As a journalist working in the technology arena it’s expected that I will have more than my fair share of gadgets. Some bought, some loaned and some gifted to me by companies in exchange for a review (but note I ALWAYS speak my mind regardless).
Photography is both an interest of mine and an technology that I use a lot in my day to day work. I don’t have access to the resources of large art department and staff photographers so I need to take photos that are at least half decent to accompany my reviews. Most companies will supply stock artwork for their products but for a review nothing is worse than stock photos. It’s a clear sign of re-hashed PR where the author may have barely used a device let alone formed an opinion of it!
And so I have a large collection of cameras, Pro SLR, pocket digital, combo digital and video not to mention the cameras stuffed into the various phones I have in my possession.
Video is a new area. The addition of short videos to demonstrate a product are a great value add to a written review. An early investment in a Sony ProHD Camcorder has proved a poor choice, it’s complex to use, the use of tape makes importing of film arduous and the results are far too high quality for most of my web-based needs.
And so I have come to buy a Flip Mino HD camcorder. Basic in the extreme but superb in their execution, the Flip series have proved a huge hit selling in their millions. Why? Because as a famous photographer once said, “the best camera you can have is the one that’s with you”! It’s pointless having a £3000 ProHD Camcorder if it’s too bulky to carry. The Flip Mino HD is inexpensive at £129 AND fits in your pocket.
Files are recorded in .mp4 video format and the device mounts as a disk drive in both Windows and Mac. Flip even pre-install the software in the camera.
Copying video files is as simple as drag’n’drop and you can edit them simply and quickly using the supplied software or other editors including Apple’s iMovie. The software also provides quick YouTUBE uploads should that be something you use.
No chargers to carry with you, no memory cards required, the only limitation being the 4GB storage which equates to an hour of HD video and the battery which when fully charged will last for 2hrs continuous shooting. How often have you shot more than an hour of film at one event?
The candy bar shape makes it comfortable to hold. The limited features mean no complex functions or menus. There is one central red record button on the rear below a 1.5″ display and buttons for play and trash.
On one side is the power button and the other a catch to release the flip out USB connector, simples!
Time will tell if this fits the bill. early indications are that it performs very well with rich clear video in good lighting and better performance than expected in low-light albeit with an increase in grain. Sound is mono but acceptable with no evidence of handling noise or device hum.
I’ll add some sample footage in a day or so, perhaps I can persuade the surgeon to film my leg frame removal 😉
More info at Flip’s web-site at www.flipvideo.co.uk.