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Sanyo's Xacti HD1A digital camera. Courtesy of Sanyo, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Sanyo unveils Xacti VPC-HD1a
(Thursday, July 13, 2006 - 08:47 EDT)

Japanese consumer electronics company Sanyo Electric Co. Ltd. has unveiled a new digital camera that updates its existing Xacti HD1 with some new features.

The Xacti HD1 was first launched at the Consumer Electronics Show last January. It is marketed as a hybrid device with an emphasis on its better than average (by still camera standards, anyway) video capabilities, and features an unusual vertical "pistol grip" design reminiscent of a camcorder, with no optical viewfinder in favour of a large tilt/swivel LCD display. It features an F3.5 10x optical zoom lens (believed to be Konica Minolta-derived), a five megapixel imager, plus an MPEG4 movie mode with resolutions up to 1280 x 720 pixels, and frame-rates up to 60fps in VGA resolution.

The Xacti HD1a retains all of these features, but it does drop one hardware item from the original HD1 that we're sure many potential buyers will miss. Where the HD1 had a gorgeous 2.2" Organic LED (OLED) display, which offers reduced power consumption, amazing viewing angles, plus good contrast / saturation / brightness, the HD1a replaced it with a more traditional LCD display. Doubtless it saves costs (LCD production volumes being far higher than OLED so far), but it is a shame to see the display changed regardless - even if the new LCD is the same size and resolution as the OLED unit it replaces.

The other changes are mostly in the camera's firmware. A new Web-SHQ movie mode offers the same 320x240 resolution of the camera's Web-HQ mode, but with the framerate doubled to 30 seconds. (The higher-resolution and framerate modes of the original model are all retained). A new 16:9 still image mode allows capture of wide aspect ratio stills at 3.8 megapixel resolution. A video editing function has also been added, allowing unwanted portions of videos to be removed, and separate clips to be combined into one. Given that the camera can, at its highest resolution movie mode, fill an entire 2GB Secure Digital card in a little over 30 minutes, this is a pretty significant addition, letting you free up wasted card space if you know you don't need a portion of a video file.

Most other features of the Xacti HD1a look to be similar to the original camera. The price has been dropped some $100, with MSRP pricing set at $699.99 when the camera ships this September. We're currently awaiting product specifications, but in the meantime a product photo and press release follow below.

Sanyo's Xacti HD1A digital camera. Courtesy of Sanyo, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!

Original Source Press Release:


SANYO Xacti HD1a Offers In-Camera Editing, 2.2-inch LCD Display and $699.99 MSRP

CHATSWORTH, CA, July 13, 2006 – A video recording mode optimized for the video iPod® and other portable video players tops the advanced feature set of the new SANYO Xacti HD1a high-definition compact digital media camera. Following quickly on the strong sales and critical success of the SANYO Xacti HD1 introduced in January 2006, the new high-definition HD1a also adds such compelling features as a selectable 16:9 widescreen still picture mode and easy, convenient in-camera video editing.

The SANYO Xacti HD1a retains its title as the world’s smallest and lightest high-definition digital media camera*. Featuring ergonomic, one-handed operation, the camera can record both 720p high-definition video and 5.1 megapixel digital still images to a standard SD flash memory card. It will be available in the U.S. from SANYO, the world’s leading manufacturer of digital cameras and components, in September 2006 at a very competitive $699.99** MSRP.

“The remarkable success of our precedent-setting Xacti HD1, along with user feedback, prompted SANYO to incorporate several new key features into the new HD1a,” said John Lamb, Senior Marketing Manager, for SANYO Fisher Company’s Audio Video Division. “Our inclusion of a 30 frames-per-second 320 x 240 pixel video recording mode – optimized for viewing MPEG-4 video clips on a video iPod or other portable video player – reflects a shift by consumers towards on-the-go viewing.”

Video recording optimized for personal media players
The HD1a’s new “Web-SHQ” recording mode is designed specifically to capture video destined for the video iPod and other popular MPEG-4 capable personal media players. For optimal playback on such devices, video is captured at a resolution of 320 x 240 pixels and a smooth and natural 30 frames per second.

16:9 still shooting
An all-new 16:9 shooting mode allows users to capture 3.8 megapixel stills in the same widescreen format as their high-definition videos for eye-catching viewing on a 16:9 television screen.

Convenient in-camera video editing
The HD1a features enhanced video editing functions, enabling quick A>B deletions and easy combining of video clips. In-camera editing makes it easy to remove unwanted material and helps conserve memory card space.

