In this article I will be reviewing the Sanyo Xacti VPC-PD2. For those not familiar with what the VPC-PD2 is, It is a pocket Camcorder/Camera designed for portability and ease of use. Before I get into the crux of what this tiny wonder has to offer here are some details.
Sanyo Xacti VPC-PD2: Features and Specs
The camcorder feature records 1080p high-definition MPEG-4 video at 30 frames per second at its highest-resolution setting (the camera also records 720p video at either 60 or 30 frames per second, and standard-definition 640-by-480 video). In still-capture mode, it snaps 10-megapixel photos and has a built-in flash that you can use for still photos only. Accessible via the in-camera menus, the VPC-PD2's burst-shooting mode snaps 2-megapixel images continuously as you press the shutter button.
A slide-out USB connector takes care of offloading clips and charging the battery, and video clips and images are stored to a user-supplied SD, SDHC, or SDXC card. To help with awkward USB port configurations on computers, the VPC-PD2 comes with an extension cable for the camcorder's built-in USB connector. Suggested retail price at $170, but I was able to get mine from Amazon on sale for $99 shipped.
Let me state firstly and mostly that this is "NOT" for professional use. You won't be creating any Spielberg or Cameron worthy films with this camera. But, you will be able to make some fantastic home videos and photos. Operation and configuration takes mere minutes to get used to, mainly due to the fact that there are not a whole lot of options. You have your Photo, Video and Flash settings. Pretty simple stuff.
Taking videos is dirt easy – after all, this is a point-and-shoot video camera. All it takes is pushing the record button and pointing at your subject. I definitely enjoyed having that optical zoom lens while shooting. That said, the zoom-lens motors did make a bit of noise and weren't pressure-sensitive: the camera zooms in and out quickly, making it impossible to slowly push in or out on a subject.
The video quality is decent for a camera of it's size. You get full HD, but it’s really bad at motion capture, resulting in a dim blur if things are moving fast; videos outdoors can get washed out and/or oddly colored if shot in direct sunlight. With minimal movement and the proper amount of shading or light I was able greatly enhance the quality of the videos.
In order to snap still images, the dedicated shutter button required me to hold it down for about a second, which was a bit annoying. On the other hand, when the camera finally did snap a shot, the image looked crisp and well-exposed, considering the size of the camera. The VPC-PD2's autofocus feature worked well, even in a low light environment.
The mics pick up everything including button presses, finger movements, the zoom motor… which makes for some uncomfortableness in the ear. Additionally, audio quality isn’t that amazing, either – this makes for a good audiovisual memo, and is probably perfect for voice, but was mediocre for any kind of sports event; Sometimes sound was tinny and the higher frequencies squeaked something fierce.
All in all, the Sanyo Xacti VPC-PD2 is a handy little camera that works perfect for short videos and quick snapshots. I find it ideal for stuffing in my pocket when I travel or take with to small gatherings in case I need to snap a few pictures of friends or family. Despite some of the VPC-PD2's shortcomings, I would still recommend it to people looking for a compact dual purpose HD video/Photo camera.