* Prices may differ from that shown
I have had this video camera for around 4 years now, and it still works perfectly. Although the built in software updates have been discontinued, its still easy to use and record videos with. The easy USB stick allows you to transfer files quickly and without hassle.
I was searching for a small and effective video recorder for quite some time after filling my iPhone's memory to the max rendering it unusable; kindly a friend kindly offered me a Flip Video camera free of charge. The Flip F260 model typically costs the high price of £149 on Amazon, they seems quite hard to find as not many adverts for this model are on eBay however I'm sure that one of these could be picked up second hand for around £50 - £60. Toys-R-Us seem to have a good offer on at this time as I spotted them in store yesterday for the rather reasonable price of £68.
~~~ About theF260 Flip Camera ~~~
The Flip Camera has been designed to be a simple and easy to use, portable camcorder that has everything needed to take a video, transfer and display the videos on-board. The camera has 2GB's of internal storage to take videos of up to 60 minutes in length in VGA quality, VGA is typically 0.3 megapixels so the quality is not designed to be perfect making this the perfect camera for amateur / family use. The Flip camera is powered by two AA batteries of which are not rechargeable however rechargeable batteries can be used if need be and they should last two full 60 minutes recording sessions unless they are cheap batteries of course! The camera has an on-board screen of which is small but effective measuring 1.5" and the quality is rather good, the overall dimensions of the camera are 4.17" in height, 2.16" wide and 1.25" deep so it's easy to store.
~~~ Setting the Flip Camera up for the first use ~~~
This was very simple for me as my friend had already done it, I had a quick flick through the helpful instruction manual to confirm the process and it seemed very simple. Basically the setup required the insertion of the two AA batteries, the switch on the device using the on/off switch and simply setting the date and time up with the on-screen commands, simple! The Flip Camera is nicely designed and I find it very easy to hold and to use the buttons and sliding switches located around the edge of the camera.
~~~ Taking videos ~~~
I really enjoy taking videos with this little camera due to the pure simplicity and ease of use. I use mine for taking videos while flying around in my microlight aircraft and obviously there's not much time to fuss around with tricky devices when I'm flying the machine so this camera is a godsend to me. I once used my iPhone for taking videos which were very clear and of a great quality however taking them was always a fuss with the touch screen and annoyingly slow camera app - the Flip Cam has changed my whole video taking experience.
To take a video you simply grab the Flip Cam, slide the large On/Off button on the side of the camera, aim it at something you want to capture and press the red button on the small control panel on the front of the camera. The video capture starts as soon as the capture button is pressed and there is no noticeable delay in starting. There is a small screen on this camera that shows the user exactly what is being captured making it easy to navigate the camera around whatever is being captured. The camera can be zoomed at any time throughout a video by using the zoom toggles under the screen allowing the user to zoom in and focus on whatever they want while using the screen for accuracy. The zoom is not an optical zoom, it's digital only so quality is slightly affected by the amount of zoom used, it doesn't zoom very far only offering a 2X digital zoom, it's a respectable zoom but not amazing.
The VGA video quality is not excellent but it's perfectly adequate for amateur videos, they will not be a professional quality but perfect for personal use and for sharing on YouTube etc. The lens is a CMOS type which apparently offers good performance over a variety of uses, the lens is quite exposed on the back of this camera and it's set out at the back.... This makes it easy to damage or scratch if the camera is not kept in a protective case and there is no cover offered for protection.
~~~ Transferring videos and watching on the TV ~~~
Transferring videos to any computer is made incredibly easy with the Flip Cam as it has its own USB connection built in eliminating the need of messy wires as usually used with other cameras. On the side of the camera is a little switch that when flicked releases the USB connection from the side of the camera for instant connection to a laptop or computer. The device is simply plug-and-play and there are no discs involved in using the camera with a computer making it perfect for sharing videos while over friends' houses that might not have any camera software installed. Included in the box is a cable for use with the TV, this has a standard scart connection on the end and it plugs directly into the Flip Cam to show a video of choice on the large screen TV. This feature works very well and it's perfect for sharing the videos with family / friends.
