Sanyo Xacti VPC-CG10 camcorder

The CG10 from Sanyo is a 10-megapixel camera and HD capable camcorder rolled into one. Its 1280 x 720 resolution should be more than good enough for the enthusiastic amateur. The zoom lens is limited to a 5x optic, however the 3-inch LCD screen is really impressive. The Sanyo has a flash too cementing its dual camera claim.

One of the more interesting features of the Sanyo is built-in video editing capability. It’s a bit limited, but if you wanted to create video on the go it’s actually quite useable. You’re not going to give Spielberg a run for his money but still it’s a nice feature.

Of all the features we thought would soon become annoying it was the talking assistant that came top of our list. Open the LCD screen out and a voice informs you which storage option you are recording to; either the internal 40MB option or an SD card. In reality it served as a welcome reminder and was surprisingly useful.

The design is sure to split opinion as the pistol-grip styling gives the camera an odd look and feel. There’s no doubt it’s comfortable to use for longer periods and operating the camera is made simple with all the buttons just under you thumb. However, no matter how you prop it you’ll not be able to use the camera on self-timer or for longer exposures without a tripod to help. There’s no way you’re resting this on the nearest wall to get an impromptu group shot.

Also, we found that putting a finger on or near the lens was quite easy, though obviously this will depend upon the length of your fingers. The Controls on the rear look a bit cheap too, but they work well enough so it’s a minor grumble.

Using video is simple enough and the large LCD is very good, but photos are another matter. The camera suffers from an incredibly long shutter lag as the display first switches to show the 4:3 image and then focuses and shoots. It took roughly 3 seconds from pressing the button to image capture, which is far too long. You’re going to miss plenty of shots this way and often we had images of people moving or turning away. Recording video clips is a much simpler and faster process, but that still doesn’t excuse the poor stills performance.

Image quality was a bit of a mixed bag though not terrible. We’d have liked to see slightly more from the still images, but overall colour accuracy was good and exposure generally correct. The images weren’t as sharp as we’d have liked and suffered from a lot of noise. In general, however, keeping to standard sized prints or web content you’d be unlikely to be disappointed with the pictures.

Video content was much better with impressive colour accuracy and decent sharpness. Focus was speedy and sound wasn’t too shoddy for such a small device either.

Verdict

For a quick point-and-shoot video camera the Sanyo CG10 is a nifty little camera. The styling might not suit and not being able to stand the camera up without a tripod is a pain, but overall the end results are good.

The HD video is impressive and stills are passable so considering the price this camera it’ good value for the money. The LCD screen is great and there are plenty of features to make it worth stepping up the £100 or so it’ll cost for any of the one-trick pony HD cameras around at the minute.


>