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.

65 thoughts on “Chris Pirillo is wrong about best pocket video cameras

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  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. > 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.

  10. > 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.

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. 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).

  14. 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).

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