Sanyo Xacti VPC-CG10 (EXP) high-def video camera

Slimline pistol grip Sanyo camcorder with a 10-megapixel stills mode and 720p video recording

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Sanyo Xacti VPC-CG10 (EXP)

Pros

  • Good cost/performance ratio, 10-megapixel stills mode, small and stylish

Cons

  • 5x optical zoom, sub-par low-light performance, pistol grip isn't for everybody

Bottom Line

If you're a fan of pistol grip camcorders, the Sanyo Xacti VPC-CG10 is one of the best-value HD options on the market. It's compact, stylish and capable of taking some impressive video and photos.

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The Sanyo Xacti VPC-CG10 is an entry-level HD camcorder that records to SD flash memory cards. It replaces the VPC-CG9 in Sanyo’s Xacti line-up, and adds a few improvements that make upgrading worthwhile. First and foremost is high-definition recording (720x1280); something that the Sanyo VPC-CG9 lacked. Although it only offers a maximum resolution of 720p, the results are more than acceptable for the asking price. It also takes a pretty good photo and comes with some interesting modes and features.

The Sanyo Xacti VPC-CG10 can be viewed as an off-beat alternative to the Sanyo Xacti VPC-TH1.

When it comes to inbuilt modes and features, the VPC-CG10 and VPC-CG10 offer all the same goodies, including multiple scene modes, manual focus and exposure, three filter effects, face detection and sequential stills shooting up to 7 frames per second (but only at a resolution of 2 megapixels). However, the Sanyo VPC-TH1’s 30x optical zoom has been downgraded to just 5x; a significant caveat. It makes choosing between the camcorders difficult, as they both offer very different strengths and weaknesses. For our money, the Sanyo Xacti VPC-CG10 wins the day thanks to its superior video performance — but only if you’re a fan of pistol grip controls.

If you’ve never used a pistol grip camcorder before, the Sanyo Xacti VPC-CG10 can take some getting used to. Similar in shape to an electric razor, it has been tailored for one-handed operation, with the user’s thumb manning the controls. While it works reasonably well, the lack of a hand strap feels highly unnatural and can result in accidental drops (an optional wrist strap is provided, but only the most overcautious users will bother wearing it). On the other hand, if you’re a fan of the Xacti design, the VPC-CG10 will not disappoint — it’s basically no different to the Sanyo Xacti VPC-C1, which we reviewed nearly half a decade ago. The VPC-CG10 comes in a choice of two colours: girlish hot pink and manly jet-black. (Naturally, Sanyo sent us the pink version.) Images remained impressively sharp throughout testing, with detailed objects — such as overlapping leaves — exhibiting little digital smearing. We were also pleased by the colour accuracy in our test footage. Unfortunately, the camera’s low-light performance was slightly below expectations. Images were noisier than we’re used to; especially when compared to the HD1010, which has a slightly larger sensor. Nevertheless, we were most impressed with the VPC-CG10’s performance given its budget price tag. For $559, there’s not much you can complain about.

Like the VPC-TH1, the Xacti VPC-CG10 has been billed as a ‘dual camera’ due to its ability to take still photos. This is something we slammed the VPC-TH1 for; it produced shonky images at best. Thankfully, the VPC-CG10 is a marked improvement over its 2-megapixel brother. With a maximum resolution of 10.05 megapixels, its output lives up to the camera’s hybrid status. It also offers adjustable ISO settings (ranging from 50 to 1600), spot focus and face detection technology.

The Sanyo Xacti VPC-CG10 records video to SD/SDHC memory cards. A 16-gigabyte card will record around four hours of video at the highest possible setting, or 11 hours in TV-SHQ/standard-definition mode. You also get 40MB of inbuilt memory which will store a few minutes of video.

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