~~~ Features ~~~
The camera has Flip Share software built in which allows videos to be easily uploaded to websites such as YouTube, Facebook and other social media sites with ease. The software is easy to use and I've already used it on a few occasions with great success. The videos taken are in MPEG4 format which seems to be the standard with most camcorders these days so the compatibility with all computers is good. The camera does not have a flash light built in for night use however I must say that the low light videos that I have taken on my camera have been of an excellent quality due to its fast F2 lens.
Still photos can be taken with this camera but only from a video, in other words you cannot whap this camera out and take a still shot, you can only steal still shots from videos that you have already taken which is a slight shame but it's a camcorder at the end of the day and it records well so I'm not complaining!
~~~ General quality, reliability etc. ~~~
The build quality of this camera is generally very good, it appeared cheaply built to me at first until I held the unit and realised just how sturdy this little camera is. The camera is light and easy to hold and it does not make any strange creaking noises when squeezed like many other cameras I have used in the past. All buttons are of a good quality and the only concerns that I have with this camera are that the lens is very exposed that could possibly damage the lens and the cover on the back is not very well secured with a small catch holding it on, this can be easily deactivated causing the cover to slip off and the camera possibly departing your hands to fall on to a concrete floor - this has not happened yet but it is definitely a possibility!
The lens quality is obviosuly very good and I don't have many complaints about the quality of recordings for this type of camera, the sound captured in videos is also of a good quality and the built in microphone seems to work well. The built in speaker is slightly quiet when heard during playback on the camera but I shall not complain too much as videos are supposed to be viewed on a computer or TV rather than the camera itself.
~~~ Overall opinion ~~~
Overall I'm happy to recommend the Flip Cam to you and it really is a pleasure to use as it's just so easy to take good quality videos on a device that will happily fit in an average sized pocket. The unit is easy to use, provides good video quality at a good length and it easily connects to the computer or TV without any fuss or agro. The unit seems slightly over priced on Amazon so I'd definitely shop around if you are in need of a Flip Cam and I highly recommend it to you.
Thanks for reading,
Back in 2008 my sister gave us the very happy news that she was pregnant. This was to be my first nephew and the first grandchild for my parents so when it came to my mum's birthday and Christmas present the item at the top of the list was a digital camcorder to capture all those first moments. Back then Flip cameras were very popular and taking everything into account including price, ease of use and no need for tapes it seemed like a good way to go.
Why the Flip F260B-UK Video Ultra Series?
I bought the Flip F260B-UK Video Ultra Series which would give 60 minutes recording time for £79.99. The main reason I didn't go for the HD version was basically because of the higher price tag. I'd also looked at products like the Sony Handycam but again the price of these was far above my budget. I'd heard a lot of good things about Flip Cams so I did have a high expectation.
When my mum opened it I think she was a little disappointed as she was expecting a style more like the other camcorders which I can understand. The screen on the Flip Cam isn't huge, it's not the most attractive thing in the world and its simplicity is a little childish but by the time my nephew came along it was just a case of whipping it out the pouch and recording. Fast forward to 2011 and this Flip Cam is still being used today. Although I'd much rather just use the recording facility on my camera, my mum will still carry both the Flip Cam and her camera around but the recording will always depend on the situation as the Flip Cam does have a few downfalls.
Why is it called Flip Cam?
The Flip Cam gets its name from the design of the USB connection replacing the need to look for cables each time you want to download clips. Pushing the button down at the side releases the USB to a 90 degree angle which on my laptop means it's horizontal with the desk, screen side down when plugged in. The first flaw of course is that I can't plug anything into the second USB port on my laptop because the top of the Flip Cam is blocking it. When connecting it to the computer there's the file to install the Video Mixing Software (so no extra installation disks in the box) or open up the folder to easily drag and drop the video files and save them onto the computer.
What's in the box?
In the box there's the soft pouch, 2 AA batteries, wrist strap, TV cable and Flip cam. We've never bought any other case for it and there have not been any scratches on the lens or screen. You do have to be careful though as the lens is pretty much flush with any surface it's placed on as is the viewing screen. The wrist strap isn't very easy to attach and quite big but luckily hasn't slipped off our wrists.
