Kodak Zx1 vs Zi6 low light test

I’ve gotten a lot of requests for a low light sample with the Kodak Zx1 and thought it might be good to see how it compares to the Zi6 so I strapped them together on a tripod:

Kodak Zx1/Zi6 low light test

While the cameras aren’t perfectly lined up, the video below should demonstrate low light well enough. Both clips were shot at 60 fps.


Kodak Zi6 vs Zx1 low light test from John Biehler on Vimeo.

I think that the Zi6 is marginally better in low light than the Zx1…but the Zx1 seems a little less noisy. My Zi6 has the 1.1.0 firmware update which was supposed to improve low light performance and I think it did…even if they simply turned up the gain a little.

It seems to me that both cameras share the same image sensor and the only real difference between them is the firmware tweaks to the image processing and the form factor changes. I still like the Zx1 better even if the video is the same. The form factor is very comfortable and the buttons are much easier to use than on the Zi6.

Both cameras are great for their price point and features, but the Zx1 is slightly greater to me.

24 Comments

  1. H says:

    So do you have any feedback for the date it supposedly its gonna hit the stores like Best Buy. Also in what consists the macro function of the Zi6? Thanks

  2. Danny Dang says:

    How’s the audio? Did they improve it?

  3. txcrew says:

    How would you say the battery life is on the Zx1? One of my fears about getting this camera is the use of the AA battery. But I also dislike the idea that the Flip has a proprietary battery that isn’t replaceable by the user.

    • John says:

      Battery life is pretty decent…it comes with a set of rechargables (and a charger) and it’s use of AAs is the reason I liked it more than the Flip since you never know when/where you’ll run out of juice…having replaceable memory cards also falls into this reason since you don’t have to worry about having enough battery or storage for your videos anywhere.

  4. VancityAllie says:

    I really like how the Zi6 came out. Looks much more realistic to me, and I don’t mind the noise.

  5. Aidan says:

    Thanks for doing the write up on the zi6 vs. zx1. I have been searching online for information on both, and I am a little torn between which one to get. I have been researching a simple pocket camera like these since I first saw you at the YVRTwestival, and the little lenses you had attached to it.

    Would you happen to know when the zx1 will be available in Canada? As I am finding conflicting release dates Kodak says April, and Amazon says mid May.

    • John says:

      Aidan: I think it will be out this month…you should be able to get them at Staples or London Drugs as those places had the Zi6 first.

  6. Andrew says:

    John, great stuff. I was just watching iFranz’s vid on Vimeo and was astounded at the difference in the quality of the audio. Is this an isolated case or do your cameras also have that same level of difference?

    I’m wanting to upgrade to HD from my Flip Video Ultra, and I’m very interested in the Kodaks since they record to h.264 instead of the Flip’s 3ivx. I also like the fact that they use AAs instead of the Flip MinoHD’s proprietary battery.

    You mentioned that you liked the Zx1’s controls better than the Zi6’s. Can you expand on that a little? One thing I’m wondering is how reliably can you start/stop recording when it’s the center position of the joystick.

    Thanks in advance for your input.

  7. John says:

    Andrew: I haven’t really noticed any significant difference between the Zi6/Zx1’s audio. Kodak has said the innards are basically the same with both cameras.

    As for the controls, the Zx1 has more of a button than a joystick like the Zi6 which actually is better than it sounds…it’s just the Zx1 is more obvious of a button and the button doesn’t need to be depressed as much as the Zi6. It’s a minor thing but it’s different enough to mention.

  8. RHon says:

    Hello, Thanx so much for the Review. Q. What about still video/camera shot, what type of Mega Pixels does it have I’ leaning towards the ZX1 BTW what type of HDMI out does IT have reg HDMI cable or component cable? Thanx!

    • John says:

      It’s a VGA stills so basically useless (to me). It has a mini-HDMI port on it but comes with a cable (mini to regular HDMI) for it.

  9. Ed says:

    Hi John.. thanks for the info… I was wondering besides the reduced size and embedded buttons… is the Zx1 really better than the Zi6? I have the opportunity to purchase either one at the same price. I like the Zi6 better because of the larger screen, but is the image sensor on Zx1 that much better? Thanks in advance!

  10. John says:

    Ed: The Zx1 is basically the same as the innards of the Zi6…save for the smaller screen, HDMI port and weatherproofing. You should be able to get the Zi6 for less than the Zx1 so I’d get that unless the above items are useful/important to you. If I was to do it over again, I’d probably get the Zx1 just for the smaller form factor…but the macro mode and larger screen is nice on the Zi6.

    Basically both are great cameras because they are the same cameras.

  11. Rich says:

    Thanks for the info, John. Does the Zx1 play back video on the screen, even from larger SD cards? (i.e. 32GB) I read somewhere that with the Zi6 if you used anything larger than an 8GB card, it would not play back recorded video on the on board screen.

    • John says:

      Rich: I use a 16gb card with no issues…don’t have anything larger to test.

      Kelly: it takes stills but they are VGA resolution so I wouldn’t buy it for that reason.

  12. Lucero says:

    I am interested in low light recording. Does the Zx1 perform better than the Zi6?

  13. Rob says:

    Hi, I have the zx1, and I tried 2 different 32 gig cards and they do not work. I also tried to use a set of energizer ultimate lithium AA’s and they do not work either. I am dissapointed that the zx1 will not use those batteries. If the zx1 could use those ultimate lithiums, it would be able to record for 8 hours straight. I tried them in another camera and it did. Please email me with comments, at wolfrob@yahoo.com Please help.

    • John says:

      Sorry, I don’t have the Zx1 anymore (had to send it back to Kodak) and don’t have any 32gb cards to test it with. I used Sanyo Eneloop batteries with it without problem.

  14. RHon says:

    I tried the 32 GB card did not work for me either! But the batts that came w/it was good, I’ve also tried Duracell rechargeable batts (thumbs up!)

  15. Ryan Ellerbe says:

    Will the wide angle lens that fits the zi6 also fit the zx1? I wish kodak would of just had the zi6. This is a really hard choice to make.

  16. Ryan Ellerbe says:

    Well I got the zi6 anyways. I like the macro setting and I got the camera for 99 dollars.

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