Which flip camera should I buy? – the update for 2012

A couple of years ago I wrote what turned out to be an often visited post answering  the question: “which flip camera should I buy“.

Things have moved on a good bit since then (mainly that new owners Cisco decided to discontinue the flip) so I just want to update it really.

My thinking on the best kit for social reporting is very simple:

  1. Speed counts more than quality – so shoot in standard definition not hi definition – it uploads faster.
  2. Decent sound often counts for much more than decent pictures.
  3. If you are using a stand alone video camera simplicity matters.
  4. The most sensible thing to use is what you are most likely to have to hand.


zoom camrea hd
Zoom Q3HD

Buy the ZoomQ3HD – Hi Definition Nick you say?  Yes – but don’t use it that way –  change the video setting from high definition to standard definition. You get a good widescreen image. Prices have come down quite a bit over the last year or so – so you wont regret buying this one. It comes with great sound so also works as a fantastic audio only recorder.  Do not buy the ZoomQ2HD – Why?  Because it doesn’t come with a built in usb – and that means you’ll have lost the cabel just when you need it.


Alternatively: if you can find a standard definition Flip (ideally Mino but any) then buy it – it will probably be second hand but is small, widescreen (which tends to look the part) and very simple to use – keep it in your pocket or bag.


Use a smartphone – currently the iphone 4 onwards does  a great job, and we’ve been tinkering with the Samsung Galaxy SIII – for audio use audioboo to capture.


Your ipad – that can be a fab social reporting tool.  But take to get good sound – you’ll will probably need to hold your ipad or phone closer than feels comfortable for decent sound.

Good luck.



  1. Daz Wright says:

    If you’re looking to record standard definition video then pretty well all Android phones will do a similar job. Even going back to something like the HTC Desire running Android 2.2. I’d certainly avoid the Android Audio Boo application, I’m not completely sure it has ever worked that well.

    I like Rec Forge for recording audio, it gives you many more options for integrating into Soundcloud, Dropbox or Google Drive.

    If you do want to record HD video (I’m not convinced that the upload thing is much of an issue)then the Sony Xperia range of Android phones have worryingly good cameras.

    The other thing to stress about the ZoomQ3 (which I love) is that SD cards are relatively cheap, I got my 32gb card for about £15. Also just having standard batteries can be a bonus for a quick switch. Though be aware it consumes batteries at a frightening rate. I can record about 3 hours of audio or just over an hour of video on two batteries.

  2. Nick Booth says:

    Thanks Daz – anyone else with wider experience than I have with android – please share your experience.

  3. Steph Jennings says:

    With Android phones you can also record from within the Youtube app, so once you’ve pressed stop you can give it a title, description and tags then just hit upload it then goes straight into your account bypassing the need to hook up to a computer.

    Of course it’s better to avoid ridiculous data charges uploading video from your phone so it’s nice that you can set the app to record anytime but only upload when your handset is connected to WiFi.

  4. Philip John says:

    Also with Android its incredibly simple to share that same video to Facebook/Twitter/Google+ with a few taps. For £10/mth (or PAYG) you can get a 3 MiFi which although still mobile data is likely cheaper than your phone provider.

    I have an SGS3 and find the camera to be excellent quality for video. I can choose between that and my Kodak pocket HD camera knowing both will give me great results.

  5. John Popham says:

    All these are good ideas. I think, however, where the flip-type cameras come into their own is with working with community groups. Many tend not to have their own smartphones, and it would be prohibitively expensive to buy a phone for everyone in a group.

    • Nick Booth says:

      Agreed – also working with local government – where people can rarely choose the phones they want and have restrictive it – flip style cameras are one function – easy to teach people how to use them and relatively easy to incorporate into restrictive it practices.

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