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Old Nov 4, 2010, 3:50 PM   #1
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Default Sanyo Xacti

I'm quite taken by the design of these cameras, and know people who have them. But I find the choice listed (eg. by Amazon) utterly bewildering, and I don't see any help on Sanyo's website.

I want pretty well the highest quality video (1080p), I don't care that much about stills though good ones would be a bonus, I'd like reasonably decent battery life, and I like the idea of the camera being to some extent waterproof. I want to be able to use it with Windows and Mac, or at any rate I have both types of computer.

There appears to be a vast range of Xactis at widely disparate prices, with very little clue as to how to distinguish between them. Can anyone help? And am I right/sensible in targeting Xacti as a good buy?
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Old Nov 4, 2010, 7:32 PM   #2
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The Xactis have excellent quality video but poor IS and are reportedly user-unfriendly. If you want great PQ on a budget, they are an excellent choice but best results will be had with a tripod. If you want to carry the cam around for casual use, I would probably look into something with better IS, such as Panasonic or Sony or even Canon.
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Old Nov 4, 2010, 8:55 PM   #3
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I am averse to buying Sony anything. Are there any particular Panasonic or Canon models you'd recommend? And why "even Canon" - are they not a good choice?
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Old Nov 4, 2010, 11:35 PM   #4
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I agree with you about Sony tbh. I only mentioned it because they have a very good IS in their consumers camcorders and probably the best low light performance also. However, PQ falls behind the competition as does color accuracy. I said "even Canon" simply in reference to IS - I think Panasonic's and Sony's are better on consumer camcorders.

Which one to go for really depends on your price range. The high end models from all manufacturers are near $1000 which I assume is way over your intended budget if you're looking at Xactis. If Canon and Panasonic have new models coming soon (and they probably do), prices on the top tier and middle/upper-middle tier models will probably drop considerably. I picked up a Panasonic HS250 last year ($900 2nd model down) for $550 in Nov/Dec. At the same time the $700 Canons were $350-399.
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Old Nov 5, 2010, 11:24 AM   #5
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No, budget is not a constraint, within reason. Size, packaging and utility are what matter, as well of course as quality of output. I do want something that records solid state, and don't want tapes, discs, or anything else that moves. I already have two Sony mini-DV recorders. It's just that the Xacti seemed at first glance to tick many of the boxes. My brother in England has one - no idea which model - and seems very happy with it.

I live in a very humid and salty environment on a Caribbean island. Protection against the environment is critical. I actively want to be able to use whatever I buy during the torrential rain of a hurricane. But I've as yet done no research and I find what's out there utterly bewildering.

I also don't understand that much about video formats. I believe that I want 1080p, but I'm not sure about that, nor if there are subdivisions that I should distinguish between. And I currently have neither the patience nor the time to delve deeply into it - I'm shooting a beach wedding (stills) in a few months and I want a video camera to record the actual ceremony, and of course to keep for more general use afterwards.
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Old Nov 5, 2010, 2:21 PM   #6
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Well if you want to use it out in a torrential downpour without an underwater case or anything, that will really limit your selections. Kodak's Playsport and the Sanyo Xacti are the only two that even come to mind in terms of dedicated camcorders.

1080/60i will give you the best motion. 1080/30p should give you the best PQ. 720p looks great on a 720p TV and even on some 1080p TVs. My 1080p TV isn't one of them; my TV does better with DVD to 1080p than it does with 720p to 1080p. The top end Panasonics now offer 1080/60p but I don't think you'll find that on a waterproof model.

VPC-CA100 is the only waterproof Xacti I think. The problem is that this model (and perhaps all of the Xactis) use a digital IS instead of an optical IS. Digital IS is not as effective plus it will degrade the quality of the video as it compensates for movement. This is why I mentioned the tripod w/ Xacti models. However, the Kodak Playsport also lacks an optical IS system.

The short answer: You will ultimately have to give up waterproofness or compromise on output quality.
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