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on June 6, 2010
Better than a Flip -- this tiny pocket camcorder is packed with features you'd expect in more expensive camcorders. However, the only two significantly useful features are the electronic stabilization and swingout LCD. Compared to Flip-style camcorders or digital cameras with fixed LCD viewfinders you can shoot useful hand-held video from a variety of positions without the shakes.
- The auto-focus works great, giving you better composition compared to fixed-focus Flips. Turn on macro focus and you can shoot tiny bugs 1cm away.
- The 5x optical zoom works fine but its little button is tough to control, especially during one-handed shooting. The GH2 is easy to operate with the right hand: flip the LCD with a pinkie, press the top record button with the thumb, shoot from the hip.
- Audio is surprisingly good due to the microphone placement on the LCD cover, facing your subject.
- The flash is great for taking indoor stills, with still picture quality comparable to other small digital cameras.
- Battery life is ok, I got 1.5 hours in SD shooting (a static shot). However, in "field use" recording clips in HD, taking several flash pictures, and using focus and zoom, I get about 45min battery life.
- Low light picture quality is average (as all camcorders are) but turn on the "high gain" feature and you'll capture usable video that most camcorders won't get.
- Manual features available made me LOL! There's a lot. You'll have to read the manual a few times.
- Picture quality is pretty good. Shots taken at 1080i setting viewed on a 52" 1080i TV look great, with good detail and color. The GH2 records 1080i video at about 17Mbits/s. You'll need a decent computer to edit HD files.
- Webcam: Fixed at VGA size @15fps and no manual control it's a very basic webcam.

Cons:
- Bugs: the GH2 locked up on me once -- popping the battery cures it.
- Construction: the GH2 feels like an large clamshell cellphone. Not as robust as a Kodak Zx1, for example. Just don't drop it.

Overall a great value in a convenient little package.
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on August 11, 2010
This camera is much smaller than I expected from the pictures, just about pocket-sized for a guy. 1080i HD video looks great too. It has a ton of features for the price, optical zoom being a notable one. The camera claims to come with onboard memory, but don't expect to use it. It holds about 20 seconds of HD video. Don't let that turn you away though! Get a 16GB Class 6 SDHC card (like this one: Transcend 16 GB Class 6 SDHC Flash Memory Card TS16GSDHC6E [Amazon Frustration-Free Packaging]), and you'll have 2 hours capacity. I'd make sure the card is at least Class 6 so as to minimize saving delays, this way you can rapid-fire several HD clips without waiting for the camera to finish saving.

Saw elsewhere in the reviews that the manual is hard to find. It is indeed! Once you finally track down the PDF on Sanyo's site, that turns out to just be the shorter "User Guide". This directs you to download the full Manual, but neglects to tell you where!

Fortunately I managed to track down the English manual on the Japanese Sanyo support site. Edit: See comments on this review for the link.
The URL says GH1 but the manual is actually for all GH series cameras, this one included. Bookmark this for later if you order =)
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on September 24, 2010
I never write reviews but depend on them heavily when making purchases, so I am going try to help someone else out. I was looking at a higher end xacti camera and was about to pull the trigger when this was released. I couldn't find any reviews but one Radio Shack in town actually had one of these cameras. My son had a baseball tournament that weekend so I figured I buy it and try it out. For $200 I wasn't expecting much and assumed I'd return it. I was blown away at the quality as was everyone else who viewed it. There are some gotchas though.

First, you obviously can not buy plain old flash cards for this. I tried class 4 and it was useless at 1080p. Class 6 works much better but also has a problem. When filming a baseball game I set it on a tripod and the 1080 was amazing. When filming a football game I didn't use a tripod and I got a choppy mess. It cannot keep up with writing the video when panning at 1080 even with class 6. I have not tried the class 10 yet, but everything I have read tells me that no video camera needs class 10 memory. Having said that, I cannot see much difference between the 1080 and 720 quality except the video file sizes which are huge. The 720 setting is perfect on motion, panning, and quality. At 60 fps you have the ability to really slow down the motion while easily controlling it on a computer with the arrow keys. It is fantastic for analyzing a baseball swing or golf swing and see the point of impact.

The battery is the weak spot. Buy extras and have them ready. If you get over an hour of continuous filming, you are lucky. Research your flash memory based on user reviews from sites like newegg or amazon. DO NOT go to the local Best Buy and just grab something off the shelf. Never buy a class 6 stick over 8GB, and preferably nothing over 4GB. They larger sticks have many problems with corruption and you can spend a lot of money replacing these things. A reliable 4GB can be found for around $20 and get you 2 hours at high quality.

Power button can be irritating, and the record button can as well. Those are things you will work out though.

Simply put, you cannot possibly argue that the quality of this camera far outweighs the cost. It is the best purchase I've made in a long time, and I am a really difficult customer to please.

