The Flip, which I wrote about three years in my book Create Your Own Digital Movies, has been my favorite camcorder since 2005. Like the Kodak Brownie, it's small, simple and doesn't have bells and whistles. Finally, my hero David Pogue has gotten around the reviewing it, in this video.
He admits he didn't take it seriously. But now he has. Take a look.
The model featured in this video is the Ultra...I have the Mino, which is a newer version, which I recommend over the Ultra. The Mino is smaller, lighter, and just as easy to use. For a comparison of the Ultra versus the Mino (and a more in-depth review) see the All Things Digital review from the Mossberg crew.
For me, the Flip has many advantages:
1. You can take it anywhere and you can strap it on pretty much anything.
See here for a video of someone who's got it attached to their leg while rollerblading so you can get a dog's eye view of the street.
2. People often don't "get" that you're actually taking a video of them.
The Mino is so much smaller than even most digital photo cameras that people don't register that it's a video camcorder. That makes it a lot easier to get informal shots because there's not a lot of technology to get in the way between you and your subject.
There is a tripod available, and it's also unintimidating.
4. Better than a web cam on your computer, too.
To me, there's something I can't quite grock about talking into a web cam on my computer. The angle of the lens is soooo wide and the lighting soooo bad, and I can see myself while recording. All of this adds up to a great big X-NAY on the webcam. I've deleted every one of myself using my computer. The Flip, on the other hand - well, it's just less intimidating. It's kinda cute.
See what you think - and let me know.
There must be a lot of us out there who love the Flip, because it's the bestselling camcorder on Amazon.