The Flip switches on quite quickly. From there you can press the red button to record/stop recording, up and down buttons to zoom in and out before and during a recording, left and right buttons to scroll through the recordings, the play button to play/stop a recording and the bin button to delete a recording.
The video will adjust to the light but doesn't have the function to focus so it's impossible to record things like text and other close ups. There's only a digital zoom so the picture can seem a little fuzzy on the screen and far more so when downloaded onto the computer - especially if viewing on the larger Media player or even on YouTube.
As there is limited space on the player it's so handy having the ability to delete clips straight away just by pressing the bin. This will ask 'Delete video?' so just press the bin again to delete. If you leave it for about 5 seconds it will come up 'Not deleted' which is handy if pressing it by accident or you can press any other button to cancel it.
Double clicking on the FlipVideo file opens up the software. This then shows the library of videos, gives the option to name/edit them, delete videos, make a DVD or share them. You do need to install this before you can view videos in Windows Media Player or you only get the audio and no video. The video playback from the software is on a slightly larger screen to the Flip cam but I prefer to use WMP as it blows it up far larger. The software makes it easy to cut clips and also gives the option to take a snapshot which I do like because as soon as you click it, it gives the option to save as a .jpg which is a lot quicker than taking screen shots. When it comes to heavier editing I'd much rather use Windows Movie Maker (even though this is still pretty basic software). Sharing videos too I just prefer to work with the files rather than through the software as I find it can stop responding quite a lot.
Each file saves as an AVI clip meaning the can be viewed by Windows Media Player and more importantly they don't have to be converted to be edited if you've only got Windows Movie Maker. I've also edited clips in Sony Vegas with no problems.
One of the first clips we filmed was me holding my nephew when he was just one day old. As it was evening time we didn't want to have bright lights on so there were just a few lamps lighting the room. It was easy enough to see around the room but the Flip cam made it seem a lot darker so although it was still possible to make everyone out, it wasn't very detailed. Nephew letting out a cry was easily picked up and still very clear on playback. Later clips included filming things in front of the window which came out fine as the room was filled with light but wasn't seemed very grainy, to videos filmed outside which were far clearer but would have benefitted a lot from being in HD.
With sound quality there's never been a problem. From the clips we've filmed outside the wind can be a little annoying but it's picked up birds singing to children's laughter - even sounds from the other side of the camera/microphone. You just need to avoid squeezing the Flip Cam as it will pick up noises from the case. I don't particularly like watching clips on the Flip Cam as it makes it sound as though you're standing at a waterfall or it's pouring with rain. When watching the clips on a computer these distortions can't be heard.
The camera can also be connected to the TV which again brings the videos up to a far larger scale. This is where it really suffers from not being high quality.
Flip Cam Vs 10MP digital camera
About a year ago I was asked to record a Zumba dance for a friend and took my camera and the Flip Cam so if one clip didn't work out I could use the other. The dancers were lined up in front of a window which reduced the quality of the Flip Cam recording far more than that of the my camera although the clip was still usable. Considering the music was up so loud both clips came out very clear in sound quality. I did end up using the camera clip over the Flip cam clip however for the video quality.
Battery Life and 60 minute recording time
The Flip takes 2 AA batteries and normal Duracell batteries do last quite a while - certainly the length of recording 60 minutes. If playing back the clips often then they will run down quicker. If the Flip Cam hasn't been used within 10 seconds it will switch itself off to save on battery life so if waiting to film something I usually scroll through the previous videos to keep it switched on then can just press the red button to get back to the recording screen and again to record. The 2GB / 60 minute recording time has always been plenty for us. We've never really taken the Flip Cam anywhere for a long period of time that we'd need more than 60 minutes recording time.
Would I recommend buying the F260B-UK? No. Mainly because there are better quality video cameras out there now (HD) and a 10MP digital camera will provide a better quality recording and far more features for roughly the same price as the Flip was. There haven't been any technical faults and we've had plenty of use out of ours so £79.99 has been very good value (I wouldn't pay any more than that for one). For the clips we have in natural light, they've been great and sound quality has also been decent. The low light clips however have been almost unusable. Having the USB attached isn't just a novelty as it means not having to look for a cable and the added advantage of using AA batteries so they can be replaced easily if they run out rather than having to wait for it charging.
