Sanyo Xacti VPC-CA100 Full HD waterproof camcorder

Sanyo Xacti VPC-CA100 review: a Full HD waterproof camcorder for $549

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  • User Reviews (3)
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Sanyo Xacti VPC-CA100
  • Sanyo Xacti VPC-CA100
  • Sanyo Xacti VPC-CA100
  • Sanyo Xacti VPC-CA100
  • Expert Rating

    4.00 / 5
  • User Rating

    2.50 / 5 (of 3 Reviews)


  • Good overall video performance, handles well in and out of the water, consumer-friendly features


  • Buttons feel cheap and flimsy, doesn't float in water

Bottom Line

The Sanyo Xacti VPC-CA100 is a great option for anyone who requires underwater Full HD videos. Despite some minor design flaws, it remains an excellent all-round performer.

Would you buy this?

After one of the coldest winters in living memory, followed by a wet and dreary beginning to summer, the prospect of hitting the beach for some underwater videography might not sound too enticing. But if you do decide to take the plunge, it's hard to look past the Sanyo Xacti VPC-CA100.

waterproof camcorder

The Sanyo Xacti VPC-CA100 (AKA Sanyo Xacti VPC-CA100TAYL/Sanyo Xacti DMX-CA100) is a flash memory-based camcorder that is waterproof to a depth of three metres. It records video in the MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 format to SDHC/SDXC memory cards.

Boasting a 14-megapixel CMOS sensor and Full HD recording capabilities, the VPC-CA100 is easily the most technically accomplished waterproof camcorder on the market (admittedly, this isn't a very big achievement). Equipped with plenty of consumer-friendly features and a decent still photography mode, the Sanyo Xacti VPC-CA100 is a pretty good bargain for the asking price. It will especially suit families looking for a go-anywhere camcorder for the holiday season.

Sanyo Xacti VPC-CA100: Design and handling

The Sanyo Xacti VPC-CA100 shares the same 'pistol-grip' design as the Sanyo Xacti VPC-CA8 (EXBK) and Sanyo Xacti VPC-CS1. Interestingly, Sanyo's previous water-proof camcorder, the Xacti VPC-WH1, sported a traditional camcorder shape. Personally, we prefer a pistol-grip design for underwater use – it lends itself to one-handed operation more. Just make sure you keep a tight grip on it, because the Sanyo Xacti VPC-CA100 doesn't float.

waterproof camcorder
The CA100's pistol-grip design works well underwater

The version we tested came in a garish yellow finish, which seems to be the colour scheme of choice for waterproof camcorders. Those after a more stylish look can opt for the black Xacti VPC-CA100TABK or pink-and-silver Xacti VPC-CA100TAP. Apart from colour, all three models are identical.

With dimensions of 92x123x41mm and weighing 225g, the VPC-CA100 is a little bulkier than its Xacti stable mates. Nonetheless, it will still fit inside your beach bag with minimum hassle.

We were a little unenthused by the Xacti VPC-CA100's control interface. While the buttons are large and easy to find in murky water, they have a cheap, spongy feel to them. Subsequently, we were forced to continually check the 2.7in display to make sure we'd pressed hard enough: a small but annoying quirk. On the plus side, the menu interface is well laid out and easy to get to grips with.

waterproof camcorder
Pictured: Xacti VPC-CA100 control pad

Sanyo Xacti VPC-CA100: Performance

To assess the Sanyo Xacti VPC-CA100's on-land performance, we shot footage in a variety of lighting conditions before playing it back on a Pioneer KURO PDP-C509A plasma TV . Results were above average in optimum lighting conditions, although graininess did become an issue in dimmer environments. All in all, we were fairly impressed with the Sanyo VPC-CA100's video quality: while colours were somewhat inaccurate, our foootage remained sharp and attractive. As expected, results were significantly better in optimum lighting, with sharp, vibrant images awash with fine detail.

