Mobile App Development

Video Comparison: iPhone 3GS and Flip MinoHD

August 5, 2009

  • Adrienne Szewczyk Adrienne Szewczyk

Recently we made our annual family trek to the Dayton airshow in Ohio for one of my favorite airshows.  Seeing everything on the ground and then watching them take off right in front of you before each demonstration is so very different than planes just appearing above you.

This year I had my new iPhone 3GS with me in addition to my Flip Mino HD video recorder.  Early in the show I was swapping back and forth to make sure to capture clips on both and then I decided to try a bit of a geek grip which let me record from both at the same time.

One of the great benefits of this technique was being able to directly compare video of the exact same scene on the two cameras. I compiled a couple of the shots from the show and composited them so you can see the iPhone 3GS and Flip Mino HD video of the same scene at the same time. Neither camera has video stabilization so any jerkiness to the video is me handholding them while panning with the fast moving planes.

As you can see from the picture below the Flip definitely records more detail which lets you get a much closer look at the distant subject. The colors on the Flip also appeared to be a little truer to the grey sky of the day.

Summary: the Flip Mino HD obviously has a much higher resolution at 720p compared to the 640×480 video of the iPhone 3GS. The biggest discovery for me was the field of view on the iPhone is much wider.  The iPhone has been great for capturing video of the moment up close but it’s not the right tool for capturing something like this airshow with subjects of interest much farther away.  For that you’d need to add on one of the external zoom lenses that are starting to appear. Of course, once you start adding other things to the iPhone the key benefit of easy to carry and always with you starts to diminish.

One more observation that may not make it through the processed video — the iPhone video actually appears a little smoother with high motion pans like those in this video (I’m guessing the reduced data rate has something to do with it).

Interested in reading more about video on the iPhone? Check out this article about how we enabled what we believe to be thefirst ever live streaming of an event to an iPhone for iPhoneDevCamp 3.