High-definition engine
The SANYO Xacti HD1a is powered by high-precision LSI (large-scale integration) circuitry for advanced, high-definition image processing. This powerful “high-definition engine” quickly executes a vast number of calculations and enables the HD1a to realize image processing functions such as high-definition 720p processing, real-time MPEG-4 compression and noise reduction.

2.2-inch LCD display
The HD1a features a large Sanyo-developed 2.2-inch LCD display with 210,000 total pixels for exceptional viewability. The display flips out from the camera and rotates up to 285 degrees on axis for taking great video or still images even in difficult locations.

10x optical zoom
The HD1a features a generous and highly efficient 10x optical zoom lens. Built from 12 elements designed in 9 groups and with a built-in neutral density filter, the 10x zoom lens has a maximum aperture of f/3.5 in both wide and telephoto angles, allowing for clear images in lower light situations. Combined with a 10x digital zoom capability, the HD1a is capable of a total 100x zoom.

Digital video and stills, all in one
Like the Xacti HD1 and all previous SANYO Xacti digital media cameras, the HD1a can record still images in addition to video clips. Utilizing the 5.36 megapixel (total) CCD, the HD1a captures beautiful 5.1 megapixel still images which are recorded directly onto a standard SD memory card. The camera can record both 5.1 megapixel still images and high-definition (1280 x 720-pixel) digital video at the same time with a simple press of the shutter button during the shooting of a video clip.***

21 minutes of HD video per Gigabyte of memory
The HD1a can record up to 21 minutes of 720p HD video per Gigabyte on a standard SD or SDHC memory card. That’s up to 42 minutes on a 2-Gigabyte card or 84 minutes on the soon to be released 4-Gigabyte SDHC card (cards sold separately). Alternatively, HD1 users can select to record in Standard Definition mode (640 x 480 pixels at 30fps progressive) for up to one hour per Gigabyte of recording capacity. Users can quickly switch between high-definition and standard-definition recording modes by simply pressing the “HD/Norm” button located beneath the LCD display.

Ergonomic and lightweight
Designed for convenient, one-handed operation and one-thumb control of most key functions, the truly ergonomic SANYO HD1a is ready to use whenever inspiration strikes, at home or away. Lightweight at only 8.3 ounces (including battery and a standard SD memory card), the HD1a measures 3.1? W x 4.7? H x 1.4? D.

Key SANYO Xacti HD1a features include:

  • 320 x 240 “Web-SHQ” video mode; optimal for playback on many personal media players
  • 16:9 widescreen MPEG-4 video (HD-SHQ / HD-HQ modes)
  • 16:9 widescreen digital still mode for stunning widescreen TV playback
  • Highly efficient 10x optical zoom
  • 2.2? rotating LCD display
  • CD-quality AAC-LC (MPEG-4 Audio) stereo recording
  • Enhanced video editing functions for quick A>B deletions and easy combining of clips
  • 60 fps Fluid Motion Recording (640 x 480 TV-HR Mode)
  • Rapid 5.1 megapixel sequential still shooting
  • Pop-up flash with double the brightness of conventional models
  • Anti-shake digital image stabilizer
  • Talking navigation guide for first-time users
  • Super-fast 1.7-second camera startup
  • Versatile manual mode enables advanced-control shooting
  • Super Macro shooting down to 1 cm (W) / 1 m (T)
  • Self timer (2 seconds / 10 seconds)
  • Voice recorder function: over 33 hours recording time with optional 2 GB SD Memory Card
  • Red-eye reduction mode
  • Multifunction docking station
  • High-capacity SANYO rechargeable Lithium-ion battery
  • Remote control included
  • Exif Print and Print Image Matching III
  • PictBridge-capable for PC-Free printing with PictBridge-compatible printers

SANYO Electric Co., Ltd. (NASDAQ: SANYY) is a $23 billion manufacturer and distributor of consumer and commercial electronics, including multimedia and telecommunication products. Based in Chatsworth, California, SANYO Fisher Company (a division of SANYO North America Corporation, a subsidiary of SANYO Electric Co., Ltd.) markets digital cameras, PCS phones, audio systems, portable and mobile electronics, televisions, DVD players, dictation devices, home appliances, LCD projectors, security video equipment and air conditioning systems.

For more information and additional specifications, please visit www.sanyodigital.com. Visit www.sanyodigital.com and click on “HD1a” > “Dealer Images” for downloadable hi-res product images.

# # #

All products and trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Because its products are subject to continual improvement, SANYO reserves the right to modify product design and specifications without notice and without incurring any obligations.

* Among commercially available high-definition media cameras, as of July 13, 2006.
** Estimated Selling Price: Actual prices set by dealer are subject to change.
*** Depending on the mode used to take still images, simultaneous video clip shooting may be interrupted.

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