Summary: Inexpensive, pocket HD camcorder, very easy to use, and very few features. Many people love this simple camera.
This is the best selling High Definition camcorder at Amazon.com. This camera has captured 13% of the entire camcorder market.
Pros: Simple, press the one and only button. Easy to carry it in your shirt pocket or purse. It’s easy to share low-res video on the web and by email.
Cons: No removable storage and no expansion slot. This means when the camera is full, it must be downloaded to a computer. There’s no mic input. The digital zoom degrades the video and is only 2x. No mic input.
The FLIP has no menus, no settings, no optical viewfinder, no headphone jack, no lens cap, no memory card. And there’s no optical zoom. The finish can scratch easily so you’ll want to keep it in the supplied bag.
The Flip Video pocket camcorder was created by Pure Digital Technologies. This company was purchased by Cisco Systems in March 2009. As of April 2011, Cisco is getting out of the Flip camera business, but the camera will continue to be sold and probably bought out by another company. As Gizmodo said, “Cisco just axed Flip, yeah, but the blame should be aimed squarely at the smartphone in your pocket.” But most of cell phone users don’t buy iPhones or smart phone.
Cisco will still provide support for Flip cameras through December 31st, 2013. Like others, this camera will live well beyond that official cutoff.
Three versions of the camera are currently being made and sold:
All Flip camcorders record at 1280 x 720 resolution using H.264 video compression.
The MinoHD and SlideHD models have an internal Lithium-Ion Rechargeable Battery included. The UltraHD has a one hr battery pack. This camera can also use two AA batteries.
All models lack a memory card extension slot except the UltraHD. It has a storage solution through the pop out USB FlipPort. All three models can be connected to a computer with the connector. No cable is necessary.
The camera is very simple to use. Turn it on and it’s ready in two seconds. Press the red button once to record and once to stop it. You have to press hard so it probably won’t start recording accidentally in your pocket. You press Play to review the video, and the Trash button to delete a clip. That’s about all you need to know.
It is always on automatic gain. It does very well in low light without showing grain.
The basic specs for the Ultra HD:
*Optical Sensor is one 1/4inch CMOS
* 5.6 megapixels
* 1280Ã—720 using H.264 video compression.
* Image Stabilization
* 2.0 inch LCD Screen
* 2x Digital Zoom
* 2GB, 4 GB, or 8GB Storage
* MP4 Recording
* Recording Mode HD 720p @ 60fps
For the money, the f 2.4 fixed lens is not bad, but there is no optical zoom, only a 2x digital zoom which will degrade the image when used. It is focus free. The minimum focus distance is 31 and 1/2 inches.
The built-in mic records mono sound. There is no mic input for an external mic.
The LCD screen allows instant review of your footage so you can delete any unwanted shots as you go. This helps stretch the storage space. The screen is something they call “transflective” which just means viewable in bright daylight.
2 GB or 8 GB Integrated Flash Memory
Muvee editing software is incorporated into the camera to allow you to do some basic editing, but it no threat to Sony Vegas or Final Cut. The software is built into the camera so there is no separate CD or software to load in your computer. The Ultra is compatible with Macs, but the Muvee editing software does not work with Macs, only with PCs
There are several versions of the Ultra HD:
4 GB, 1 hr
720p HD, 30 fps
8 GB, 2 hr
720p HD, 60 fps
MinoHD 4 GB, 1 hr
720p HD, 60 fps
MinoHD 8 GB, 2 hr
720p HD, 60 fps
SlideHD 16 GB, 4 hr
720p HD, 30 fps
Various accessories are available including a bicycle helmet attachment and an underwater case. A HDMI cable can be purchased for viewing the HD video on a HDTV screen.
Battery Won’t Charge
I was surprised to find this problem when using a friend’s FLIP Ultra.
Here’s what I found that worked:
1. Remove the battery from your Flip Ultra HD
2. Plug the Flip into the USB. I had to unplug some other things because the flip is larger than a simple USB cable.
3. When the â€œconnectedâ€ indicator turns on, you can put the battery back in the Flip.
4. Choose the safe remove hardware option on your PC (or the Mac equivalent)
5. When you get the safe to remove icon, you can pull the Flip out of the USB port
6. Now plug it back in â€“ it should charge without a hitch now.
7. If the battery wonâ€™t charge, give it 5 minutes before trying the second procedure.
I’ll bet Cisco would have fixed this if they had not decided to abandon the camera.
Thank you so much for this article. My Flip battery ran down and was unable to recharge and I just happened upon your article. Brilliant
Really appreciate it. Thanks