Sanyo Xacti VPC-CA6
- Splash proof, tiny design
- Low light performance, irritating controls, digital still pictures not up to par
While the splash-proof case and tiny design of the Xacti VPC-CA6 will appeal to some, those after good quality video and stills with an easy to operate control setup should look elsewhere.
Price$ 799.00 (AUD)
Products targeted at the more active consumer continue to grow more and more popular in the technology sector, and Sanyo's latest Xacti video camera, the VPC-CA6, is another device of such nature. Offering splash proof video and still image recording in a small casing, this model is a decent option for those who want a handy travel camera. However, its design leaves something to be desired and the image quality isn't quite as good as we'd have liked.
Video is recorded to an SD-card, rather than the more traditional DVD or Mini-DV media, and is written at a resolution of 640 x 480 at 30fps. In general the quality was about what we expect from standard definition footage of this size. It had reasonable colour balance, although struggled sometimes with high contrast areas, creating haloing and blowouts. There was quite a bit of graininess and some image aberrations on moving targets, but the level of detail was reasonably good and we felt the pictures were crisp for standard definition footage.
However, this didn't translate into our low light tests. When filming coloured blocks in our darkened test room, rather than capturing clean, sharp edges, the VPC-CA6 instead captured no edges. There was no sign of anything in the video at all. Turning on the 'night portrait' mode didn't help at all here. If you regularly find yourself videoing in dim circumstances, the Xacti isn't the right choice for you.
Still images were also disappointing. While they looked decent, overall they were inferior to pictures captured by dedicated 6 megapixel still cameras. There was a visible amount of noise and the colour balance was noticeable inaccurate. They weren't terrible by any means, but those after good quality pictures that they can comfortably enlarge and make prints of will want to look elsewhere.
Our other issue with the unit was its design. It is quite a tiny camera and weighs just 155g, which makes it ideal to slip into a handbag or backpack and forget about. However this also means the controls wind up crammed together and they are quite difficult to use. The VPC-CA6 is a pistol grip camera, meaning it is held with one hand much like you'd hold a gun. The relatively simple controls, which consist of a thumbstick, zoom switch and photo, video, menu and playback buttons, sit on the back of the unit at the top, in position to be operated with the thumb. In practice they are too close together and mounted very stiffly, making them a trial for those with large hands.
The screen is also mounted strangely. It can't be rotated at all; instead it simply flips out from the side. No vanity shots will be taken with this camera as you have to be staring straight at the back at a slightly downward angle to see the screen properly. The whole unit is constructed out of plastic, which isn't the most rugged of substances. It is sturdy enough by regular video camera standards but we'd like to have seen it with a tougher exterior to match the weatherproof construction. It's cream and blue colour scheme is quite fitting to the sporty, outdoors nature of the unit and while some people may dislike the aesthetic, we thought it looked fine.
The other aspect of note is the unit's splash-proof design. It is rated up to JIS 4 standard, which means it can survive having water splashed on it from any angle. This doesn't mean you can submerge it under water, but you can use the unit with wet hands, or in an area like a pool where water is being sprayed around.
As stated earlier, the VPC-CA6 records to SD card, rather than a more traditional media format. This is a double edged sword. On one hand, you get the convenience of tiny, removeable media that can be recorded over as many times as you like and plugged straight in to many notebooks and desktops. But on the other hand it is an added cost, and high capacity cards aren't cheap. Files are written to MP4 format and our two minute test recording was roughly 50MB in size meaning you will get about 80 minutes recording on a 4GB SD card.
Most of the features you'd expect are present, including 5x optical zoom and 12x digital zoom. It has whitebalance options, several scene modes and a few rather meager focus options. There is also digital image stabilisation which, while not as effective as its optical brother, still seemed to have a reasonable impact here.
The Xacti's battery life was poor. We had to charge it multiple times during testing. It should last roughly as long as a single SD card worth of footage, or slightly less, which is not all that bad, but it means you will have to charge it constantly between use.
Join the newsletter!
