Tag Archives: camera

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.

Kyte.tv goes 16:9 (video showing Opera’s latest now up)

This week I’m doing a ton of HD testing. Here’s the first piece of that test and is my first FastCompanyTV video on Kyte’s new 16:9 format player (wide screen). Looks pretty nice, but wait until you see these videos on some of the other systems that support 16:9 AND high definition!

I met with a couple of geeks from Opera last week. They are the browser folks. But I bet you didn’t have a good look at what they’ve been doing lately.

Perfect chance to play with my new Flip Minio HD camcorder. You can buy this for just about $230. I don’t use any external microphones. No lenses or filters. Nothing but that little tiny camcorder. It is really wild to be able to get video out to the world. This is mind blowing. 20 years ago you would have needed a $200,000 set of cameras and a TV station to broadcast it. Now anyone can do it.

One problem I found is that with HD the file sizes are massive (these two videos were 1.1 gigs in my camera). I tried to upload it to Kyte? Failed. Facebook, too big. Viddler? Failed. Vimeo? Too big. YouTube? Too big. So, I went back and split it into two pieces. That took a little bit of time, but isn’t hard.

Anyway, here’s the two parts:

Part I, Opera browser updates (here is the same video on Facebook, so you can compare quality — the Facebook one is a LOT nicer)
Part II, Opera browser updates. (Here’s the same video on Facebook).

One thing, if you are using one of these small cameras you MUST use a monopod or tripod to get them steady enough to look good. By using a monopod with these videos they look much more professional than if I had held the camera with my hand.

So, what will I be testing out this week? Well, like my friend Chris Pirillo did recently, I’m going to be testing out several HD camcorders. The Flip Minio HD is the first one. I will also test out a Kodak Zi6 and a Creative Vado (Pirillo likes the Creative the best). I’ll let you know about those tests later.

Why all the focus on HD? Well, Facebook, Smugmug, YouTube, and Vimeo now support 720p HD video and next week I’m going to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland and I can’t bring Rocky (my video producer) so I’ve got to be able to shoot all my own stuff and carry my camera equipment too. That means going with small cameras like the Flip I used last week with the geeks from Opera.

More over the next week or so as I learn more about the cameras and see if my results match Pirillos.

[kyte.tv appKey=MarbachViewerEmbedded&uri=channels/6118/321312&tbid=k_1929&premium=true&height=500&width=425]

Close look at Vholdr, sports video camera

Vholdr is a sports video camera designed for sky diving, skateboarding, surfing, swimming, including on RC helicopters, etc. If you are into sports, you should check out this very cool camera, here’s a short video I filmed on Friday with the founder of the company, Marc Barros, who showed me how it all works. If you visit Vholdr’s site you’ll see a ton of video made by their users with these cameras.

Gadget lust in times of economic troubles

Damn you Canon. Check out this post from Don MacAskill, CEO of Smugmug. It has all my photographer friends slobbering over themselves over Canon’s new $2,800 DSLR. Me too. I want one of these in the worst way.

Problem is I can’t afford one. Neither can a lot of people. I blew my gadget budget a year ago when I bought last year’s model of the same camera. My credit cards can’t take this abuse. Not while banks are getting wiped out. My friends are losing their jobs. Etc.

This is one reason why I like covering web stuff. For the most part the cool new things, like Fotonauts, a cool new photo sharing site, on the Web are free. Or pretty low cost.

But damn, look at that video. Slobber. Slobber. Slobber. Oh, sorry.

I think this is what’s wrong with our country. We get lust for new toys, or things we can’t afford, and decide to put them on our credit cards and we all get into trouble. I’m not going to do that this time. Sorry, Canon. We’ll have to earn this the old fashioned way: save, save, save.