on September 12, 2008
Before purchasing E2 I was torn between E1 and E2 but decided to go with a new model. There were no reviews on E2 other than a single one for Euro/Japanese/Canadian version of E2 called CA8 and that review blasted the camera's new sensor. Nevertheless, with Amazon's liberal return policy, I decided to take my chance and to get E2 instead of E1. After all, it is a second generation of this waterproof camera, and I thought the second generation is typically better.
If you are trying to decide between E1 and E2, here are the major differences:
The most obvious is a change of sensor.
E1 uses 6MP CCD 1/2.5 sensor
E2 uses 8MP CMOS 1/2.5 sensor.
E2 adds a 60 frames per second movie option (E1 was limited to 30 frames per second)
E2 adds face recognition mode. E1 has no such face detection mode
E2 adds a dedicated 'underwater' mode among several others. E1 did not have a specific 'underwater' mode.
First, I tried both the new 60 frames per second mode and the old 30 frames per second mode and I decided that I will be using 30 frames per second, I actually like the quality of 30fps mode better.
I then tried the photography mode. I took most photographs inside in tricky low-light incandescent and florescent light conditions, because I know these give ANY camera, including DSLRs such as my Canon 40D $1300 camera, the most problems. I upped the ISO to 200 and then to 400. You can see samples I posted here. BTW the macro mode on this baby goes to 1 cm!!!! I don't know if E1 had such super-macro to 1 cm. I found the photo quality acceptable and similar to that of other point-and-shoots using the same 1/2.5 and similar sensors. I felt that ISO400 was acceptable. I have not tried ISO 800 and 1600 yet.
E2 has following ISO range: in photo mode 50-1600
in video mode: 100-3200 in high sensitivity mode (3200 I don't believe you can select, but it does it).
The image stabilization feature is tricky, it is EIS, Electronic Image Stabilization, not Optical Image Stabilization, so when you use it, it crops a little bit on sides of your video and photographs, depending on which mode of EIS you use.
The sound is stereo and the quality is acceptable. The camera is tiny btw, I fit mine in case logic case I had from my Canon A75 camera.
I tried this camera underwater in my pool, both video and photographs. All worked fine, even shoots photographs with flash underwater, which makes for very freaky results.
Finally, some people complained that Sanyo has their own unique USB cable which is a pain if you lose it or don't have it with you, and cannot read it in ordinary card reader. WRONG. I did not even bother taking the proprietary Sanyo USB cable from camera packaging. The card works easily in my HP (windows vista) desktop's card reader. I downloaded PICASA 3 which I recommend. Picasa 3 will find, download, and play all photos and every video you shoot with this camera easily and quickly, just take the SD card, put it in your card reader and Picasa will do the rest. Very easy, so don't need to bother with this cable that comes with it.
Problems: Battery life is not impressive. Battery is tiny. I am used to Fuji F30's 500 shots per charge. This battery sucks. I charged the battery fully. I then took 80 photographs (some with flash), 4 or 5 2-minute videos and my battery showed 70% gone. You need a second battery, and hopefully there are some with more juice in it that the Sanyo one that comes with the camera.
I also wish the lens would start at 28mm and not 38mm as it would make easier to take pictures/videos of oneself without need to stretch your body away from the camera. Also my belief is that the flash only operates in photo mode and not in video mode. However, it is much better than its only competitor, Panasonic SW20, which does not have any flash at all
I will add more photos later.
Before I start, let me mention that I am a professional photographer and I teach photography for our local college. When I look at a new camera, that background plays a role. You may be looking for something completely different in a camera than I am.
My first impression of the Sanyo Xacti VCP E2 was all about its size. It slips right into my shirt pocket. Once I got over the size (and got the battery charged up) I was ready to go. Oh, and install a memory card. The E2 takes the popular SD cards, and it does not come with one. That's probably not a bad thing. Most people who have had a camera or two have a few of these cards lying around. If you don't, get one with the camera. I installed an 8gig card.
I was first trying to hold the camera in one hand. That didn't work very well for me. Your hands may vary. The best hold for me turned out to be with the camera in my right hand, and my left thumb and index finger on the top and bottom of the LCD, which steadies things nicely. The controls, located on the top rear of the camera, are designed to be thumb operated.
The two buttons at the very top take still photos and movies, respectively. They are easy to operate, and the still photo button does the usual "press halfway to lock everything in" function. Below these is the usual four way rocker with the button in the middle. When you are making pictures, this area is used mainly to zoom.
