Fluid motion estimation from time-sequenced images is a significant image analysis task. Its application is widespread in experimental fluidics research and many related areas like biomedical engineering and atmospheric sciences. In this paper, we present a novel flow computation framework to estimate the flow velocity vectors from two consecutive image frames. In an energy minimization-based flow computation, we propose a novel data fidelity term, which: 1) can accommodate various measures, such as cross-correlation or sum of absolute or squared differences of pixel intensities between image patches; 2) has a global mechanism to control the adverse effect of outliers arising out of motion discontinuities, proximity of image borders; and 3) can go hand-in-hand with various spatial smoothness terms. Further, the proposed data term and related regularization schemes are both applicable to dense and sparse flow vector estimations. We validate these claims by numerical experiments on benchmark flow data sets.