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on August 25, 2010
The VPC-CA102YL is the yellow version of the VPC-CA100 that you will find on the Sanyo site, and is the model sold in the US. I do not know if the black and pink colors will be released in the US.

This is about my 10th family video camera. I bought this one to replace the Sanyo Xacti VPC FH1, which is the ordinary box-like form factor, and is a great camera. I'm not an expert by any means, but over the years I've developed a handful of criteria that I have found to be useful. Here are mine, with comments on this camera.

Size: The camera I use is the camera I have with me, and to be with me all the time it has to be small. This camera weighs 245 grams, with battery, on my scale. Considering the quality of the video, and the fact that you can also get great stills, that's amazing. (I go back far enough to have held a black and white video camera on my shoulder. ) There are a number of other very small cameras out there shooting HD (although not usually in 60 fps progressive like the VPC CA102), so there are other choices, but as far as I know, this one takes the highest quality combination of video and stills for its size, especially if you add a waterproof constraint.

Waterproof: This is not important for everyone, but it is for me, and that's why I bought this particular camera. I'm outdoors a lot, and travel a lot. I want a camera that is dust-proof, sand-proof and rain-proof. I've had a whole video record ruined by the Amazon jungle rains. I assume this camera will also be fine for light immersion, but it isn't an "underwater" camera per se, and the attractiveness of the waterproofing for me is ordinary outdoor use--rafting on severe rapids and the like. I've also owned waterproof still cameras, and over the years have experimented with a handful of waterproof video cameras or used waterproof housing. Now I can get extremely high quality video with a waterproof camera that fits in my hand. Nice.

Video and photo quality: This is important for me, but I will admit that formal lab testing is not paramount. Over the years I've noticed the best pictures--video and stills--come from people who take good pictures, and is far less dependent on the camera. Nevertheless, the CMOS in this camera is terrific, and surprisingly large (1/2.33"). Not all HD cameras take the same quality video. I got fantastic video out of my VPC FH1 on a trip to Ladakh, and this sensor is even better. 60 fps is incredibly smooth.

Design and ease of use: This camera has a double whammy for ease of use, and I'm not surprised to see the complaints from early reviewers more used to regular cameras. First of all, it's a pistol grip. It handles completely differently from either a regular stills point-and-shoot or a regular box-type hand-held video camera. Second, Sanyo put all of the pre-shoot controls on the side of the camera, so for the most part it's difficult to change them on the fly. Finally, the actual buttons which you push for taking a still, zooming, and starting/stopping a video are definitely a little klutzy. I have found that one-hand use means I get a little jerk at the beginning and at the end when I am starting and stopping the video. On the other hand, the pistol grip makes for very stable video while you are taking it. For stills, I use a two-second delay, which is a shortcut default setting, so that I can position the camera. In my opinion, this is NOT a great camera for quick point-and-shoots, although you could probably get pretty good at using it for that, especially if you are willing to use both hands. Since most people use two hands to control regular point-and-shoot cameras, that limitation does not seem unreasonable to me.
The controls themselves are driven off the rocker button on the left side. I find the menus easy and intuitive, although I've seen complaints about how Sanyo organizes them. You can select four settings of your choice as shortcuts; for instance I have Flash, TimeDelay, Display and PictureFormat as my four. Before shooting I can just press the rocker button and rotate through the settings rapidly for each of those four choices.
In order to make the camera waterproof (I assume), Sanyo made this rocker button flush. It's a bit klutzy but I don't find that insurmountable, and I've gotten pretty good at it already.

