning reporter/photographer with a serious set of HD gear as my main equipment at home. I was looking for a back-up camera for use in cop ride-alongs and for home use to capture my toddler when my 3-chip Sony HDV camcorder was left behind because of size/weight/etc.
The Flip Mino HD started the whole craze and I can see its small size/price was attractive. After quite a bit of web research, including the excellent side-by-side video comparison of the Flip Mino HD and Kdoak Zi6 on YouTube, I concluded the Zi6 was superior in picture quality and features for its price point ($150).
The Zi6 is awesome. The macro feature has a fixed focal length of 2" and can take detailed close-up photos better than any camcorder of any price/size. The 60-frame mode also captures fantastic slo-mo shots at twice the frame rate of other camcorders.
However the Kodak designers clearly made a compromise on the lens. They decided since it has no optical zoom, they would "cheat" by keeping the field of view a little tighter (zoomed in) than one would expect. The result is disappointing during real-world shooting. In a car or at an intimate gathering when you're just a couple feet from your subject, the Flip and the Zi6 can't frame a head-and-shoulders shot. They get just the face with the subject's hair and chin cut off by the frame. This simply isn't practical for the vast majority of shooting situations I could envision at work and at play.
So I ordered the Vado HD from Amazon for comparison before taking the Zi6 back to the store for a refund.
The Creative Vado HD has a wide field of view with a comparable image quality found on the Zi6. The lens is superior, though the codec and compression seem just a bit lower quality than the Zi6. At low light, the Vado is darker but does not suffer from the slow-shutter-speed blur that the Zi6 imparts to achieve lower-light sensitivity. The picture is stunning for a camera this size and the HDMI output to TV is a big plus.
The Vado HD is considerably smaller than the Zi6. It comes with the 8GB of storage already built in for two hours recording time at highest quality. The Zi6 requires the purchase of additional SD or SDHC storage which is both an asset and a liability. The Vado can shoot for two hours and then you have to upload to a computer whereas the Zi6 can keep shooting until you run out of SD cards (think vacation).
I use a Mac and found the .avi files of the Vado HD just as easy to use as the .mov files of the Zi6 when editing in Final Cut Pro or viewing in Quicktime, so long as you download the free Perian plug-in. In both cases, rendering is required to import the video into a timeline.
The Vado HD can be recharged using the USB connection (lithium ion removable battery) while the Zi6 uses rechargeable AA batteries and an external charger. The biggest advantage of the Zi6 is that you can use standard AA alkaline batteries in a pinch.
But let's get back to why the Vado HD wins hands down: the wide angle lens. It not only captures MORE of the scene in a single frame, it is STEADIER. A fact of videography is that the more you're zoomed-in, the more shake is amplified in the image. Conversely, the wider the shot, the less shake appears in the image. While neither camera has an image stabilizing system, the wide angle lens makes the Vado HD appear much smoother.
The microphone on the Zi6 does seems superior to the Vado. That and the 60 frame slo-mo mode, along with the macro feature, could be the difference depending on your chosen application. I'd actually like to have both cameras in my tool kit if the budget allowed.
But the Vado HD is the clear winner for me. Add the $29.00 underwater housing good to 5m (16 feet), and you've got a great system for shooting in the rain/pool/snorkeling/exterior car mounts, etc.
Oh, you'll see a lot of reviews saying this camera is shaky -- you've got to have a steady hand. It's light and the viewfinder is "screen only," meaning there's no camcorder-style eyepiece viewfinder. In my experience shooting video in Iraq, relying on a screen on any camcorder can be deceiving. As your hand moves, the screen and the background make the shot look more stable than when you're looking through a viewfinder. And that extra anchor point against an eyepiece makes the camera more solid. Finally, this is a VERY SMALL and VERY LIGHT camera. Practice shot composition and holding things steady (not walking for example, slower pans and tilts) and you'll be very happy. Add a Gorilla Pod for portable stability!
So instead of spending $150 on the Zi6 and $50 on SD cards, buy the Vado HD for the same $200 and get a better camcorder.
33 of 35 found the following review helpful:
Vado HD AmazingMar 08, 2009
By Tye Ridolfi
[[VIDEOID:32318741]]The Vado HD is awesome. The lens is so wide and gives the true HD feel. The colors are amazing, but definitely best in natural lighting.
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