I’ve had several weeks to work with the Flip Mino, and the results have been consistently disappointing. It never seems to be in focus, or, more correctly, it focuses on something other than my main subject. Camera shake makes it almost unusable. The controls are finicky. There are too many better options that do the same thing for less money. Flip has come out with an updated version of the Mino that has double the memory, but that doesn’t really improve the situation.
What it’s good for…
The Flip is touted for its simplicty, and it does score on that level. This is an excellent camera for student projects. There are no extra cables or media to get lost. Everything is contained in the camera.
I suppose if you need a quick video while you are simultaneously taking photos, this might also be a good option. I did this at my mother’s birthday party – snapping photos with one hand while videoing with the other. However, I’m not sure how many times that happens.
Since the unit is light and fairly easy to use, I guess you could also use it in specialized projects, as long as you’re not worried about the safety of the unit itself. You could send it aloft on a kite. You could mount it to the handlebars of a bicycle. You could put it in a pocket so that the lens pokes up and take a video while walking. There are many possibilities. However, the average user isn’t going to be using it for these purposes. The average user wants a quick video on the spur of the moment, and doesn’t come up with some of the crazy ideas that I have for video.
Buy a simple point-n-shoot camera for about the same price. I’m partial to Nikon products (for no other reason that Paul Simon sang about them), but just about every company now provides a video mode in even their low end cameras. The earlier Nikon Coolpix (including the one I’m currently using) saved videos in QuickTime MOV format, which made editing difficult if you weren’t on a Mac. Current Nikons and most others now save in Windows AVI format, which is a bit easier to edit and manage on PCs. Even on my older Coolpix I have several movie options, including stop-action time lapse capabilities.
So, for about the same price as the Flip, I can get a device that also takes excellent multi-megapixel still images, has a flash, has more video options, and has removable media. With all of this, why would you even bother with a Flip?
But wait, there’s more…
Now just about every cell phone can shoot video. While this is a limited function on most phones, it’s probably still adequate for the tasks for which most people would use a Flip. My new cellphone takes pretty good video (albeit in Quicktime format) and I’ve added a 2 GB microSD card for storage. Except for a smaller video size, it has pretty much the same capabilities as the Flip, plus it has all the other phone functions and is with me all the time. I don’t need another device cluttering up my pockets.
So, to me, it just doesn’t make sense to purchase a Flip for personal use. There is the “gee whiz” coolness factor, but once you get beyond that you have a redundant novelty device that actually has fewer capabilities than a similarly priced camera, or even the phone that you probably already have in your pockets.
[tags]review, Flip, Flip Video, Flip Mino[/tags]