Other comments:
Image stabilization. If you've followed the Sanyo Xacti line, you know that one concern is the use of electronic, instead of optical, image stabilization. This was definitely an issue at high zoom for my Sanyo VPC-FH1, although like most photographers I recommend a tripod stabilizer wherever possible (This one does have a tripod screw mount on the bottome). Sanyo claims a new EIS on this model, and in brief testing outside it does seem to be pretty good. Unfortunately this is one area where only formal lab testing will really define the difference; in general the average opinion to date is that EIS has not been as good as optical image stabilization.
File sizes. I noticed one reviewer mentioned jerky playback. This almost certainly related to hardware or software, and not the camera. Full HD AVC H.264 MPEG-4 at 60 frames/second creates large files, and how smoothly they play back depends on your computer's video substructure as well as the software. Sanyo includes ArcSoft's TotalMedia Extreme for playback, editing and DVD authoring; I have not used it. On my computer I can play back even the largest files using almost any software. I use Premiere for DVD authoring.
Battery. I was very disappointed that Sanyo puts a battery with only 700mAh in this camera. They claim an hour of video from this, but I have not tested that. My habit is to keep several batteries with me anyway, but my FH1 has a 2000mAh battery, and I loved that. This camera ships without an external charger, so I'll be buying a TechFuel external charger (about $15) plus some extra knock-off batteries.
Connections. Output ports are a miniUSB which goes to an RCA composite video plug and a single white RCA plug (I assume for sound). The other (main) output is a mini HDMI port which I assumes outbounds the full stereo audio as well as the HDMI picture. However the camera does NOT come with the HDMI video cable.
Sound. No external microphone. There is a speaker on the camera for internal playback, and instructions are voiced audibly in English for various features.

Summary:
Great quality video in a waterproof format. Quirky controls that you can get used to. High-quality stills but too awkward for zipping around pointing-and-shooting. Fine for landscape stills. Image stabilization unknown, but probably at least acceptable.
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on August 21, 2010
I just received the camcorder a few hours ago. I was excited to open it up and try it out. I havent recorded video yet or taken advantage of the waterproof camera functions. I did however take a number of digital shots, the images look really good. I shot from the lowest resolution all the way up to 14 megapixels. The build of the Xacti VPC-CA102 feels very solid and sturdy.

So far my only complaint or rather complaints are the controls. NOT easy to use. It feels a bit quirky when using them however with any new product it takes time to adjust to the controls. We also noticed when turning on the camcorder you have to hold down the button for at least 3 seconds to power on.

UPDATE: I just took the camcorder into the pool 8 feet deep and shot some HD footage. We used a 16gb SDHC class 6 card. It was recorded in 1080i/60fps. Overall we were both very pleased with the HD quality. We did notice that the colors on the video seem a little off. Take a look at the sample video with this review and decide for yourself.

We noticed that when playing back HD video on our iMac using the newest quicktime, the video skips. Not sure why. We then tried the VLC media player and found that it plays the HD video flawlessly. (perfect)
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on September 15, 2010
I'm not a camera junkie. I have a simple point and shoot that I have used through the years and it works great at 4.9 megapixels. I have a nice Digital SLR I bought a few years ago and it takes great pictures, but it is so big and bulky, that I never use it. So, I have some experience with higher and lower end still photo cameras, but I'm pretty much the average consumer. I went on a trip last year and we did some rafting and I wished I had a good waterproof camera, other than the disposable one that I bought. You get spoiled by the ability to check your shot digitally to be sure it came out, as well as the ability to zoom and focus. I was trying to find out what was out there and then I stumbled on one of the older Sanyo Dual camera videos. I really didn't even know that this was available for video and still, not to mention in a waterproof model. I watched some videos on YouTube and I was impressed. The waterproof aspect of it was a bonus, as it seemed to take pretty good video as well. I then noticed some other manufacturers had some simple cameras in 1080 HD and that caught my eye, and I was thinking of going that way, until I stumbled on the "future release of the Sanyo VPC-CA102." I had already seen and liked the older versions of this camera. This one now has 1080 video and a 14MP still capability. I thought "Wow, I'm going to pre-order this thing....decision made." I got my camera a few days after it was released and went on a trip a few days later.

