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Sanyo's VPC-HD1 digital camera. Courtesy of Sanyo, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Sanyo unveils Xacti VPC-HD1
(Wednesday, January 4, 2006 - 17:09 EST)

Japanese consumer electronics company Sanyo Electric Co. Ltd. has long emphasised the video functionality of its digital cameras, marketing them as hybrid devices capable of both still and video usage.

The company was among the early adopters of 30 frames per second video and unlimited clip length in its models, and tended to use the potentially higher-quality (but storage-hungry) QuickTime PhotoJPEG compression in its cameras rather than the more common QuickTime MotionJPEG. Sanyo's VPC-C series of digicams featured an unusual vertical "pistol grip" design reminiscent of a camcorder, with no optical viewfinder in favour of a large tilt/swivel LCD display.

A press release from Sanyo brought our attention back to the latest model in the series. Briefly leaked last September on the website of Sanyo Spain, we've now obtained full specifications for the Sanyo VPC-HD1. With a 10x optical zoom lens (rumored to be Konica Minolta-derived based on the Spanish leak) and a five megapixel imager, the HD1 seems to be off to a good start. Throw in an MPEG4 movie mode with resolutions up to 1280 x 720 pixels, and frame-rates up to 60fps in VGA resolution, and things really sound rather interesting if you're a fan of video in a relatively high-res digital still camera.

There's an image stabilisation function in movie mode - achieved by changing the area from which the movie is being cropped from the sensor in an attempt to defeat movement. The camera also offers a stereo microphone with wind-noise reduction, and a relatively large 2.2" Organic LED (OLED) display, which should offer wide viewing angles and good contrast and brightness compared to the more traditional LCD displays.

So - is the news all good? Well, that's really up to how potential buyers plan on using the device. With storage being courtesy of Secure Digital cards, high capacities are possible, but still rather expensive - and that high resolution movie mode is likely to eat up card space like there's no tomorrow! Sanyo also remains one of the very few name-brand companies that persists in inflating its spec sheets with interpolated image resolutions, this time offering ten megapixels from a five megapixel imager. This potentially wastes vast amounts of storage space, with little if any benefit over what could be achieved by doing the interpolation on your computer at home. There's also no information as yet on pricing, nor on the clip length possible when recording at higher resolutions and framerates.

Still, there's not a lot of competition among digital still cameras offering such high resolution video capabilities, and with the 10x optical zoom and five megapixel imager, this could turn out to be an interesting hybrid device nonetheless. The Sanyo Xacti VPC-HD1 goes on sale in late March with MSRP pricing set at $799.99.

Sanyo Xacti VPC-HD1
Sanyo's Xacti VPC-HD1 digital camera. Courtesy of Sony, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!
Camera TypeOther
Model NumberVPC-HD1
Dimensions3.1 x 4.7 x 1.4"
78.7 x 119.4 x 35.6mm
Weight235.3 g
8.2 oz
Planned Price$799.99
Planned AvailabilityMar 2006
Image Capture
Sensor Type1/2.5
5.36 megapixels (total)
5.10 megapixels (effective)
Image Dimensions3680 x 2760 (10.2 megapixels, interpolated)
2592 x 1944 (5.0 megapixels)
1536 x 2048 (3.1 megapixels)
1600 x 1200 (1.9 megapixels)
1280 x 960 (1.2 megapixels)
640 x 480 (0.3 megapixels)
Image Preview / Review
LCD2.2", 210,000 pixels
Playback Zoom58.0x max
Lens TypeKonica Minolta
10x optical zoom
Image StabilizationYes
Focal Length6.3 - 63.0mm (actual)
38 - 380mm (35mm equivalent)
Aperture Rangef/3.5
Focusing System5-point
Manual Focus possible (16) steps
Focusing RangeNormal: 4" - infinity (10 cm - infinity)
Macro: 0.4" - 41" (1 cm - 100 cm)
ISO SensitivityAuto (50 - 400), 50, 100, 200, 400, 1600* (lamp mode)
Shutter Speed4 - 1/2000 second
Metering ModesMulti, center-weighted, spot
Exposure Compensation+/- 1.8EV in 1/3EV increments
White BalanceImage Sensor - Auto, Sunny, Cloudy, Fluorescent, Incandescent, Sampling, Manual
Internal FlashModes: Auto, Forced, Off, Red-Eye, Slow synchro* (Night View mode)
Range: 30cm-2.8m [Wide], 30cm-1.9m [Tele]
Scene ModesSports / Portrait / Landscape / Night View / Fireworks / Lamp
Digital Zoom10
Self TimerYes, 2 or 10 seconds
Movie FormatMPEG-4 without audio
1280x720 and 640x480
Max. frame-rate: 60 frames per second
Recording MediumSD/MMC
File SystemComplies with Design Rule for Camera File System (DCF)
File FormatJPEG (EXIF 2.2)
VideoYes, NTSC / PAL switchable
ComputerUSB 2.0 High Speed
OtherCamera dock w/ PC, video and DC connection
Battery TypeLithium Ion rechargeable
Battery Form FactorProprietary DB-L40
Product Bundle
SoftwareSANYO Software Pack 7.4 CD-ROM
Battery / ChargerProprietary DB-L40 Lithium Ion rechargeable battery and charger
Flash Memory0.0MB
Digital Print Order Format (DPOF) compliantYes
Internal MicrophoneYes
Internal SpeakerYes
Remote ControlYes
More Photos
Sanyo's Xacti VPC-HD1 digital camera. Courtesy of Sony, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!
Sanyo's Xacti VPC-HD1 digital camera. Courtesy of Sony, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!
Sanyo's Xacti VPC-HD1 digital camera. Courtesy of Sony, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!
Sanyo's Xacti VPC-HD1 digital camera. Courtesy of Sony, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!
Sanyo's Xacti VPC-HD1 digital camera. Courtesy of Sony, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!

