Sanyo VPC-HD1a Review

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Basic Specifications
Full model name: Sanyo Xacti VPC-HD1a
Resolution: 5.10 Megapixels
Sensor size: 1/2.5 inch
(5.8mm x 4.3mm)
Lens: 10.00x zoom
(38-380mm eq.)
Viewfinder: LCD
Extended ISO: 50 - 1600
Shutter: 1/2000 - 4 sec
Max Aperture: 3.5
Dimensions: 3.1 x 4.7 x 1.4 in.
(79 x 119 x 36 mm)
Weight: 8.3 oz (235 g)
includes batteries
MSRP: $700
Availability: 09/2006
Manufacturer: Sanyo
Full specs: Sanyo VPC-HD1a specifications

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10.00x zoom 1/2.5 inch
size sensor
image of Sanyo Xacti VPC-HD1a
Front side of Sanyo VPC-HD1a digital camera        
Untitled Document The Sanyo Xacti VPC-HD1a is an update to the original Xacti VPC-HD1, which was first launched at the Consumer Electronics Show in January 2006. 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. The Sanyo HD1 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 Sanyo 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 in the Sanyo Xacti HD1a 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 frames per second. (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 Sanyo 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 from September 2006.

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