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on October 4, 2010
After a full month with this camera, I can comfortably put (virtual) pen to paper about my experience with it. First, let me say what drew me in.....its' pistol-grip form factor and overall size. This thing is small! But, not too small. It feels right in the hand. I have always been attracted to the Xacti line for the pistol-grip, can't really comment on why, but I have been.

Video quality on this thing is pretty decent for a $200 camera. It can record 1080p at 30 fps (wish it did 24 fps) or 1080i at 60 fps. A trick I learned from Alex Lindsay at Pixel Corp (Google him, he is an authority on video processing) is to shoot at 1080 (i or p) and then re-encode to a lower res. It takes the best of the available data in the video and actually looks better than the original footage. Weird, I know!

The bad. Terrible, terrible, terrible still images. Can't emphasize that enough! In a pinch, better to have it than not, but I think that my 3.2 MP iphone takes better images than this thing by a factor of 10! It is bad!

The only other knock on the camera is that it generally has a plastic-y feel to it.

Otherwise, it is great for my wife, who carries it in her purse for when the baby does something funny, which she usually is!
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on April 3, 2010
I just got this puppy and it really is a beautiful piece of work... as far as looks goes, but the performance does lack in a few areas. Overall the Sanyo VPC-CG102 HD camcorder works well in outdoor daylight surroundings, but it lacks in low light situations (there are adjustments in the settings that may improve the low light capabilities (white balance/exposure/etc), but so far I haven't tried them). The 14mp camera does work nicely and you can take photos at the same time you shoot videos. The battery life is minimal, say 2-3 hours on the supplied 700mah battery (but I've already ordered 2 extra 1000mah batteries from ebay for $12). I've owned a few Sanyo cams and as for the stabilization system it performs poorly, but this has been the same for most of the sanyo cams..

Video Size Example: I took a 9 minute video and the settings were at the maximum (Full HD 1080, 60i Video (1920 x 1080), The size for the 9 min video was 1.3GB & it took a little over 2 hours to upload to YouTube with an internet connection speed (ISP) of around 18mb.

Video Recording Modes:
-----------------------
Full-HD 1920x1080 60fps
Full-SHQ 1920x1080 30fps SHQ
HD-HR 1280x720 60fps HR
HD-SHQ 1280x720 30fps SHQ
TV-SHQ 640x480 30fps SHQ
Voice Recording

For a very small DUAL-Mode (camcorder/camera), that shoots Full 1920x1080 HD and fits in your pocket for easy access when you on the go, this product I think is a keeper, (normally I would sent back every camera and camcorder that I've purchased the past 2 years, because they've never met the majority of my expectations). Because of a bad stabilization system and low light recording I am giving it a ranking of 4 stars

Pros
-----
Low cost, just over $200, so you cannot complain to much with its faults
Very small, It fit nicely in my pants pocket.
Easy to use menu
Has a tripod mound & allows access (cables, sd card, battery)
Full HD 1080, 60i Video (1920 x 1080)
14MP Photos
12x Dual Range Zoom Video
5x Optical Zoom Photo
2.7" Wide LCD Monitor for HD Playback
High Speed Sequential Shooting
Video and Photo Face Detection
Mini HDMI Output
SDXC Memory Compatibility (over 64GB SD cards) (If u can find one)
MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 Movie Recording Format
super fast start-up and shooting
The battery size is very small (Nice for transporting extra ones in the pocket)

Cons:
-----
Terrible in low light situations (but it allows for better adjustments in setting)
Weak Video Image Stabilizer
No supplied editing software included
No remote control
No HDMI cable included
No place to connect the lens cap cable
Battery life could be better (I upgraded to 1000mah batteries)
Nice display, but can be hard to see in sunlight (very dark compared to the video shot)
A lot of manuals are included, but the camera information is not explained well
A very short USB cable is included (maybe 2' long)
The mic picks up bad wind noise
No audio-in connections
No hot shoe for lighting
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on April 4, 2010
[[ASIN:B0036TH6XG Sanyo VPC-CG102 High Definition Camcorder and 14 MP Camera w/12x Optical
This is about my 5th Camcorder bought over the past 15 years. I am not a pro, but an amatuer enthusiast.
I wanted an inexpensive camcorder, with a decent optical zoom (at least 10x) that would be easy to use, easy to travel with, have good image quality, rechargeable battery that could be removed from the unit.. so I would have minimal downtime. I also wanted the Camcorder to havea camera, and use SD memory cards. This camcorder fit the bill perfectly in all respects~! I had tried the VPC-CS1 but it was just too small and difficult for my fingers to manipulate.