We have had a lot of great video moments from my nephew over the last two and a half years and I've made a few great movies for the family with clips from both the Flip Cam and camera so although I can tell which are Flip from the lower quality, they've still created a lot of laughter and I'm sure my nephew will thank us when he's older for all the embarrassment. I just don't think it's really worth carrying around a Flip considering the basic functions are available on both digital cameras and mobile phones which we'd likely be carrying around too.
I wanted to shoot a bit of video every now and again so decided to get a Flip Ultra HD as everyone seemed to be raving about it at the time. It was even featured on The Gadget Show. It set me back around £130 off Amazon (although I had a £30 Amazon voucher). First impression is that it looks like a very chunky phone with a massive red button. It's not much to look at but that's one of the selling points as it was built for simplicity. Easy to carry around and can easily fit on a coat pocket.
The camera comes with its own rechargeable batteries (a pair of AA batteries stuck together) but need to be charged for quite a few hours. Once charged, simply switch it on and press the red button to start recording. Literally point and shoot. Of course, you can also change the video quality settings if needed. Battery life is very good, and it even takes AA batteries so if you run out, you can always buy a set of AA batteries. It has 8GB storage capacity, which gives around 2 hours of HD video. More when using lower quality settings.
The picture quality varies depending on lighting. Indoors without bright light, pictures appear grainy, which is a bit of a disappointment. Outside, on a sunny day, picture quality is very impressive. Clear and sharp with nice colours. The resolution on maximum quality setting is only 720 and not 1080 HD, which is a shame. It also doesn't do stills, which is another let down.
It only has digital zoom, which isn't great as the picture quality degrades as you zoom more, which is one downside to owning a Flip camera rather than a full blown digital camcorder. A normal digital camcorder would have massive optical zoom capabilities and the cost of a second hand camcorder would not be too far off from the cost of the Flip Ultra HD, albeit it wouldn't be capable of HD unless you don't mind spending more. The hype and the name Flip 'Ultra HD' would make one believe it was capable of 1080 HD. The footage is only as steady as your hands but it's possible to mount the camera on a tripod although not ideal for all situations as it's meant to be a camera you can easily point and shoot while moving around.
One thing I don't like about it is that it's not very good for taking shots of items up close as it would fill the whole screen too easily. It lacks the 'macro mode', which is standard in digital cameras. Some other HD pockets-cams on the market do have such a facility, which makes the Flip rather disappointing.
Sound quality isn't bad. Even when there's background noise, it is possible to pick up what someone is saying while standing two meters or so in front of the camera, however, I would have liked a microphone jack to plug in an external microphone for situations with too much noise. This is a feature I've seen on the Kodak equivalent of this product.
MANAGING RECORDED VIDEO
You can playback and delete the recorded videos via your PC but you can also do it on the Flip via the 2 inch screen. Although playback works, I've never managed to delete anything without using my computer as it always says it cannot delete the file. This is quite risky if I'm running low on space and I'm without a computer to delete or transfer recordings out. Not sure why this is but seems like a software bug.
To transfer the recorded footage to a computer, simply slide the release button to 'flip' the USB plug out from the side of the camera. Plug it into a PC or Mac to open the drive and then copy or move the MP4 files to your computer. Now this is all well and good if you have a laptop but plugging it straight into the back or even the front of a PC is extremely awkward (especially if you have other USB cables plugged in) unless you have a USB extension cable, which they do not provide. I feel they could have given you one for the benefit of those whom want to use the camera with their PC. The Flip costs over £100 and a small USB extension cable costs next to nothing after all. Alternatively, you can play the video on the Flip and watch it on your TV via HDMI as the flip has an HDMI port.
It also has a bit of software stored on the camera itself which you can install but I've not used it. Supposedly, it lets you transfer video to your PC and upload the video direct to YouTube.
