Flip cameras are all the rage, and for a good reason. They put cheap, easy-to-use HD video in your pocket. Super-portable and very useful. But, their Achilles heel is their audio recording. A built-in microphone only goes so far, and in the "real world" that’s not far enough!
Kodak’s Zi8 is a great flip alternative with lots to love. Some say the video quality is better, but it’s in the same league as all quality pocket video–though you’ll always get better video from a higher-end camera with a good lens.
The Zi8′s secret sauce? It’s got a microphone jack! The built-in mono microphone is already decent, but the external jack means you can use it with a wired reporter’s mic, a lavalier for your interview subjects, or even a wireless RF mic. I’ve used it with all of these and it’s so easy to do, and the improved sound quality is worth it. I’ll post samples shortly.
This makes the Zi8 a great camera for recording interviews in cafes, outdoors, any place you can’t control the sound completely, or even indoors when you’re recording at any distance. This also helps when recording a demonstration which requires a wider stage.
This week, Kodak is having a sale: $129 for the Zi8.