Original Source Press Release:

Sanyo Introduces the World's Smallest and Lightest High-Definition Digital Media Camera

Pocket-sized, Tapeless SANYO Xacti HD1 Brings High-Definition Video Recording to the Mass Consumer Market in a Stylish, Feature-Rich and Affordable Package

LAS VEGAS, Jan. 3, CES Booth #11017 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Making its debut at the 2006 International CES, the SANYO Xacti HD1 is the world's first high-definition compact digital media camera.* Offering advanced, next-generation video performance, the SANYO Xacti HD1 is the world's smallest and lightest high-definition digital media camera, ideal for recording today with the future in mind.

SANYO, the world's leading manufacturer of digital cameras and components, designed the Xacti HD1 Digital Media Camera to easily record both 720p high-definition video and 5.1 megapixel digital still images to a standard SD flash memory card. The SANYO Xacti HD1 will be available in the U.S. in late March at an MSRP of $799.99**

Key to the Xacti HD1's ability to record high-definition video is its high-precision LSI (large-scale integration) for image processing. This powerful "high-definition engine" executes a vast number of calculations in a short period of time. It enables the HD1 to realize image processing functions such as high-definition 720p processing, real-time MPEG-4 compression and noise reduction.

The HD1 features an ultra-clear 2.2-inch SANYO-developed OLED (Organic Light-Emitting Diode) 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 in otherwise difficult locations. Trademark features of OLED display technology are expanded viewing angles and up to 5,000 times faster response speed when compared with conventional display technologies, enabling smooth playback of rapid movements. When not in use, the display nicely tucks back into the side of the camera.

Displayed prominently in the front of the HD1 is a bright, 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 HD1 is capable of a total 100x zoom.

As with all previous SANYO Xacti digital media cameras, the HD1 can record still images in addition to video clips. A newly developed 5.36 megapixel (total) CCD 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.***

The HD1 can record over 21 minutes of 720p HD video on a 1-Gigabyte SD card or over 42 minutes on a 2-Gigabyte card. Alternatively, HD1 users can select to record in Standard Definition mode (640 x 480 pixels at 30fps progressive) for up to two hours on a 2-Gigabyte SD card. Users can easily switch between high-definition and standard-definition recording modes by simply pressing the "HD/Norm" button located on display side of the camera body. SD cards sold separately.

An ergonomic, one-handed grip and convenient, thumb-operable controls makes the SANYO HD1 exceptionally easy to use whenever inspiration strikes. Lightweight at only 8.3 ounces (including battery and a standard SD memory card), the HD1 measures 3.1. W x 4.7. H x 1.4. D.

Other SANYO Xacti HD1 features include:

  • 16:9 widescreen format (HD-SHQ / HD-HQ modes)
  • 60 fps Fluid Motion Recording (640 x 480 TV-HR Mode)
  • Rapid Continuous 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 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 - News) 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 "HD1" > "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
January 2006.
** Estimated Selling Price: Actual prices set by dealer are subject to
*** Depending on the mode used to take still images, simultaneous video
clip shooting may be interrupted.

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