This camera has "out of the box" functionality. I didn't need to read anything to learn how to use it. Like most point and shoot cameras, the automatic functions will allow you to do most of your shooting. If you want to optimize it for night photography, close up, fireworks, or whatever, you do have those options available in the menus. I haven't done that yet, as I haven't felt the need to do it. As I said, I'm not a camera junkie, I want simple stuff. I took some AWESOME shots with this camera. The clarity of the stills really surprised me. I thought my 4.9 Megapixel camera took crisp shots.....compared to a 14 Megapixel....it was easy to see the difference on my computer screen. There is really no reason for 14 MP pictures unless you are blowing things up to poster size, or maybe showing on a big screen tv, but with this camera, you can do that with no problem. The video was so nice. I used it at the Full 1080 HD at 60 frames per second and it was really clear. I also liked the ability to snap a still while you are shooting video as well. I have read some reviews here and YES, some of the controls are awkward, but again, this is a simple camera. If you are like me, you need a button to zoom, and a button to shoot (here there is one button to shoot stills and another one to start/stop video). All three of these are pressed with your thumb while holding the camera like a gun. The other "awkward" controls are more for changing settings or reviewing the shots. They are a bit awkward because they have to be in order to be protected for underwater use, so I am not that concerned about it. It isn't that big of a deal for actually taking the pics. I have read that there is some shake in beginning and end of video shooting when you hit the button....well, it is a small camera and any hand motion will usually cause this "shake" when you press the button. A big bulky camera is heavier and the strength of your thumb may not cause that, but just like in the movies, they snip the videos to get things they way they want it. The software they gives you allows you to trim the ends off if it is needed. I have also read a review that complained about the instructions on a few functions. I do understand that some of the enclosed instructions fall short of explaining everything, BUT IF YOU ACTUALLY READ THEM instead of skimming through them looking for things you want, you will see that there is an online PDF Full Manual that does explain things in detail for more in depth users. I like it as I don't need some giant manual to give me more than I will ever need. The enclosed manual gets you up and working, and the downloadable one gits you the answers to so much more. I downloaded it and haven't needed it yet....as I said....I like simple and this is simple to use.

I gave it 4 stars oveall. The stills were 5 star to me....awesome clarity close and far. The video rocked as well. I can't compare to any other video cameras as I don't have any, but on my 52 inch plasma, the clairity was awesome....so I would give it 5 stars for that as well. The menus were good and easy to navigate although the buttons were a bit tougher to navigate with my fat fingers, but I do understand that the waterproofing makes the design options limited. I can't complan much about that so I will give it 4 stars...not perfect, but pretty good. Accessories....I will give this 3 stars. It is a full HD camera but the enclosed TV hookups are a composite RCA type wiring isntead of the mini HDMI available. At $350 for the camera, I would like the HDMI wire as well. I see them available online for a wide range of prices (some extremely low, others much higher). I don't know much about the cost to make them, but for this price of a camera, I would think you would get the wires to match the capabilities. I am going to buy the HDMI cable myself and not worry about it, but this camera is quite a bit more pricey than some of the competitor's 1080 HD cameras and it would have been nice to get the cable included as they don't cost all that much. The Battery included worked fine for me. I did a 4 hour tour of Niagara Falls and it ran out of juice at just about the end of the tour. I didn't have it shooting all day, and I didn't have it on all day. I would highly recommend a backup battery if you are doing anything memorable as the battery did wear down on me. I don't know about batteries much, but my SLR camera had an upgraded battery I bought aftermarket that had the ability to hold a charge longer, but I don't remember what numbers are involved in that (maybe mAh, but I'm not sure...ask a tekkie). The software suite is simple to use, and seems to have a lot of capability. YOu can even watch video and press a button and pull stills out of your video. This is a pretty cool option as you can capture the video of a moment, but it is more difficult to catch the still of a facial expression at exactly the right time to get a great photo....now you can extract that "wow" frame in the software suite. I am familiar with ArcSoft from previous cameras and I really liked their software. It was easy to use, and had everything I needed....without forking out the big bucks for the big names. I'm glad to have the ArcSoft suite.

Finally, I will say that I WOULD RECOMMEND THIS CAMERA in a heartbeat. Remember what you are buying. It is a Dual Camera. It is mainly a video camera in my opinion as the shape makes it easy for video. The still photo capability is a bonus. If you want a camera that you can hold traditionally, buy one of those...this is a gun shaped camera and it will feel different than you may be used to. It is small enough to fit in a pocket and take with you anywhere. One final design flaw I feel is the lack of a lens cover when not in use. This worries me when I throw it in a pocket so I'd get a camera case (mine is the purple bag from some Crown Royal) just to keep you from scratching or dinging the lens. I can't wait to go snorkeling on my next vacation and try it out underwater.
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on September 9, 2010
The most popular reviews have it spot on, but here are my experiences with the camera that I'd like to add.

