NTV Test Drive: Kodak Zi6 v. Flip MinoHD

A trend we’re really excited about here at NTV HQ is pocket HD video. Both the Kodak Zi6 and the Flip MinoHD have been on the market for awhile, but it wasn’t until recently that we got to test them out side-by-side.

We’re not professional videographers, so if you want for a more in-depth look, you can visit here or here. We, like many bloggers, use video cameras on the fly, tossing them into a bag, dashing off for an interview, and uploading from some nook or cranny in a convention center. So it is through that lens (pardon the pun) that we looked at them, and we literally shot a demo video (starring Liz!) with the two devices side-by-side for comparison.

Since we do chuck these cameras into our bags, size and weight are important. On this front the Flip is better. It’s slim and compact and squirrels away easily into a pocket or backpack (almost too good, I had to fish around for a few minutes to find the Flip on a couple of occasions).

However, the big downside to the Flip is the tiny screen size, which is made even tinier by the letterboxing of the video. The Kodak has a larger screen that makes shooting much easier.

Part of the reason for Flip’s success is the simplicity of the device. There are hardly any buttons on the thing — in fact, there are no “buttons” at all. It’s all touch-sensitive controls. I actually found this aggravating and not always responsive, and preferred the physical buttons of the Kodak.

Neither the Flip nor the Kodak offer up high-fidelity sound, but in our tests the Kodak mic picked up sound better and was less tinny than the Flip.

At the end of the day, what matters is the picture on your screen. So how do the two compare? Both offer a nice, crisp image when there’s plenty of light, but the Flip has a better picture under lower light conditions.

Liz and I liked the colors better from the Kodak, the darks were darker and the overall image just seemed more colorful. A filmmaker acquaintance of mine, however, said he preferred the flatness of the Flip picture because he would just color correct it later. Since we basically shoot-and-post here, I’m giving the edge to the Kodak, but it’s a personal preference.

Check out the Flip and the Kodak in action (pasted above). Thanks to Vimeo, who squeezed in an extra HD upload for us (click through to watch the full HD).

When it comes down to it, both cameras are solid, easy-to-use HD solutions. I was surprised by how much I liked the Kodak Zi6. I don’t mind the bulkier form factor, and I really appreciate the larger screen. Plus I like the fact that you can add additional memory through an SD card. But the Flip MinoHD is no slouch and its svelte body is sure to win over space-conscious fans.