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Sanyo's Xacti DSC-J4 digital camera. Courtesy of Sanyo, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Sanyo announces Xacti DSC-J4
(Wednesday, March 24, 2004 - 02:26 EST)

Sanyo Japan has announced its new Xacti - pronounced Zack-Tee - DSC-J4 digital camera, a significant update to the DSC-J2 model announced last August (apparently skipping the DSC-J3 model for some reason).

The DSC-J4 bears little resemblance to its predecessor externally, having been redesigned with noteably smaller body that is 3 millimeters wider, but 9mm shorter and 5mm thinner. Inside, many of the features are the same as before though - including the same unusual lens featuring a prism that folds the optical path to allow a slim design that keeps all the optics out of harm's way inside the camera body. This was pioneered by Minolta with their DiMAGE X-series cameras, but where the Minolta design mounts the lens vertically, Sanyo mounts the lens horizontally with the prism centrally mounted in the camera - giving it a more traditional "film camera" look. As with past DSC-J* cameras, the DSC-J4 also features movie performance normally featured only on top-of-the-line cameras - 640 x 480 pixels at 30 frames per second using PhotoJPEG compression (better quality than the common MotionJPEG), which Sanyo claims is suitable for authoring DVD video content.

As well as the external body changes, the most noteable improvements are a 4 megapixel image sensor, a larger 1.8" LCD display in place of the past 1.5" model, and high-speed USB 2.0 connectivity. Likely due to a change to a smaller battery to fit in the new body, battery life is actually reduced significantly in record mode (from 1150 to 550 images max.), although playback time remains identical. Unfortunately, we note that Sanyo still remains one of the few name-brand companies using interpolation to boost the maximum resolution listed in its specifications. Interpolating images in-camera wastes valuable flash-card space for little (if any) gain over what could be achieved interpolating images on a personal computer. The maximum interpolated image size on the DSC-J4 is 3264 x 2448 pixels, but the real image size is 2288 x 1712 pixels.

In Japan, the Sanyo Xacti DSC-J4 will ship from April 9th at a price of ¥60,000 (approximately equivalent to US$562 / €456 / CAD$748 / £304 ignoring exchange rate fluctuations, taxes and duties). Monthly output is set at 20,000 units, with three body colors (silver, midnight black and misty pink) to be available. Plans for sales outside of Japan haven't been announced at this time.

Sanyo Xacti DSC-J4
Sanyo's Xacti DSC-J4 digital camera. Courtesy of Sanyo, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!
Model Number DSC-J4
Effective Pixels 4 megapixels
Image Sensor 1/2.7 type 4.23 megapixel primary color CCD (total number of pixels)
Recording Media SD memory card, MultiMediaCard
File Format
Still image: JPEG (DCF, DPOF, Exif Ver2.2 compliant)
Movie clip: QuickTime Movie (Photo-JPEG), Audio: WAVE (monaural)
Total Pixels
Still Image [8M]: 3264x2448 pixels
[6M]: 2880x2160 pixel
[4M]: 2288x1712 pixels
[2M]: 1600x1200 pixel
[Web]: 640x480 pixel
Burst Mode [4M]: 2288x1712 pixels
[2M]: 1600x1200 pixel
[Web]: 640x480 pixel
Movie Clip [640]: 640x480 pixel
[320]: 320x240 pixel
[160]: 160x120 pixels
F = 5.7 - 16.0mm (35mm film equivalent 37mm - 104mm)
Prism type 2.8x optical zoom
F2.8 (W) - F3.9 (T) autofocus
Focusing Range Standard: 20cm (W) / 30cm (T) - infinity; Super macro: 2cm (W) / 30cm (T) - 50cm
Shutter Speed
Still Image: 1/2 - 1/2000 second (1/30 - 1/2000 seconds when flash is in use, 4 seconds max. in bulb mode)
Movie clip: 1/30 - 1/10000 second
Digital Zoom
Record mode: Maximum of 4x (except when using the 30 frames per second movie mode)
Playback mode : Maximum magnification ratio varies up to a maximum of 51x (when using the interpolated 8 megapixel mode) depending upon resolution
Exposure Control Program AE; exposure compensation: ±1.8EV (0.3EV steps)
Metering System Average, center-weighted average, spot
Still Image: Automatic (ISO 50 - 200), manual (ISO 50 / 100 / 200 / 400 possible)
Movie clip: Automatic (ISO 200 - 800), manual (ISO 200 / 400 / 800 / 1600 possible)
White Balance
Auto: Fully automatic TTL
Manual: Fine / Cloudy / Fluorescent / Incandescent / Custom
Flash Automatic / Forced / Off / Red-eye Reduction (slow sync when set to Night scene mode)
Sound Microphone: Built-in monaural; Speaker: Built-in monaural
Liquid Crystal Display 1.8" a-Si TFT color liquid crystal; approx. 85,000 pixels (field of view approx. 100%, 7-step brightness adjustment)
Viewfinder Optical real-image zoom viewfinder
AV output (Video: NTSC-compatible composite video / Audio: Monaural, proprietary jack)
USB 2.0 high-speed compliant (compatible with USB 1.1, proprietary jack)
Power Source Lithium Ion battery (DB-L20, included); AC adapter (DSAC47, optional)
Battery Life LCD disabled, record mode: Approx. 550 shots / LCD enabled, record mode: Approx. 240 shots / Playback mode: Approx. 200 minutes
Dimensions 101 (W) x46 (H) x26 (D) mm (excluding projections)
Weight Approx. 128g (body only); Approx. 147g (including lithium ion battery, SD memory card)
Accessories 16MB SD memory card, proprietary AV cable, proprietary USB cable, CD-ROM, lithium ion battery, lithium ion battery charger & power cord, hand strap
More Photos
Sanyo's Xacti DSC-J4 digital camera. Courtesy of Sanyo, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!
Sanyo's Xacti DSC-J4 digital camera. Courtesy of Sanyo, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!

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