This review is very similar to the review that I gave for the Flip Slid HD when it first came out. (Please see that review also...)
I have been a Flip camera user since they released the first gen. Flip Mino HD (not the new metallic model). I loved the camera. For what I needed it for it was everything I wanted. I soon became addicted to the Flip cameras and needed to purchase the newest one every time they came out.
I currently own the Flip Mino HD (1st gen) Flip Ultra HD (2nd Gen) Flip Slide HD, and now the Flip Ultra HD (3rd Gen with Flip Port). I also own a Canon GL2 and Vixia 30 video cameras and a Canon Xi digital SLR.
I got home from school on Tuesday and found my brand new Flip Ultra HD waiting for me. I had about 20 minutes to open the package, look and set up the features (time, date, etc.) before I had to leave for marching band rehearsal. During rehearsal I did some test shooting and I was very impressed with the quality of this camera, but I was worried about a few features.
I was reluctant at first to purchase this camera because of the 60fps feature. I did own a Kodak Zi8 and the 720p 60fps setting didn't not import into Final Cut Pro. I had to take it into compressor or some other software and change the file extension in order for Final Cut Pro to import it. Of course this causes a decrease in quality.
I was also reluctant because of the image stabilization feature. When image stabilization is added to a camera (of this size) video quality usually suffers. I know flips can be very shaky if you do not have a well trained hand. After a few hours a playing you will figure out the right movements that the camera can incorporate so your video will not come out shaky.
I don't use my Flip Slide HD because of the omni directional microphone. I can not record loud situations because the microphone distorts. This is my biggest fault with the Slide HD. I was a little concerned with the new Flip Ultra HD that it would have the same problem even though it uses a different microphone, but what really sold me on this new Flip was the accessories and the FLIP PORT.
Right off the bat I noticed all of the new accessories that they are pushing for the Flips, the aquapacks, the igo chargers, and my favorite is the magnetic Bower Wide Angel Lens. Flip and Cisco have finally started listening to its customers, but what put it over the top for me was Blue Microphones. Blue Microphones makes vintage and out of this world recording, studio, usb microphones. I own one of their USB Microphones called the Snow Ball and the quality of that microphone is amazing. When I found out that Blue Microphones was making a microphone (mikey) for the new Flip to be used with the new Flip Port, I purchased mine right away.
So the Review...
The Ultra HD has always been my favorite because of its size. I think the bigger it is the better control you will have and the less shaky video you will produce. The new Ultra HD is smaller, but not that much. It feels good in your hands. The controls and the screen are in the same place. It is a nice fit in your hand.
I was very shocked at how well the image stabilization worked. If you have used a flip before this one you know that the slightest movement will create shaky video. You can tell that this one has image stabilization. It still can produce shaky video but it might take a big jolt to do it.
The 60 fps was great. It was much clearer video and with the image stabilization it made everything much smoother and clearer in the view finder, even in low light situations. I did check when I got home and the 60fps does import right into Final Cut Pro for editing without any compression. (Probably cause the videos are in MP4 format)
Overall I think this is the best Flip Camera out on the market. I like this one better than the Mino because of the touch screen controls. Sometimes pressing the touch screen controls on the Mino will cause the camera to shake.
I hope this review was helpful. Please feel free to leave comments or questions.
See my comparison of my Flip Cameras below.
Flip Mino HD - Good Microphone (2nd out of all of them), doesn't have as wide as a shooting angle as the Ultra's. Very small in the hand, at times hard to control.
Flip Ultra HD (2nd Gen) - Good Microphone (3rd out of all of them) Wide Angle for shooting, Feels good in the hand, sturdy, wont break if dropped. Double A batteries only last a few hours, rechargeable battery pack has short life span. Unit can get hot when charging - may even shut down.
Flip Slide HD - Poor Microphone (in loud situations) - its omni directional so it picks up all around the Flip not just in the front like the others. (4th out of all of them) Touch controls are better than the Flip Mino, however this has no hard buttons. The Slide does have the largest storage capacity and is second in video quality only to the new Flip Ultra HD.
Flip Ultra HD (3rd Gen Flip Port) - Widest Angle for shooting, feels the best in the hand, has the Best Microphone and currently I believe has the best video quality. This also is the only unit that has the new Flip Port.
This is now my 3rd Flip camera (they are all still in operation, I just can't help upgrading when a higher quality product hits the market). I always fall in love with my new Flip video camera and this one is no exception - I prefer the design of the Ultra HD over the Mino because of the larger screen, and the new 3rd generation is noticeably thinner than last year's model which makes it lighter and easier to hold. HUGE HUGE HUGE improvement in video quality on the 3rd generation model - image stabilization and now 60 frames per seconds (FPS) compared to 30 FPS in the previous HD model. This 60 FPS results in noticeably higher quality video and the ability to zoom more effectively. This model comes with a rechargeable battery pack so you can charge via your usb port on your computer, or if you are traveling and don't have access to USB the Flip Ultra also allows you to put 3 AA batteries for videographers who are "on the go."
Another A++ product from the folks up in San Francisco who design this product. Go out and get one - it's time for an Upgrade to the 3rd generation of Flip!!!!