With every new generation, Sanyo’s Xacti camcorders have stocked up on new treats. The latest version is now equipped with Full HD recording, the very ‘now’ CMOS sensor, and a PAL friendly mode – absent from its HD1010 predecessor.

Some things never change, though, and it’s still designed to look like a phaser from Star Trek – and we mean the old, camp series, not JJ Abrams’ trendy new flick.

This lack of elegance gives cams like Sony’s HDR-TG3 and Canon’s HF100 the edge in the looks department, but the HD2000 has plenty under the hood to compete on features.

Dual shooting modes

Finished in black with flashy gold lettering, the pistol-style handgrip dictates that most of the action takes place at the back of the HD2000. Here you’ll find the SDHC card slot the cam uses to capture movies, all the main menu controls and the zoom lever.

Sanyo desperately wants everyone to call the HD2000 a ‘dual camera’, and to back up the claims there are two recording buttons: one for video, one for stills. What’s clever is that it’s still possible to snap a pic while you’re in full-on moviemaking mode.

How many clips and stills you can record is down to your SD card. There isn’t one supplied with the cam (boo), but using an 8GB card would give you around 44 minutes of recording in Full HD glory.

Making the right connections

It’s a cracking cam to use – chock full of features and manual modes that creative types love –  and the menu is blissfully simple to navigate. If you want to change exposure, use the flash or engage digital zoom, it’s never more than two or three button presses away.

The connectivity options are impressive too. While the cam itself keeps it clean, with just mains power input, external mic input and 3.5mm headphone jack, the docking station includes HDMI, Component AV and USB ports.

Images set to stun

The headline news remains the 1920x1080, 60fps Full HD shooting, which delivers utterly captivating movies. Spot-on for detail, colours and clarity, the results are mouth-wateringly good every time.

What’s more, the menu is home to a bunch of settings reaching down to 640x480 30fps, so you can record at resolutions relevant to your target – Hollywood, YouTube or email. There’s even a super-slo mo for capturing the world at 1/4 or 1/10 speed, or Paris Hilton mode as we call it.

The Canon HF100 and Sony TG3 might have the jump in design terms but the HD2000 excels at photography. Its 8MP resolution trumps the 3.1MP and 4MP offerings of its rivals, while interpolation can boost output to 12 megapixels.

Decode the enigma of its unusual handgrip – which makes movie recording unsteady at times – and you’ll discover the HD2000 is a superb video and stills cam with enough in the tank to tease any type of sharp shooter.

Stuff says... 

Sanyo Xacti VPC-HD2000 review

Knockout images and a bunch of creative features for those who won’t settle for ‘auto’. Shame about the handgrip though

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