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Sanyo Xacti VPC-HD2000 review

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Sanyo Xacti VPC-HD2000
  • Sanyo Xacti VPC-HD2000
  • Sanyo Xacti VPC-HD2000
  • Sanyo Xacti VPC-HD2000
  • Sanyo Xacti VPC-HD2000
  • Sanyo Xacti VPC-HD2000
  • Sanyo Xacti VPC-HD2000
  • Sanyo Xacti VPC-HD2000
  • Sanyo Xacti VPC-HD2000
  • Sanyo Xacti VPC-HD2000

Summary

Our Score:

8

The camcorder market used to be a four-horse race, with the Japanese quartet of Sony, Panasonic, Canon and JVC taking the lion's share of attention. But the slow convergence with digital cameras, and digital technology in general, has given other brands the chance to muscle in on the action. Samsung has shown it can match the big names for image quality with its VP-HMX20, and now it's Sanyo's turn in the limelight. The new Xacti VPC-HD2000 is the first consumer Full HD camcorder to offer 60 progressive frames per second shooting.

In the past, Sanyo has distinguished itself by taking a fairly unorthodox approach to the design of its camcorders. Instead of using the traditional handycam or palmcorder formats, its Xactis seemed to owe as much to Philishave, with a pistol handgrip and protruding lens. The VPC-HD2000 continues in this vein, and doesn't look physically that different to the VPC-HD1000 (it records to SD/SDHC memory cards too). But what's inside has been significantly upgraded, and there's a similarly featured handycam-style model called the VPC-FH1 due in a few months, too.

The imaging sensor is still a healthily large 1/2.5in CMOS, but this now has a native 8.1-megapixel resolution, twice that of the previous generation. This doesn't have a benefit for video shooting, as 2.08-megapixels are all you need for Full HD, and the HD1000 already shot at 1,920 x 1,080.

The biggest upside to this high-res sensor is that you can now take digital photos natively at 3,264 x 2,448, and Sanyo throws in interpolation as well to provide the option for 12-megapixel stills at 4,000 x 3,000. To draw attention to these compact-busting digital photography capabilities, Sanyo is calling the HD2000 a Dual Camera, implying that this model is as comfortable in either camp.

Sanyo also claims the HD2000 has a 16x Advanced Zoom, where the HD1000 only offered 10x optical zoom. However, Advanced Zoom isn't quite the same as Optical Zoom. When shooting video, the camcorder is using more pixels on its CMOS than it needs for 1,920 x 1,080, so it can safely zoom in on a portion of the sensor without losing resolution.

This is not a unique feature - Canon also uses the technique to provide its Advanced Zoom in the FS11. The only potential downside is that, as you will be using a smaller physical area of the chip when zoomed in to the maximum, low light performance will be slightly worse.

Martin Daler

February 1, 2009, 1:58 am

James, any comment on how the unique shape affects useability?

huels

February 1, 2009, 11:51 pm

Watching the foto in the review, it seems that the article was written without know how the camcorder was used into the official presentation (the index finger have to be placed on the upper part of the cam).


(watch at the 1:16 time of this wideo: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v... )

James Morris

February 2, 2009, 4:00 am

@huels Yeah, I've been using this camcorder a fair bit and you will still have fingers over where the mic/headphone sockets are. It's not a big criticism, as you could well be using mic/headphones with a tripod anyway.





@Martin Daler Generally, it's a comfortable camcorder to use. But the zoom works the opposite way to you would expect - pulling down zooms out, not in. Also, the zoom control is on the less obvious side of the button array. To begin with, you will switch the camcorder from record to play instead of operating the zoom. On a final note, the screen goes black for a second when you hit record, which can put your framing off at the beginning of a shot. But overall it's a very good effort from Sanyo - better than anything I've tried so far from the company.

Erik dP

April 15, 2009, 3:07 pm

Seems like the model is the same in PAL and NTSC regions.





How good is the conversion from 1080p60Hz to PAL output. Is the result jumpy. Is it 576i@50Hz or some pseudo PAL (e.g. 480i@60Hz)?





The reason I ask is that I like the small size, low light performance and 1080p. However I would like to transfer the captured video to my SD DV-camera for editing in SD as my computer is old while being able to have the 1080p for the future. Will it be possible to transfer the video to my DV-cam and oter 50 Hz devices with s-video/composite (my parents might want the fotage on their SD VHS? Will there be 60p to 50i conversion problems (jumpy footage)?





