Testing the Flip Ultra for quick video

Jack Lail finally convinced me to give The Flip Ultra a try. He told me the Ultra didn’t have the sound qualty problems of the older version of The Flip. Below are two clips demonstrating the camera’s capabilities a bit.

I like it. It’s super easy to use. The sound is good — for a sound source in close proximity to the on-board mic. Anything voice more than three feet away is lost. The Casios we’ve been using do better in that regard.

The biggest draw back to making this the new camera we distribute to reporters is that it doesn’t take stills, and at our smallest papers, reporters want a camera that can do both still and video. However, at a cost savings of about $100 per unit, it’s a pretty compelling option.

First video is from my day at Syracuse University, where I spoke to some journalism classes on Tuesday. The second video is a bit of our tourism along the eastern edge of Lake Ontario on Monday.

6 thoughts on “Testing the Flip Ultra for quick video

  1. My work here is done. LOL.

    Seriously, The Flip Camera will become a classic disruptive technology tale. Quality far below the $1,500 to $2,500 prosumer camera, but with three disruptive benefits: low price, extreme simplicity of use and quality that’s good enough. And new models have incremental improvements over old. It’s captured IN A YEAR 13 percent of the camcorder market, according to the manufacturer.

    I can see Clayton M. Christensen, somewhere, smiling.

  2. Howard,

    We purchased several of the original flip cameras last year and distributed them to our bureaus, reporters and photographers. Definitely have gotten our money’s worth out of them.

    This year, we purchased a Sanyo Xacti. It was around $700 and has the benefit of quality that rivals (or surpasses) tape, recording directly to an 8GB HC SD card. It also shoots 8 megapixel stills (excellent quality). It’s not much bigger than an electric shaver.

    Our photo staff now fights over the Xacti. With the HD settings, it’s a lot more camera than we probably need, but it’s a glimpse of the future.

  3. Hi,

    Anyone using an Aiptek A-HD 720P ?

    HD (720P) for under $150 with expandability and an A/V input. Am I missing something?

  4. Andy,

    That Sanyo is Hot! I’m guessing you don’t generally shoot in 1080i, so I was wondering how much recording time you get on an 8GB card and how the batteries hold up.

    BTW, the Aiptek also takes stills, so it may be an all around solution at the low end. However, I do see a lot of negative comments on the sound. A couple sites show how to hack on an external mic port.

  5. Jason,

    We do like the Xacti quite a bit. It’s easy to plug in an external mic. The only two nits to pick: I wish it had an automatically retractable lens cover, and I wish it had a LANC-style interface so I could operate the record and zoom functions from a tripod handle. But, hey, Sanyo has packed a lot into this camera.

    I’d probably be really happy and ready to buy more if Sanyo had the same camera with the same specs but without the high-def (it has something similar but with lower optical zoom, no native h.264, etc.)

    The battery holds up for at least a couple of hours. We shot two hours’ worth of video on the 8GB SD card (before we ran out of battery life). We ended up giving some video of a local courtroom drama to our TV partner, and it looked darn good.


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