As I planned to have a video camera before my first daughter born, I tried hard to find a good one - in High Definition format. Last time when I was in Shanghai on March 08, I almost purchased Sanyo Xacti HD1000 for 4100 RMB, luckily saved by self-control device (read: money). Now, 6 months later, after browsing and find people review of HD video cam, I ended up in 2 options: Sanyo Xacti HD1000 / HD1010 or Canon HF100. Both have different plus points.
Xacti product brand is always come into a pistol-gun size, ergonomic and fit into a palm, easy to carry to anywhere without needing big bag. Even it can be slipped into jeans pocket. It is lightweight because uses flash memory instead of using mini DV or Harddisk as storage.
Canon HF100 is the latest lineup from Canon, comes in HD output format, also uses flash memory as storage (HF10 model comes with internal memory). Plus point is it uses OIS (Optical Image Stabilizer) to minimalize hand shake.
So the opportunity came last week. Browsing area around Hong Kong Tsim Tsa Shui and Mongkok, all big retail stores such as Fortress and Broadway sell this Xacti for HKD 6680 with HK Warranty (this is actually better than shop warranty but also useless for me).I bought a new video camera last week in Mongkok Computer Centre, latest Xacti model: Sanyo Xacti HD1010, for HKD 3800 (around 4,7 million IDR). So cheap comparing those sold in Mangga Dua for 6,2 million IDR. Why it so cheap? Because it is a parallel import product with only shop warranty (1 year with first 10 days return/replace HK policy, although we can say as purchase at your own risk).
Then I had to separately SD Card for HKD 185. It is Transcend SDHC 8GB Class 6, comparable to a more expensive one SanDisk Ultra II SDHC. They offered me to buy additional battery pack but I refused.
This is Xacti product specification and features taken from Sanyo Digital site:
- HD 1080p (30fps) MPEG-4, AVC/H.264 Digital Video
- HD 720p (60 field/s)
- slow motion 300 fps
- 4 Megapixel Still Images, CMOS
- 2.7" LCD Display
- 10x Optical Zoom
- Video and Still Image Stabilization
- Sequential Shooting - 7 Frames Per Second
- Face Detection "Still Images" - Up to 12 Faces
- Face Chaser "Video" - Up to 12 Faces
- High Quality Audio Recording (AAC)
- Wind Roar & Red Eye Reduction
- Web Cam Function
- HDMI and Component to TV output
It was said that HD1010 is revision update for HD1000. Better focus and in low light mode, and also new features such as face chaser and 300fps shoot.
Sanyo Xacti HD1010 is a beautiful gadget. I used it all the time to shoot both still images and videos. It also can simultaneously shoot video while saving as still image. Picture color is bright and vivid as you can see below.
Night shoot also won't be disappointed
Menu in camera is user-friendly, I only need to know each button functions and I can use it without manual guide. For professional result, I also can do some manual settings on apperture, focus, and ISO.
I have uploaded Xacti HD1010 sample videos on file sharing website, you can download and watch from below link.
- Scenary on day, taken at Disneyland Hong Kong (size: 12 MB, format: MP4)
- Video taken on night, taken at Macau, SAR. (size: 19 MB, format: MP4)
Those video files are original ones, un-edited. You'll need latest Quicktime to play them. It might be a little jumpy if your computer graphic card is not fast enought to handle H.264 HD Format.
Flash Memory and Battery Power
8 GB of Memory can be used for a whole one day. It can record up to 90 minutes of video or thousands of image. It is enough except you want to record a continous football match. Battery life is also quite good, I used it till night. The only day I was running out of battery is when I was in Disneyland, recording this and that, Disney Parade, Mickey Golden Show, and in the night I didn't have any power to record firework show.
So actually it is recommended to have spared battery. The seller offered to sell me HKD 250 for battery, but I was afraid that it was not original so I refused it. FYI, Fortress store sells original battery for HKD 380.
Playback to HDTV is awesome. Put in Xacti Dock, connect using component cable (included) to my Samsung LCD TV 32" and wholaaa.. I can play and browse photo using provided Sanyo Xacti remote control. Video clips are played very smooth, picture and color is better than playing DVD movie (of course, DVD resolutions are below Xacti's one)
Software and OS Compatibility
It is compatible to Windows XP, Vista, and most importantly Mac OS X. You don't need to install device driver, just plug the Xacti to its dock, connect it to Macbook using provided USB cable and Mac will recognize it as external drive. Then I can copy all the files to Picture folder to use with iLife '08 suite. Arrange it using iPhoto or edit video using iMovie '08 and also produce DVD using iDVD.
Sanyo Xacti HD1010 also comes with Nero Essentials 8 OEM for Windows XP. This software can be used to edit movie as well as burn into DVD movie.
Output file for still image is JPG. Using standard compression 4 MP image will be stored as 800-900 KB file. For Video file, Sanyo output H.264 format .MP4. It is a bit harder to play using convensional laptop or PC because of HD quality of video. Footages are a bit chopy or jumpy when I play it using Quicktime 7.5.5 in Mac OS X 10.5.5. Playing HD quality file required a lot CPU resource, sometimes it takes 100% CPU. It is a bit better when I installed avc1decoder codec for Quicktime. Played using Nero Essentials (bundled by Sanyo) in Windows XP is also not any better.
Minor issues for me
Auto-focus got blur sometimes when shooting in low-light, but I believe this also happens to all camera. Electronic image stabilizer works well on me, it reduces shakes while holding this camera. If Sanyo put Optical Image Stabilizer to Xacti family it will be a better product.
I also a bit worry about its small joystick to navigate menu and focus. Sony Ericsson's mobile phones proves that mini joystick are prone to broke. Let's see then.
At conclusion, I am very happy with Sanyo Xacti HD1010. I love its compact and ergonomics design, arm will not get tired holding this, video quality is superior in HD 1080p / 720p. I can take it anywhere just like my pocket camera. And don't forget that this HD Camera is a LOT cheaper and smaller than Sony HD Handycams.