Flip Video's New Lineup
Flip Video has unveiled its fall line of UltraHD and MinoHD (left) pocket camcorders. Most models now have built-in image stabilization and capture video at 720p/60 frames per second. The UltraHD 2-hour version (black or white) debuts the FlipPort, a proprietary connector that can be plugged into specially designed accessories including external microphones (wired or wireless) for audio pickup close to the subject and external batteries for extra power.
The FlipPort enables key accessories as part of the newly announced Designed for Flip program for third-party manufacturers. The FlipPort will appear on more Flip Video cameras going forward, meaning that new Flip camcorder owners will have access to the types of accessories available to more demanding video makers. The first wave of FlipPort accessories will include the Flip Video Battery Pack and iGo Overtime Battery Backup in October; the Mikey for Flip from Blue Microphones and wireless mic from Scosche Industries in November; and the Flip Video TV Dock in December or January.
The combination of 60 fps and image stabilization (which is always on) will make your high-def video especially crisp and clear, according to a Flip Video spokesman. The combo's usefulness will be particularly evident when the subject is moving or you're shooting a sports event. If you're like me and tend to press the record button on purpose while walking (tripod be damned), you should see a lot less shaking.
The third-generation UltraHD models come with either 4 Gigabytes of internal flash memory (good for one hour of recording time) or 8GB (two hours). The new UltraHDs are slightly smaller and lighter than the UltraHD second-generation models. Despite the inclusion of a two-inch (320 x 240 pixel) anti-glare color TFT LCD screen (same size as Gen 2), the new camcorders have shrunk to 2.11 x 4.16 x 0.88 inches (W x H x D) in size and weigh only 4.48 ounces—a reduction of more than an ounce.
The 2-hour UltraHD model is available in white or black (left). The 1-hour version is available in white, magenta or blue (right). All the UltraHD models contain a fixed-focus (1.5m to infinity) lens with an f/2.4 aperture and 2x digital zoom. The 1.6-megapixel (1/4.5-inch) CMOS image sensor captures 720p (1280 x 720, 16:9) video. A difference between the models is that the 2-hour version captures video at 60 fps while the 1-hour model does so at 30 fps. Files are saved in an MP4 format. There's a USB 2.0 flip-out arm (PC and Mac compatible), a mini HDMI connector and a tripod mount. A sealed-in Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery powers the camera for up to two hours of use. As usual, the preloaded FlipShare software uploads to your computer, but the FlipShare upgrade now includes direct posts to Twitter—joining the direct-share options already available for Facebook and YouTube.
The MinoHD models have also been replaced with sleeker versions. Both the 8GB (2-hour) model (available in black—image right) and 4GB (1 hour) model (available in silver) capture 1280 x 720p video with image stabilization at 60 fps. Each contains a fixed-focus (1.5m to infinity) lens with f/2.4 aperture, 1.6-megapixel (1/4.5-inch) CMOS image sensor and 2-inch (320 x 240 pixel) anti-glare TFT LCD screen.
They also have a tripod socket and mini HDMI output. The MinoHD occupies 1.97 x 3.94 x .63-inches (WxHxD) and weighs 4.13 oz.
In terms of other accessories, Flip Video will be bringing its first external lens to market. The company is partnering with Bower to introduce the Bower Wide-Angle Lens, which should be available in October. Carrying the "Designed for Flip" logo, the lens is compatible with all Flip Video models. Accessories to be available for specific models include underwater housings from two different companies, Aquapac and Ikelite; and wool pouches from Flip Video in purple, gray or orange. In October iGo is expected to introduce a portable projector that connects to any Flip Video camera with an HDMI port.
As before, all the models feature 2x digital zoom. Optical zoom remains on the horizon. The company is carrying over the Flip Video Slide HD without alteration. The manufacturer's suggested retail prices for the new camcorders are as follows: the UltraHD 8GB (2-hour) model, $199.99; the UltraHD 4 GB (1 hour), $149.99; the MinoHD 8 GB (2 hour), $229.99; and the MinoHD 4GB (1 hour), $179.99.