Customer Review

103 of 107 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good, April 9, 2009
This review is from: Sanyo VPC-WH1 High Definition Waterproof Flash Memory Camcorder w/ 30x Optical Zoom (Yellow) (Electronics)
I got this camera yesterday and after shooting for a bit I'd have to say it's better than I expected, but you really have to know what you want it for.

Unlike another reviewer I would not go by the camera's LCD to adjust the image, since it's probably the weakest part of the camera, not very high resolution. The auto functions of exposure and white balance do a pretty good job. The colors are a little saturated and in some situations it does crush the blacks creating a high contrast look, but overall it works well.

The controls are simple and I was up and running in no time. I am used to shooting with manual controls, especially for exposure and focus. I was leery of what I could get with this camera but it handles well using the auto functions which can easily be locked off when need be. You can also assign four functions to the back arrow keys as shortcuts which makes it a snap to adjust the various focus modes, and lock the exposure, etc.

The macro is excellent and the zoom is great in a pinch but the image can become distorted on 30x. I did a long shot along a sidewalk and the image really broke up with the haze. When I was completely zoomed in on branches there was a great deal of purple fringing as well.

It worked perfectly underwater where I was in macro mode and the detail was excellent.

Getting the clips onto the computer is easy. I connected to the USB port and dragged them onto the desktop and from there directly into FCP. The only problem for me is my Mac is a G5 (relatively old) and there was a noticeable jerkiness in the video when played back on the computer. So the power of your computer has a definite impact on playback. Also, when editing this footage in with other HDV footage in FCP it took a looong time to render, i.e. two hours for about 12 minutes. But if you're editing it by itself, aside from making my system a bit sluggish, there were no other problems.

I was disappointed with the stills. You have to have them quite small to be decent, so I won't be using the camera much for that. Not sure why the CA9 is 8mb stills and the WH1 only 2mb!

The size of the camera is nice, it can definitely fit in a jacket pocket (not a shirt pocket) and the battery lasts a couple of hours which is great. Wasn't impressed with the stabilization and I'll definitely be using it on a tripod or braced against something solid.

My main camera is a Sony HDR-HC9 and there is a noticeable difference in quality. The WH1 image is more pixelated. But the underwater aspect is great and for that reason I'm glad I have it. So it really comes down to what you want the camera for. If you want it as your main camera and are seeking a good HD quality image, I probably wouldn't recommend this due to the pixelation and the shakiness. But if you want something for You Tube, want the underwater feature, or a very portable camera, this one is great.

I put up some sample footage and a still here: [...]
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Aug 16, 2009 8:38:42 PM PDT
Thank you for posting this detailed review. I also read the version you posted at your web site. I especially appreciate the short, high-quality video clip you posted. Perhaps the image quality is not the highest quality out there, but for a just-over $300 camcorder... which can shoot UNDERWATER.... Sometimes we just expect too much, I guess. Since my current camcorder (which I haven't used in years) is a Hi-8mm model (which, in its day, cost as much as your snappy HC9), I appreciate the lack of drop-outs in the WH1 image. And yes, it would be nice if the 30x zoom were optical rather than digital... but then again... three-hundred bucks, and it can go UNDERWATER!

I don't NEED one, per se... but I really, really want one! Looks like a great little camcorder for getting back into video. External mic jack would be nice, but... there we go again, huh? Three-hundred bucks, underwater... yeah. I see one in my future. Soon.

Again, thanks for a solid review and for posting the link to the clip.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 18, 2010 6:06:45 AM PST
Ariel Escasa says:
"And yes, it would be nice if the 30x zoom were optical rather than digital..."

The product description says that the 30x zoom is optical. But judging from the reviewer's experience, I guess it's not advisable to max out to 30x.
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Location: Ottawa, Ontario Canada

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