I tend to be overly verbose which is why I don't write reviews so I apologize for that.
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on August 2, 2011
--First of all if you want to be really entertained, purchase this camcorder (or almost any other product) and then go back and read the 1 & 2 star reviews. If you are not capable of reading, internet browsing, experience a malfunction that can occur on even the most expensive electronic products (Amazon is great with returns), don't have an HDTV or monitor, or your computer is a dinosaur (i.e. it still has an 8" floppy drive), then perhaps technology isn't for you in the first place and you should record your memories either in your head or your smart phone that you still don't know how to use after 3 months...sorry, I am done ranting for now.
--Secondly, my review for this product. I am a slightly higher than average video nerd. I have hundreds of hours of HD video for the first 2 years of my daughter's life that I have used to create and upload edited videos (using Cyberlink Power Director 9 and YouTube). I own a refurbished Canon Vixia HF10, which I can't speak highly enough about and I include as a measure of satisfaction with this product. I purchased this Sanyo for a wrestling team that I coach (I don't trust middle school kids with my expensive camera much farther than I can throw them...which is fun, by the way). In comparison with the HF10, the video quality honestly rivals the much more expensive camcorder. I compared side-by-side videos. (Rant coming) I think many people are reviewing this product expecting 3D blu-ray quality home videos. Buying this camcorder gets you pretty decent HD video for pretty darn cheap. For all of you review junkies...There is another good detailed review of this product by another consumer at Sanyo's product website that many of you fellow "Amazonians" may miss. [...]
--To get a better idea of this product's features/functions, check out the user manual at the site above. What has not been stressed enough in any reviews is the size of this thing. I thought my Canon was small since I could stick it in my pocket. The Sanyo is dwarfed by the Canon. The size specs on Amazon are for the box it comes in. This camera actually measures 4.25" x 1.375" x 2.00"...except for the raised zoom button. I bought a medium sized Zeikos bag that can fit this camera in the side pouches where memory cards and cords are typically stored (which may come in handy when a kid tries stealing it out of the bag and can't find it right away).
--PROS: Cheap HD camcorder with good video quality. Pictures are good too. Ridiculously small for a fully functional HD camcorder/camera. Can handle any type of SD card including Eye-Fi and SDXC. Capable of simple on-board video and photo editing. Plus it even has a lens cover.
--CONS: Battery life is pretty disgusting (up to 45-50 minutes realistically and you need to take out the battery to charge it), so either buy extra batteries from Amazon or purchase a 5V AC adapter (not included) from Monoprice for 7.85 shipped. Also, using the internal memory is a joke (90 seconds for the lowest video quality setting, a whopping 21 seconds on full HD). All the memory specs are in the online manual. You'll need an 8GB or higher card if you want to actually use this thing. There is not a good measure of battery life remaining displayed on the LCD screen. My Canon gives you minutes, this thing gives you a bar similar to your phone, but a little worse (full, half, and low).
--This would also be a great camera for a vacation, student, classroom, office, etc. It gets 5 stars for comparable HD quality to a $600+ camcorder. My biggest wish list item for this product is for a better battery life indicator. This is not the best camera on the market, but that should not come as a surprise. If you are on the entry-level camcorder market, buy this one. I bought this camera (used), case, tripod with case, and a 16GB card for under $140. Thanks Amazon. No, I do not work for Amazon. I live on a teacher's salary, so Amazon is my best friend.
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on December 19, 2010
Overall this little guy is awesome! EXCELLENT quality video for such a small camera, it's not shaky at all when hand held. It's really feature packed and user friendly. After spending 10+ hours researching mini HD cams like the flip, samsung, panasonic, kodak, etc., I bought this one and am extremely happy with my purchase! Its perfect for my needs which are video blogging and recording special spur-of-the-moment activities. A tip for video bloggers, if you want to make the background blurry put the camera in Super Macro mode and use spot focus. This makes the camera look like it's using a $2000 lens. It's great.

Pros:
1. Smaller than my iPhone (with otter box case).
2. Excellent video quality.
3. Not shaky for such a small camera.
4. Macro feature makes everything look magical.
5. Has all the features I need and isn't missing a thing. Even has Manual exposure settings.
6. Easy to hold and operate controls pointed at yourself or pointing away from you.
7. Sound quality is great.