- Simple to use
- Good picture quality when in good light
- Uses AA batteries, so easy to find replacements when out and about
- Needs good lighting for sharp clear picture
- No good for close-ups
- Doesn't do still pictures
- Has some bugs (i.e. unable to delete files using the Flip controls)
- Awkward to plug into the USB ports on a PC (no extension cable included)
- Slow charge time via USB (no mains charger included)
- No microphone jack
The picture and sound quality is good, so long as there's enough light. The camera is easy to use and the cost is quite low for something that can shoot in HD, even if it's only 720 HD resolutions. I like the fact that it takes AA batteries so that I can just pick up AA batteries from a shop rather than worry about the rechargeable battery dying. I do think they could have included a mains charger though as the device takes too long to charge via a computer's USB port, although, you can buy one separately if you do want one. Replacing the batteries is another way round it though. They do provide a little pouch to stop it getting scratched in your pocket but having to take it out each time isn't exactly convenient. You'd be better off buying a case made for the Flip Ultra HD. So do I recommend the Flip Ultra HD? Yes and no. If you want to shoot professional shots with great colour and quality in most conditions, lots of features, good zooming capabilities, then 'no', it's definitely not up for the job. If you just need something basic for YouTube and home or holiday videos, then I think this would be fine for those purposes.
Thanks for reading
I had been wanting to get this camcorder for quite a while now but it always seemed so expensive when I saw it in Soundstore for 180 euro and so I waited until two months ago when I got it for just 100 euro on ebay. The Flip is a digital camcorder that is designed to be very portable. Its about the size of a mobile phone so it can easily be brought out and about without fumbling around with equipment or awkward camera cases.
It has 2GB of internal memory which equals 60 minutes of recording time which is perfect for short clips of the kids. Many people use this for Youtube as its easier to bring with you and use it spur of the moment than a full size camera. The camera runs on batteries so you dont need to worry about charging it up after each use.
It has a 2 inch screen where you can view the videos you record and you can also delete videos from here. There is software included with the camera so when you plug it into the computer you can easily edit and transfer your videos. It actually has a flip out USB stick that plugs directly into your computer so there is never any fear of losing memory cards. Also its impossible to find a computer nowadays that doesnt have a USB port so its very functional.
The resolution is quite good although there was definitely a bit of fizz when I recorded in low light but its still excellent value for money. I have dropped it a few times and it hasnt caused any problems so its a great build.
I would highly recommend this because its a great way to capture moments without having to haul out the big guns!
You won't win an Oscar using this gizmo, but if "You've Been Framed" is more your target audience, it's small and perfectly formed.
This is a purchase that you must go into with your eyes open so as not to be disappointed. Although its price places it at the lower end of the video camera market, £100 is not an inconsiderable sum for most people to shell out. Therefore, do not buy this gadget if you're interested in making your first blockbuster or even if you enjoy getting a bit arty and playing around with focus, light or filters. Even the zoom is a bit flimsy. You can of course play with this stuff once you have uploaded your videos to the computer. With this camera, you will struggle to capture fast-paced action, anything that happens in gloomy light and anything that happens at a distance. If you want memory, then forget it: this camera stores one hour of footage - full stop.
Enough of the doom and gloom - I love this doofry and I'll tell you why. I'm not interested in any of the above. I just want to point, shoot and keep for posterity. If you just want something to capture the everyday hi-jinks of your kids so that you can use it in 15 years' time to embarrass them in front of their future partners, its perfect. There are so few functions, even the novice can't go wrong. You can record, zoom, play back, fast forward, rewind and bin. What's more, it's truly pocket-sized being no bigger than a mobile phone, so you don't even need to take a bag out to be able to capture those magic moments.
And now for the piece de resistance: the beauty of the Flip is that it has an in-built USB stick that literally flips out, in a pleasingly sexy manner, and can be plugged straight into your computer. The ease with which you can get footage from your camera on to the computer is remarkable, with none of the faff of cables and drivers.
In conclusion, go into this purchase with your eyes open. If it's for you, you'll love it; if it's not, you'll rue the day you bought it.
This camera is easy to summarize; EASY to use, BASIC functions, GOOD quality when close up, POOR quality when watching on TV.