How about flickering artifacts when filming 60 Hz/p with lamps flickering @50Hz (or TV). I read elsewhere that this could be an issue.





Maybe 60p/i/Hz isn't nessesary a bad thing for us Europeans as the internet seems to be NTSC-biased (PAL on youtube looks jumpy). Our TVs old and new usually can handle both 50/60 Hz. Hovever not recording devices.

ronaldkwok

May 3, 2009, 6:25 am

Hi, I've just bought the HD2000 for my wife. First impressions confirm what is experienced by many users - very good quality videos, poor IS (especially on high zoom)and realistic audio from mic. Also needs resourceful PC for playback and editing. Watching on any TV is not a problem. Under the TV Output option you can select NTSC or PAL, 4:3 or 16:9 format. All necessary cables are supplied except for HDMI. Great value for money with the features included. Check my Blog at http://sanyovideocam.blogspot.... for my experience progressively.

Ross Youngblood

May 11, 2009, 2:32 am

I purchased my HD2000 from Plemix in Hong Kong May5th. (This camera is not yet available in the USA until June1)... that was the earliest delivery from J&R Photo I had.


At any rate, the Camera arrived quickly via Fed-X to Oregon. It arrived two days later. I took some outdoor shots on a tripod, and later some shots from my airplane, and the camera works as expected. Due to the CMOS rolling shutter there are issues with how the airplane propellor looks at 30fps. I haven't tried it at 60fps. Plus my mount had a lot of vibration, so I'm looking for some way to isolate the camera. The EIS is poor on this camera I'm told based on other reviews, but I have nothing to compare it to.





I did have one problem late last night. The camera said "Low Battery" and refused to take a charge. I was in a state of panic, as I had thoughts of having to send the camera back to Hong Kong for repair. I was able to identify that the AC adaptor was not providing the 5V DC output, and was able to get a universal AC->DC adaptor to substitute for the one I had.





Since I purchased my Camera in Hong Kong, via web order, it will be a total and utter hassle to try to return just the charger.


My charger came with US and British AC plug cords, and is labeled:


"Sanyo VAR-G9" AC Adaptor


In AC100-240V~


50-60 Hz


Out DC5.0V 2.0A


I verified this unit was not outputting any voltage with a Digital Volt Meter... ran to a local Radio Shack in the US, and purchased a universal DC adaptor for $39.00, and all is well.


Symptoms were:


No charge with unit in base station or directly plugged into adaptor.

vv111y

June 14, 2009, 12:26 am

@ronaldwok,


What is IS?





About the form factor - another site mentioned that the lack of a strap around the hand will make your grip tire faster, not so good for long term use. BUT, the pistol form is more natural for the wrist. It doesn't require you to tilt your wrist up (ouch), or compensate with an upright, forearm perpendicular to the ground position (more tiring). Only issue, if your shooting more from eye level, you have to hold this a little farther out. I can live with that.


For long term gripping, we could try to just get a wide, elastic strap and wrap it around your fist as an aid.


I really like the form-factor a whole lot. That alone makes this a buy for me.

vv111y

June 15, 2009, 4:44 am

I did a little digging, and there is NO SDHC card on the market that provides the sustained bitrate required for the highest 1080p setting. They offer that speed as a max write, but not min. write --- 25mps. So, what can be done?

Bill Evans

June 26, 2009, 7:11 pm

Quote: "I did a little digging, and there is NO SDHC card on the market that provides the sustained bitrate required for the highest 1080p setting. They offer that speed as a max write, but not min. write --- 25mps. "





Buy any Class 4 or Class 6 card. HD video is 24 Mbps (note the small b). That means any card that can handle write speeds over 3 MB/s (note the capital B) can handle HD video. You're confusing bits and Bytes (8 bits), which is easy to do.

ontheweb

September 11, 2009, 4:26 am

Always overlooked is the shortcut feature. The joystick can be programmed do do any functions you like or use frequently. For example, press the joystick down and it switches focus modes from all around to macro to landscape, etc. As you click it changes mode. Awesome! Do not have to go into the menus! Completely user-customizable! Click left and the exposure gets adjusted. This is a HUGE feature. Also, this thing has a remote control, too. That's a big feature. The f1.8-2.5 lens. Lots of optional lenses on the market. The HD2000 is a very powerful beast.

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