Head-to-head: iPod Nano video vs. pocket camcorders

How well does the new iPod Nano's video camera compare to a standard-definition pocket camcorder? Take a look at samples shot with a Nano, a Flip Mino, an iPhone 3GS, and a Kodak Zi8.

Arguably the biggest announcement of yesterday's Apple event was the inclusion of a video camera in the latest generation of the iPod Nano. That bit of news was only slightly unexpected: Rumors had circulated before Apple's event that the iPod Touch would be getting a camera or camcorder. Instead, it was the iPod Touch's tiny sibling that gained video-shooting capabilities.

The new Nano shoots standard-definition, 640-by-480 VGA video in MPEG-4 format. Missing from its skill set is the ability to shoot stills; the Nano's camera captures video only. Also disappointing is the fact that you don't get the full range of video-editing features that you do on the iPhone 3GS; on the other hand, you do get a nice range of fun video effects to choose from.

Shooting video with the Nano takes some getting used to. The lens and microphone are smack-dab on the flip side of where your hand would be when you're using the scroll wheel, so you're limited to shooting in landscape mode. Even then, your index finger will tend to make cameo appearances in your videos when you're pressing the iPod Nano's center button to start and stop recording.

Update: Macworld Editorial Director Jason Snell points out that you can actually shoot video fairly easily in portrait mode by flipping the Nano upside-down. Thanks to the iPod Nano's accelerometers, the device automatically reorients the video to portrait mode, and your fingers are less likely to get in the way of the lens.

To test the iPod Nano's video chops, we shot identical footage with the Nano, the standard-definition Pure Digital Flip Mino, and the iPhone 3GS (which has a bigger lens and image sensor). Just to show how the Nano's video compared to that of a high-definition camcorder, we also shot the same footage with Kodak's Zi8, which is the first pocket camcorder to shoot full HD, 1080p video.

Here's the tale of the tape. (Keep in mind that source videos often look better before they're uploaded to YouTube.)

iPod Nano: Wide-Angle Test

Pure Digital Flip Mino: Wide-Angle Test

iPhone 3GS: Wide-Angle Test

Kodak Zi8 (1080p Mode): Wide-Angle Test

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags AppleiPod nanocamcordersdigital video

Struggling for Christmas presents this year? Check out our Christmas Gift Guide for some top tech suggestions and more.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Tim Moynihan

PC World (US online)

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Shopping.com

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?