No Flip Zone

Dave Zatz —  June 18, 2008

One of Dash‘s welcoming gadget gifts was the Flip Ultra (~$150). Mari’s been a fan for months, but I’ve had my doubts… The last couple years, I’ve simply shot (poor quality) video with my relatively ancient pocketable digital camera (Panasonic Lumix FX9) – as Michael Arrington suggests. Both the Flip and the Lumix shoot 30fps at 640×480, though the Flip kindly incorporates a USB connector, onboard storage, and basic video editing software.

However, if I’m upgrading my video recording capabilities I need the ability to focus up close – something the Flip proved it was incapable of when I captured the iPhone SlingPlayer. So I’ve replaced my Flip with a low-end Sony Handycam (DCR-HC52) for ~50% more money, 40x more zoom, and at least 100% more clutter – bulkier unit plus tapes and cables. The Flip seems to be a great solution for many, and despite it’s toy-like appearance I wanted it to work out since I travel light. But it wasn’t meant to be…

My latest video project, including tight focus with readable screen text at the 30 second mark:

3 responses to No Flip Zone

  1. To test cameras at Best Buy, I pulled up the same terminal application on my iPhone that I used in this video. Most of the traditional form factor digital camcorders had no problem, though most digital cameras (such as the small Canons) couldn’t. Except for Sony – both the W170 and H50 cameras (maybe others) were also able to focus at close range on a backlit screen. Could be my next purchase to replace the Lumix… though I have to get over the MemoryStick restriction.

  2. Dave – just saw a post on Gizmodo about the Kodak Zi6 coming in September. Looks like it could be a nice little compact camcorder (HD too!).

    http://gizmodo.com/5023649/kodak-zi6-might-be-best-pocket-camcorder-yet

  3. Yeah, I saw that – features and price look good. Will be interested to see how it performs (quality and usability). Though my ideal solution is a new compact digital camera that also happens to shoot decent video (macro focus).