Flip Mino HD Camcorder Product Review
I've been looking forward to trying out the Flip Video Mino HD Camcorder for a while. I've seen the non-HD versions of the Mino Flip camera used to capture racetrack action with reasonable results, so I thought that the HD version would be an awesome addition to our photographic equipment kit.
About the Mino Flip HD Camcorder
The camera features digital zoom and an integrated microphone, and can record up to one hour of HD video in the internal 4GB memory. It's small enough to mount just about anywhere. This is one sexy HD video camera, no doubt about it.
The camera's controls are simple, back-lit, touch-actuated areas surrounding a large red button behind the camera. I didn't try operating the controls while wearing gloves, because it seemed like that would be asking for trouble; rather, I stopped and removed my gloves to change settings. The only options I found were zoom level and date/time. That's it!
The integrated color LCD is a bit on the small side, and if the camera is mounted off to the side, as it was for my test, or if it's far away from you, you may have difficulty viewing the screen. This was not a major problem during my test, but you should be aware of the possible issue.
Mounting the Flip HD Camcorder to my motorcycle
I tested the HD camera mounted to my CBR1100XX, mounted solidly using a Pedco UltraClamp mount. I selected a mounting point that would not suffer from excess vibration or shake, but chose not to use my SportBikeCam tank mount because I wished to avoid distortion or color balance problems caused by shooting through the CBR's smoke-tinted, low-angled windscreen.
PureDigital Mino Flip HD video camera ride test
OK, get on with the test already!
A motorcycle tends to be a 'bouncy' platform, even on the most stable parts of the bike, and this camera seems to want a very stable platform, probably due to the fact that the HD aspect ratio requires more time to scan each frame. Lacking any built-in image stabilization (as far as we can see, anyway), footage recorded while mounted to a typical motorcycle looks as if you're experiencing a bad drug trip. While this may appeal to some, this makes the Flip Mino HD camcorder useless for our purpose—recording ride videos for Roadcarvin Magazine.
I assume that these results would also apply to other small, mobile platforms such as bicycles, snowmobiles, pogo sticks, etc.
- Brilliant product design and packaging.
- Useful for situations where you can provide a stable platform or can otherwise control vertical movement during recording.
- Dead simple to operate.
- An object of lust.
- Mobile use is severely limited: The Flip HD camcorder is probably useless for any but the most stable, cushy motorcycle or other mobile platform.
We've not had a chance to try the Flip UltraHD Camcorder, although we'd be surprised if the new product offers much of an improvement over the model we tested. It is one of the best sellers in the Amazon.com Photo and Video category so it looks like this camera will be in widespread use in no time.
We've listed similar products available on Amazon.com. The Aiptek Action HD GVS 1080P High Definition Camcorder looks interesting, especially for the price—5x optical zoom, image stabilization... mmm... tasty. Unfortunately for us non-Mac users, it records in .Mov (QuickTime) format... We'll try to get our hands on one and see how well it works.
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