Best easy fun HD video camera

Basically, I guess I’m asking: Is the HD Flip still the best choice if you want something…Flippish?

I’m getting my wife a small camera. Ease of use is important, and shooting HD is important. Must also be Mac compatible.


I have the HD Flip. Very easy to use (both the camera and the associated software). A bit overpriced for what it does though, in my opinion.

In terms of image quality you could probably find a point & shoot camera that does HD video better than an HD Flip does, particularly if the camera has image stabilization (Flip HD video shot without something like a steadycam is shakey as fuck).

Of course, a P&S camera for video probably won’t be quite as easy to use, as that is the Flip’s raison d’être.

The Kodak Zi8 is Flip like, has image stabilization, does 1080P 30, 720P 60, 720P 30, and WVGA. It also takes SD cards and has an external microphone jack.

I’ve got one and I like it a lot. I got it after using my Sister in Law’s Flip HD, and prefer it to the Flip.

I haven’t actually used one, but I get the impression that the Flip is the iPod of video cameras, or at least wants to be. Meaning it’s intuitive, easy, and just plain enjoyable to use. Is that the case, and does the Kodak have that as well?

The Kodak is set up pretty much the same way. There’s a total of 5 buttons on the back, but to actually take video you just press the big red button in the middle. It’s got a built in USB connector, like the Flip, for easy charging and file transfers.

I haven’t used the bundled software for the Flip, and I think the bundled software with the Zi8 might be Windows only, but I don’t think that should be too big a stumbling block.

I think it out Flips the Flip.

Yeah the Flip is ‘fun’ and easy to use, which is why it sells like gangbusters, but presumably image quality is of some concern as well or if not, why bother with an HD video camera at all? I’m not a huge expert on this space by any means, but I did some research for a purchase similar to yours (video camera for a non-tech-geek) and IME a lot of point & shoot cameras supporting just standard def have video that looks quite a bit better than the extreme ShakeyCam video you get out of the Flip HD due to the lack of any image stabilization and very poor low light performance on the Flips.

tl; dr – Flips are fun and easy. But fun and easy only goes so far if the quality of the output is so crappy that you never watch those videos and the Flip HD’s video output is pretty crap by HD video standards, IMO.

The Flip HD noticeably outperforms any SD point and shoot. Image stability is an issue, but you simply don’t try to shoot with a Flip while you’re walking. It’s HD image quality isn’t on par with a more traditional HD camcorder, but it’s a lot better than even a full size SD camcorder (no zoom and stuff, of course).

The biggest benefit of the Flip is it’s profile. You carry it around like you would a cellphone. I use to shoot videos of my toddler when unexpected moments come up. You simply can’t slip most point and shoots in your front pocket.

There is no way I’d recommend a P&S, especially with SD resolution, over an HD Flip. Not from an image quality or an ease of use point of view.