Sanyo Xacti VPC-SH1

Full review: Affordable and stylish Xacti HD camcorder

Image 1 of 3 Sanyo Xacti VPC SH1
Sanyo Xacti VPC-SH1
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Sanyo Xacti VPC-SH1
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Sanyo Xacti VPC-SH1 colours

Decent HD movies on a budget? This Sanyo Xacti camcorder is for you

This neat and ergonomically sound range-topping dual video and stills solution from Sanyo offers Full HD 1920x1080 pixels recording and interpolated 10 megapixel photos.

Best news of all for those on a budget perhaps, is that the suggested retail price is £350, close to half that of rival palm-sized devices recording like the Canon HF-M31 and Panasonic HDC-SD600.


More on Sanyo camcorders:

Sanyo Xacti CS1 review

Sanyo Xacti adds three HD dual cameras to range

Sanyo Xacti SH1 camcorder launches this week


Shot composition and review is via flip-out 2.7-inch widescreen LCD at the side, but we could have done without the instructional voice samples Sanyo always seems fit to include on its Xactis. These quickly become more irritating than informative.

There’s no built in hard drive (apart from a modest 50Mb), so pictures are stored to SD/SDHC or SDXC card (and also wireless Eye-Fi media). Nor is there an integral sliding lens cover to protect it when inactive.

Sanyo Xacti VPC-SH1: Controls

Weighing a portable 235g with battery and card inserted, the VPC-SH1 sports a 35mm equivalent lens and what its manufacturer calls a 30x Advanced zoom (a combination of optical and digital capability).

Curiously, the main body is slimmer at 43mm in depth than the (wider) width of the lens surround at the front – giving rise to an indentation that enables a snug grip, in the absence of the detachable side strap sported by most other camcorders. Also unusual is the fact that the device has two sets of record buttons – one pair, covering both photo or video, at the back, where they fall conveniently under the thumb, and the second tucked just behind the lens at the front where the middle finger does the same job.

A flash sits under the lens at the front of the Sanyo Xacti VPC-SH1, next to a power port for hooking the camera up directly to the mains. For a relatively inexpensive option the zoom action is commendably smooth, steady and moreover silent.

Output is via mini HDMI port (no cable is supplied) as well as combined USB/AV, with footage recorded in Motion JPEG – a format more accessible for many than AVCHD, which older PCs struggle with.

Sanyo Xacti: VPC-SH1: Motion capture

Recording is also really just as simple as pressing the relevant stills or video button to begin, and once again to end. Replaying video on an HDTV, colours are well saturated and sound quality, even with some audible microphone hiss, is adequate for a device of its size. Low light results in softer images however. It goes without saying that you’ll need an up-to-date computer and flat panel TV to really get the best viewing experience from the Sanyo’s HD recordings.

Captured stills are in effect four megapixels, but these are interpolated to 10 megapixels in-camera – so results aren’t quite as sharp as true 10MP shots.

Still, the compact size and reachable controls ensures the Sanyo Xacti VPC-SH1 should appeal to many and get plenty of use – and perhaps more than more expensive, better performing devices.

The Sanyo VPC-SH1 is out now, find out more from Sanyo

Sensor: 1/3.6 inch sensor
Max resolution: 1020x1080i 30fps
Still images: 4MP
Lens: 23x optical
Stabiliser: Digital Image Stabilser
LCD: 2.7inch, 230,000
Sound: Stereo ‘Sound Zoom’
Connectivity: HDMI mini, USB 2.0
Storage: 50MB int, SD/SDHC/SDXC
Dimensions: 43x118x59mm
Weight: 234g (total)