A couple of weeks ago Sanyo Japan was kind enough to send us a test sample of their latest high-end HD camera, the Xacti HD2000. We’ve already talked about the HD2000, but let’s refresh your memory.
The HD2000 feature a 8Mpix censor for still pictures and 5.31Mpix for videos, it supports both SD and SDHC cards up to 32GB, and shoots video in a gorgeous full HD at 60fps (1920 x 1080 / 60p), has a 10x optical zoom an ISO range from 50 to 3200 and is Sanyo’s first camera with a Reverse Sequential Shot function and a Hi-Speed Video shot mode up to 600fps.
In order to better understand the following review, it may be important to read back what we wrote about its little brother the Xacti HD1010 here New Xacti HD1010 Hands On! Not Very Revolutionary….
The Xacti HD1000 is a huge step forward for any one looking for a compact and powerful HD camera, Full HD. Impressive camera, the HD1000 isn’t prefect, and later Sanyo released a HD1010 model fixing many flaws and correcting bugs that were found on the HD1000. As you can imagine, we were quite impatient to see the HD2000, and to finally get some playtime with it.
There are virtually NO differences whatsoever between a HD1000, HD1010 and HD2000, these camera are strictly similar, only what is written on the camera is different from each model, so if like us you’re are a huge fan of its “pistol” like shape that provides increased comfort when shooting video, you’ll be very pleased that Sanyo didn’t change a thing!
Usability and Video
As you may have guessed, improvements added by Sanyo on the HD2000 are within the camera body, or skin if you prefer. First Sanyo added more “RAW” power to the HD2000, we’re moving from a 4Mpix censor (HD1010) for videos to 5.31Mpix on the HD2000.
Sanyo also added a more powerful CPU and now records video in 60p instead of the 30p on the 1010, and has better video bitrates for better video quality from 12Mbps to now 24Mbps. The higher your bitrate the “bigger” will be your video files but with increased quality.
To give you an idea, our P2 video camera records video in 100Mbps while the average PRO Summer Sony camera records up to 24Mbps due mainly to the miniDV limitation. The bottom line, higher bitrate means better video.
The HD1010 had a 300fps video mode (in 448×336), the HD2000 now lets you record video up to 600fps in a tiny image size of 192×108 at 8Mbps. To be honest, if a feature like this was impressive on the Casio EX-FH20 and its 1000fps, I really don’t understand the need of such mode especially when your output video is so small. Who will use a 192×108 video (10 times smaller that the 1920×1080 that we can record in 60fps). David our photographer and I would have WAY more appreciated a 1280x720p60 mode instead of slow motion.
What about video in 1920×1080… If the HD2000, like the 1000 and 1010 will never replace or achieve the video quality of our beloved P2 camera, for most of us the HD2000 will give stunning videos, and surprisingly even better ones once reformatted and exported in 720p.
Compared with the HD1000 and HD1010, the HD2000 gives crispier and sharper videos and the 60fps mode will make your videos smoother and more realistic. For movie like a 24p video you’ll have to do your magic in post prod. Once again Sanyo outperforms their direct competitors thanks to beautiful and sharp video…
Unfortunately if video is amazingly crispy and sharp, Sanyo is still struggling with both the AF (Auto Focus) and Image Stabilizer. Yes they did improve these two points and the HD2000 will please many of you, but as far as we’re concerned, Sony did a better job in both AF and Image Stabilization. We hope Sanyo will use Panasonic’s expertise for future Xacti.
Being called the new “Dual Camera” and trying to create a new category of hybrid cameras, not only does the Xacti record great looking videos, but it is also can shoot photos, with two very interesting modes: the Reverse Sequential Shot function enables you to NEVER miss the correct moment shooting a moving object when taking pictures while recording video.
If we have no real complaints regarding video quality, we can’t say the very same for pictures… Yes, if you shoot a photo and view it on your screen you’ll have a pretty descent shot, but if you zoom on it and get to the 100% mode you’ll see how poor photos are… Rest assured this is not only Sanyo’s problem, I own a compact a Canon IXUS 920is and they both provide roughly the same quality. If you know what I’m talking about or a happy owner of a 920is you’ll be very happy with the HD2000 photo quality… But compared to the HD1010, photos taken with the HD2000 are way better! But don’t expect anything close to even a Canon 300 or 350D DSLR quality.