A few months back, I purchased a Mino HD Flip Cam. If you aren't familiar with this cool little product, it's a no-frills super-user-friendly video camera that shoots direct to an internal flash-based memory. (Which means there are no moving parts and that's always a good thing when it comes to durability...more on that in a second.)
The main reason I got the Flip Cam, is because even though we already have a great little Sony mini-DV camera, I still hated to have the thing around my neck for events such as a day at the amusement park, a family outing, birthday parties, etc... Even at one pound, it's more bulk than I wanted to schlepp for a day of fun and freedom. So the reality was that I rarely shot home movies and missed capturing some good memories.
...Introduce the Mino HD Flip Cam. This thing is smaller and lighter (only 3.3oz.) than my little pocket-sized digital still camera, shoots 1280 x 720 HD video, can upload directly to YouTube, personalize the exterior design and best of all - it only cost $230.00. So it solved all of my problems. To be clear, this is NOT a camera I would use for filmmaking, except possibly for some action or hidden cam shots that would benefit from it's tiny size, but for personal use and web posts, it's great.
I have one major complaint with this product and that is that some of the motion in HD looks a little "stroby" to me, this is most noticeable in pans and walking shots. I've only looked at footage on my computer and LCD tv screen, so there could be some display issues going on too, but I think it's just the cam. Nevertheless, I've totally forgiven the camera for that flaw, because I recently was blown away by it's durability.
Get this...after a camping trip I accidentally put it in the washing machine...for the full cycle...lose, not even in a pocket. Of course, it didn't function after that. However, after 3-4 days of drying out, it still works perfectly- video, audio and stored video files.
I was sure that my flip cam and stored memories were lost forever and that I was out $230.00, but the flip cam came thru like a champ.
That is just crazy to me! What kind of camera can survive a f-ing washing machine! I'll tell you what kind- A Mino Flip Cam! Kudos to the people at FlipVideo for making a tough, practical inexpensive little camera.