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I own this camera in red, its very sexy and I`m forever being stopped and asked what the camera is and where I got it.
The camera is very well built, feels nice to hold and its tough (I`ve dropped mine many times and its always been fine), although it mainly made of plastic. The controls are great and allows for very easy one handed use. The camera does not shoot in full broadcast quality 1080 HD but in 780 HD which for normal home movies is more than enough to give you amazing pictures. The film capture is superb and you will not be disappointed. The best thing about this camera is its small and light enough to keep in your pocket and pull out at short notice to capture the moment. The sound recording is super, I use mine to take to festivals and gigs and the sound is always very crisp even when I have used it in very very loud nightclubs.
The downside to this camera is that it does not work without a memory card, it would have been nice to have a small amount of built in memory for the odd occasion that I have forgotten the memory card. Also the picture quality of stills is truely terrible, very pixilated and often blurry, its tottaly useless in low light. One thing that could be improved on is that the camera does not continue recording when the screen is closed, if you could turn off the screen or record with the screen shut then battery life would be improved.
In conclusion, this camera should be purchased as a video camera only, by people who want to have their camera in their pocket to capture the moment at a seconds notice.
Video quality is exceptional, and with an 8 Gb SDHC card, over an hour of the highest quality video is possible. Due to its small form factor it is so easy to put into your pocket and pull out for rapid shooting.
The short comings in order of priority are:
-The truly dreadful lens cap, it really spoils its ease of use. No excuse.
-The quality of the photos is poor with awful pixilation around the edges of objects. No excuse really when a camera phone can do better. That said, it might be that mine is faulty.
-Too many cables, combined with the cradle make it painful to take away anywhere. When will manufacturers standardise this like everything else they do, so only one cable (say HDMI with charging ability ??) is required and no need for a cradle to pack them all in.
-5x Zoom makes videoing sporting events a bit pointless as it looks like ants
-Conversely the lens is not wide angle by any stretch so close up videoing especially inside results in a lot of clipped heads
-Worryingly it has white screened on me a couple of times.
That said, sort the still photos and the lens cap and for the price it has the potential to be a world beater.
Sanyo's Xacti VPC HD700 is among the first of the relatively cheap high definition camcorders. OK so it's not 1080p, but for under £300, 720p will do me just fine, thanks. The camera is unmistakably pretty. I've got the brown/gold one, which looks lovely in a sort of old-school meets new tech way. It has a reasonably decent sized wide screen, I believe it's 2.7 inches, which flips and rotates any way you may require.
The camera has just a 5x optical zoom, however unless you're going to stick it on a tripod, you wouldn't want any more. Even 5x with the Xacti's optional stability control is a bit on the wobbly side when in inexperienced hands.
The Xacti's party peice is it's 7.1 megapixel still camera mode. Now you're not going to get DSLR quality out of this thing, but it's useful for snaps. I took mine to the London Motor show recently and it did get some really nice shots. It would appear that when in auto mode, the Xacti tends to err on the side of caution when selecting ISO speeds, as a lot of the darker pictures I took came out fairly grainy, but I think with a bit of fettling it should produce some good dark images.
But enough about that, you don't buy a camcorder for it's still image quality! The video that the xacti produces is smooth, though the HD side of things would appear to exist purely in resolution as opposed to colouring and saturation. I prefer to think of it as a good standard definition camera to be honest, as it's a little bit blocky on a 42" screen. It's very smooth though, and unless you're filming really fast moving objects you don't notice this too much. Don't be put off by this, as it's really just me speaking as a perfectionist, and you really get a lot of bang for your buck. The sound quality is very good on top.
The camera is fairly frugal when it comes to memory and battery. Being an SD camera it'll also take SDHC cards. I have an 8gb card in mine and it's good for just under 2 hours of HD footage, as is the battery, so it works out quite well really.
The only gripes I have with the camera are firstly that the screen feels a little bit on the loose side. It's not tacky and it's certainly not going anywhere, but when closed you can move it slightly in the beautiful chromed hinge. Also make sure that you don't get any dirt between the screen and the body, as you'll end up with little scratches thanks to the ultra compact design.
Another issue I've found is that you can't seem to hook it up via HDMI without using the supplied cradle, not a problem at first, but it also means you can't hook it up without charging the camera at the same time. I wonder what that'll do to the battery life after a while.
All in all though, these faults are very minor in the grand scheme of things. The quality for the price is excellent, and the Xacti is a tiny (about the size of the average compact camera), yet it feels quite robust. Because of this plus the price means you probably won't be tempted to just leave it at home. After all, what good is a £1000+ camcorder that you're scared to take with you?