We Have A Winner

Back in July I wrote about a new pocket video recorder that was due out from Kodak, the Zi6 HD camera. Kodak was positioning the device as a “Flip Killer” and people started tweeting and talking about it like crazy. When it was released, a bunch of the people I follow on Twitter bought the Zi6, but for one reason or another were unsatisfied and returned it, including my friend Dan Benjamin. In Dan’s blog post on the Flip vs the Zi6 he stated that the picture quality of the Kodak camera simply wasn’t up to snuff, especially in low light conditions. He also complained about stability and audio recording performance.

This past week Flip came out with a brand new entry in the pocket video space, the Flip Mino HD camera which is their answer to the Zi6. Given Dan and others’ hesitations about the Zi6, it would seem that Flip once again has the upper hand.

Not so fast.

Another friend and blogger, Scott McNulty, has posted an excellent side by side video comparison of the Flip Mino HD and Kodak Zi6 pocket cameras. To my eyes and ears, the results are pretty clear – the Zi6 wins hands down. Even from this short test, the Zi6 performs extremely well in all light conditions, even outdoors at night. The Zi6’s image is clearer, has truer color and increased detail than the Flip’s. The image stabilization of both cameras is about equal. As far as audio goes, some people will indeed like the fact that the Flip’s microphone picks up less ambient noise, but it also results in a muffled track that will most likely need to be amplified when edited. Not good.

When you look at the video comparison of the two cameras, and you factor in the Zi6’s increased screen size, it’s ability to take macro shots and its expandable storage capacity via smart media, I think the Zi6 comes out ahead. In addition, one of the complaints against the Zi6 vs the original Flip was that it was more expensive. With the release of the Mino HD, the Flip is once again the more expensive of the two, even when you factor in the rechargeable lithium ion batteries that users like John Lawson say you’ll need for the Zi6. Personally, if you’re recording in HD I’m not sure why you’d want a camera with inferior picture quality anyway, but then again, that just might be me. Thanks to Scott, I’ve finally made my decision and put the Kodak Zi6 on my Christmas wish list. Ho ho ho!

UPDATE: Andy Ihnatko has done his own comparison and interestingly has reached the exact opposite conclusion. He thinks the Mino’s picture is better. He’s on the preverbal “crack”. The Zi6’s image is much sharper, more defined and has better depth of color than the Flip. He does agree that the Zi6’s audio is better, which now there is no doubt about. So apparently if you like washed out images that need level adjustment and audio to match, the Flip is the camera for you. Personally, I’ll be sticking with the Zi6.


  1. Glad I could be of service. While I think the Zi6 is a better overall device, the Flip has some things going for it: the size/shape is very good, the UI is stronger than the Zi6’s, and you can turn off the annoying little beeps and things that electronic companies love to make their devices emit.

  2. The audio on the Mino appears to be weaker – but it also seems to capture a lot less noise – perhaps it’s just over aggressive in rolling off rumble/hiss.

    Image wise the Mino really looks much better to these eyes than the Kodak – unless you like the oversaturated, higher contrast look. (That’s what we used to complain about in film school – we dreamed for the contrast ratio of filmm but without the expense). I think it’s going to end up a personal taste thing…M. Benjamin has a real hodge-podge of colour temperature fixtures mixing in these shots. The Mino in the exterior buldings shot is clearly capturing more detail in the shadow – the Kodak looks like a silhouette.

    Oh weel…I’m still waiting for someone to do some real camera tests – color chips, tone generators sweep, etc – rather than these helter skelter comparisons.

  3. Well, to be fair, Andy made a very astute point re: the Flip vs. Zi6, namely, so long as the details are there, you can “fix it in post” if need be on the Flip, whereas when detail is lost on the Zi6, it’s gone for good.

  4. I’m thinking of getting one of these (Zi6 or Mino)to Record Ariel Rebel from http://www.ArielRebel.com But then I fell onto Vado HD…

    “For those special moments a Big Camera can’t be seen you need pocket HD”

    Anyone Should be able to get some good Hidden in Store footage with the Vado its small and has a Wide lens that will help… The Wide Lens.. Lacking in the Flip Hurt Alot…!!!

    I’ve looked at the Kodak Zi6… But the Colors are too Punchy, The lens is decently wide.. Sound is too Aggressive.. you hear every motor humm and the skin looks off… not good for Sexy Videos! And were all going to use it once or twice for some sort of Sexy Nude Video. It has a very good screen size 2.4″ and the external SDHC cards is a plus… on board memory is almost non existant 128 megs.

    The MinoHD… Has better neutral colors and shadows, that you can punch up later and a microphone jack for better sound… but the screen is to small, battery life is only 1 hour. I would need 2 of these to be able to shoot outdoors… imagine your, shooting the perfect hot scene, and “NO MORE BATTERIES” that would suck!

    So i’m waiting on the Vado HD, It has a Wide Lens…YAH… so you get more in the shot when closer to the subject, good screen size helps to see what your getting in the shot. 2 hours of battery time is excelent.
    Also has 8 Gigs of internal memory. I’ve scene some vids of it online.. they look good but there’s no proof it came from the Vado.. it could have been recorded by anything or anyone… you need to see the setup to have the proof. 😉 The only down side is it doesn’t have 720p60 only 30 frames/sec. But then again the Zi6 which has 60 frames… automaticly switches to 15 frames per sec in low light.. not to smart.


    Here’s a link to Amazon of all places with some specs and Pre-Order… for USA Only.. so No Help For Me.

    Ill post reviews when I get one in my hands… and you all can go see ArielRebel.com so see the new footage.. lol

    I’ll also post video reviews on Myspace ArielRebelonline or

    Take Care
    Hope you all get one for X-Mas!

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