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Sanyo VPC-HD1010 review

Seth Barton
30 Jan 2009
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
375
inc VAT

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Specifications

1/2.5in CMOS sensor, 1,920x1,080, 1,280x720, 640x480, 448x336, 320x240, 10.0x zoom, 311g

With its pistol-grip design and small dimensions, the VPC-HD1010 looks like the ultimate in point-and-shoot simplicity.

It's smaller than most fully featured HD camcorders but not as easy to slip in a pocket as Kodak's Zi6. However, the Zi6 lacks the VPC-HD1010's large lens and optical zoom.

Despite looking similar to Sanyo's other simple but fun designs, such as the VPC-CG9, the VPC-HD1010 has a huge range of shooting modes, manual controls and extra features. It can record video at eight different quality settings, from 1,920x1,080 full HD to a web-friendly 320x240. At its maximum resolution it can produce either 60 interlaced fields or 30 progressive frames per second, with the latter giving footage of moving subjects a more cinematic feel. There's an SDHC memory card slot for video storage.

One exciting new feature is a slow-motion mode. We've seen this recently on Casio's Exilim EX-FH20 digital camera. Resolution in this mode is limited to 448x336 and you can only record 10 seconds of video. However, at 300fps you can capture amazing footage. We combined it with the Macro focus mode to capture some incredible slow-motion close-ups.

Basic operation is easy. The main controls are clearly labelled and fall comfortably under your thumb. Accessing the wealth of manual controls is trickier. Any adjustments are made using a little joystick on the rear, although you can't do this while recording. We'd recommend leaving the VPC-HD1010 on its Simple mode, but if you want greater artistic control, consider buying a camcorder with a focus ring, such as the Panasonic HDC-SD100 (What's New, Shopper 252).

Initial tests in our labs produced striking results. We tested the VPC-HD1010 using the 30fps progressive mode and were stunned by the level of detail in our footage. Edges of objects were crisply defined, and distant text was easy to read. Footage from our rooftop showed that the bricks on surrounding buildings had a three-dimensional, rather than flat, appearance. However, colours weren't quite accurate and a lack of subtlety caused similar tones to blend together. The autofocus was also sluggish and exposures tended to be a little dark.

The VPC-HD1010 is also a capable stills camera. Its portability and shape lend it to taking quick snapshots, and it can start up and take a picture in around two seconds. It takes four-megapixel images, which were roughly equal in quality to those from a budget digital camera.

The camera itself has only a few ports - power, a microphone input and headphone socket - but the smart-looking docking station adds HDMI, component and USB ports, and also charges the camcorder. The VPC-HD1010 is a decent HD camcorder at a reasonable price. Its image quality isn't the best we've seen, but it's still a good choice if you want something compact.

Basic Specifications

Rating****

Recording

Optical zoom10.0x
Sensor1/2.5in CMOS
Sensor pixels4,000,000
Widescreen modenative
LCD screen size2.7in
Viewfinder typenone
Video lampNo
Video recording formatH.264
Video recording mediaSDHC
SoundAAC 48KHz Stereo
Video resolutions1,920x1,080, 1,280x720, 640x480, 448x336, 320x240
Maximum image resolution2,288x1,712
Memory slotSDHC
Mermory suppliednone
Flashyes

Physical

Digital inputs/outputsUSB
Analogue inputs/outputsAV out, component out, HDMI out
Other connectionscharge jack, microphone, docking port
Battery type3.7V 1,900mAh
Battery life1h 35m
Battery charging positioncamcorder
Size112x89x53mm
Weight311g

Buying Information

Warrantyone year RTB
Price£375
Supplierhttp://www.simplyelectronics.net
Detailshttp://sanyodigital.com

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