Chris Pirillo is wrong about best pocket video cameras

So, back when I got a Flip Mino HD video camera Chris Pirillo gave me a bunch of heck and said I bought the wrong camera. He reviewed the Flip against the Kodak Zi6 and the Creative Vado HD. He said the Creative Vado HD is the best. His videos sure seem to prove that, don’t they.

But after using all three for a week I totally disagree.

First, the Creative Vado HD videos won’t play on my Mac and can’t be edited by my new iMovie 09. HUGE problem. That alone disqualifies it from being “best.” But it also has a goofy USB dongle that just doesn’t feel well designed and a protuding lens that just doesn’t feel nice in your pocket. Now, I do agree that the Vado has the best video quality of the three but in talking to many people about the three cameras it isn’t enough better to make it worth dealing with, especially since these kinds of gadgets will appeal to a Mac-centric audience.

And how about the Kodak? I like this camera, but I’m a professional who does a LOT of video. Why do I like it? It takes regular AA batteries (it comes with rechargeable ones) but sometimes I do three or four interviews in a day and it’s nice to know I can just pop in some extra batteries if I run out of juice. The other cameras can’t do that.

The Kodak also has a closeup lens that has already gotten some use in my hands and the audio on the Kodak is slightly better than the Flip. Finally, it’s bigger than the other two cameras so is a bit easier to hold steady. Which gets me to why I like the Flip the best:

The Flip is the best because it is the best designed and smallest. It is — in talking with my friends — the most likely to end up in their pocket. A camera carried is a camera that is used and a camera that is used, even if it has slightly lower quality that some other camera, is one that’s better.

The Flip Mino HD is the best of the bunch for most people and you can now ignore Chris Pirillo.

Comments

  1. Great piece, and I totally agree. Here is one more reason. For my multimedia students, I used VideoCue Pro to make some simple teasers. Last week we worked with both the Kodak and the Flip. The output of the HD Mino could be added in VideoCue Pro without conversion, Kodak had to be converted.. a big disadvantage.

  2. Great piece, and I totally agree. Here is one more reason. For my multimedia students, I used VideoCue Pro to make some simple teasers. Last week we worked with both the Kodak and the Flip. The output of the HD Mino could be added in VideoCue Pro without conversion, Kodak had to be converted.. a big disadvantage.

  3. So, let’s recap:

    1) Flip mino HD (small, mac friendly, good quality)
    2) Kodak Zi6 (easier to got steady, better audio, AA batteries)
    3 or maybe 10) Creative Vado HD (best video quality, no imovie compatibility, bad quality)

    Am I wrong?

  4. So, let’s recap:

    1) Flip mino HD (small, mac friendly, good quality)
    2) Kodak Zi6 (easier to got steady, better audio, AA batteries)
    3 or maybe 10) Creative Vado HD (best video quality, no imovie compatibility, bad quality)

    Am I wrong?

  5. Robert,

    Thanks for the review. I have added the Flip on my wish list on Amazon since some time ago. I have been communicating with Jim Kukral regarding this camera.

    But why should I ignore Chris Pirillo?

  6. Robert,

    Thanks for the review. I have added the Flip on my wish list on Amazon since some time ago. I have been communicating with Jim Kukral regarding this camera.

    But why should I ignore Chris Pirillo?

  7. Are you ever doing multiple interviews so far from a wall outlet that you actually need to pop in alkaline AA batteries? Just wondering if that’s a “nice to have” or “need to have” for you. Because if not, the feature tends to make the camera a lot bigger, not to mention the cost of batteries adds up.

  8. Are you ever doing multiple interviews so far from a wall outlet that you actually need to pop in alkaline AA batteries? Just wondering if that’s a “nice to have” or “need to have” for you. Because if not, the feature tends to make the camera a lot bigger, not to mention the cost of batteries adds up.

  9. I’ve been carrying a Flip for about a year and totally agree that the portability issue is key. The video quality is acceptable, but the audio leaves something to be desired. It’s not worth switching to the Kodak for marginally better audio, but if the Vado was a whole lot better it would be worth a look. So…how’s the audio on the Vado?