I bought this from Amazon after reading other reviews and researching the market as much as possile regarding these type of camcorders. I'd probably agree with what most people say about it.....
The camera is very well packed and from unpacking to making your first video clip took me about 3mins! The camera comes with batteries (AAx2), a soft case, wrist strap and basic instuctions (thats all you need!). Unlike other more advanced cameras. it does not come with numerous cd-roms and multiple instruction leaflets!!
The camera is turned on by a slide switch at the side and the camera is instantly ready to record. The screen isn't very big but the size of the lens is great as its big enough that you don't need to be standing 5 metres away to fit people in the shot.
When you plug the camera into your PC for the first time (via its attached USB stick that flicks out from the side), it downloads its software that it needs to download, view and edit the movie clips. This takes a matter of minutes. You can then view, email or send the clips to a website (youtube etc). The email function is brilliant as it sends a link to the person that your friend would click and be taken to a webpage where they can view the movie (you can send more than 1). Great for us to keep the parents updated with clips of their grandaughter!
The quality is brilliant IF the footage has been taken fairly close up and its viewed on a computer monitor. If you are trying to take footage of someone that is further away than 5m, the image becomes a little bit more blurry on the computer screen. Also, if you use the 3x digital zoom, the image again becomes blurry. I've got a 30inch TV and the image was blurry on that. It might be better on a smaller screen but I don't think its a problem as its fine watching clips on a PC monitor.
Sound is ok but if the person in the shot is talking then they cannot be too far away from the camera if they want to be heard.
Overall its a nice compact, simple camcorder but its no substitute for a DV or DVD camcorder if you want to take perfect movies with all the functions that go with it.
For us, its perfect for taking movies of our daughter as she grows up but if we were to go travelling again, I would want a much better quality footage than this camera gives, and one that could zoom a lot more without losing quality.
* I have just sent this camera back to Amazon after failing to get the software to work properly. I got a message everytime I plugged it into my laptop to say that there was a new version of the software. After clicking it and going through the quick steps, I got an error message saying that the previous version installed was faulty and it couldn't upgrade. No matter what I did, it made no difference. I even went on the Flip website and tried to download it from there, but the 'latest' software version on their site was actually older than the original one that was on the camera!! So I ended up with an older version on my camera which required an AOL account to email clips to people. Very difficult to contact them and they were useless at getting back to me (Flip, not Amazon).
Bit of a shame really as he camera itself was fine. I have just orderd the Creative Vado to replace it so I'll be reviewing that one soon.
** My Creative Vado review is now on here.
I was first introduced to a Flip camera while visiting friends in America. My friend had been given one as a present and was saying how fantastic it was - small, easy to use, easy to play back and upload. I was so impressed that on my return I bought one to give my hubby for Christmas.
It could NOT be simpler, you slide a button on the side and the USB connecter flicks out so you can plug it straight into your PC - there are no wires or CD's to upload it does it all for you. Within a matter of minutes your computer has all the info it needs to download and store your files.
To use the camera is equally as simple. Just turn it on, hit record and off you go - it will record up to 60 min's of footage so remember spare batteries!
For the price this is a great product.
I got given one of these little Flip camcorders as a gift by my wife for when we were going away and have been really impressed with this little piece of kit.
The camcorder was easy to setup and superbly easy to use as all you have to do with this is point at what you want to film and press the record button to start recording and when you want to stop recording you just press this button once again.
The camera also allows you to zoom a small amount which is really impressive for a digital camcorder of this size and price but the best bit is in the simplicity of uploading your video to your pc thanks to the flip out usb connection of the side of the camcorder meaning that you can simple pull the clip for this to open and upload your photos, unplug the camera, clip the usb back in and wipe your memory and away you go again (i did this whilst on holiday by paying for internet access and uploading this to an e-mail I sent to my secondary e-mail address so ensuring I was able to keep using my camcorder whilst on holiday despite filming over an hour of footage and filling the memory of this great gadget.
This looks fab, is lightweight and simple to use and for the price is a fantastic little addition to your camera for when you are wanting to take a quick video whilst out and about.
