Product Type: Flip Video digital camcorders
Newest Review: ... 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... more
Dear nephew, you're very welcome. Love, me x
Flip F260B-UK Video Ultra Series
Member Name: sirg0508
Flip F260B-UK Video Ultra Series
Advantages: Picks up sound very well, good quality in natural light, so easy to use
Disadvantages: Poor quality in low light, very basic, clips not very clear, playback on Flip gives bad sound
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.
Summary: Very portable lowish quality video camera
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