  10. I’ve been carrying a Flip for about a year and totally agree that the portability issue is key. The video quality is acceptable, but the audio leaves something to be desired. It’s not worth switching to the Kodak for marginally better audio, but if the Vado was a whole lot better it would be worth a look. So…how’s the audio on the Vado?

  11. Robert: Are you sure that is accurate? I have Vado movies playing fine on the Mac after installing the Perian codec, Perian 1.1.2 or later. I have not tried to edit in iMovie as of yet but I have it playback in iPhoto after the Perian codec as well. I will have to look at the iMovie edit function. Let me know if that codec helps.

  12. Robert: Are you sure that is accurate? I have Vado movies playing fine on the Mac after installing the Perian codec, Perian 1.1.2 or later. I have not tried to edit in iMovie as of yet but I have it playback in iPhoto after the Perian codec as well. I will have to look at the iMovie edit function. Let me know if that codec helps.

  13. I have to side with Pirillo on this one…

    based on his side-by-side-by-side test, we purchased two Vado HD cams for the office. Why?

    1) Video quality is #1 concern
    2) wide-angle lens is super-handy
    3) our video guys work in FinalCutPro – format is irrelevant

  14. I have to side with Pirillo on this one…

    based on his side-by-side-by-side test, we purchased two Vado HD cams for the office. Why?

    1) Video quality is #1 concern
    2) wide-angle lens is super-handy
    3) our video guys work in FinalCutPro – format is irrelevant

  15. Thank you so much for writing this article. I too invested the time in watching Chris’ videos and did not agree with his conclusions. I own the Flip HD and like it alot. Great videos of sunrises and sunsets and soon to have it for my blog.

  16. Thank you so much for writing this article. I too invested the time in watching Chris’ videos and did not agree with his conclusions. I own the Flip HD and like it alot. Great videos of sunrises and sunsets and soon to have it for my blog.

  17. wow, you are right. you have to transcode the files from the Vado in order to get them into a .mov file for iMovie to be able to edit. reports are that there is little degradation on conversion but that is ridiculous that you have to do it at all. i did a bunch of research on video quality and even mac compatibility, but I missed this one and it is a big one. not ideal at all.

  18. wow, you are right. you have to transcode the files from the Vado in order to get them into a .mov file for iMovie to be able to edit. reports are that there is little degradation on conversion but that is ridiculous that you have to do it at all. i did a bunch of research on video quality and even mac compatibility, but I missed this one and it is a big one. not ideal at all.

  19. Does anybody now of a brick and mortar store that holds both in the Orlando area?

    Would like to compare side by side…

  20. Does anybody now of a brick and mortar store that holds both in the Orlando area?

    Would like to compare side by side…

  21. Robert, not in the same price range, but you should really try out the Sony Cybershot T-500. I got one for my wife for Christmas and she really loves it – beautiful HD video and pictures, nice and small, and some very nice additional features. Nice all-in-one carry around solution.

  22. Robert, not in the same price range, but you should really try out the Sony Cybershot T-500. I got one for my wife for Christmas and she really loves it – beautiful HD video and pictures, nice and small, and some very nice additional features. Nice all-in-one carry around solution.

  23. So where does Sony’s TG1 (TG3 in Europe) sit in all this. All the reviews of it I’ve read imply it’s the ONLY HD camera that will fit in a pocket and comparisons invariably seem to be with “standard” camcorders from Canon and Panasonic, with no mention of any of the camera’s mentioned above.

  24. So where does Sony’s TG1 (TG3 in Europe) sit in all this. All the reviews of it I’ve read imply it’s the ONLY HD camera that will fit in a pocket and comparisons invariably seem to be with “standard” camcorders from Canon and Panasonic, with no mention of any of the camera’s mentioned above.

  25. I viewed Chris Pirillo’s videos and appreciated seeing the side by side comparison. I saw obvious differences in video quality, microphone, size and batteries. Let me preface, I have a Vado and a Sanyo HD1A sitting on my desk and they are both not great for video, sound or editing and looking for a great replacement that’s small and portable.

    For the Vado, I agree with Chris in that the picture quality is good, wide angle is unique and overall good pick. However, its size format is not good with that lens protruding from the front and with sealed battery (1 hr) and no access to removable media it’s a negative for design.