As a camcorder ...in this price range..it excels. Zoom is smooth, focus reasonably fast and well. Excellent color rendition.Very intuiitive and easy to use controls and menus. I used the enclosed AVI cables and the Video clips looked quite good on a 19inch HD TV. I have not yet tried it on HDMI.No tranfer problems of files to my computer or edit problems as a friend of mine advised me he had with an Optimum unit he had purchased last summer. The camera function, however,is slow to focus and has shutter lag... but images are satisfactory. Sanyo should have included a handstrap, but I had one around that I am using.
This review and rating is not meant to compare the camcorder to much more expensive units... that may have built in lights,etc. high end software (none is included), but to let you know that for the money (under $250) your getting an excellent little unit with many features that make it an excellent value.
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on June 5, 2010
I was looking for an HD camcorder that would shoot good video in both 1080/60i and 720/60p, but that was small enough for me to carry around in my cargo pants pocket. I've had this for about two months now. This camcorder certainly fit the bill, and more. One outstanding feature is the dual zoom. When engaged, it basically puts a 2x telephoto lens into play, allowing everything from wide angle to 12x zooming without going into digital zoom, and without making the lens look like a gun barrel. There are also controls for ISO, white balance, exposure, and manual focus, among others. The learning curve is a little long, but if you take the time to learn about them and experiment with the different settings in different conditions, you can take outstanding video. I recorded my son's soccer game in 720/60P. Admittedly it was outdoors in bright sunlight - ideal conditions - but the video quality was jaw dropping. It even impressed my videographer friend. The stills are very good as well, but I haven't been able to get them to come out as nicely as my 8 MP Canon Digital Elph.

To keep the camcorder at this price point, Sanyo left out some essentials, like a mini hdmi cable, software, and a user's guide. You have to go online to the Sanyo website to get the user's guide in pdf format. The usb port is proprietary, and the included cable is literally 23 inches long, so you'll need a usb extender cable in addition to the mini hdmi. You can get both online for a few bucks plus shipping. It also does not include an AC power cord. The included battery charger does not connect to the camcorder. It charges the battery outside of the camcorder. I picked up an extra battery, as the battery lasted less than an hour on a full charge. You'll also need an sd card class 6 or better. For software, if you have Windows 7, the latest version of Windows Live Movie Maker can edit the video and burn it to DVD. I use multiAVCHD and ImgBurn (both are free) to burn AVCHD video to a regular DVD and watch it in full HD on my PS3 and Samsung blu-ray players. Consider a tripod as well. I have a tough time holding it steady. I picked up a monopod for $20 at wally world.

Bottom line, if you're looking for an easy to use camcorder, there are better options. If you're looking for a reasonably priced HD camcorder that shoots outstanding video and will fit in your pocket so you can actually take it somewhere, look no further.
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on May 28, 2010
I waited two months before submitting my review. Now that I've used both this Sanyo camcorder for a while and have figured out its nuances, I am happy to report I am quite pleased with this product. I bought a 32G card to use with it, and have had plenty of room for filming.

Things I like:
- fits in my back pocket of my pants. When we're traveling to Disneyland or elsewhere, I like that I don't have to keep track of a camera bag or otherwise hold it in my hands the entire time. The compact size is perfect, and it easily slips into one of my pockets. I just have to be careful not to sit on it too many times.

- HD quality. The quality of the video is better than my last, larger and more expensive camcorder.

- pistol grip. Easy to hold onto while filming. Image stabilization works well - hardly ever any shaking in the video. I don't use a tripod.

- Zoom works great. Decent video even at full zoom.

- face regognition. Pretty cool to see the focus automatically centering on each person's face when you film. Works well.

Things I don't like:
- ISO adjustment. Other reviews complained about the brightness (or lack of brightness) in the video or pictures. This is true - the images to come out dark....unless you adjust the ISO settings. Now I have it down to a science - before filming I make sure the ISO settings are at 800 or so to ensure proper brightness. When taking pictures I adjust it down to 200 or 400. It takes 2 seconds to change the settings once you figure it out. It's lame that I have to do a manual override when switching from photo to video, but really not much hassle now that it's routine. Both my photo and video quality look great.

- Lens cap. It attaches in a strange place and pops off too easily. It doesn't really get in the way during filming, but just doesn't rest in a natural place.

