It’s a question I’m often asked. May I start with something simple. I’m assuming you want something that is easy to use, easy to carry and makes video which is simple to edit and very quick to upload to the internet. If so buy this one, the Flip Mino – but not the high definition one.
It is light and very easy to carry in a pocket or a bag.
I’ve used and owned the larger ones but found that the red record button was prone to stick. On these it works like a dream.
60 minutes is plenty of recording time.
The built in usb connector is darned useful.
It does wide screen, which is nice.
There’s no point in buying the high definition one because the lens is the same and the files are just bigger and take ages to upload to the net.
What if I want something like a Flip that isn’t a Flip?
At the moment the best reason to do that is because you want better sound. The Flip does perfectly decent sound in straightforward conditions – but make it very noisy and you start to struggle a bit.
Oddly there are not that many sensible choices. There are growing number of high definition flip type camera that allow you to do what you can’t do with a flip – plug in an external microphone.
Dave Briggs has this very informative explanation of why it’s worth buying a Kodak Zi8:
What Dave says is right, but the point of the Flip is simplicity. Once you have to add an external microphone, plug it in,
mess with it, hope it doesn’t drop out then – to keep the file size down, remember to reset the video recording quality to less than HD (for upload speed) I’m not convinced the more complex camera will be better. It does have one advantage – you can take stills.
It is still simpler to buy the Flip and ask someone to step into a quiet room to talk to them.
However sound is all important in online video so there’s a more expensive but better solution. I bought one a few weeks ago and love the new Zoom Q3. You can record just audio if you wish ( a still photo combined with an mp3 makes great content) and will record very simple video with great audio. There’s a built in USB connector, you can use and sd card and the file sizes are weeny – so whizz up to the net.
This is what @documentally says about it – and I agree with him:
What then is special about it?:
Same ease of use at the Flip
Great sound without needing an external mic
Low resolution video – hence small file sizes.
Does just audio in great quality
So for for me the almost ultimate is the Zoom Q3 – give me widescreen yet low def video on the Zoom Q4 and I’ll be a very happy man.