There is also a menu button on the back, and many functions, like turning the flash on and off, can only be accessed through the menus. If you have used digital camera menus before, these will be easy to follow.
So, how well does it work? Pretty well, actually. The macro ability of the lens is outstanding in a camera of this type. It focuses at 1 cm. That's less than a half inch, if you are metric challenged. In addition, it has a full range focus mode that will go from 1 cm to infinity without putting it into a special macro mode. I like to get in close, so that's important to me.
The camera has all the usual settings for ISO, light balance, etc., and will go as high as 3200 ISO. If you get higher than 400, buy a good noise filter plug-in for Photoshop. Once I apply that, even photos shot at 1600 look pretty good. The 8 megapixel stills are 3264 by 2448, and print nice 8x10s. You can grab stills while shooting a movie. If you do that, the stills will be 1600x1200. With 2 megapixels, you could still print an 8x10, but a 5x7 will be better. The 5X zoom works fine. There is also a 12 megapixel setting, but the sensor is 8 MP, so I assume it is simulated. I didn't use it.
Videos are either 640x480, which is plenty for display on a TV, or 320x240, which is perfect for UTube or similar services. You can record at either 30 or 60 frames a second, and I didn't see much difference. At the lower resolution, you can also record at 15 FPS, which makes a small file that's easy to email or upload.
The waterproof feature is interesting. It is supposed to be safe to 5 feet, and it seems to be. I tried it by holding it under water in my backyard pond and bothering my goldfish. Water's a little chilly this time of year!!! Anyway, it worked fine. For many people, the main advantage of this would be that you don't have to worry if you are getting rained on, and you can use it by the pool with no issues.
This camera won't replace your DSLR, but it might replace both your point and shoot still camera and your camcorder.
Pros: Size, easy to use, great macro ability, and very acceptable photo and video quality, with the waterproof feature a plus.
Cons: Not many - Uses a non standard USB cable (included) and battery life is around 100 or so stills if you are using the flash - more if the flash is off. Figure an hour of video.
OK, first the important disclaimer: my other two cameras are SLRs. And had you ask me a week ago, I'd say Sanyo makes great batteries. Sanyo camcorders? What camcorders?
I have an antique Canon A70 with a waterproof case that is good down to depth of 120 feet. This A70 is used in places where I would not risk using an SLR or where the weight restrictions are too high. So as you may guess VPC-E2 is a replacement for that "adventure" mode camera/camcorder.
To be frank, I can give this little Sanyo marvel either four stars or one. You see, when a company enters the market where the smallest gorilla weighs at least eight hundreds pounds, they can only hope to win with a niche product. And this is the one. So the question is - do you belong to this niche?
First, the camcorder is waterproof. Well, not exactly in the sense that I used to define this word; it is only rated for five feet. Snorkeling is OK, but not diving. On the other hand, snow, rain, dangerous edges of a pool, and spilled beers do not bother this gadget. Also, it shoots movies in H.264 which means your IPhone plays them and you can post them up on YouTube faster than I can explain what H.264 stands for. It can shoot movies at 640x480 with 60 frames per second - definitely not HD, but much better than your average compact camera in movie mode. Oh, and when somebody asks you how many of those ergh... megapixels this camera has, you can shock him or her with a lazy reply, "Ah, eight...". Yeah, right! We will talk about this a little bit later. It also features 5x optical zoom with fair wide-end (38-190 in 35mm equivalent), electronic image stabilization, EV shift, macro mode, and even manual focus and face-recognition that works when lightning is good. The LCD screen is large and bright, and can swivel in two dimensions. It supports SDHC cards and the 8 GB card can hold up to five hours of video.
Controls are minimal, but well designed. There are only ten buttons to choose from: four arrows with a central "set" button, a menu button, two dedicated triggers - one for video and other for pictures, as well as an on/off button and a play/record button behind the screen. A well organized menu almost compensates for the lack of dedicated buttons. Left and right buttons can be assigned shortcuts for recording mode (up and down is always assigned to the zoom function) and many functions are easy to select. The menu can be switched to "easy" mode, which limits choices only to necessary basics.
So why I would give it only four stars? First, there is no viewfinder. Second, the flash is extremely underpowered (guide number 3); it is only good at very close ranges. Third, the battery capacity is insufficient; it allows you only about 200 shots or 75 minutes of video (twice as less in real life). Fourth, there is no lens cover, so usage of the included soft case is a good idea. Fifth, this soft case does not have either a handle or a clip, so every time the camcorder is removed, there is a problem - where to put the case?
