Sanyo has thrown down the gauntlet to pocket-size camcorders everywhere – its VPC-CS1 is its slimmest and lightest yet to capture 1080i video.
The CS1 is a mere 26.8mm wide, so really is compact enough to take just about anywhere. It’s one of Sanyo’s ‘dual camera’ troupe too, which means that along with the 60fps, 1920x1080i video you can shoot 8MP stills (albeit via an interpolation trickery that boosts the res from the 3.3MP sensor). There’s also the signature Xacti ability to shoot video and stills simultaneously.
In reality, only delicate-fingered types are going to enjoy the benefits of the CS1’s compact design. When shooting it’s not only tough to keep steady but the four-way joystick used to navigate the menu is fearfully fiddly.
That’s not to say there isn’t loads to enjoy. An image stabiliser prevents you shooting too much jerky, jumpy footage and the sizzling 2.7in LCD is a marvel on a camera this diminutive.
Better still is a 9x optical zoom that knocks spots off the efforts from rivals like Kodak’s Play Sport (4x digital) and the Flip MinoHD (pah, just 2x), plus there’s a sound zoom function that provides three different audio mic modes (wide, gun microphone, engage zoom) that you can select to suit the type of scene you’re recording.
There is no hard drive storage on the VPC-CS1, instead movies and stills are recorded to SD, SDHC or SDXC memory cards, which means recording capacity is only really restricted by your budget for buying media cards.
Review continues after break…
And, on the subject of media, it’s definitely worth considering the CS1’s Eye-Fi transfer compatibility. If you buy and use an Eye-Fi card (an SD card with Wireless LAN) you can upload video clips and photos to a computer, or websites, via a Wi-Fi network. An almost instant upload process that’s not to be sniffed at, we think.
When it comes to video clips the CS1’s quality is variable, colours are a touch washed out and in low light it’s all much too grainy; focusing, however, is rock solid. Kodak’s PlaySport delivers a better all-round video performance, though it does lack the CS1’s high feature count.
It’s a game of two halves from the CS1. There’s bags to applaud and enjoy, and in areas like size, zoom, Wi-Fi and audio it raises the bar for this type of cam. If you can live with the odd glitch in move-clip quality then it could be a solid pocket-sized solution for you.