Now, you may have seen my article about the Canon T2i from earlier this week, and that is a great camera… just not a great camera for everyone. Enter Mino HD stage left. This little powerhouse is a solid HD camera that you can fit in your pocket with great battery life. In fact, I own one of these and carry it in my pocket no matter where I go.
You can get hours of recording time on a full battery charge, but I still haven’t been able to use up all of the storage in one sitting. If you’re using the 4GB version, you’re looking at an hour of footage, and the 8GB will get you two. I could see this happening if you’re recording a high school soccer game or the like, but that’s not something I normally do. Interesting nerd fact about these cameras, however, you can’t have a single clip go over an hour in length. The inherent problem here is the file size limit in the 32-bit FAT filesystem they use for cross-platform compatibility, but that’s a discussion for another time. I really like these cameras.
The Mino starts up in about four seconds, which amazed me at first. It’s really a great feature if you want to catch something unexpected. Now, be aware that these cameras are not like a lot of their competitors in the market. Flip video cameras are extremely simple to operate, it only takes one red button to start or stop recording. I didn’t even think about having to look in the manual for this camera once. The controls were so simple and intuitive that I picked them right up. The zoom controls double as volume during playback, and it has USB for dumping footage as well as charging, and an HDMI output for showing off your raw footage or final edits.
This is by far my favorite of the Flip camera line. It’s compact size makes it more likely to be in my pocket when I want some footage randomly, and the start up time plays in to that same theme. You’re obviously not going to have a great depth of field or any sort of aperture control, and the viewing angle is not so great, but it does take solid video. The 2x digital zoom and fixed focus lens don’t make the mouth water either, but again this is a camera that you could just hand to someone and the shots will come out. It looks amazing outdoors, and it doesn’t wash out under most interior lighting, but it does have its issues with low light. There is a bit of graininess in some situations, but overall it handles many lighting scenarios with ease.
I’ve done work with many types of cameras, all shapes and sizes. To be certain, these make great everyday cameras for those who love video on the go. This is a great family friendly unit at a perfect price point for anyone. It shoots 720P video in H.264, so if you’re using iMovie or it’s ilk, you can import directly from the camera to your editing time line. It’s a no-hassle, brushed aluminum beast. If you go on vacation, why worry about your lenses and cords and chargers and accessories and batteries and such? Just throw a Mino in your bag, you’ll be set.
Here are the specs: (4GB Version)
- Zoom power: 2x digital zoom / image stabilization / tripod mount
- Screen: 2.0″ transflective TFT color LCD screen
- Memory: 4GB internal flash memory (60 minutes high-quality video)
- Lens: Fixed-focus (5 ft. to ∞) / f/2.4
- Sensor: 1/4.5″, 1.6-megapixel CMOS sensor
- Resolution: 1280 x 720 (HD) / 60fps
- Low light performance: Ultra low-light sensitivity (>1.4V/lux-sec) with automatic low light detection
- Interfaces: Flip-out USB 2.0 arm / HDMI mini
- Exposure: Auto white balance and black-level calibration / auto exposure control with dynamic exposure compensation
- Touch sensitive buttons: Capacitive; 4-second power-up time, power saver mode (auto shut-down), play all function, pause, FF, rewind, set date/time function
- Video format: H.264 video compression / AAC audio compression / MP4 file format