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Sanyo Xacti VPC-HD2000 - Sanyo Xacti VPC-HD2000

By James Morris

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

8

User Score:

On paper, then, the Xacti VPC-HD2000 looks like a pretty corking camcorder. However, previous Sanyos haven't been able to keep up with the big names for image quality. The HD2000 does appear to be a step forward, although choosing between the many modes depends on what you're shooting. For mostly static subjects, the Full HD 60i mode provides the most artefact-free footage, but motion reveals interlacing. Here the 60p mode comes into its own. But this only smoothes motion. Actual image quality is no better than the 30p mode.

In all three cases, colour fidelity is excellent in good lighting, and detail clear and sharp. The autofocus took a little more time to settle down than, say, Canon's Instant AF. Overall, results were well beyond the cheap-and-cheerful image quality of most previous Sanyo offerings. However, the HD2000 still isn't a low-light supremo. It is an improvement over its predecessors, but there is significant discolouration and grain visible in the poorest illumination.

When it comes to editing and viewing your video, the Sanyo offers the usual options. The HD2000 doesn't have any data or AV connectivity on the camcorder body itself. Instead, a docking station is provided with micro USB, HDMI, and a proprietary connection for component, S-video and composite, all with stereo RCA audio.

As with previous Sanyo Xacti HD models, although MPEG-4 AVC H.264 is used for recording, this isn't the now ubiquitous AVCHD. Instead, MP4 files are produced. We found these not universally compatible. Corel VideoStudio Pro X2 couldn't import the 60p files, although the 60i ones and other formats were fine. Adobe Premiere Pro CS4 imported all formats, but the 60p files were extremely sluggish on the timeline. CyberLink PowerDirector 7 had no problems with any of the Sanyo's files. A copy of Nero 8 Essentials is included in the box, although this doesn't offer particularly elaborate editing capabilities.

Verdict

With each new model, Sanyo gets that little bit closer to producing a camcorder to compete with the best available. The Xacti VPC-HD2000 is another step in the right direction. We still don't like the fact that no 50fps version more suited to European standards is available, and image quality hasn't quite entered the top league just yet. But the price is likely to drop below £500 fairly soon, if previous models are anything to go by. With very good video quality and photographic abilities, this may not be the master of both areas, but it's good enough to be one of the few crossover devices to be worth having for either purpose.

Overall Score

8

Scores In Detail

  • Value 8
  • Image Quality 8
  • Features 8

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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