What mini camcorder should I choose?
June 15, 2009 1:29 PM   Subscribe

Which mini HD camcorder should I buy—the Kodak Zi6 or the Flip MinoHD?

I'm torn between these two camcorders. On the one hand, I've heard that the Zi6 has better white balance (and therefore truer colors) and a more sensitive mic. On the other, I've heard so much good stuff about the Flip in general…
posted by ismaelsobek to Technology (18 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Oddly, I just today got the new version of the Flip UltraHD. Take a look at it as well, it has a couple of nice features over the MinoHD (including and HDMI out and a removable battery). Unless you care a great deal about the few extra centimeters the consensus seems to be that the new UltraHD is the way to go among the Flips. I don't know anything about the Kodak.
posted by The Bellman at 1:32 PM on June 15, 2009

I got the Zi6 because it uses the Mac's native file format, and have been mostly satisfied with it. An external mic jack would have been much appreciated. However, it does have an replacable (and rechargable) battery, which has been invaluable, and it's memory can be expanded, which I have done, and that has been very useful. I am quite satisfied with the quality of the footage, for what it is, although it is not very good in low-light situations, and the internal mic sometimes gets scratchy when exposed to loud sounds.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:39 PM on June 15, 2009

I sort of want to know the same, thing. I can get the flip for £170 or so.
posted by chuckdarwin at 1:45 PM on June 15, 2009

I've bought two used Flips off friends (neither was used much (like more than 10 times) or more than six months old). I've had nothing but problems with both of them. The proprietary software is ugly and awkward, particularly on a Mac, and trying to remove videos manually results in massive errors/timeouts/restarts on videos longer than a minute or so. I'm really, really glad the new iPhone includes video, so I don't have to use my Flip ever again.
posted by timoni at 1:48 PM on June 15, 2009

You might want to watch this clip of reviews from Tekzilla (~9 minutes). They seem to be reviewing both the cameras you mention. They have examples of video and audio from the cameras, and you might find it informative and useful.
posted by hippybear at 3:10 PM on June 15, 2009

Andy Inhatko did a direct comparison, complete with sample footage from both cameras. His verdict was that the Flip wins for every situation except long-duration shoots, where the Kodak's expandable storage and battery capacity might be necessary.
posted by mbrubeck at 3:11 PM on June 15, 2009

Here are the cnet reviews: Zi6 and MinoHD.
posted by jabberjaw at 4:00 PM on June 15, 2009

Have you considered getting a decent quality digicam with a good movie mode?
posted by Magnakai at 4:23 PM on June 15, 2009

I was pondering this exact question a couple of weeks ago. I wanted passable HD for cheap. (I already have a Sanyo Xacti HD camera for serious stuff.) I ended up going with the Zi6.

Here's a side-by-side comparison that came to the opposite conclusion of Ihnatko, which references another comparison video by Scott McNulty which also seems to favor the Zi6.

I thought it was a toss-up as far as video quality was concerned, though I liked the sound on the Zi6 better. Ultimately, I went with the Zi6 mostly for the replaceable AA batteries and expandable SD/SDHC storage. I was going on a day-long adventure out at sea, and I knew the Flip would run out of space quickly, and run out of power soon thereafter.

I was glad with my choice, as I had to change batteries three times and switch to a second 4GB SDHC card to document the entire trip.
posted by pzarquon at 5:28 PM on June 15, 2009

Best answer: I was looking recently, and looked at a few side by side comparisons.


In the end, I went with the Zi6 mainly because I could get a refurb unit from amazon for $99.
posted by fings at 5:31 PM on June 15, 2009

Ahem. To document the entire trip. FWIW, you can compare that Zi6 footage with this video I made with the Flip MinoHD (ignore the horrible music) and this video that I made with the Sanyo Xacti.
posted by pzarquon at 5:31 PM on June 15, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks guys. I think I'll end up going for the Zi6, just because of the SD card slot and replaceable batteries.
posted by ismaelsobek at 10:15 AM on June 16, 2009

fings deserves a best answer.
posted by Neiltupper at 6:12 PM on June 16, 2009

Man, my shitty little camera's video looks so awful compared to any of the stuff in this thread that there's no way I can fail with either of these! I need to bin it.
posted by chuckdarwin at 2:00 AM on June 18, 2009

Response by poster: Note: I'm writing this in the interests of anyone who comes to this question later to make their own decision. After getting the Zi6, I feel I should warn people against it.

After using the Zi6 for two days, I'm returning it. The lack of in-camera stabilization makes the resulting videos gorgeous, color-correct, high def, and nearly unwatchable. Even iMovie can't make sense of half of the footage, meaning that post-shooting stabilization is also out-of-the-question.

Bellman had it right when he suggested the Flip UltraHD.
posted by ismaelsobek at 3:50 PM on June 19, 2009

Ah, I should have mentioned I also got a GorillaPod tripod to go with my camera, because I knew there would be stabilization issues.
posted by fings at 6:35 PM on June 19, 2009

Actually, the Flip UltraHD appears not to have stabilization either, so you may see the same problem.
posted by fings at 6:38 PM on June 19, 2009

I've considered buying a Flip Ultra HD for since they arrived on the market but then think about Flip quality versus a standard camcorder. Also, one tread above was very critical of the Flip software. Has anyone else experienced problems the Flip?
posted by jcbach at 4:12 PM on February 8, 2010

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