Panasonic OLED 4K Ultra HD TV - TH-55EZ950U
Dyson Supersonic™ Hair Dryer Fuchsia/Iron
Nespresso Creatista Coffee Machine
Panasonic OLED 4K Ultra HD TV - TH-77EZ1000U
WD MY PASSPORT™ Gaming Storage
Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44
Apple iPhone X
WD MY PASSPORT™ X Gaming Storage
SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™
Bang and Olufsen BeoVision 14
Toys for Boys
LaCie Rugged USB-C Portable Hard Drive
Leica M10 Digital Rangefinder Camera
UBTech First Order Stormtrooper Robot
Bose SoundLink Micro
Google Daydream View VR Headset
Propel Star Wars T-65 X-Wing Drone
Ubiquiti Network’s Front Row Camera
Lego Mindstorms EV3
Onyx Smart Walkie Talkie
WD MY CLOUD™ HOME Personal Cloud Storage
Toffee Bags Commuter Satchel
iRobot Roomba 980 Vaccum Cleaning Robot
Nest Protect Smart Smoke Alarm
PETKIG Go Smart Dog Leash
Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K
Xbox One X
Dearear Endear In-ear Wireless Earphones
Belkin Pocket Power 10,000mAh
Amazon Echo Bluetooth Speaker
Panasonic Hi-Fi - SC-UA7GS-K
Logitech Doodle Collection Wireless Mouse
Panasonic Portable Splashproof Fun - RF-D20U
Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse
Fallout Geeki Tikis
3SIXT 3-in-1 Smartphone Lens Kit
Raspberry Pi Starter Kit
Ikea NORDMÄRKE Wireless Charging Pad
Kogan Bluetooth Soundbar
Lexon Flip Alarm Clock
Tile Pro Bluetooth Tracker
Urbanworx Full HD Action Camera
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Huawei Mate 10 Pro Review: A solid winter flagship that cribs from the best
- 2 Google Pixel 2 review: not quite 'pixel perfect' but damn close
- 3 Google Home Mini review: a welcome addition to the smart speaker family.
- 4 Huawei Nova 2i review: Flagship features get smuggled into the mid-tier
- 5 Moto X4 review: This is what a world without MotoMods looks like
Latest News Articles
- Keep Watch Day and Night with Uniden’s Two-In-One Camera and Spotlight
- Sony make shooting in HDR easy with new 4K camcorders
- Sony announces Australian availability for new waterproof RX0 action-camera
- Microsoft's Beam becomes Mixer, adds four person split-screen streaming to battle Twitch
- Microsoft's Story Remix uses machine learning and mixed reality to make your movies awesome
PCW Evaluation Team
I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.
It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.
Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.
The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.
The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.
The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic
- LG V30+ review: The videographer's smartphone arrives
- Fitbit Ionic review: Impressive but not quite iconic
- Xbox One X review: Brave new world
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
Product Launch Showcase
- FTMurex DeveloperVIC
- FTPublishing Specialist / Business Specialist - TelecommunicationOther
- CCSenior Internet Services Engineer - DevOpsNSW
- TP.Net DeveloperNSW
- FTBusiness Intelligence and Insights ManagerOther
- FTTM1 Application Management AnalystOther
- FTProduct Support ManagerVIC
- FTBig Data EngineerOther
- FTInsights AnalystOther
- CCReact.js DeveloperQLD
- TPTransition ManagerVIC
- FT.NET DeveloperACT
- CCProject ManagerQLD
- FTSystems Engineer - Identity & AutomationQLD
- CCExstream DeveloperNSW
- CCiOS DeveloperQLD
- FTQA Lead / TesterNSW
- FTNetwork ArchitectOther
- TPProject ManagerACT
- FTRigger TechniciansOther
- FTAgile Digital Business AnalystQLD
- FTProject Manager/Scrum MasterNSW
- FTJunior-Mid Level Java Developer (Brisbane Location)NSW
- CCJava LeadWA
- TPProject OfficerACT