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The minoHD with a 2-inch LCD and 120 minutes recording time
The Pure Digital Flip Video camera is the most popular camcorder on the market, so much so that Apple's Steve Jobs had it up on stage when he introduced an iPod nano that captures video. The Flip though has gone through several generations and keeps getting better, and with higher quality video capabilities. The latest version is the Flip mino HD. The second generation mino HD retains the same form factor as the previous mino but now ships in a sleek aluminum polycarbonate case. The USB arm is now metal, and there is no USB latch to break or come loose. It sports a larger 2-inch TFT LCD (1.5-inch on the Flip mino) that features 960x240 resolution. The mino HD captures 120 minutes of HD video at 1280 x 720 resolution with its 1/4.5-inch HD CMOS sensor. The mino HD also features a mini HDMI port on the bottom of the camera, next to the tripod mount.
The Flip mino HD captures video at 30 frames per second to the H.264 MPEG-4 video format. The lens is fixed focus (0.8m to infinity), features a 2x digital zoom, and sports an f/2.4 aperture. It is powered by a lithium ion rechargeable battery that is rated at 2 hours between charges. Charging is done by plugging the camera's USB arm into your computer, or via an optional power adapter.
What really makes this camera excel at what it does is the FlipShare software that ships with every Flip video camera. The software is very simple to use, and offers all the sharing capabilities built right in so there is no need for fiddling around with other applications or sharing sites. You can share your videos via email, Flip Channel, Greeting Card, and online via Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, and other websites.
You can also create movies, snapshots of your videos, and DVDs. What the Flip team did at the beginning still holds true today; to build the easiest to use digital camcorder with the easiest to use software so you can easily share your videos. FlipShare allows you to do just that.
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I always take the Flip camcorder out on family outings and gatherings and I am always peppered with two main questions. "Is it easy to use? How is the video quality?" And I always give the same answer. The Flip is probably the easiest to use camcorder on the market for what it does, and the video quality is very good, better than what you'd get from your digital camera. The minoHD extends that ease of to a whopping 120 minutes. The Flip minoHD, now under the Cisco umbrella, hasn't changed a whole lot. You can now customize your Flip with your own designs and photos. The video quality has gotten better, and the screen size is bigger, but the core ease of use of this camcorder has not changed, which is good, because there is no reason to fiddle with something that works, and works well.
Flip minoHD (120 minutes)
John Virata is senior editor of Digital Media Online. You can email him at [email protected]