A couple of weeks ago, I started looking at a Flip Ultra Video camera again and where I could get one in Canada. Unfortunately there were no Canadian resellers. The Flip Ultra is a small (slightly bigger than an iPod Classic) solid state video camera. These cameras are tiny and designed to go into your pocket to be where ever you want to take them. They shoot 640 x 480 (VGA) video onto internal memory. You can view what you are shooting via a 1″ LCD screen on the back of the camera. The camera also features a USB connector that flips up to connect to a PC or Mac to download or edit the videos. While the videos aren’t designed (and frankly don’t even look good) on a large TV screen they are an ideal size for uploading to YouTube or other video sharing sites. For more info on the Flip you can go here, http://www.theflip.com.
There are several of these cameras that are available now, including the RCA Small Wonder EZ201 and Kodak has just released a new model in the US. There are also several other types of these cameras from off brand Chinese companies. I myself have an RCA Small Wonder that I got for myself last year from Ebay and we also got one for my 7 year old son when he wanted his own video camera. He loves it!
The problem is none of these cameras are available on Canada. In the past you had to purchase from Ebay or while travelling in the states. You could get a Flip via www.tigerdirect.ca however.
Well this past Monday while wandering through the electronics department of our local Wal-Mart (I do it every visit), I spotted a Flip Ultra in a box. Looks like Wal-Mart Canada has started selling the 2GB Flip Ultra for 158.64. This camera will record 60 minutes of video to it’s 2 GB of memory.
From what we have been reading is that although the technology between the Flip and the RCA Small Wonder EZ201 is virtually identical, the video quality especially in low light on the Flip. The Flip also works on a Mac system. However the Small Wonder has an SD slot so that you can add additional SD cards it also comes with a USB extender in case you need more room to plug in to your computer.In addition the LCD screen of the Small Wonder also flips out so that you can self record with it. However once again the RCA Small Wonder is not available in Canada at this time.
Unfortunately neither is the Flip Mino, which is a smaller version of the camera with rechargeable batteries (the Ultra runs on 2 AAs), at least at the time of this writing.
Flip also has an underwater housing available for the Flip Ultra, that allows you to take the Ultra down to depths of 30′ (although deeper depths have been reported). A word of caution however, the fit on the case is not perfect and there have been issues with accessing the power button. Also care has to be used with any underwater housing as a single grain of sand or a hair between the o-ring and the chassis could cause the enclosure to leak.
While these mini video cameras do not replace a full fledged DV camcorder, they are ideal for younger kids wanting a video camera or just to carry around with you every where you go so that you can record video without the bulk of a camcorder!