Sanyo Xacti VPC-CA6
- Splash proof, tiny design
- Low light performance, irritating controls, digital still pictures not up to par
While the splash-proof case and tiny design of the Xacti VPC-CA6 will appeal to some, those after good quality video and stills with an easy to operate control setup should look elsewhere.
Price$ 799.00 (AUD)
Products targeted at the more active consumer continue to grow more and more popular in the technology sector, and Sanyo's latest Xacti video camera, the VPC-CA6, is another device of such nature. Offering splash proof video and still image recording in a small casing, this model is a decent option for those who want a handy travel camera. However, its design leaves something to be desired and the image quality isn't quite as good as we'd have liked.
Video is recorded to an SD-card, rather than the more traditional DVD or Mini-DV media, and is written at a resolution of 640 x 480 at 30fps. In general the quality was about what we expect from standard definition footage of this size. It had reasonable colour balance, although struggled sometimes with high contrast areas, creating haloing and blowouts. There was quite a bit of graininess and some image aberrations on moving targets, but the level of detail was reasonably good and we felt the pictures were crisp for standard definition footage.
However, this didn't translate into our low light tests. When filming coloured blocks in our darkened test room, rather than capturing clean, sharp edges, the VPC-CA6 instead captured no edges. There was no sign of anything in the video at all. Turning on the 'night portrait' mode didn't help at all here. If you regularly find yourself videoing in dim circumstances, the Xacti isn't the right choice for you.
Still images were also disappointing. While they looked decent, overall they were inferior to pictures captured by dedicated 6 megapixel still cameras. There was a visible amount of noise and the colour balance was noticeable inaccurate. They weren't terrible by any means, but those after good quality pictures that they can comfortably enlarge and make prints of will want to look elsewhere.
Our other issue with the unit was its design. It is quite a tiny camera and weighs just 155g, which makes it ideal to slip into a handbag or backpack and forget about. However this also means the controls wind up crammed together and they are quite difficult to use. The VPC-CA6 is a pistol grip camera, meaning it is held with one hand much like you'd hold a gun. The relatively simple controls, which consist of a thumbstick, zoom switch and photo, video, menu and playback buttons, sit on the back of the unit at the top, in position to be operated with the thumb. In practice they are too close together and mounted very stiffly, making them a trial for those with large hands.
The screen is also mounted strangely. It can't be rotated at all; instead it simply flips out from the side. No vanity shots will be taken with this camera as you have to be staring straight at the back at a slightly downward angle to see the screen properly. The whole unit is constructed out of plastic, which isn't the most rugged of substances. It is sturdy enough by regular video camera standards but we'd like to have seen it with a tougher exterior to match the weatherproof construction. It's cream and blue colour scheme is quite fitting to the sporty, outdoors nature of the unit and while some people may dislike the aesthetic, we thought it looked fine.
The other aspect of note is the unit's splash-proof design. It is rated up to JIS 4 standard, which means it can survive having water splashed on it from any angle. This doesn't mean you can submerge it under water, but you can use the unit with wet hands, or in an area like a pool where water is being sprayed around.
As stated earlier, the VPC-CA6 records to SD card, rather than a more traditional media format. This is a double edged sword. On one hand, you get the convenience of tiny, removeable media that can be recorded over as many times as you like and plugged straight in to many notebooks and desktops. But on the other hand it is an added cost, and high capacity cards aren't cheap. Files are written to MP4 format and our two minute test recording was roughly 50MB in size meaning you will get about 80 minutes recording on a 4GB SD card.
Most of the features you'd expect are present, including 5x optical zoom and 12x digital zoom. It has whitebalance options, several scene modes and a few rather meager focus options. There is also digital image stabilisation which, while not as effective as its optical brother, still seemed to have a reasonable impact here.
The Xacti's battery life was poor. We had to charge it multiple times during testing. It should last roughly as long as a single SD card worth of footage, or slightly less, which is not all that bad, but it means you will have to charge it constantly between use.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Smart LED Bulb LB130
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
Epson WorkForce ET-4550
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
Lexar® Portable SSD
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
Huawei Mate 9
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Google Daydream VR headset
Acer Swift 7
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
HP Pavilion x360 13”
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Surface Pro 4
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Star Wars Death Star Bluetooth levitating rotating speaker review
- 2 Finally! LG OLED TV 2016 range review
- 3 Fetch TV Mighty review: Better than Foxtel
- 4 Fetch TV Mini review: Make your TV a smart TV
- 5 Panasonic Viera DX900U UHD 4K smart TV review
Latest News Articles
- AT&T will acquire Time Warner for US$85.4b in content play
- Facebook adds Apple TV and Chromecast support as video push ramps up
- Remocam review: This security camera can control your home appliances
- Logitech's C922 webcam is the revered C920's vastly upgraded successor
- Jump the line for the newest Chromecast features with Google's new preview program
PCW Evaluation Team
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
- Horizon Zero Dawn review
- How to quit Pokemon Go (or to start enjoying it again)
- Japan's pop culture, anime-friendly, J-Pop shrine, Kanda Myojin
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- CCUser Experience Designer - Part time - Short contractACT
- FTPre- Sales Solution ArchitectVIC
- FTLevel 2 Technical Support OfficerQLD
- FTSenior Software Engineer x 2 - Positive Vetting, NV2 or NV1 required!!!!SA
- CCTechnical Consultant - ITSM/HP Service ManagerQLD
- TPMicrosoft Analyst ProgrammerSA
- CCTechnical Consultant - ITSM/HP Service ManagerACT
- TPAnalyst Programmer (Adabas)SA
- TPProject Manager to manage two concurrent ProjectsQLD
- CCTechnical Support AnalystACT
- CCTest AnalystQLD
- CCSenior Technical Consultant - MicrosoftACT
- TPSenior Service Desk AnalystNSW
- TPOrganisational Change Manager - ICT Services TransformationQLD
- FTConsultant Business AnalystQLD
- CCDesktop Engineer l WollongongNSW
- FTFull Stack DeveloperQLD
- FTSolution Architect l MS Exchange, O365NSW
- CCDevOps/Senior Sys Admin - eCommerce - Contract - Sydney Northern BeachesNSW
- CCDesktop Engineer l WollongongNSW
- FTFinancial ERP Customer SME / Solution Consultant / System AccountantNSW
- FTLinux Systems EngineerQLD
- TPSCCM SpecialistVIC
- TPAPS6/EL1 Database Modelling SpecialistACT
- CCMDM Consultant/DesignerVIC