Customer Review

368 of 388 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hard to recommend with so many gadgets w/video in market now, October 27, 2010
This review is from: Flip UltraHD Video Camera - Black, 8 GB, 2 Hours (3rd Generation) (Camera)
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I wavered between giving this three or four stars, but settled on four because it delivers what it promises in spades: EASY to use, high quality video recording in a small package. If I could, I would give a 3.5. There's a BIG "but" though:

The caveat here is that this is now a single-purpose, niche product, whose single purpose can be found on a number of different devices, from DSLR's, to point and shoot cameras, to smartphones (and probably non smart phones). You would be hard pressed to find even the lowliest point and shoot digital camera that doesn't record 720p video these days.

The one differentiator here is that this Flip shoots video at 60 frames per second, which is great if you are mostly going to be shooting outdoors, in bright light (because you SHOULD get smoother looking action, although most people can't see the difference). But it can actually be a disadvantage (vs the more standard 24 or 30fps) when shooting in lower light situations. I found this to be true as I compared several gadgets of mine (iPhone 4, Canon S95 digital camera, Canon HV30 HD camcorder), shooting the same indoors scene.

Just hard to recommend that anyone buy this today, knowing that almost every digicam on the market does 720p video now (and several of the new gen point and shoots do 1080p!) I shot the same scene (outdoors, but in very cloudy conditions) with my iPhone 4 and the Flip. The iPhone's video was slightly less contrasty, and a little more shaky looking due to no optical image stabilization like the Flip has. BUT at least I could focus on certain areas with the iPhone. With the Flip, I have no way to focus on a particular object, which is tough. I would bet MOST people would not be able to tell much of a difference in the picture quality between the two (unless you were watching them side by side, and even then, was difficult to determine a clear winner)

When these Flips first came out, they were a standout product because video in digicams was horrible at that time, and either nonexistent or poor on cel phones, but times have changed. For $200,today, you can buy an iPhone 4, or a point and shoot Sony digicam with a CMOS, low light sensor, that will shoot better video, plus you get the primary functions of those devices to boot. The video is just gravy.

PROS:
- Svelte, easy to carry and handle, outside black soft touch material very nice
- Good to very good video quality
- SO easy to use and hook up to another device for viewing the results.
- optical image stabilization works surprisingly well considering form factor, weight and small size of the Flip
- 60 fps great for outdoors/good light shooting

CONS:
- Hard to justify price when you can get at least as good video in other devices that do more than just video
- No ability to focus
- I wish the lens had more protection, or even a built in lens cap/cover. Note it does include a soft case, but I mean something like you see on most camcorders these days.
- Not great in low light due to 60fps recording (at least give the option to switch to something slower for low light situations?)
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Comments

Tracked by 6 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 17 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 13, 2010 9:37:25 AM PST
Gary H says:
I agree with your main points and am questioning whether or not to buy this. I got a $40 visa coupon which make this product $140. It's still too high. I have a camera and two cell phones which takes good video so why would I want to carry another device around. However, the 60fps is the differentiator, but I'm not sure if I'll throw in 140 bones for it.

Personally, with all the devices I have that can take video, I can't justify buying this even with the 40 off coupon I got today.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 13, 2010 12:15:51 PM PST
BruceInCola says:
Def do not buy just for the 60fps. It's not that big of a deal. And this same unit was selling for UNDER $100 around black Fri/Cyber Monday, so certainly don't pay more than $120, as I am sure price will head back down that way soon enough if you do decide to buy.

Posted on Dec 18, 2010 9:24:20 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 18, 2010 10:08:05 PM PST
I have been following this product's pricing, and never seen the 8GB UltraHD3 model has never been $100, I think you are talking about the 4GB UltraHD3 model which was selling for $99 for Black Friday at BestBuy/Walmart/Amazon. The 4GB model is very different, larger/bulkier body, uses NiMH instead of Li batteries, no 60fps, no image stabilization, no FlipPort, among other things. Pretty sure the 8GB model has stayed around $170, other than the $40 visa discount coupons or the $20-25 amazon GC with purchase.Ul

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 19, 2010 8:51:41 AM PST
BruceInCola says:
Thanks Loli: you're right - I checked price history and it hasn't been below about $160 for what I saw. I am sure I was mistaking the 2nd gen model (also confusingly called UltraHD 8GB) which doesn't have image stabilization. Edited remarks removed and score readjusted accordingly.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 20, 2010 2:40:11 AM PST
Gary H says:
I ended up buying the Kodak sportplay bundle from amazon. I bought two in fact for about $79.00 - one is for my wife :).

The Kodak takes 60fps movie and can take an sd card for upgradability...
Gary

Posted on Jan 14, 2011 1:42:09 PM PST
cLou says:
OverKill on this review. The videos get chopped up prior to being stored online w/a Iphone. they are cut very short for putting online.
I think this is just the convenience that we are all looking for here...is to share easily online, Fbook or email. Very easy.!

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 11, 2011 5:03:13 PM PST
Anthony A says:
What does "the videos get chopped up mean?" Are you saying this camera is better or worse than using an iphone?

Posted on Mar 14, 2011 1:19:58 AM PDT
Romanza says:
Great detailed review, thank you.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 17, 2011 8:20:26 AM PDT
Maury Bodeau says:
Good question Kevin. I'm not sure now after reading all the prior posts whether to buy this product or is there something better for around the same price point from other brands.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 19, 2011 8:04:51 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 19, 2011 8:13:23 PM PDT
Rick says:
I've had the ZI8 and the 3rd gen ultra to play with. Although the ZI8 is 1080p it lacks image stabilization and is only 30fps. The ZI8 looks like a bunch of jerky crap compared to the 3rd gen 720p 60fps Flip. Yea the ZI8 is 1/2 the price of the flip. I returned the ZI8 the same day I got it. The Flip 3rd gen was really nice and played crisp files on my Samsung LED. But I also returned the Flip only because $200 is just too much. I often want to buy the Flip 3rd gen again. Its the way to go. Its simple and works well and has a long battery life. The only thing you need with the Flip 3rd gen is the HDMI cable. Heck with the charger, USB cables and tripod. They are not needed and I also returned them too. The Flip 3rd gen needs to be a little wider on the lens. Inside you must walk way back to get all the kids in the picture. I think the lens is about 42mm which is too long for inside birthday parties. Wish the Flip 3rd Gen was cheaper. It needs to be $88 to be a good deal. I'll wait a while. In the end I bought a Panasonic SD60 for $324 in like new condition from Amazon Warehouse. Better low light inside than the Canon M300, actually the Canon was crap compared to the SD60. I had them both in my hand and tested them. Battery life on the stock SD60 is twice the M300.
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