Overall, I gave this 4 out of 5 stars. I would have given this 5 stars is not for the need for manual ISO adjustment.
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on July 20, 2010
I did a lot of research and homework before buying the Sanyo VPC-CG102 video camera. This video camera will take lousy video/photo in a dim or dark environment. The Sanyo VPC-CG102 can and does take great video/photo in a well lighted environment. I use this video camera only for outdoors video/photo and am very please with the results. Viewing the video on a HD wide screen television is just outstanding. The video camera comes with a HDMI port without the HDMI cable being supply. I brought a HDMI cable for only 97 cents and it seems to work alright. The supplied 700mAh battery last me for approximately 1 hour of video on a 16gb SDHC Class 6 card. I brought 2 spare 1100mAh batteries from Amazon.com which gives me enough batteries for a day of shooting video. There was no video editing software supply with the Sanyo VPC-CG102 camera but Sanyo recommended three software packages. Adobe Premiere Elements 8 being one of them and it is an video software package that I have installed on my computer. I had no problems editing, processing and burning a DVD-R video disc. Windows Live Movie Maker also can be use to process and burn an video disc. This video camera uses the MPEG-4 codec and it's video files has the extension of .MP4. No manual came with this video camera but Sanyo directed the user to a web site that have an emanual for the Sanyo VPC-CG102 that I downloaded to an USB flash drive. I highly recommend this video camera for anyone who likes to shoot video in a well lighted area. I do not recommend this video camera for use in any dim or dark area. Because I am using the Sanyo VPC-CG102 only in a well lighted environment I gave it a rating of 5 stars as the video view on a HDTV is just outstanding, the best that I have seen from any HD video camera.
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on November 22, 2010
i have a decent understanding of photography, but i am far from professional. the user manual for the cg102 is NOT extensive at all. however, you can look at the manual for the previous model cg10 for answers to many questions.

for a sub-$200 dollar camcorder/camera, i would rate the cg102 as a good buy. under AMPLE lights, the cg102 can produce very decent photos and videos. certainly, dedicated cameras in the same price range will give you crispier still photos (larger optics maybe?), but for an average joe/jane it's good enough for everyday (i.e., not artsy) use. indeed, under TYPICAL INDOOR lighting, any sub-$200 camcorder will not shine including this one. a tripod will help, but won't solve the low-light problem.

the cg102 is highly portable (shirt-pocket-ish) and lightweight (cell-phone-ish) and it has many features that you will NOT find in a $100-200 camcorder like 2-meter flash, optical zoom, 14MP stills, stereo mic, optional AC power, manual focus, manual exposure, sdXc-ready, etc. in addition, it can be used as a webcam (mainly for windows; linux UVC drivers iffy) and a digital voice recorder.

the built quality is average as it has flimsy doors to the battery, sdhc card, and AC power. also i believe the tripod hole thread is plastic. if you want the same camcorder but with much better built quality, get the waterproof version (vpc-cA102), though the cA102 is more costly and quite a bit heavier.

[updates: 11/29/2010]
factory 700mA battery lasted on average 51-56 minutes when recording at 1080i60 with screen brightness set to 3. you probably have to set screen brightness to the minimum to get the 60 minutes claimed in the manual. non-factory (ebay-ish) batteries labeled at 980-1100mA typically lasted between 30-45 minutes recording under the same conditions.
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on November 3, 2010
I purchased this product for two reasons, I was in the market for a small camcorder because my wife and I were just about to have a baby, and a friend of mine bought the VPC-CG20 which I played with and liked. He had mentioned this model to me but decided he could live without the extra features and stuck with the CG20. I budgeted about $300 but so I found this price and the features really appealing, not to mention that in the couple of minutes I played with the CG20 I really liked it. However, once I received this product and played with it for a month, there are some things that others have pointed out that I just couldn't get past. Bullet points:

Pros:
- I love the form factor (this is a personal things, but the pistol grip style felt very comfortable to me).
- Features. For the price, I couldn't believe how many features there were compared to the Flip or other similar products.
- Daylight video quality. I recored with 720p since that is my TV's max res and I felt the difference from 1080i to 720p wasn't great enough. This helps save some hard drive space as well. Daylight quality was great.
- Relatively fast startup. I don't have much to compare to but it was certainly fine for me.
- Capable of widescreen still shots. Great since now most computer monitors and all TV's are widescreen.
- Ease of use. Not exactly one-button like the Flip, but really is very easy to use.

