Sanyo Xacti HD2 Inverness

The Sanyo Xacti is a palm-sized digital video camera that's capable of HD resolution capture. The reason it's so small is that the camera records directly on to SD or SDHC digital memory cards.

Kenneth Findlay Photography
01463 242829
59 Craigton Avenue
Inverness
 
John Paul Photography
01463 221682
12 Diriebught Road
Inverness
 
Jack Watson
07756 670 697
22 Swanston Avenue
Inverness
 
Jack Watson Photography
07756 670697
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Ken Roberts Photography
01463 711220
7 West Heather Rd
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Gordon Gillespie Northsport
01463 223288
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Mike Davidson Photography
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24 Greig St
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Anderson Photographs
0871 7811154
3 Gordon Terrace
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Sandy Fea
01463 731612
55 Bellfield Rd
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Brian Watson Photography
01463 225781
Drumdevan Cott
Inverness
 

Sanyo Xacti HD2

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The Sanyo Xacti is a palm-sized digital video camera that's capable of HD resolution capture. The reason it's so small is that the camera records directly on to SD or SDHC digital memory cards. As there's no need for a bulky tape transport this really keeps the size of the unit down. Supplied with the camera are a handy docking station and the cables you'll need to connect it to an HDTV or your Mac.

For a small camera, the Sanyo packs in plenty of features. It has a 10x optical zoom lens with image stabilization and 7.1megapixel CCD to capture at resolutions up to 1280 x 720. There's no built-in viewfinder but it does have a 2.2in LCD for composing your shots. As well as video, the Xacti can capture stills so you've essentially got two digital cameras in one body.

It's fair to say that the Sanyo has an odd shape to it as the lens seems to point skywards. Once you've got it in your hands however, it all makes sense. The way you hold the camera when recording points the lens forwards and makes for a comfortable grip. The LCD screen is only 2.2in but it's bright enough to use comfortably. The controls on the rear of the camera are a bit of a jumble. They look well positioned but in use they tend to be too easily moved or hit by accident. The central menu button is a joystick-type affair, but it's too sensitive and it's very easy to either select the wrong thing or skip past what you wanted altogether.

Other than a few quibbles with the buttons, operation and recording is effortless. The Sanyo will even talk to you to tell you what mode you're in before you start recording. If a running commentary from a computerised voice isn't to your tastes you can turn it off.

Though you can connect the Xacti to a Mac with a USB cable, iMovie can't directly import or control the Sanyo. It's not a great problem though as all you have to do is drag the .mp4 files from the storage card directly on to the iMovie Clips pane to begin transferring the movies you've made.

In standard lighting conditions, the Sanyo produces excellent-quality video clips. It's beyond that of tape-based standard-definition DV cameras by some margin. In low light however, the quality suffers and the image becomes very noisy. It's a shame because in general the clips are very crisp with solid and accurate colour rendition. It shouldn't stop you from buying the Sanyo but it's certainly an area that needs improvement.

Recording to SD card at high resolutions takes up a lot of space so you're going to have to get a few large cards to make the most of the Sanyo. We managed to get 28 minutes and 30 seconds on to a 2GB card. That's extra investment that you need to add to the price of the camera, as there's no card supplied as standard.

The Xacti HD2 is available online for a smidgen over £300, which even with the extra investment on memory cards is a great price. Low-light performance issues aside, the small size, feature set and quality recording make this a really great investment for someone who's after a decent-quality video camera that's light and portable.

Author: Christopher Brennan

Sanyo Xacti HD2