flip vs. kodak

As part of my mad dash abroad, I decided I could benefit from a pocket video camera. As you may already know, the Flip is currently all the rage. So I bought a Flip Ultra from Staples ($158.99) with the understanding that I had 14 days to try it out. It’s important to note that you can’t test drive these things in the store; they are under lock and key. In the case of Best Buy, they are also hiding behind ignorant salespeople. Luckily, I was able to chat with a manager at Staples who owned a Flip and loved it.

Things I loved about the Flip:
– simple design
– USB flip, which it is known for
– ability to zoom
– big screen
– AA batteries
– Flipshare software compatible with mac

Things I didn’t like about the Flip:
– can’t take still shots
– way too bulky
– 2G of film time

In the end, the size of the Ultra was way too much for what I wanted. It was awkward to carry while recording, and didn’t fit well into a pocket. According to the spec sheet the Ultra is measured at 4.25″ x 2.19″ x 1.17″ while it’s slimmer cousin MinoHD (recently introduced at $229) is 3.94″ x 1.97″ x 0.66″. But who wants to pay that kind of money?

Much research and amusing tech articles later, I stumbled upon the Kodak zi8. I purchased the Kodak from Amazon for $141.17.

Things I like about the Kodak:
– ability to shoot stills at 5mp
– software is mac compatible / opens in iPhoto
– USB flip (although flimsier than the Flip)
– macro switch (to take close up photos)
– memory card slot

Things I don’t like about the Kodak:
– where’s the zoom? *
– lithium battery (but they do provide a charger)
– still a bit unwieldy
– need for a memory card (you can’t shoot at all without one)
* had I read the instruction manual, I would have realized it DOES have a zoom.

After experimenting a bit with different light, and a few different scenarios – I’m sold on the Kodak. I was really holding out for the zoom (which my mother located in the instruction manual), and also discovered it has an image stabilizer. I take a lot of close up photos so the macro is useful as well. Still not a fan of having another adapter to charge this with, but that is my only complaint at this point. I got over the memory card issue as well, after being angry initially because I was ready to video an event and did not have a card big enough. I’m now using an 8GB card ($20, Best Buy) that will shoot just over an hour in 720p.

Sorry, Flipsters – Kodak is the one for me!


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