- Product Reviews
- Gear Guides
- Tip and Tutorials
- Adorama TV
The world's first pocket camcorder, the Flip, is dead, killed off by its parent company, Cisco. Why, we're not quite sure. After all, the YouTube generation quickly embraced this cell-phone-sized camcorder.
You may have heard of the Flip and came here to figure out which one of these pocket-sized camcorders was right for you. Bad news: the Flip is dead. The Good News: the Flip's competitors are multiplying, so you have plenty of choices.
Here are three possible reasons why the Flip flopped:
Smart Phones: Smart phones, whether running Apple, Android or other operating systems, have still and video cameras built in. Why buy two devices? (Some pocket camcorders are waterproof and deliver better video quality, that's why.)
Pocket Camcorders are no longer unique: When the first Flip was introduced, it blazed a new trail. Now there are plenty of choices (which is the point of this article, really).
The competition is better: As cool as the Flip was, competition meant improvements in features while prices dropped. As you'll see.
Pocket Camcorders are appealing to students who want a convenient, portable vlogging device they
So, what are your alternatives? The good news is that you have plenty of choices in the growing Pocket Camcorder category. (Yes, you may still find a few Flips in stock at bargain prices, but once they're gone, they're gone.) Approximately the size of a smart phone, these camcorders generally have non-zoom, fixed-focus lenses that, because they're so small, offer an almost unlimited depth of field. Other features may include a decent amount of internal storage, easy connectivity with computers or the Internet, and resolution ranging from sub-VGA to full 1080p HD video. Price will determine the range of features, durability, and image quality.
There are also pocket HD camcorders for under $100 that record sub-HD videos—typically VGA resolution—that's sufficient if all you need them for is to put together something for YouTube or other video sharing sites where high resolution is not necessary. But if you're looking for HD, here are five models that will deliver at least 720p quality.
Bell & Howell was able to keep the cost of its pocket camcorder low by using a smaller 2.0 LCD monitor and maxing out definition at 720p. However, it has a built-in flash for capturing better still photo quality in low light (TK MP stills) and has HDMI output for HDTV playback. The touch-pad-operated camera lacks internal storage (check this) but will record files to SD/SDHC cards and has a built-in USB connection for direct uploads. It records in MOV format for easier social network sharing.
The award-winning PlaySport distinguishes itself from other pocket camcorders by not being afraid of water. It can be submerged down to ten feet for as long as 2 hours, and is dustproof and shockproof as well (it can be dropped up to five feet). The camera delivers 1080p HD video at 30fps that can be easily shared on social networks such as YouTube, Facebook, Flickr, Twitter and Kodak Gallery. It can also capture 16:9-format 5MP still images as well as 720p video at 30 or 60fps. The catch? The 1080p video is cropped; the 35mm equivalent in 1080p is 48mm but it's 36mm at lower resolutions and for stills. Other features include image stabilization, smart face tracking, focus to within 2 inches, 128MB internal memory that can be expanded via an SDHC card slot up to 32GB, 2-inch LCD screen. Underwater, the camera automatically color corrects for additional blue. Available in Aquamarine , Red and Black.
Rugged and capable of producing full 1080p HD resolution videos, the Samsung W200 can be submerged down to 10 feet, and can handle drops and dust without malfunctioning. The 2.3-inch LCD is also treated to prevent condensation from misting it up and the fast f/2.2 lens has been treated to prevent it from fogging up in high humidity. It records 1080p video at 30fps and 720p vids at up to 60fps for better action capture. The camera can also capture 5MP stills. No on-board storage, but there's accommodation for SD cards. Downside? Battery life is limited to about 2 hours of record time per charge. Available in Red and Gray.
The other Samsung in our list may not be waterproof, but it has something none of the competition offers: An optical zoom lens. While competing models boast “digital zoom” (which is really cropping the full-frame picture, which results in a loss in image quality) the U20LN's 3x optical zoom lets you get closer without sacrificing any of the 1080p video or 10MP still image resolution.
The Sony Bloggie Touch records both full 1080p MP4-format HD video and 12MP still images thanks to a 12.8MP CMOS sensor. Controlled via a 3-inch touch-screen LCD, the Bloggie Touch can hold up to 4 hours thanks to the internal 8GB of built-in flash memory. Features include: Image stabilization, video and image tagging for social networks, flip-out, built-inUSB arm, mono microphone, focus to 4 inches. The fixed-focus lens has a 35mm equivalent focal length of 37mm in 16:9 format.
Unlike most other pocket camcorders, the Wolverine My-Movie is held horizontally, like a traditional still camera. Capable of capturing 720p, 30fps MP4 videos at 16:9 that can be played back directly on HDTVs via an HDMI output, this camcorder can also capture 5MP stills and has a built-in flash. It can connect to your computer via USB and double as a webcam, and uses Micro-SD cards for file storage.