The very pretty Katie writes:
I need some help. I am going to get a camcorder for my hubby for Christmas. Do you have any recommendations? The primary use is to videotape my child being funny so we can black mail him later. Like at Prom. I know you have posted stuff about the Flip, are there any others? Should I wait until closer to get a better deal?
The answer to “are there any others” is “of course there are.” The reason the Flip is so popular and gets so much press is that:
1) It’s relatively inexpensive.
2) It’s small.
3) It’s idiot-proof.
4) The quality is astonishingly good for a device of its size/price.
We own two Flips. I pink puffy heart them. But let’s do a little more investigation….
In addition to the Flips we own, my husband—who teaches video, amongst other things—often has a super-expensive, professional-level Sony camcorder laying around. Every so often he brings one home to play with it before he needs to teach his students something. And all I can tell you is that when it’s time to tape the children doing something humiliating ’round here (I like the way you think, Katie!), he always grabs a Flip over the other camcorder.
The biggest difference between a Flip and a fancy high-end camcorder is going to be in the sound, not the video. If you were going to be taping Very Important Things, you might want a camera with an audio input and so that you could invest in a good microphone and use that as well. But for typical family/hobby usage? Not necessary.
In fact, I absolutely love this piece comparing the Flip to the Canon XH-A1. Definitely worth a view if you’re not convinced.
Now, the difference between the Flip and another compact, pocket camcorder…? I don’t know. I feel like the Flip is sort of tried and true, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t another brand out there that’s just as good. But again, given the relatively low price point and frequent sales, I’d probably go for the Flip over another brand, at this point.
Will there be sales closer to the holidays? Of course. I’d be surprised if there wasn’t a Black Friday deal or three on whatever the latest/greatest Flip is by then. But there are plenty of deals throughout the year, so I don’t know that you necessarily need to wait.
[For example, today at Buy.com the 60 minute Flip Ultra in pink is available as a refurbished unit for $70 shipped; for comparison, that unit is selling for $175 at Amazon, new. I’m guessing your husband wouldn’t be pleased with a pink camera, Katie, but I just thought I’d point it out.]
There are always deals to be had. It’s just a matter of deciding which unit you want, and being patient.
I hope that helps, Katie!