    For the Flip HD – the image quality was good, seemed well designed over the 3 and contained in a nice tiny package with decent sound quality. However, really small viewing screen with (1hr) capacity.

    For the Kodak – The 2.4” lens is easier to view. I like the idea that batteries can be swapped out for extended videos on the go. As an owner of 2 cams I would bring them both and when they ran out I was done. Also, the removable media is a real plus and used that extensively on my Sanyo HD cam (so much easier to keep shooting and add in more cards) . On the negative side, the size of the cam is larger and not as pocket friendly.

    On a side note, it would be nice to have an external microphone plug on these cameras to be interview friendly. In summary , I am going with Robert on the Kodak recommendation followed up with the Flip HD than Vado. I am on the fence with the Flip HD so need to see for myself.

  26. I viewed Chris Pirillo’s videos and appreciated seeing the side by side comparison. I saw obvious differences in video quality, microphone, size and batteries. Let me preface, I have a Vado and a Sanyo HD1A sitting on my desk and they are both not great for video, sound or editing and looking for a great replacement that’s small and portable.

    For the Vado, I agree with Chris in that the picture quality is good, wide angle is unique and overall good pick. However, its size format is not good with that lens protruding from the front and with sealed battery (1 hr) and no access to removable media it’s a negative for design.

    For the Flip HD – the image quality was good, seemed well designed over the 3 and contained in a nice tiny package with decent sound quality. However, really small viewing screen with (1hr) capacity.

    For the Kodak – The 2.4” lens is easier to view. I like the idea that batteries can be swapped out for extended videos on the go. As an owner of 2 cams I would bring them both and when they ran out I was done. Also, the removable media is a real plus and used that extensively on my Sanyo HD cam (so much easier to keep shooting and add in more cards) . On the negative side, the size of the cam is larger and not as pocket friendly.

    On a side note, it would be nice to have an external microphone plug on these cameras to be interview friendly. In summary , I am going with Robert on the Kodak recommendation followed up with the Flip HD than Vado. I am on the fence with the Flip HD so need to see for myself.

  27. You do know how to install codecs on the Mac, yes? Editing video with iMovie? Fast Company cutbacks reduced you to that? Most of your issues, fall into the “problem with the operator” category.

    Even tho I find the whole lot to be pretty much worthless, and better described as toys, I side with Chris, the Vado HD does provide the best overall quality, but that’s just imho. Tinkered with one, and its passable.

    For small with REAL quality, go something like the Sony HDR-CX12…whole differing price point market, of course.

  28. You do know how to install codecs on the Mac, yes? Editing video with iMovie? Fast Company cutbacks reduced you to that? Most of your issues, fall into the “problem with the operator” category.

    Even tho I find the whole lot to be pretty much worthless, and better described as toys, I side with Chris, the Vado HD does provide the best overall quality, but that’s just imho. Tinkered with one, and its passable.

    For small with REAL quality, go something like the Sony HDR-CX12…whole differing price point market, of course.

  29. As a relative newbie to blogging, adding video to my site is on my immediate to do list. Thanks for the review of various options. If Flip is good enough for most of you, I am sure it will be good for me. Thank you.

  30. As a relative newbie to blogging, adding video to my site is on my immediate to do list. Thanks for the review of various options. If Flip is good enough for most of you, I am sure it will be good for me. Thank you.

  31. [...] Scobleizer — Tech geek blogger » Blog Archive Chris Pirillo is wrong about best pocket v… – The Flip is the best because it is the best designed and smallest. It is — in talking with my friends — the most likely to end up in their pocket. A camera carried is a camera that is used and a camera that is used, even if it has slightly lower quality that some other camera, is one that’s better. [...]

  32. I am looking for a pocketable video camera with 720p (at least) yet can’t find one. I was looking at some video of the Flip and it looks very jerky. What is going on there? Was it just the videos I was watching? It doesn’t seem like shake it seems like the video is skipping frames (not caused by my computer I don’t think).

  33. I am looking for a pocketable video camera with 720p (at least) yet can’t find one. I was looking at some video of the Flip and it looks very jerky. What is going on there? Was it just the videos I was watching? It doesn’t seem like shake it seems like the video is skipping frames (not caused by my computer I don’t think).