Cons:
1. Battery life is about 40 minutes. I got the Wasabi battery kit for this camera to compensate. Wasabi Power® Battery and Charger Kit for Sanyo DB-L80, DB-L80AU, VPC-CA102, VPC-CG10, VPC-CG102, VPC-CG20, VPC-CS1, VPC-GH2, VPC-GH4, VPC-PD2 It's got 2 batteries with 1000/MaH plus a car/home charger which charged my batteries in less than 30 minutes from a full drain.
2. The screw mount on the bottom is in a bad place if you use suction cup mounts in your car. It's at the very front tip under the lens rather than being centered and puts the body of the camera far behind the mounting point which i found caused the camera not to work well with most of my suction cup mounts. It's not too much of a headache, but for my needs it created a bit of a problem. For normal tripod use it wont be an issue.
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on February 29, 2012
I was very displeased with the service I received from Sanyo and will never purchase a Sanyo product again because of it. I purchased the camera in August of 2011, and in less than 6 months from purchasing it the camera had a defect and one of the main boards malfunctioned and the camera no longer worked. Sanyo has a 1 year warantee on their products so I figured that everything would be ok, the camera would be fixed. When I sent it in though they told me that although the cost of the part was covered, because they did guarantee the camera, the warantee on the cost of the labor to fix the camera was only for 3 months and that it was going to cost almost half the cost of the origonal price of the camera to fix the part that was supposedly under "warantee"? How does this make sense? Why would you promise me that this camera would work for a year and if it didn't assure me you would take care of it, just to have this loop hole in your back pocket to make sure that if you did not hold up on your end of the warantee you would still get your money's worth? A very shady way of doing business. Again I will never purchase from Sanyo again, and I would hope that Amazon would look further in to the type of company they are doing business with.
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on July 31, 2011
I'm no professional photographer or videographer but I've shot thousands and thousands of still shots in the past ten years or so. But I want the ability to post HD quality video to YouTube and elsewhere but not pay an arm and a leg. I did a lot of internet research before deciding to give the Sanyo VPC-GH2 a shot at fulfilling my wish list.
It worked.
I've had it only a few days now but I'm pleased with this camera!
Yes, it's lightweight and perhaps not the most robust build quality ever. But, folks, for about $150 on Amazon.com, you're getting a full HD-capable video camera as well as a still camera capable of shooting 14MP-sized pics.
Yes, it does shake a bit, partly because of user error (hey, I'm not 25 anymore!) and also because of its very, very light weight. I recommend a tripod if possible.
There are a lot of complaints about battery life. So buy a few extras (they're quite reasonably priced) and pop a fresh one in when the camera starts warning you about running out of gas.
Playing full 1080p vids on my HD TV yielded incredible results. The picture is simply eye-popping!
I am stunned that a name like Sanyo can produce a dual purpose camera this good for this price.
Amazing!
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on July 10, 2010
This camcorder is GREAT for the price!!! Comes with a lot of features including Face Chaser Technology. It is a dual camera meaning it allows you to take 14MP still images as well as Full 1080P video! This is one of the very few camcorders in the 100 to 200 dollar price range that can record 1080P video at 60FPS as opposed to 30FPS. That is an amazing ability. I am greatly surprised in the superb video quality of this camcorder and would recommend people to buy it if they want to transfer from Standard Definition and enter the world of High Def content! The camcorder operates flawlessly and is very intuitive for beginners. Note though, you must download the manual for the Sanyo VPC-GH2 of the Sanyo main website. I couldn't ask for anything better in this price range. The only major disappointment of this camcorder is the fact that it doesn't take good low light videos. When recording in low light conditions it looks grainy and the FPS is rather slow. I tried playing around with the exposure settings, white balance, u name it! It just wouldn't cooperate. That's the only down side to this camcorder! I would recommend purchasing this item!
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on July 21, 2011
Most of the other reviews on this product are spot on. The picture and video quality is great when the light is good. Night time quality (especially for video) is average or even below average. I have used this for now 2 - 3 months.

Pros
Price - great pruce you can't beat it
ease of use - If you don't want to do too much, just point and click of start taking the video, this is great.
size - the size is small and it's very very easy to carry it with you.
Ability to take pictures while you are video recording.

Cons
There are 3 main complaints I have with this.
1) The hand stabalizer is horrible. No matter how stable your hands the video is almost always jerky.
2) I put a 8Gig class 10 SD card but it still takes forever after taking a picture, to get to the point where I can take the next picture. Sometimes the moment is gone. There is no options of having multiple shots. I will try and turn of the picture review and see if that helps.
3) the zoom while using a camera is really bad. It would seem like you are zoomed in, but when you depress the shutter button half way the picture zooms out. I have to soom in a lot more to compensate for that. If someone knows why that happens or how it can be fixedm, I would really appreciate.
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on January 12, 2011
This camera is TINY! My parents have a Sony HandyCam that writes to DVR and it is huge! And heavy! This thing could probably fit in a shirt pocket! It wouldn't be the most attractive thing ever haha but it could probably be done. I love the swivel display screen, and the controls work well for me. The quality of pictures are pretty good compared to a lot of video cameras I have used. It takes a second for the camera to actually take the picture though so you don't always capture what you want! SD cards are so easy to use, but make sure you have a class 6 or more and I would roll with a 4 or 8g card if you plan to shoot totally in hd. The quality is very pretty, especially for the size of camera and what it cost. Even though it felt like I was very shaky, my walking and using it outside did not appear too bad on the big screen. That was something I was concerned about. The by lamp resolution is the greatest but if you use better angles it still works out. I definitely suggest the 2 batteries and car charger that run some 13-15 dollars on amazon. Also, you may run into the issue of the video quality being Mp4 and way too good for your computer. However, when played directly on the tv you can see its true quality. I have yet to test out burning it to a dvd, but I plan to do that soon and will report back.
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