What else? Proprietary USB cable, no AC power in the box (sold separately). I also have problems accessing up/zoom-in button: it is too small.
Now we get to "out of the niche" one star rating. Yes, one star and I insist on it.
This gadget has a tiny sensor and it is crippled with severe noise. Video is OK, though I can see a lot of noise there as well. However, still image noise is on the brink of disaster. I do not know how many real megapixels this unit has because object contours simply disappear in the ocean of color dots as I try to zoom into the picture. A black line on a white background looks OK, but my attempt to take a picture of Lillet Blank's red-on-yellow label produced huge amount of red specks far away from the edge of red letters. I suspect some sort of processing error here. In terms of resolution it is safe to assume this unit has somewhat around 3 honest megapixels (and your typical cell phone probably has just one half of megapixel being rated on the same scale). Oh, and do not even think of using ISO above 400, unless you want to produce a parody on Claude Monet paintings. Unfortunately in automatic mode unit happily sets ISO above 800 in low light conditions, so I assigned one of the shortcuts to change ISO manually to fight this problem.
What it all means? It means this gadget better not be used for any prints bigger than 4x6. Its video played on HDTV does not look too crisp either.
Despite of all these drawbacks, I like this little gadget. I will never use it to capture beautiful landscape or even a portrait. This thing is for ski slopes, water motorcycles, snowmobiles, mountain bikes, hikes, pools, beaches, outdoor parties - for all those places where action means more than perfect image quality. Finally, it is interesting to notice I made more movies last week using Xacti than I made with my "big" DV camcorder in the last season.
Delivery from Amazon: Securely packaged, came early.
Nice packaging, didn't have to resort to metal cutters to open like some packages these days. When you open the box everything is in proper order.
In the top compartment in the box is all the paperwork: the warranty, next was the "important warning" about the camera's waterproof feature (not deeper than 5', not longer than 60 minutes, not warmer than 104 degrees so no hot tub underwater pics), Instruction Manual, Quick Guide, safety warning about the battery charger for USA users, safety manual, software disk.
Under the paperwork compartment is the hardware: the camera, the battery, camera wrist strap, a micro USB to AV component cable, a micro USB to standard USB cable, a travel battery charger, and a protective case for the camera.
First disappointment was the "Quick Guide". It tells you how to take a picture and what all the buttons do. The QG mentions needing to charge the battery and even how to put the battery in the charger but it doesn't tell you how to get the battery in and out. It does tell you that it takes 90 minutes to charge the battery so at least you know when you can play with your new toy. The QG also doesn't mention needing an SD memory card or how to get it in and out. The QG has 50% of the information you would want to carry with you, so it's kind of useless.
Second disappointment was that no SD memory card is included in the box so you have to run down and buy a card before getting started if you got this as a gift. It does have 44MB of built-in memory, but that isn't going to last I have lots of SD memory cards so that isn't a problem.
The "Instruction Manual" is totally in English. The "Instruction Manual" is an improvement in that the inside of the cover has a foldout that shows you where and how to install the battery and the SD card, then how to take your first video clip and first still pictures, and finally how to play them back. The real manual is 197 pages and is really easy to use and shows lots of thought. Wish they had spent just a little time on a real quick start guide you could carry with you. When you flip the manual over, you find the Xacti Software DVD Instruction Manual which is 21 pages long. However, only the last 7 pages are about the software. It starts by telling you how to "mount" the camera on your computer, how to use it as a card reader and a PC camera (nice feature). Again, the arrangement is a little strange as there is information in this sub-manual that should have been in the main manual.
Definitely not a shirt pocket camera. Although small, at 1.6" it is too thick and at 7 oz. too heavy to go in a shirt pocket. The protective case doesn't have belt loops or any way to clip it to the camera and only wraps around the camera so it's only function is dirt/scratch protection when you throw the camera in a purse or jacket pocket.
I'm left-handed, so I always look for ease of use for either hand. Neither hand works well with this camera, but holding it in the left hand at least gives a little leverage. The placement of the video and photo buttons causes the camera to rock whenever you push on one unless you are holding on with both hands. You just can't keep the camera stable when you are pressing the zoom, the video, or the picture buttons.
