The Zen of Flip

Glenn Reynolds (Instapundit) points to a David Pogue piece on the New York Times Web site that says the little, unassuming Flip Camera has captured 13 percent of the camcorder market.

It's secret: simplicity that works, or as Pogue suggests "if you're successful at something the first time you try, you fall instantly in love with it."

Reynolds' post yesterday:

WOW: According to this review, the cheap and easy to use Flip Video Camera has captured an amazing 13% of the camcorder market. Why? "Having finally lived with the Flip, I finally know the answer: it's a blast. It's always ready, always with you, always trustworthy. Instead of crippling this 'camcorder,' the simplicity elevates it." I still don't see much advantage over video from a digital still camera, though the review says the Flip does a lot better in low light.
Today he posted a react from a reader.

YESTERDAY'S POST on the cheap and popular Flip Video Camera produced this email from Christopher Johnson of Midwest Conservative Journal:

I LOVE the Flip. Bought one from Amazon several months back and I'm having a ball with it. I'm not interested in making Hollywood-quality movies, just recording events, and the Flip does that extremely well. And it's true about the low-light quality. I tried it out in the back stacks of the library where I work, where there is very little light, and the result was outstanding. I first learned about it at InstaPundit so I guess a thank you is in order.
    
Glad it's worked out.
We've been using the PureDigital's cameras for reporter shot video since before the company came up with the Flip name. The newer, "Ultra" models are as excellent for shooting short news clips as they are for that unforgettable family moment. Put the HD Canon in its case and try one!

Reynolds notes that he doesn't see much advantage in the Flip over point-and-shoot still image digital cameras from nearly ever maker that also record video. He's right, there's not if you are comfortable using using your camera. The Flip is simpler to use than even those simple-to-use cameras. You don't have to remember to put it in video mode, there is no USB cable or memory card/stick to misplace, and it installs its file management/video editing software into any computer it's plugged into with no disk needed.

And hopefully without rekindling the ever-smoldering point-and-shoot vs we only do pro video debate (with rebuttal), that's why these cameras are a great option to let reporters who are juggling a number of tasks under stress shoot some pretty darned decent video.

This near-foolproof nature of the camera is certainly why consumers like them, too, in addition to its Zen. I say near-foolproof because shooting decent video even with this camera isn't a sure thing 100 percent of the time.  Reporters have come back without the video they thought they shot and sometimes what they did come back with had to be dumped.

That's been rare. Our News Sentinel reporters who participated in a short in-house "basics of video" session improved the quality of the video they turned in, some of them greatly.