Thursday, May 31, 2007

Puppet Sanyo Xacti HD2 vs clever Canon HV20 or groovy JVC GZ-HD7: it's time to buy a HD-camcorder or wait?

It's impossible to talk about HD camcorders without mentioning Sanyo's Xacti family. These ultra-compact cams have vaguely gun-shaped design as Sanyo's other Xacti camcorders. The model of 2006 Xacti HD1 record HD Mpeg-4 movies at 1280 x 720 pixels and 30 fps working in the powerful 16:9 widescreen format. HD1 has effective sensor resolution in 5,100,000 pixels. It is based on a small body with dimensions: 80x119x36mm, weighs 210g and costs abt. $500.
Sanyo VPC-HD1 incorporates a dazzling 2.2-inch OLED screen, and a 10X zoom lens is crammed into this pocket device. Its rotating OLED screen is useful and onscreen menu is bright and easy to read. However Sanyo Xacti HD1 has some troubles: hard-to-maneuver joystick controller; very sluggish autofocus; video and photo look is overly processed. The MPEG-4 video recording options include two wide-screen modes (1,280x720 at 30fps, compressing to either 9Mbps or 6Mbps) and four standard modes (640x480 at 60fps, compressing to 6Mbps; 640x480 at 30fps, compressing to either 3Mbps or 2Mbps; and 320x240 at 15fps, compressing to 684Kbps).
The photo-capture options include two JPEG compression modes for 5.1 megapixels and only a single compression mode each for 0.3, 1.2, and 2.0 megapixels. However Sanyo Xacti HD1 is a cool toy but if you are looking for some greater image quality you need something bigger and more expensive such as JVC's first HD Everio – the GZ-HD7 for $1270-1700.
Does this JVC model justify our Great Expectations? GZ-HD7 is a hard disk camcorder with my famous 3CCD system(look at Two new 3CCD High Definition AVCHD Camcorders from Panasonic - have we been waiting for these? and 7 new 1CCD HD camcorders from Sony – any reasons to buy some or to wait for 3CCD cams posts). It records in MPEG-2 at 30Mbps onto a 60GB hard disk drive, so it has a higher bit rate than HDV MPEG-2 limited to 25Mbps and isn't as efficient as the AVCHD with 15Mbps maximum. Also it has a broadcast pro quality Fujinon lens. GZ-HD& has 3CCD x 1/5, Optical image stabilizer, 2, 8-inch screen, dimensions 91 x 77 x 186 mm and weight 750 g. It is using a variable bit rate MPEG-2 up to 30Mbps which is nice since MPEG-2 works with DVDs, Blu-ray and most video editing systems. The focus ring is excellent, and the Focus Assist makes dialing in crisp manual focus a breeze. In addition, a cluster of image controls on the back of the body that includes shutter speed, aperture and exposure compensation are highly accessible and efficient. In fact with its relatively large body, plethora of external buttons and the focus ring the HD7 feels and handles like a scaled-down prosumer cam. The HD7 records video using a new flavor of MPEG-2 compression that wanders as high as 30 Mbps in Full HD 1920 x 1080 mode. JVC's Everio can be a good choice for those who require an excellent video performance and can't find it with Sanyo Xacti. But HD7 costs two Sanyo HD1s. But if you don't want to run for Full HD, the newest HD camcorder from Sanyo: Xacti HD2 is more interesting. It has a smaller body than HD1 and the same pistol hands grip. Still it has 7 megapixel sensor, 10x, 38mm- to 380mm-equivalent lens and more abilities than HD1. Sanyo VPC-HD2's biggest draw provides its ability to record HD video in MPEG-4 footage at 1,280 x 720 pixel resolution and 30 frames per second, but it keeps a few other tricks up its sleeve. While shooting, the camcorder also can take 7-megapixel still pictures. Most camcorders with still photo capabilities can't shoot at the same time. The screen blanks out and the camcorder freezes for about six seconds when you shoot photos while recording video, but it's still better than nothing and you don't lose any video as it's happening. HD2 included dock supports both component and HDMI cables, so piping video to your television is a snap. The camcorder also comes with a remote control, so you can shoot and play back videos and images without fiddling with the docked camera.
Anyway Sanyo Xacti HD2 is the cool toy too, such as HD1. It has bland video quality, slow focusing and irritating control stick. But what do you want from a pocket camcorder for $595-650? Yes, its image quality can disappoint you. Yet in any case Sanyo HD2 is not bad (and not as expensive as JVC GZ-HD7) choice for travelers. It's using a memory card instead of delicate HDD.
In my opinion Canon's HD-camcorder HV20 with speedy focusing and full HD resolution is more interesting (look at 3 Canon’s HD camcorders: HV10, HV20 and HR10: is only PowerShot TX1 still groovy? post). But if you aren’t ready to pay abt. $990 you can look for a Canon's old model: the HV10 for $700. I think that Sanyo's family Xacti HD1 and HD2 can only compete with Canon PowerShot TX-1. It is also a groovy toy with a memory stick. But if you could wait a little, Canon will certainly make a Full HD camcorder with a memory card. This may happen tomorrow or later. But the HD-cam's race of Sony, Panasonic, Canon, JVC and Sanyo is surely occurring and this will end with some new interesting devices for rational money. For information about $299 HD camcorder look through Aiptek GO-HD vs Sanyo Xacti VPC-HD1 or HD2; $299 HD camcorder attacks HD market.

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