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back to article Sanyo Xacti VPC-HD2000

‘It’s a Dual camera,’ says the little sticker on the side of the vaguely retro, pistol grip, Sanyo Xacti VPC-HD2000 camcorder. Sure it can function as a 12Mp still camera too, but when it comes to video, Sanyo claims the Xacti is the first consumer camcorder to shoot 60 frames per second in 1080p full HD. To achieve this, and …

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some missed features

It's the only prosumer camcorder to offer progressive 60fps (i believe, at least), this not only offers smooth pans, it also offers slo-mo, by re-interpreting the frame-rate via suitable softs. This makes this camcorder unique at the pricepoint. Final Cut Pro has no problem importing this camcorders footage as opposed to the heavy processing loads inflicted by the AVCHD crowd.

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Impressive progressive

The biggest advantage of progressive video comes when it's time to edit. Interlaced video is almost never handled correctly in software, unless you're buying software that costs more than the camera. Like converting an old GIF to JPEG, deinterlacing is damage on top of damage. Progressive scan looks better to start with and looks MUCH better after editing.

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Xacti CA9

Being UK based I went for the CA9 using its waterproof features as weatherproof means, to me anyway, 365 days availability rather than being limited to sunny/dry events.

I have not yet indtalled the Xacti dedicated software preferring iMovie 09 in the first instance.

The CA9 foresakes higher spec HD but still does the 720p stuff and so seems a reasonable compromise to me.

I guess I chose to trade off image quality for weatherproofing...

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ps

size, lightweight bit of kit, doubles up as a still camera, ... neat stuff for sure.

And it, the CA9 that is, takes some stunning vidz :)

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Say it competes with $1,200 USD Canons and Sonys

Ok, so most people are saying this camera's picture quality competes with Sony and Canon cameras over twice it's price. (Canon HF S10 and Sony HDR-XR520V). Camcorderinfo even claims it has much better low light abilities then these two.

If that's true, it makes this a damn good deal. When it's available in the US in June I plan to buy it, and attach a Rode VideoMic (you failed to mention it has an accessory shoe on it) and give it a whirl. If I can get Canon HF S10 quality video at half the price, color me happy!

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No 50fps, blecch

Too bad it does not do 50fps or at least 25fps. Anyone not living in USA, Japan or a handful of other 30fps TV countries will see jerky motion if the output is transcoded to regular TV.

This issue is the main reason I did not buy an earlier generation HDTV Xacti when a friend offered to sell it cheaply. I evaluated it for a few days and found anything involving a smooth motion (eg a playground swing or a carousel) looked horrid on a 50 hz TV set. As my European country is not likely to move to 60 hz in the foreseeable future (not even for HDTV), camcorders that are 30hz or 60hz only are useless.

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Focus? Zoom? Iris?

Where are the rings for focus, zoom or the iris?

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12 Mp interpolated

Or should that be extrapolated? Native resolution appears to be 8.1 Mp (off a teeny tiny 1/2.5" sensor). I thought fake over-hyped resolutions on cameras and scanners went out of fashion a decade ago? Surely no-one's going to be buying this as a stills camera anyway, so why?!

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@Mad hacker

The accessory shoe is hidden under a cover on the top to keep it clean (it's cold not hot I believe so it can't trigger a flash when used as a stills camera).

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Home user or professional

Hmmm 60fps maybe nice when you have the equipment to play it back, but we still live in 25fps land and 60 is not a nice multiple....So the moment you want to put some footage of lets say your kids on a normal DVD to give to granny to play back on her DVD player those pans make her sick with the motion jerkiness....

Great for the US market, but imho not so great for the PAL land if you want to share your footage....If you don't share your footage and like watching on your PS3 or something like that it would be fine...But why have a camera when you don't share....

Just be aware of the useage as otherwise the forums will be full with disappointed people again just like the other models in their range....Me I am the one with the Sony TG3 which is only 1080i but at least in 50i format that I can share my footage with non games console owners...

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Black Helicopters

And the police?

Semi-seriously, I don't think pointing pistol-gripped gadgets at officers around incidents like the G20 one would be too good an idea. I can just see the sniper's justification now! And I couldn't afford two similarly-specced cameras. Also working enough with them until the controls are automatic would be awkward with two different layouts.

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stu
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@MacroRodent

PAL/NTSC ceased to be meaningful when we threw out out CRTs and analogue recordings.

If you have a DVD or a PC, and a flat screen tv or a monitor it makes not a blind bit of difference whether you feed it 24/25/30 or 60fps. It will display if fine.

What exactly is a '50hz tv set' in 2009 ? It does not exist.

720p for example comes in 3 flavours: 24, 25 and 30 (broadcast wise.. though you can obviously have whatever you like). All playback fine at the approporiate rate off a PC onto a monitor or hd tv.

I have numerous video cameras, some shoot 25fps, some 30fps, some 60 fields per second (i.e. AVCHD interflace). As long as your edit sticks to the same fps as the source footage, there is no problem.

you are creating a problem where there is none.

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@stu (on 50hz rates)

"What exactly is a '50hz tv set' in 2009 ? It does not exist."

Everyone I might want to share videos has one. I expect it will be at least a decade or two before I can assume everyone has a flat-screen HDTV- capable set (so why even shoot HDTV ? In the hope the full resolution can be seen and shared in the future).

"I have numerous video cameras, some shoot 25fps, some 30fps, some 60 fields per second (i.e. AVCHD interflace). As long as your edit sticks to the same fps as the source footage, there is no problem."

But when you edit a combined film that contains material from them all, you have to pick one common frame rate for the result, and anything not in the common rate will turn jerky.

By the way, the NTSC rate is not really even 60hz (that would be too easy), but a funny fractional 59.94 or something like that. As I said, Blecch!

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stu
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Happy

@MacroRodent

ok. I hear you. but really.. 2 decades ? I mean I only know one person who still has a CRT tv.

and how are you pumping your home vid into them ? DVD I assume ? Most of which will cope with 25/pal/ntsc/30 fps anyway. i.e. they will do the best they can to interpollate to 50 fields per second.

and yeh, you shoot in HD if you want to. But I was like you 5 years ago, and I shoot all HD now. It just gives you soooo much more freedom for editing even if you end up sticking something on youtube ( http://www.vimeo.com/3084247 .. one of my flights).

sure, compiling clips with different resolutions and framerates is tricky. But it will always be that way - some content needs more temporal info, some more definition (e.g. sky tv broadcast some stuff in 720p30, some in 1080i60.. same datarate. different tradeoff). A decent NLE takes care of it (I use sony vegas).

And yeh.. I know 'ntsc' is 29.97. But even then some digital cameras shoot in true 30 fps, so you ALWAYS need to be aware of source fps.

stu

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@stu

>really.. 2 decades ? I mean I only know one person who still has a CRT tv.

I guess my target audience (extended family members) aren't so much into keeping up with technology. They keep tellies around until they break or otherwise deteriorate into being unwatchable. Old PAL sets may or may not be able to lock into 30fps.

So my solution is to stick to 25/50 rates in all cameras (except for mobile phones, where there is no choice but which have crappy quality anyway).

> http://www.vimeo.com/3084247

Very nice!

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