Bought the camera when it first came out around 8/23/2010.

yah, the buttons are a bit hard to use, especially for my fat fingers lol. However if you use your fingernails it's ok. But this is the only product out there that has it all so far - waterproof, camera w/flash, HD camcorder, small portable form-factor. I love the gun-style grip and the fact that I can just slip it into my pocket and take awesome video and pics on the go. Bought it to record my sister's wedding (720p 60 fps). I imagine this product is very similar to the Sanyo CG 102 - I expect problems with low light recording unless you adjust the ISO settings, and problems with digital stabilization.

I got the 64 GB sandisk SDXC (class 4; amazon) card to use with this - 8 hours of HD recording, seems to be a fast enough card for this camera though, recording at full HD. At the time of this review, it's the largest card available - no more constant swapping out of cards, especially during long trips. However, most people will probably opt to buy a cheaper, smaller class 6 card. Also got 3 iTekiro 1000 mAh backup batteries for cheap on amazon ($9) (looking back, I should have gotten 2000 mAh batteries), plus the corresponding travel charger ($6). Other accessories include the Gorillapod magnetic tripod ($25, amazon), lowepro clips 100 bag (which fits this camera + all accessories beautifully; $20, amazon), a mini-HDMI 4 ft cable off of Ebay ($6), and a SDXC card reader off of ebay ($5; not really necessary). Hopefully this camera will hold up over time; I'm thinking about getting the squaretrade 3 year warranty for this too.

UPDATE: 9/9/2010

Just got back from the wedding; the 720p 60 fps video looks great and very sharp on a big screen HDTV, though from close up you can see some of the blockiness on the TV which may disappear at the 1080i 60 resolution. For low light settings I just adjusted the ISO settings, and it looks great (candlelight, etc.). Pics - I only needed the 1600x1200 size and they all look great too. You can easily switch between taking videos and pics on the go - both buttons are side by side on the camera w/the zoom buttons in the middle. The zoom on this thing is also incredible, especially when taking video. The wide & tele modes are awesome - I took a beautiful video of a wide panorama of a beach during sunset, and then zoomed in a lot to my friends from far away.

Needed Improvements:
- The shutter speed for taking a single pic with this camera is somewhat slow.
- Turning on/off the camera is somewhat slow too (a couple of seconds); I want to have the camera ready at all moments to capture anything important but I kept it off to save battery. I wish there were a display off button for the camera that turns off the image display to save power but kept the camera ready. There is a power saving feature for the camera though; it automatically turns off after a while.
- My only other complaint is the digital image stabilization for the video; when I'm holding the camera steady with my hand there are obvious minor tremors that move the entire screen. Next time I film I'll try turning it off to see what the results are.

Haven't used the camera underwater yet, but the camera's waterproofing was useful when it started drizzling a little one day. For big trips, multiple high capacity cheap batteries & 2 chargers (1 original which charges the battery inside the camera, and 1 external battery travel charger w/car charger) are the way to go. I'm glad I bought the 64 GB sandisk SDXC card too (no speed problems) - I already filled over half of it up!

All in all a good camera - the only one of its kind on the market right now. I'm sure that the next generation waterproof digicams will only improve (smaller form factors, better video image stabilization, longer battery life, more storage space, higher shutter speed for single image shots, faster on/off, energy saving mode when taking videos). Gun style grips are awesome!
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on September 24, 2010
Pros:
Excellent video quality, good photo quality, waterproof/underwater capability, lightweight, full HD, very good image stabilizer, photo flash, solid built (not like cheaper Snayo models).
Cons:
Somewhat awkward buttons, somewhat slow auto-focusing, no lamp/flash when shooting video, need to remove battery to extract SD card, useless software (as usual), no lens cap, only 1hr of battery.
Overall:
It does the video very well. Occasional photo is also possible, although not comparable to a dedicated photo camera in terms of photo taking experience and results. Underwater capability is a killer feature! I like the gun shape, much easier to hold than a classic shape. People complain about image stabilizer, but I find it really good. You can actually hold it steady on zoom! The only real complain is awkward buttons: small, unresponsive, awkwardly placed. But that is a trade-of with being waterproof, I guess. I don't see myself using those buttons often anyways: set all to auto and run with it. Extreme yellow body is love it or hate it. Yellow makes it easy to find underwater if lost. Overall, very good value for the money, IMO.
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on October 5, 2010
This camera sounded like a great product. I was sold on the video hype and bought it for an upcoming Jamaica vacation.
From the moment of getting it we realized the button positions weren't easy to use without shaking the camera during the act of taking the picture.

