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 Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags AppleiPod nanodigital videocamcorders

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

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

Tim Moynihan

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?