camcorders

Sanyo Xacti VPC-HD1010 Camcorder Review

here aren\'t too many ultra-compact camcorders capable of delivering full 1920 x 1080 HD video. Those that do, like the Sony HDR-TG1, are usually geared towards beginners or users looking for an easy-to-use travel item. Enter the Sanyo Xacti VPC-HD1010 ($799 MSRP), an ultra-compact device packed with so many manual controls it almost sounds like a professional camcorder on paper. Surprisingly, the camcorder was also able to put up some incredible video performance results in our testing. The trouble is, regardless of how good the quality is or how many features the camcorder has, the Sanyo HD1010 is still a cheaply made device—with awkward handling, bad button layout, poor auto controls, and terrible menu structure. Nevertheless, with the ability to control aperture, shutter speed, ISO, exposure and image settings, combined with an external microphone output, 8 video record settings (including a 30P mode), and 9 photo qualities (including a 7fps photo sequence feature)—pound for pound, you\'re looking at one of the most versatile camcorders in the world.

November 05, 2008
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Format

Compression* (4.00)*

Sanyo_VPC-HD1010_Vanity_180.jpg

The Sanyo VPC-HD1010 records video in high definition and standard definition, as well as high speed and low-quality web sizes:

*HD Mode

*- (Full-HD) 1920 x 1080, 60fps

  • (Full-SHQ) 1920 x 1080, 30fps

  • (HD-HR) 1280 x 720, 60fps

  • (HD-SQH) 1280 x 720, 30fps

*SD Mode

*- (TV-HR) 640 x 480, 60fps

  • (TV-SHQ) 640 x 480, 30fps

  • (Web-SHR) 448 x 336, 300fps

  • (Web-SHQ) 320 x 240, 30fps

Sanyo clearly does not skimp on the options here. The list of possibilities is daunting for beginners wondering what mode is best for them. In short, we recommend always shooting in the best quality – you can always reduce the quality later with editing software, but you can never increase quality.

Regardless of the size, the video clips are encoded in the MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 format. These files are easily imported to a computer using USB, and can be played back with QuickTime or several other media players (some may require additional plug-ins).

Sanyo_VPC-HD1010_ports_SD_DC_250.jpg

The Sanyo HD1010 records to SD/SDHC cards.

Media* (6.00)*

All video and stills are recorded to removable SD or SDHC memory cards, widely available at camera shops, drug stores, and online. Below is a chart that gives a sample of recording times in different qualities.

 

  1920x1080 60fps 1920x1080 30fps 1280x720 60fps 1280x720 30fps 640x480 60fps 640x480 30fps 448x336 300fps 320x240 30fps
2GB 19 min 22 min 22 min 29 min 43 min 82 min 32 min 316 min
4GB 37 min 43 min 43 min 58 min 85 min 165 min 64 min 633 min
8GB 64 min 87 min 87 min 115 min 171 min 332 min 129 min 1272 min

The memory cards load from the back of the Sanyo HD1010, behind a plastic door.

Editing* (5.00)

*The Sanyo VPC-HD1010 has an unusual in-camera editing system, which allows you to cut or join video clips without transferring them to a computer. The option is accessed through the second tab of the playback menu. Unfortunately, the system is so difficult to use (considering all the edits are made with a joystick) that performing anything more than the simplest of edits would be a ridiculous adventure.

Besides the dreadful in-camera editing feature, the Sanyo HD1010 ships with the Sanyo Software Pack 9.3, which includes Nero 8 Essentials, Xacti Screen Capture 1.1, and an Instruction Manual.

Everything about editing process with this camcorder is complicated. As soon as you connect to a computer, the HD1010 prompts you with two questions: is this a computer or a printer? The camcorder should be able to determine this on its own. When you select 'computer,' there are four more options:  Card Reader, MTP, Screen Capture, and PC Camera. Why all these choices, and what on earth do they mean?! It's a terrible interface, and our recent reviews of the Pure Digital Flip Mino and its kin have sparked a new frustration with how complicated camcorders can be.

The Nero SmartStart interface is no great shakes either. The screen is cluttered with options. Why would we need 'News' from Nero – an RSS aggregator from my video editing software?! WHY?

Sanyo_HD1010_edit_News.jpg

When we boot this software, we should see one thing—how to import our video and edit a movie. Instead, you have all these tabs full of options.

Sanyo_HD1010_edit_VideoEdit.jpg

To put a movie together, choose the third tab. The interface here is a little more familiar for those who have edited before, but it's not particularly well done. When you attempt to access clips, the software tells you that clips must first be copied from the camcorder to the computer to create a local file. If that's the case, why didn't the software prompt you to import clips before you started?

Our recommendation is to find a better editing software and use that instead.

Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

Sections

  1. Performance
  2. Format
  3. Auto / Manual Controls
  4. Still Features
  5. Handling and Use
  6. Audio / Playback / Connectivity
  7. Other Features
  8. Conclusion & Comparisons
  9. Photo Gallery
Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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