  34. Hi

    I think there is one important camera Everyone seams to miss, the Canon Powershot TX1. I have had one for a couple of years now. Besides taking very superior video it is also a god still camera and sound recorder. I haven’t sen better videocamera in this size, than this. I work as a Graphics Designer at a large Swedish TV broadcaster. And i sometimes use it for professional work, it is that good.

    /Olle

  35. Hi

    I think there is one important camera Everyone seams to miss, the Canon Powershot TX1. I have had one for a couple of years now. Besides taking very superior video it is also a god still camera and sound recorder. I haven’t sen better videocamera in this size, than this. I work as a Graphics Designer at a large Swedish TV broadcaster. And i sometimes use it for professional work, it is that good.

    /Olle

  36. > Are you ever doing multiple interviews so far from a wall outlet that you actually need to pop in alkaline AA batteries? Just wondering if that’s a “nice to have” or “need to have” for you. Because if not, the feature tends to make the camera a lot bigger, not to mention the cost of batteries adds up.

    AAs are cheaper because AA rechargeables are cheaper than camera specific batteries. (No, you can’t go with just the battery that came with the camera.)

    In practice, folks who rely on camera specific batteries miss shots because of dead batteries. Changing their habits to avoid that hasn’t worked.

  37. > Are you ever doing multiple interviews so far from a wall outlet that you actually need to pop in alkaline AA batteries? Just wondering if that’s a “nice to have” or “need to have” for you. Because if not, the feature tends to make the camera a lot bigger, not to mention the cost of batteries adds up.

    AAs are cheaper because AA rechargeables are cheaper than camera specific batteries. (No, you can’t go with just the battery that came with the camera.)

    In practice, folks who rely on camera specific batteries miss shots because of dead batteries. Changing their habits to avoid that hasn’t worked.

  38. I have a Vado and love it. I am a mac user and got used to software not being mac compatible. I got used to it since OS 9. Well Perian and MPEG Streamclip: video converter for Mac & Windows. Hope that helps a bit. The lens size is really nothing complain about, just exaggerated. I have used the software that is built in on a pc and it does work great. Replacement battery is a plus and 8 gigs of memory.

  39. I have a Vado and love it. I am a mac user and got used to software not being mac compatible. I got used to it since OS 9. Well Perian and MPEG Streamclip: video converter for Mac & Windows. Hope that helps a bit. The lens size is really nothing complain about, just exaggerated. I have used the software that is built in on a pc and it does work great. Replacement battery is a plus and 8 gigs of memory.

  40. I got a Vado and I’m happy with the video recording (on the Vado) and the controls and features…however, the playback is not meeting the needs of those with ‘lower quality’ systems. My Pentium 4 2.4 plays these videos out of synch with audio/video. Also, when uploading small files (15mb) to my aTV, the playback is super choppy and out of synch as well. If I upload these vids to a online site, the playback is fine. What good is this if I can’t play it on the computers that I have at home? It’s a big price to keep up to date with hardware just to play these videos.

  41. I got a Vado and I’m happy with the video recording (on the Vado) and the controls and features…however, the playback is not meeting the needs of those with ‘lower quality’ systems. My Pentium 4 2.4 plays these videos out of synch with audio/video. Also, when uploading small files (15mb) to my aTV, the playback is super choppy and out of synch as well. If I upload these vids to a online site, the playback is fine. What good is this if I can’t play it on the computers that I have at home? It’s a big price to keep up to date with hardware just to play these videos.

  42. Last I heard, Vado HD movies were plain ol’ h.264. Your first complaint should boil down to a simple codec problem. There’s *no way* macs won’t play them.

  43. Last I heard, Vado HD movies were plain ol’ h.264. Your first complaint should boil down to a simple codec problem. There’s *no way* macs won’t play them.

  44. I'm new to Macs and I'm having a love hate relationship at the moment because Macs are simply not the media tools everyone says they are.
    Vado HD files DO NOT play on a Mac. You have to download a codec yourself which you used to do on Windows about 50 years ago. So, you install perian or whatever it's called to PLAY them but iMovie still will not edit them.
    Ok, you can convert them to something else which can then be edited with iMovie but Imovie goes way too slow and there is no sound.

    If you have a Mac don't bother with the Vado. I'm now going to have to install Windows to edit these video clips.

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