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1. KODAK ZX1

As the smallest, cheapest, and sharpest camcorder here, Kodak’s Zx1 takes first prize. Its images are clearer than the Flip’s, and its splash- and dustproof body is ideal for the great outdoors. One big drawback, though: There’s no dedicated USB stalk, so you have to carry a cable or memory card adapter to get your masterpieces online ($150; kodak.com).

2. FLIP ULTRA HD

True to its roots, the latest Flip is simplicity incarnate, with one video mode, 8GB of built-in memory, and a plug for direct connection to your computer. The 1280 x 720p HD videos trump those of past models but could use more contrast. And at six ounces and 1.2 inches thick, it pushes the limits of “pocket-size” ($200; theflip.com ).

3. SONY MHS-PM1 WEBBIE HD

Sony’s designers did their homework: Their first shoot-and-share camcorder is the lightest of the three, at 4.2 ounces, and it has a clever lens that swivels 270 degrees for funky shooting angles. Its image quality is on a par with the Kodak’s—not Oscar material, though great for online—but it too requires cable connection ($170; sonystyle.com).

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