14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on March 6, 2011
I was a professional photographer 25+ years ago and this entire age of digital photography and video is realy amazing. My Nikon D-300 continues to amaze me with its quality of non film photographs. Although I own a semi-pro Canon HD video camera, I had a need for a small portable video device that could also shoot video in a format for web upload without my needing to convert it with Adobe Premier Elements. I read many reviews and settled on the Sanyo VPC-CG10 (very similar model) mainly due to its having a 5X Optical zoom. I do not like the quality of digital zooms in the baby cameras without adequate room for an actual moving zoom lens and was very happy to see that this one had a real optical zoom. I have used it a few times for the past 2 weeks, have played around with its very easy to use menus, and have watched the results on a large monitor to see the quality of its HD image. I am very happy and would recommend it highly with only one thing I am bummed about. Wheh I take video, I often want or need to PAUSE the camera for a few seconds (or minutes) and then re-start the same video. This camera has NO PAUSE FEATURE so you automatically start a new file if you do anything to stop the current video. Since I do not know if any ofthe other baby video cameras has pause capability, this may be a mute point. I like it a lot!
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on July 7, 2010
My wife and I bought this camera almost by accident. We went away for our first family road trip in five years over the fourth of July weekend. The itinerary was one day riding the trains at Roaring Camp Big Trees Narrow Gauge Rail Road in Felton, CA (near San Jose), followed by a day at the Santa Cruz Boardwalk and an evening on the Starlight run of the Big Trees & Pacific diesel train, concluding with a day at Monterey Bay Aquarium and Cannery Row. After only the first day, however, I had completely filled the poor underpowered SD card on my old Minolta 5.0 megapixel camera.
On the way back to the hotel we noticed a Radio Shack and walked in looking for a more up-to-date SD card; we walked out with the Sanyo Xacti dual camera instead and proceeded to "road test" it for the rest of the weekend.
I hate "pixie" cameras that don't feel like a camera (one reason why we liked the Minolta Dimage F300 back when it was new). But even though you don't hold the Xacti like a traditional camera, the grip feels completely natural; the thumb controls are easy to learn and fell very ergonomic. I also discovered a small advantage to the camera design when I was taking pictures at some of the more crowded exhibits at the aquarium: you only need one hand to take your shots (or video)! Taking photos and video on this device is as easy as pushing the right button or the left button.
I'm not a professional photographer, but I would like to be able to go on vacation, see something amazing, and bring home photos or video clips that look as good as the thing I saw in real life. By that standard, the Xacti dual camera is terrific (especially for under $200). You can take photos up to 12 meg (but who would want to, unless you plan to print a poster) and video up to Full 1080 HD for more than an hour on an 8G sd card(more about that later). The Sea Nettles and the Kelp Forest footage looks particularly gorgeous.
A final praise goes to the menu and interface. After a little practice, and a quick review of the downloadable instructions from Sanyo's website, the menus were easy to use. The key is a small toggle button in the center of the controls that you manuever with your thumb and then press to select. Again, you can select settings, shoot video, interrupt the video to take snapshots, zoom in with great clarity, all with one thumb.
During our trip, we used this camera to shoot pix and video of a starlight train ride; my wife shot video of me and my son riding the Hurricane at the Boardwalk; I snuck the camera onto the Giant Dipper to take video onboard the roller coaster (I had no idea I screamed that much!); and we shot lots of video of the jellyfish, kelp forests and Outer Bay exhibits at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. And they all looked great on the camera's display screen...
The rechargable Lithium-Ion battery seems to last about 1 hour, so I found myself rationing my video footage near the end of my daily trips. Plan to buy a second battery...or a third.
The Xacti did not do a good job handling the night train footage. We were looking in very low light at Coastal Redwood forests 100+ feet high that were illuminated from below by a few fresnel lamps attached to the rail cars and most of the video footage from that night is dark. But in fairness, the best camera in these circumstances is probably no match for the human eye and our own god-given video processing software. The website manual does give directions for night time footage and night illumination, but I think our particular circumstance was just too dark for the camera.
The real challenge for this device is the playback. I shot a day's worth of Full 1080 HD video, only to find I couldn't play it on my computer when I got home (I have Windows Vista). I am not a computer geek, nor a photo nerd. I don't know anything about video; but I would like to be able to shoot video that looks good on my camera's viewscreen and put in on my desktop computer when I get home. That may sound unreasonable, but there are thousands of products we depend on every day that operate on this same principle (imagine getting into your car to go to work and turning the ignition, only to have OnStar tell you that your engine's missing a critical driver update)!
It took me the better part of a day browsing CNet, MaximumPC, and bunches of free download sites and sanyo reviews and forums before I even understood the problem. In a nutshell: our cameras are now producing better quality video than most of our home computers can process with the basic media players. Sanyo records its video in MP4 format (that's "4", not -3 or -2). Windows Media Player can't even open it. VLC Media Player (which is an editor's choice on CNet) froze the video and only played the audio. If you play your video on a Blu-Ray or a PSP, I'm sure the processing is fine. Likewise, if you know what all the controls do on your media conversion software, then this should pose no problem. But if you're a weekend shutterbug like me, this stuff is intimidating. Finally, I took the advice of the first forum I found and downloaded the Media Player Classic with K-Lite Full Codec Pack. This free downloadable had an understandable FAQ and I was finally able to fix the problems on my video playback. Even so, as I was "tweaking" the playback options (I had to disable the "interlacing"), I couldn't help but flash back to that scene in CONTACT when Jodie Foster and William Fichtner are flipping and splitting the signal feed from the Lyra galaxy. I half-expected to see video of the Berlin Olympic games embedded in my footage of the Giant Dipper! I know Sanyo is selling this camera globally, so any software sent with the device to the United States probably seems childish in comparison to what everyone else on the Pacific Rim already has, but still, it needs more software support.
The photos downloaded like a breeze, by the way.
CONCLUSION: This is a great looking hybrid camera/camcorder, that shoots good quality media given the low purchase price. It's easy to use, and easy to learn. The only glitch is the media software challenge, which will vary from user to user, but should have been better planned for. As for me, now that I've mounted that "learning curve" and found software that lets my videos play on my computer, I have to admit that I'm happy again. The video still looks great, and I can't wait to get the optional mini-HDMI cable so I can plug the camera directly into our HDTV or Blu-Ray player. It should look spectacular.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 6, 2011
I'm really happy with this little Sanyo Xacti VPC-CG20. The lens is very sharp and even videos in the lowest resolution mode look good to me. I also like the fact that it is very small, small enough to fit in the belt case that I've been using for my little Pentax M30 P&S. I keep it on my belt all the time now. The overall quality of the unit and its capabilities are very impressive to me. It's a steal, considering it cost me only about $96 total.
on September 20, 2012
first, i took a quiz on some website i stumbled upon with stumbleupon.com. this quiz told me that this camera is perfect for me. well it is. i dont remember the name of the website offering the quiz but i would just google "perfect camera for me quiz" what the quiz basically told me was: this camera is perfect for you because you liked: high quality picture, at least 5x zoom, are always near a computer, like sd memory cards, high quality video, and small size. so go find what camera is perfect for you.
on May 26, 2014
Unfortunately, I dropped by 2009 Xacti camera (unknowingly) in the sand, on the beach. After we recovered it, several hours late, it was ruined beyond repair; sand and surf had killed it! Since I was used to the operation of this camera, I wanted one just like it. Hence, we ordered the new, improved model. It's a joy to own and operate; I look forward to making more memories on film, using this outstanding camcorder!!