We are currently looking for some easy to use, inexpensive video cameras for use with students. Having been disappointed with the cheapest Busbi cameras we decided to go up to what is probably the next level of camera the flip.
The Flip Ultra Series video camera is a compact little video camera with an LCD screen which allows you to video upto 60 minutes of film digitally and upload it immediately with the flip out usb stick on to your computer. This footage can then be used for inclusion in reviews, reports, powerpoints, attached to emails etc. and all for the bargain price of around £80.00.
On opening the box you find the video camera itself, TV connector cables, wrist strap, soft carrying case and two AA batteries. So you are up and running straight out of the box.
- - How does it look - -
The video camera is about the same size as a normal digital still camera. At the side is a little sliding catch which you pull down to release the usb stick for connection to the PC. At the back you have an approx. 1" lcd screen and a red button which you click once to begin videoing and once again to stop. This red button is surrounded by a joypad type of frame which allows you to zoom in and out, skip from one video to the next and adjust the volume, a play button and a delete button are on either side of the red button. The microphone is presumably held within the rectangle of holes beside the lens on the front and is effective within 12 feet.
- - How do you use it - -
To record simply switch it on at the side and the lcd screen comes immediately to life with the scene in front of it showing clearly. To record press the red button in the centre once, to stop recording press it again, the only other button you may need would be to hold in the plus or minus key while recording to operate the zoom in\out. The other two buttons on either side are to play or delete and both are clearly marked.
When I've been handed our big JVC camcorder it takes me a couple of minutes to place it properly and remember how to turn it on and then how to record and zoom on it. This is about 10 x faster to begin recording on as its simply point and shoot, very important if you like catching people unaware or when trying to capture kids about to start walking for the first time.
- - How do you access the video - -
Once you have plugged in the video camera on the computer using the usb stick the camera itself works rather like a normal usb stick, only all the files on it are video files. You are given the option to access the video files using the software already loaded onto the flip camera. This allows you to actually do a little bit of editing while still on the camera itself. There aren't a lot of options but you can edit the start and end points of the video and take still photographs which can then be opened or downloaded onto the PC all within a few seconds.
While you can simply plug the video into the usb port of your PC I wasn't happy with the weight of the camera pulling down on the usb port as hubby has previously complained about me inserting a usb stick on a heavy key chain as it would distort the port. I therefore purchased a little usb extender cable for around £4.00. One end plugs into the port and the other into the camera, you don't need to purchase the official flip extender cable at twice the price.
- - Video Quality - -
When you first look at the video on the screen at the back the quality is really good much better than I've ever seen on even the most expensive of mobile phones. When you first upload it to the computer and watch in a youtube video size screen it still looks almost as good as a full-size video camera footage. Its only when you show the footage at full screen size or on a television that you start to notice its not as good as a full-size video camera but its still clear enough to watch and enjoy.
It videos acceptably well in low light which other cheap video cameras struggle with but there is no light on the unit so some degree of light in the room is required.
- - Sound Quality - -
I'm not an expert in sound technologies so from a totally non technical view point I will point out that you can hear any speech or music reasonably clearly. It easily picks up any noise within the 12 feet radius and plays it back without any sign of crackling etc.
- - Zoom - -
The digital zoom is a great little tool but is definitely not in the same league as the ones on a full-sized video camera. If you were taking a full length shot of a child the zoom would allow you to zoom in and capture them from the waist up rather than being able to zoom in on just the face. The zooming action doesn't affect the quality of the video as far as I can see.
- - Accessories - -
There are a number of accessories currently available.
Small tripod to capture steady video footage.
USB cables which come in different colours but as previously mentioned are twice the price of the standard grey cables
An underwater case allowing you to capture your close encounter with jaws or the great barrier reef. This can be used down to 30 feet with full access to the controls.
Action mount - allows you to attach the video to your handlebars, helmets etc.
- - Final thoughts - -
I have been very impressed with the quality of this little video camera for the money. The ease of use, ability to slip it into your pocket and reasonably good sound and video quality make this ideal for taking on day trips, holidays etc where you are happy to get a bit of sand in and around it or have the kids mess around with it.
