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.

My First FlipCamHD video

I was at the Monster party at CES hanging out with the executives there (they sponsored a talk I did with Wine Library TV’s Gary Vaynerchuk about how bloggers can survive and thrive in this crappy economy). A guy handed me a little bag. Inside was a business card and a Flip MinoHD. Turned around and it was Jonathan Kaplan, CEO of puredigital which makes the FlipCams.

I don’t accept gifts of more than $100 so will give this away as soon as I get one of my own but I did use the device to shoot some video of Diana Ross and I put it up on Facebook, which now supports HD video (I did a video with Chris Putnam who runs the Facebook video team where he explains what they did). The quality you see online (if you sign in) is pretty damn close to what I see on my screen here.

More HD videos ahead, especially as I go to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland at the end of the month.

UPDATE: my friend Chris Pirillo did a review of all three and likes the Creative Vado better.

The best gadget I stole in 2008

Maryam wanted a video camera. She asked her friends and they recommended the FlipCam. She thought it was safe from me. She got an ugly one (orange and white) just to make it very unlikely that I’d steal it. After all, if it isn’t an Apple product, or cool and black, it probably was safe from her geeky husband, right?

But I tried it out one day and found that it gave me a lot better quality that my Nokia cell phone with Qik.

Since that day I haven’t given it back. All the recent videos on my Kyte video channel are done with it.

So, now she wants it back. Hah, I think I’ll buy her one of the new HD ones. And me too.

One tip: you MUST use a monopod (which is what I’m doing) or a tripod with this. It is too small to hold steady otherwise.

Why do I love it? It uses AA batteries so I can either use rechargeables or, if those are dead, some of the AA’s in the freezer.

It has a little USB plug that swings out the side. It works with any computer. So, if I take video of my friends’ cute babies, I can give them that video right there. Oh, and the video works with Kyte, YouTube, Viddler, Facebook, and a bunch of other services too. No reformatting or work needed.

Hope a bunch of you find one of these under your Christmas tree.

One problem? The local BestBuy is sold out of the HD versions so you might need to buy them online.

Mike Arrington is talking about his experiences with the Flip and other small HD cameras on his Twitter account. For me, it might be ugly, but it is the best thing I’ve stolen from Maryam all year.