In our underwater tests (conducted at the local pool), the Sanyo VPC-CA100 performed ably. The 38mm wide-angle lens captured everything in front of us, with no need to clumsily wade backwards. We would have liked to have seen a viewfinder on the unit for Macro shots and the like, but the fold-out LCD does a pretty good job of capturing the aquatic action. If you want an affordable way to shoot your children underwater (er, with a camera we mean, not a harpoon gun) the Xacti VPC-CA100 is a worthy option.

As Sanyo's marketing helpfully illustrates, the Xacti VPC-CA100 doesn't float.

[Note: The Sanyo Xacti VPC-CA100 is only waterproof for 60 minutes at a time, so make sure to take along a (waterproof) wristwatch.]

Sanyo Xacti VPC-CA100: Additional features

The Sanyo Xacti VPC-CA100 comes with a decent array of inbuilt features for a sub-$600 camera. Some of the menu options on offer include face detection (up to 12 faces simultaneously), face chaser (which gives priority to a specific face), seven scene selections (Sports, Snow & Beach, etc.), red eye correction and a handful of digital filters. The VPC-CA100’s manual modes are mostly nominal, but it’s not like you’re going to be fiddling with the exposure underwater -- simply pointing and shooting is a big enough challenge in itself.

Like the rest of Sanyo's Xacti range, the VPC-CA100 is being marketed as a 'dual camera' due to its ability to capture still images. For once, this distinction might be worth making: our 14-megapixel shots actually looked pretty decent. The wide-angle lens is suitable for framing panoramic shots. (While we're on the topic os lenses, it's worth noting that the VPC-CA100 lacks a lens cover of any kind. This means you need to be extra careful about smudging or cracking the lens while the camera is not in use.

waterproof camcorder
The Sanyo Xacti VPC-CA100 lens lacks a cover

The Sanyo Xacti VPC-CA100 is very attractively priced for what it offers. Indeed, $549 would be a pretty good deal even without the underwater functionality. If you require a Full HD camcorder specifically for underwater videography, the Sanyo Xacti VPC-CA100 will not disappoint.

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this awesome little gadget it a great fun video recorder to take in the pool ,surfing with u , or snorkeling !!!!! i just bought one and it takes a great picture and a very clear video the buttons may be a bit crapy but u will get that with any waterproof camera it will work great under water and take a nice picture the sound will be a little lowwwwwww but in the settings i am pretty sure you should be able to sett it higher but i would make sure to look in to that

i suggest going on to youtube and having a look at some videos of it in action

thanx and have fun

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Jeffrey Shaw



16.9 and other ratios
This is not an underwater camera
• • •

I have had 2 earlier models of the sanyo xacti brand which made me a fan. I brought this underwater model for a trip to Cyprus for a family wedding and it was a disaster. At the Adonis pools outside Pathos (fresh water) the very first time I put the camera into the water it took in water in the lens area. Now I was standing up to my waist with the lens underwater and I had flipped the view screen up so I could see what the lens was seeing basically the camera was less then 4 cm underwater. Thats why I don't rate this camera. I placed camera out in the sun and that seemed to dry it out but all subsequent photos after that had a fog appearance. NB: There was no water or vapor in the battery area only in the lens area. Working the navigation pad takes too long to engage its actual requires a more forceful push then the earlier models and this often sees it jumping from what you are intending to select to another mode. Before I took it into the water I had it set on camera mode 16.9 at the highest setting which gave higher definition pixels for editing. I don't about you but when editing you often see photos within photos and the higher resolution allows you to grab that photo without losing resolution. Overall not a fan of this model




Nearly everything, if the camera works.
The camera suddenly stops working
• • •

After a few months of use,the camera becomes "blind". The screen appears black and it is impossible to film or to take pictures, while it is still possible to see the films or photos already recorded. I've bought two SANYO CA100 and they both finished their work in this way. I don't know the price to be paid for having the camera fixed. Both cameras are now out of warranty (I bought them used and they were perfectly well working, when i got them). Is there anybody being able to explain me what kind of failure this is and the cost of repairing it?




Buttons spongy
• • •

Just wanted to note, I had the previous model VPC-CA9 also, they do not have traditional lens covers, the fabric case that comes with the camera is meant to be the lens cover. So make sure you slip it back on when not in use.

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