Although the quality of the footage wouldn't compare to that of our family JVC video camera, this camera would be my preferred choice to take away. Its so slim, always ready at the touch of a button and I can download anything I shoot onto the computer in seconds.
The ease of downloading and no need to convert the files is a stark contrast to our JVC as I don't even know how to get the video off the camera and hubby has presently got footage of the last two holidays and Christmases waiting to be taken off the camera and put onto disk which is such a bothersome job he keeps putting it off. With this I could have had it done and saved onto a disk within minutes.
For kids wanting to video you've been framed shots, youtube videos, my holiday powerpoint shows etc this is the business and if it gets scratched or sandy at £80.00 you are not going to break your heart.
Use straight from the box
Good video quality in reasonably low light conditions
Simple enough for a grown up to use in less than 20 seconds
Compact and fits into your pocket
Higher quality than most video phones
No tapes or additional memory cards required
Videos saved on the camera as avi files - no conversion needed
Comes with a 2GB memory card which holds 1 hour of video this cannot be upgraded or swapped for another.
No built in light for very low light conditions
Not upto the standard of a £300/£400 video camera but then it doesn't cost as much either.
I received one of these as a gift and can honestly say it is one of the easiest and most fun "gadgets" I have ever used. It is almost too simple - press the red button and record; press the play button to replay. But the real genius bit for me is the direct USB connector - no cables to get lost or forgotten - you simply flip up the USB connector and plug this straight into your computer. From there you can download to your hard drive to edit - or just use the built in software to upload to a website or Youtube or your favourite social networking site. The software even allows basic editing - simple topping and tailing of videos.
Sound and picture quality is surprisingly good for a pocket sized camcorder. Of course it is not as good as you would get from a full sized one - but for quickly and easily capturing moments and easy sharing I doubt this can be beaten. And being not much bigger than a mobile phone you can carry it with you everywhere.
I love this!
HOW IS THIS PRODUCT STILL LARGELY UNHEARD OF?!
If you're tired of mobile phone videos being blurry, bad quality and really tricky to use on your computer then the FLIP video is for you!
It's the most simple technology in the world, which makes it really handy no matter how "techy" you are.
To record, simply press the big red button. To stop recording press it again. There are only three buttons (the other 2 being view videos and delete videos, so nobody can get confused.
You can film up to an hours worth of videos, and when you're done there is no need to worry about cables or complicated hardware: with one flick of a switch, a USB connector FLIPs out of the camera so you can plug it straight into your PC.
All the hardware you need to get your videos is incorporated into the FLIP so installing is easy.
Included is a cable so that you can play your videos on your television (again, insanely easy!).
This is great for capturing family moments, creating films or movies and anything else you might want to video.
It's pretty good value, and would make great birthday presents for kids so they could take their own videos on holiday (and comes in different colours for an extra personal touch).
A range of accessories are available, including tripods and underwater cases.
I got this piece of kit just about a month ago as a gift. As I have never own a camcoder before, this is a perfect gadget for me. Although my mobile phone as well as any other mobile phone these days mostly has an integrated camera for recording video and playback. The problem arises when I tried to transfer the recordings to my PC, file format compatibility issues always seems to be in the way. I had to go through a cumbersome process of converting between file formats.
Not anymore, meet my new Flip Video, a device with just one mission in mind - recording, playing and transfering for immediate playback. 'Flip' Video had its name derived from the flip-out usb connector (The same type that you would normally found on any USB drive), which connect directly to your PC or playback device's USB port.
The smart bit is that it also automatically download the editing software to your PC when you first plug it in. The video is then playable on both Windows Media Palyer as well as QuickTime player. Well at least it works perfectly on my laptop running Windows XP Professional. As from the box cover, it does support Vista and MAC OSX too.
The Retail price for this is 99.99 when it first came out, yet you can now get it for 89.99 from amazon.co.uk (10/08/2008)
The one I have is in Black, it is also availabe in Orange and White from Amazon.
Also note that the recording time is 60 minutes. The most useful feature I encounter is the digital zoom feature. Its low light recording mode and built in mic also works perfectly.
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