Cons:
- Low light video quality. It's been mentioned a ton here, but it really is bad. And it doesn't take much. During the day, my condo gets very good light indoors with the curtains open on a sunny day. But the video quality takes such a hit as compared to outdoor daylight. I took this golfing with me and even in late afternoon the picture took a huge hit. The picture is grainy and it makes this camera very tough to focus, which leads to...
- Auto focus. Again, something that's been mentioned here. It really does take too long to focus on the subject in the frame. Just not acceptable.
- Image Stabilization. This feature doesn't work at all. When you're walking with the camera, or recording movement, you don't notice it on the camera's screen. But once you play it back on a 50" TV, it becomes very noticeable. Even on my computers 22" monitor is was extremely noticeable.
- Moving image. When panning the camera, the picture often broke up.

To me, the Cons were a deal breaker. Having a newborn, most of the video we would be taking would be indoors so the low light problem would be a huge issue. Plus, I didn't want to have to buy another camera for a while, but once my baby became more active and moved around a lot more, the image stabilization and panning just wouldn't have been good enough. In the end, I returned this and spent a little extra on the Panasonic HDC-SD60K. Amazon had it on sale through J&R for $340 so I took a shot in the dark and love it. To me, considering it sold for $450+ most of the time, it was a steal of a value. I would've given this camera (Sanyo) 2.5 stars but gave it 3 mostly because of the features. I would recommend either spending a little extra, or going with something different at this price point.
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on May 3, 2010
Everytime I purchase any electronic product, I do a decent amount of research before choosing it, as I did before buying this camcorder. Some of the important features for me were:

- External drives to store videos
- Video quality
- Photo quality
- Video/photo quality in low light settings
- Flash for Photo
- Camera Lens size
- Cosmetic design
- Batter life
- Ability to shoot yourself, while seeing how it shows on the video
- Price

The contenders were:

- Flip line (UltraHD, MinoHD)
- Sanyo Xacti line (CG-102, CG-20, etc.)
- Kodak line (Zi8, PlaySport)

All of the above had pros and cons.

Flip: I didn't choose Flip because it didn't have ability to have external storage, limiting # of hours I can shoot, and I also read their camera feature sucked.

Kodak: Kodak Playsport was the cheapest with $130, and it was really durable. But it was ugly. It also lacked stereo audio, and bad Camera feature. Zi8 looked much nicer, but it lacked good Camera feature. Both were bad in low lighting.

Sanyo: CG102 was the best. It had the biggest lens of all of the choices, zoom levels were not even comparable as it was so good compared to other choices, you stored everything on the SDHC card, and it had full Camera feature, such as abilty to control ISO, and shuter speed. Some had complained about it not begin good at low lighting, but this one being the only camera with ability to control ISO, I don't know how other camcorders can be any better. Also, you can flip the LCDs back and forth, so you can watch yourself while filming yourself, which is great. It also has "real" flash, not the stupid LED ones, for the Camera. Neither Flip nor Kodak has "real" Flash. CG102 also has stereo mic. One of the major downside, however, is that CG102 was the most expensive of the bunch with $230, which was almost twice the cost of Kodak Playsport.

At any event, CG102, blew the ballpark out when compared against any of its competitors. I have been using it for past few days, and I love it, and it's everything I needed in a camcorder/camera combo.
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on May 14, 2011
I grew up with film cameras and have owned Hi-8 digital video cameras as well as a Canon Sure Shot digital. The primary attractive feature of this camera is its amazing small size and ability to store hours of video. I bought a 32 GB card and only filled 17 GB on a two-week trip to Hong Kong with family, and I had the camera going alot. I love to take pictures and edit them into a DVD to share with family. However, I found that it's quickest to drag the raw files onto my hard drive in bulk before importing them into iPhoto or iMovie on my Mac, because the HQ264 format gets expanded into DV format as they get imported, and this can take a long time. In addition, sometimes the software makes errors during the download, and certain files need to be imported a second time. What can I say? iMovie sucks.

Keeping three batteries charged was sufficient to get me through a day's worth of shooting, which often consumed approximately one and a half batteries' worth of charge. Following others' advice, I bought the batteries on e-Bay, for $5 each. In general, I would say the quality of the images is quite good, although it seems to underexpose about one stop when set to auto, which is what I used most of the time. It takes some experimentation with the menus to decide which settings work the best, and the downloaded PDF manual isn't very detailed in its explanations of the settings. Entering the menus to change the settings is very tedious, unlike a film camera where there are only two adjustment rings on the lens, readily available. There is a nice "shortcut" feature on the joystick button, but your thumb movements have to be very deliberate or you will accidentally change something you didn't intend to change. It's impossible to start up the camera in time for "grab shots" of quickly passing opportunities, and the shutter delay on still shots is frustratingly slow.

Overall, it's a great camera for travel because of its portability, and not so great for fine photography.
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