I worked my way through the manual and tested each of the features. There are two different setups for the camera to select from as far as operation: SIMPLE and NORMAL. SIMPLE is supposed to be only the minimum functions necessary to operate the camera and it puts 3 menu selections down the edge of the screen: TV which allows you to select 2 different movie and photo sizes; Select Focus Mode that lets you switch between Automatic and Macro; and finally Flash which lets you pick from auto or on or off. That's it. There are several other options that should be on the Simple menu scheme starting with access to the 9 Scene Select modes (Auto, Sports, Portrait . . . Under Water, etc.) If you switch into Normal mode, all of the camera features are available by pushing the "menu" button, but it is small and hard to hit. The menu replaces the picture on the screen, so you have to make your selection and then hit menu to get back out and see what it does. Some features that you would want to be able to access immediately are two levels down in the menus. I am not impressed with the menu system, especially when I compare it to the Canon system on their low end pocket cameras.
Videos and Pictures:
Here's where I really began to lower my opinion of the camera. It's slow to start up, slow to focus, slow to take pictures, slow to start video recording, and the zoom has one speed which is either too fast or too slow. It's 5x zoom lens going from 38mm to 190mm (35mm equivalent). It would have been more useful with a wide angle starting point, especially for underwater photos and videos.
The camera allows you to take 8 megapixel still pictures. The quality of still pictures is good and the ability to rotate the screen allows you to shoot from interesting angles. Unfortunately, it is hard to frame the pictures because what you see on the screen is not exactly what you get. The ISO goes from 50 to 1600, but above 400 the quality really falls off just as it does in most other cameras with this size sensor. The problem is getting action pictures which is why we buy a camera like this. I tried the sequential mode -- after I found it buried in the resolution selection menu. You point the camera at the action and press the button . . . then the screen goes dark until you let up or you fill the camera internal memory. A little hard to tell if you are following the action. It is a little too slow to start up and take the first picture to use for quick candid shots. When I blow the pictures up, there is a lot more noise and color shift than I see with my Canon 6 megapixal camera taking the same shot in the same light.
Video is OK , but other waterproof cameras such as the Pentax W60 offer better quality (740p) and have a more useful lens range. To give you a range, the video is not even close to my canon S3IS, but that's a whole different class of lens. However, it it fine for UTube or home videos. You can take 640x480 video at 60fps or 30fps and 320x240 at 30fps or 15fps. The 320x240 is intended for videos for the web. You can take still pictures while you are taking a video, but the resolution is not 8megapixel and is related to the video frame per second level you select. At 640x480 60fps HQ the stills are .3megapixels, at 30fps 2megapixels. Makes me think that the quality is being comprised when you shoot at 60fps and after looking at some video shot at 60 and some at 30 I determined that quality is really affected by picking 60 fps. I shot a bunch of video of our Thanksgiving dinner in normal room lighting. The camera would make adjustments slowly to the light, but when it finally got it the videos were good . . . lots of noise and artifacts, but good enough for family memory videos. I also took the camera out to our Koi pond and started it shooting above the water and then slowly moved it underwater to get pictures of our big Koi. The videos were very clear and it adjusted readily to the change to underwater light. I also tried some underwater still pictures, but those were not very satisfactory as flash washed out the pictures. When I turned the flash off I got some acceptable underwater pics.
Waterproof? The camera functioned properly underwater and didn't have a problem. After I washed it off and dried it, I open the door over the SD card/battery and found that the hinges retain water. A little blast of air cleared them, but this is a possible problem if you need to change batteries after having it in the wet. You will be changing the battery a lot, as the battery life is fairly short.
Since I am a tennis pro, I decided to test the camera in my classes. Here is where I found a great application for the camera! Took good action pics, the 5x zoom is all you need on the court, and the LCD was very clear in the sunlight. I was able to take a series of each student and then discuss it with them with no problem. I could slip the camera in my pants pocket when I wasn't using it and bring it out when needed. Much easier to use for this purpose than our Sony Handycam. Coaches could really make use of this camera as you wouldn't worry about sweat or rain or dirt. Battery life wouldn't be a problem as you typically take a short clip and then show it to the player(s) and discuss. It would be great for water polo or swimming coaches.
Bottom line on the camera: not equal to it's competitors for most uses and overly expensive. However, in certain situations like sports coaching it really is one of a kind and has great utility. I will be using this camera a lot for that purpose.
