Sanyo Xacti VPC-FH1 camcorder

The Sanyo Xacti VPC-FH1 is a hybrid camera and camcorder, with 1080p video capture

Sanyo Xacti VPC-FH1
  • Sanyo Xacti VPC-FH1
  • Sanyo Xacti VPC-FH1
  • Sanyo Xacti VPC-FH1
  • Expert Rating

    4.00 / 5

Pros

  • Fair asking price, as well-equipped as the average entry-level compact still camera

Cons

  • Video playback on a large screen was rather jerky

Bottom Line

To be fair, the Xacti FH1 is hardly an expensive piece of kit: we think its asking price is fair given the overall still and video quality and the advanced capabilities of the camera. It’s simply that when a product promises Full HD at 1920x1080 and 60fps progressive capture at that, we expect superlative results. The Sanyo Xacti FH1 gives reasonable results and provided us with some memorable footage.

Would you buy this?

Sanyo has become all but synonymous with the concept of hybrid digital video/stills cameras and this model offers both high-end video capture and 12 megapixels (Mp) of photo detail. However, we weren't fully convinced by its implementation of Full HD video.

The specification list of the Sanyo Xacti VPC-FH1 is sound, with 1080p video on offer and the ability to view your footage immediately by hooking up the camcorder to a HD-TV via its HDMI port (you'll need to supply the cable though). The Sanyo Xacti VPC-FH1 is a little heavier than the Panasonic SDR-S26 we looked at a couple of months ago, but shares its slim profile and comfortable hand grip.

In fact, this Sanyo Xacti VPC-FH1 is one smart-looking camcorder in shiny black with silver accents that extend to the perimeter of the fold-out 3in display.

Sanyo has nailed the photo/video mode switching by having crescent-shaped buttons for each at the top right of the menu button on the rear.

We found the Sanyo Xacti VPC-FH1 slightly less comfortable selecting the photo button than the video one, but this is as it should be: for all Sanyo's protestations, this is more of a camcorder than a compact digital stills camera.

We used a standard compact camera to shoot the same scenes as on the 12Mp Sanyo Xacti VPC-FH1 and had noticeably better results with the former, despite the lesser megapixel count of the two-year-old Panasonic FX12. However, you get nine point autofocus, image stabilisation and face recognition, making it every bit as well-equipped as the average entry-level compact.

The video, too, holds its own in terms of features, with slow-mo and other options that are fun to experiment with and reward patience. Sanyo has also fitted the Sanyo Xacti VPC-FH1 with a flash and effective stereo sound recording.

Most importantly, taking video with the Sanyo Xacti VPC-FH1 is an enjoyable experience — the unit is the right size, easy to navigate with a responsive wide-angle-to-telephoto rocker zoom on its top and is not too heavy or bulky. The results look good too. The colours were so well-rendered they burst out of the built-in screen, coming out much brighter than the Sanyo Xacti VPC-FH1's screen suggested.

We were also pleased to find the Sanyo Xacti VPC-FH1's image stabiliser had done its job and our footage wasn't especially afflicted by hand-shake. Similarly, the Sanyo Xacti VPC-FH1 zoom — a 16x magnification — was smooth and steady.

However, we found video playback of the Sanyo Xacti VPC-FH1 on a large screen rather jerky, not helped by the fluid flow of the kite demonstration we used by way of a test. People ambling past were rather staccato in their movements.

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