The absolute worst thing about this camera is that it didn't work but a handful of times before breaking. It won't power on or off correctly and FORGET trying to get SANYO service. It is IMPOSSIBLE to even find a customer support # to call. There is one nukber and after calling it 4 different times - wiating on hold for over 2hrs each time the phone automaticalyl disconnected and I was left pissed off with no help and wasted many hours of my time (no exaggeration).
Run from this product and run from anything Sanyo - company has ZERO service after the sale accountability.
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on September 17, 2010
We were a bit skeptical on quality because of past reviews and just the nature of the technology. However, to date we are very pleased on the functionality, quality, and convenience. Also, a bit of a nice novelty. We took this camera to Niagra Falls and it really comes in handy with all the water and not worrying about damage. The camera function is a bit tricky and inconvenient,but afterall it is meant to be a video camera. That aside, we are happy with the product.
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on August 23, 2010
This is only getting 2 stars because of the control placement. Frankly the only reason why this isn't going back to Amazon right now is because I really want a waterproof camera.

The problem is the control buttons for the camera (aside from taking pictures/video) are right under the display screen on the camera body. Unfortunately you can't tilt the viewscreen to be able to see (and use) the bttons, and see what's on the screen at the same time. If only they allowed the screen to fold flat in an "open" position, this would be solved, but you cannot. The directional buttons also very small, and it's easy to touch the wrong one.

Be best way I've found of using the buttons while seeing what's on the screen is to tilt the screen so it's facing forward, and then it seems a little easier to use the buttons while looking at the screen.

I found that there is a delay when taking pictures, while the camera completes it's auto focus. However if you use the camera correctly (pushing the button down 1/2 way first, it's a little faster).

Overall, I just wish the control weren't so horrible. I expect more out of a $340 camera.
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on November 13, 2013
This camera takes decent video, though it's durability is very questionable, especially where the flat push buttons are concerned. The waterproofness is also nice.

It takes terrible pictures btw.
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on December 30, 2011
Sorry Sanyo, but your product is not suitable for underwater use.
I purchased this camera in December 2010. I used it once underwater in January 2011 and then took it on a trip to the Philippines in November 2011. After one day of use underwater on that trip it stopped working.
I am fairly conservative with my electronics and followed the instructions that came with the device carefully. I made sure the latch was securely closed before submerging it, rinsed off seawater after use, dried it before opening, and also did not go deeper than 10 feet. It worked fine the first day. But then when I took it to the beach the second day it would not turn on. At first I thought it was due to the battery so I went back to my room to switch it out, and to my surprise when I opened it up, I found there was some water in the battery compartment.
I emailed Sanyo immediately since at that time it was still under their 1 yr warranty. They told me to send it in to their Factory Authorized service center which I did when I returned to the states. After a few weeks they contacted be my phone to tell me it was no repairable (which didn't surprise me) and that their warranty doesn't cover that type of damage.
So--- it's advertised as an underwater camera, but when it fails despite proper handling and it's still within the 1 yr warranty, Sanyo does not claim responsibility for it?
I am still waiting to hear back from Sanyo. I have emailed them after I discussed the issue with their agent at the Factory Authorized service center.

Looking around on the internet, it seems there was a similar issue with an earlier model Sanyo underwater camera.

[...]

If the issue cannot be rectified by Sanyo, I will file a claim with Amazon.

UPDATE 1-23-12
Sanyo customer service got back to me via email and told me that they will be refunding me in full.
Thanks Sanyo.
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