I love toys, so I was very happy when my new VPC-E2 arrived yesterday. The first thing I noticed when holding the E2, is how well it fits in your hand. It's lightweight, and the simple controls are very well laid out. After skimming through manual, and charging the battery, I loaded it up with an 8GB SD card. I then went out to see what it can do. First off was taking still photos in various lighting conditions. Then I took several different videos. The VPC-E2 is very simple to use, and I didn't need to refer back to the manual for anything. After putting it through various tests, I discovered what is my first minor disappointment. Batterty life isn't great. If you plan on using it for a good part of the day, a second battery is going to be a must. All the pictures and videos looked good on the E2's screen, but the real test was when I got home and downloaded them to my computer. The still photos were very good. I was especially surprised how well the photos taken in low light at ISO 800 and 1600 came out. They were perfectly usable despite the noise level. While it's not ideal shooting at those levels, the results were better than expected. The results under normal lighting conditions were good too, for a hybrid camera. While the results weren't quite up to what a top stand alone digital point and shoot might take, the pictures were perfectly fine for viewing on a screen or printing at 4x6 or 8x10. I shot the test videos at 640x480, 30fps, high bit rate, using all "Auto" settings. Again the results were very good. The videos were clear. The sound was good. The camera focused well under all conditions. All in all, Sanyo has a winner here. You could call the VPC-E2 a "jack of all trades, master of none", but that would be a little harsh. What it does, it does well. It's not really great at anything, but it's very good at most. I look forward to my next vacation when I test it underwater on a snorkling trip. First thing I will do is order an extra battery, and buy a real case for it. The included wrap around velcro case is a joke. Here is a brief list of the pro's and con's.
Well designed, versatile, and easy to use.
Good pictures and video for a hybrid.
Usable pictures at high ISO.
Battery life is disappointing.
No 16:9 video options.
Price isn't cheap.
Cheesy velcro "case" that is included is terrible.
Non-standard USB cable.
I have a friend who is a die-hard fan of Xacti. Although the Xacti has a camcorder look ever since it came up, he always described it as a digital camera taking great videos. This gave me a feeling that the Xacti was a versatile camcorder since the camcorders that I have been using are very poor at taking still pictures. Finally, the Xacti VPC-E2 was on my hand, and I had a really fun time using it.
First of all, the Xacti VPC-E2 is not an HD camcorder. These days, we see many HD (High Definition) camcorders on the market, and I would only look for an HD camcorder if I needed to buy a camcorder. As a matter of fact, I am using two full HD camcorders. One is using a hard drive as a media (Canon HG10) and the other one is using a flash memory (Samsung SC-HMX20C). Fortunately, I had a chance to own an E2 otherwise I would not buy it because it is not HD. Its highest resolution is a mere 640 * 480 at 60 frames per second. The E2 cannot compete with the resolution of the HD camcorders whose resolution is 1920 * 1080. However, now I believe that the E2 has its own advantages and I carry the E2 more than my HD camcorders these days. By the way, there are HD versions of Xacti, which are HD700 and HD1010, available on the market.
My first impression of the E2 was that it was small. I have owned many consumer camcorders to date and the E2 is the smallest one of them. I know that there are smaller flash memory based camcorders, however, those are mostly YouTube quality camcorders. Also the blue color body looks very nice. I prefer a shiny color for gadgets that I use and the E2 is a perfect match for me. It fits in my pocket nicely and the included soft case works very well. The good thing is that the lens is protected by a tightly sealed (waterproof) glass, so I do not need to buy a UV filter that I always buy when I buy any kind of camcorders to protect the lens. This will save you $15 to $20. And there is no lens cap to open or to close. The vertical shape of the body feels a little unfamiliar at the first time, since my camcorders are either barrel shape or the shape that needs a vertical grip. Once I got used to, it felt better and comfortable.
The one thing that I want to mention is that I had a hard time pressing the buttons to take the picture or the video. It is just too firm to press. When I asked someone to take pictures for me, most of the times they did not press the button that they thought they did. So, I had to make sure that they took pictures right. After I took more than 50 pictures, my thumb became numb. I wish this problem would be fixed in the later version.
