A quick mention must go to the voice guide system. Whenever you change a function, a pleasant mid-Atlantic female voice announces it for you. Switch it on, and it says “Camera mode!” in a cheery, keen-to-help sort of way. Close the screen and it says “Standby mode!”. Leave it switched on too long and it tells you “Going to sleep now.” Most people will find it infuriating after a few minutes and turn it off in the menu. Personally I found it quite charming and left it on, which worries me slightly…
The C6’s video mode is outstanding, shooting in 640 x 480 resolution at 30fps, and producing picture quality comparable to a good digital camcorder. Played back on a large screen TV the picture is sharp, colours are bright and clear, and despite the stereo microphones both being mounted on the back of the monitor panel, the sound quality is excellent with a distinct stereo effect.
Unfortunately the still image quality was not quite up to the same standard. Although colour rendition, exposure and focusing were all excellent, the camera’s image processing engine is not as good as it could be. The image noise reduction system is crude by current market standards, and robs images of a lot of fine detail while adding artefacts especially at high-contrast edges. At around 1.5MB per shot, images are also heavily compressed even on the highest quality setting, which adds further problems with compression artefacts. The end results simply don’t compete with other cheaper six megapixel camera on the market.
It’s a real shame, because the C6 is a great looking gadget, and has some genuinely outstanding abilities. It is well made, well designed and not unfeasibly expensive. If only it took slightly better pictures it would be perfect.
The Sanyo Xacti VPC-C6 is great looking toy for the gadget lover; well made, well designed and easy to use, as well as being a very capable video camera in its own right. It is unfortunately let down by still image quality that doesn’t match up to the large number of other less expensive six megapixel cameras with which it is competing.
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