Now here is the fun part. The E2 is a waterproof camcorder. Although the spec sheet says it can be waterproof within 5 feet of water depth, I am happy with it since I am not a diver of any kind. I received the product in the winter so I cannot test this other than the bath tub. Fortunately, we had a good friend asking us to go to an indoor water park together and I said yes passionately to test this new toy. Wow, it was one of the most fun things I ever done in a water park. I saw some people taking pictures or videos in the water park. However, they are standing outside of the pool or at least 10-20 feet away from the possible water splash. But I am in the middle of the water and carrying the E2 in the water. I took moments of my family floating on the lazy river while I was lying on the tube with them. My daughter loves to play with it, and we are the only one in the water park who was carrying a camcorder everywhere. I sometimes took the video under the water, and I have never tried that with any other camera or camcorder. People in the water park found out that my camcorder is waterproof and they all said "Coooooool !' After we came back from the water park, I carefully took a look at the E2 and everything was fine. I did not find any water inside of the memory and battery compartment. The interesting thing is that the E2 has 2 water drain holes for cleaning. I washed the E2 with tab water and it felt very odd since I have never cleaned my camcorder with running water.
The E2 records video in MPEG4 AVC/H.264 format. This video format is getting popular and is supported by most video editing software. As I described above, I use two HD camcorders, and the Canon HG10 uses the AVCHD format (Canon HG10) and the Samsung SC-HMX20C uses MPEG4 AVC/H.264. As far as the compatibility is concerned, AVC/H.264 works far better than AVCHD. I had a hard time just to play AVCHD video files, and AVC/H.264 format files can be played flawlessly in every media player that I have. And AVC/H.264 format is easier to upload to video streaming services like YouTube. YouTube announced that they have started to support MTS/M2TS files that are recorded in AVCHD format. However, when I uploaded MTS files without any conversion, it did not work (they allowed to upload MTS files directly). The sound was breaking and the video stuttered. Anyways, if you concern about the compatibility issues, the MPEG4 AVC/H.264 is for you.
The one thing I was really disappointed is the low light performance of the E2. It is too grainy. Under normal indoor lighting at home, you will get very grainy video. If you use your video in low resolution such as 320 * 240, you might not be bothered much. However, if you see your indoor shot on TV, you could immediately notice how coarse your video is no matter what the resolution is. The low light performance is almost the same as a cheap flash memory camcorder such as the Flip. If you take most of your videos indoor (like the baby shots), you should find something else.
The photos coming out from the E2 is pretty good. I can use the E2 to take still pictures (I have never used any of my camcorders to take still pictures). It cannot be compared to digital cameras in the same price range, however, the E2 makes very good pictures. Unlike the poor indoor performance in video, the E2 gives pretty bright pictures. Now I know why my friend called the Xacti as a great digital camera that takes nice videos.
Having internal memory in the E2 is a blessing. You might have an experience like me that you forget to bring your memory card and regret missing precious moments. As a matter of fact, I got very mad at myself whenever I make a silly mistake like this. Although the size of an internal memory is small (44 MB), it could be a life saver sometimes.
As many reviewers stated, the battery performance is disappointing. It only lasts for 80 to 100 still pictures and less than an hour for video only. However, I do not take long videos with the E2, so I was OK with it. I am using the E2 to take the short moments that I could meet at any time. If you plan to use the E2 as your only camcorder, I recommend you to buy an additional battery.
Overall, the E2 is a great camcorder to carry anywhere including underwater. I am using an 8 gb SDHC card with it and still have tons of space left. It is tiny, and it looks great. It is a versatile camcorder making great still pictures. If you take most videos outside, the E2 will work better for you. With a street price of $180, you cannot go wrong with the E2.
on September 3, 2009
After very little use and still being within the warranty space the camera failed to work. I was instructed by thier "service" dept. ship it to a "testing lab" to have it checked. I was rudley informed by them that I had damaged the camera which voided the warranty and would not fix or replace. There wasn't a scratch on it went it was sent !!! I challenged the charge that I had dropped it and they ought to know because "they have hundreds of these camers sent to them" !!! They actually wanted to know if I wanted to have the broken camera sent back for a shipping cost of $ 38.00 or they will discard it. Just like a bad restaurant, I'll just never return to sanyo.
on December 15, 2008
I was made a believer when I got my first xacti, the xacti CG65. The video quality on that was very good. I produced a few very good quality DVDs using the CG65 and got quite a few compliments. A lot of my friends were surprised at how clear the videos turned out to be.
But then I have a chance to go to several beaches and took at lot of videos as well. Although I was very happy with the videos I thought about how things would be better if I had a waterproof camcorder.
On black friday this thought was realized. Amazon put this camera on sale for $199. It was a deal I couldn't pass up. I then sold the CG65 to a friend which he gladly took. The E2 came in quickly from Amazon.
Just this past weekend, I had a chance to really test it out at the xmas party. I am tranfering the videos now and sad to say I am disappointed. In videos I took with high ISO settings, there is a lot of vertical/horizontal banding. Even in my 19" monitor its so visible and its definitely annoying. There is also a problem with the image stabilization on this camera. On the top of the screen whenever I would move the video from 1 side to another, there is this flickering. In the CG65, the videos are very good regardless if its low light or good light condition. This one needs a "just right" light condition to work just like the CG65.
The bottomline is I am not impressed and in fact I am returning this camera. Maybe the change from CCD to a CMOS sensor is the culprit? I dunno. But definitely I miss my CG65.
The still shots are a bit better than the CG65 but the red eye problem is worse on this camera. I used to have just the red eye problem with my CG65. In this E2 camera, there is also the red eye + cat eyes problem. Makes my subjects look like a bunch of aliens lol.
So there you go. If you are considering this camera, maybe look at the predecessor E1 instead as it had the CCD sensor. Now I have to find a CG65 on ebay or unless I can find an E1 that I can try out. But definitely, skip the E2. When you look at the E1 and the E2 and ask, how come the E1 is still more expensive that the E2 considering E1 is the older model? You now know the answer. There is something cheap in this E2.
on April 2, 2009
I currently own the Flip Video Ultra Series Camcorder and have been very pleased with it for the most part. I wanted to upgrade to a camera that had a sharper focused image, optical zoom with image stabilization but was still flash based. Went with the Xacti VPC-E2 and could not have been more displeased.
The fit and finish on the Xacti VPC-E2 is very good and the menu system is easy to use....the only problem: Horrible Indoor Movie Quality!
If had to rate the overall quality (indoors & outdoors) of recorded movies on a scale of 1 to 10 I'd give the Flip Video Ultra Series an 8 but I'd only give the Xacti VPC-E2 a 5 at best.
Where the Flip blew the Xacti away was on indoor videos. The Xacti had to bump the ISO up to 1600 which introduced tons of noise or graininess into the video. I tried manually holding the ISO down to between 100 and 200 which did clear up the noise issue but then the picture was so dark that you couldn't make out any faces.
On outdoor videos the Xacti was just slightly better than the Flip. The video wasn't really that much better except for the fact that the Flip was constantly adjusting it's white balance where as the Xacti was more consistent.
Overall I like the design of the Xacti over the flip but in the end it's all about the movie quality with me.
I've decided to return the Xacti and have bought the Kodak Zi6 HD Pocket Video Camera. It doesn't have the 5x optical zoom or image stabilization but from what I've read the "HD" is supposed to give me sharper images.
I've had the Kodak Zi6 HD Pocket Video Camera for about 2 hours and I can tell you that I am already much more pleased with the video. There's been reviews of poor build quality on the Kodak but I would say it has very good build quality but not quite as good as the Xacti.
on December 16, 2008
I had some very high expectations about the VPC-E2 that were mostly based on the glowing Amazon reviews. Let's start off with the good stuff:
-Solid door on the card/battery compartment which is very rare
-Water resistance makes it easy to use in places you wouldn't use another camera
-Switching between photo and video is very easy
-Flipout LCD means you can get some angles that are difficult otherwise. Not very many P&S cameras (read on to see why I compare it to a P&S and not a camcorder) have LCDs that flip out and rotate.
On the downside... let's start with the minor annoyances....
-Custom USB cable
-It's water resistant/proof but only at very shallow depths so forget scubadiving or snorkeling
-It's a little too short for most hands so it's tough to reach the photo/video buttons when holding it in a grip style
-The shutter release button is very hard to depress and often sticks. I don't think that this was unique to my unit since other reviewers also complained.
-Zoom buttons are hard to reach and very small
-No lens cover
-Long shot-to-shot delays and shutter lag. Very, very pronounced in poor lighting
-Horrible LCD quality, even outdoors under ideal conditions
But what it comes down to is this.... the video quality is absolutely horrible except in ideal outdoor environments. The photo quality is decent but not as good as a P&S camera at half the price.
So basically what you're paying for, in my opinion, is the water resistant/proof feature and the vertical style/flip out LCD. Apart from that the video quality is not any better than what your average P&S can produce and the picture quality is worse.