Saturday, May 2, 2009

Impressed by First Impression

First thing first, just a quick post on my first impression of the Sanyo VPC HD2000.

My wife spent the Sunday trying out her new toy. I was pleasantly surprised by my wife's video shots since this is her first videocam and the videos look great. She took both indoors and outdoors shots (during the day) and output was clear and smooth. The video quality is definitely very good.

I shot some videos using super macro mode (that can go down to 1cm) on flowers and they look good and the auto focus picked the right subjects most of the time but in a few cases it focused on items in the near background. When closing in, you can see the focus changing and settling on the right subject. I tried the zoom but the result is shaky especially at the maximum end of the 10x optical zoom. This is the main weakness of the Sanyo, the unstable EIS. You'll need a tripod if you need to zoom with the Sanyo.

Color was very natural under normal daylight.

The built-in mic was very sensitive and the audio output was realistic and life-like with very little noise. During playback, I was transported back to the scene of the video.

When browsing at some of the forums, I saw a number of concerns on how the video will playback on TV because of the PAL/NTSC systems, the frame rates used and the different frequencies employed. Have no fear, I tried playback on both my analogue and digital TV and both were smooth with perfect audio sync. Of course, the quality of the videos depends on the quality of the TV used. I used the supplied S-AV cable to connect the Sanyo to my old CRT TV and the component cable to connect to my Sharp LCD TV. Also used a standard HDMI cable (not supplied) to connect the Sanyo to the Sharp LCD TV. BTW, all connections are via the docking station as shown below.

You have to set the TV Output options to suit the TV to be used for viewing.

Under TV System you can select NTSC or PAL, under TV Type you can select 4:3 or 16:9 format.

I tested using a CRT TV with 4:3 format under PAL to display the highest HD mode of 1920x1080 (60p) without any issues. You need to select the recording resolution if you use the component cable and using the HDMI is easier by just selecting auto and the output will match the recording mode used. My LCD TV is not full HD, just 1368x768 and so it can go to 1080i only but playback was no issue.

The problem is viewing on the PC. The video is recorded using MPEG4/H.264 (whatever that means) and not many media player can playback MPEG4 files. One of the software provided with the Sanyo is Nero Showtime 4 and I used this to view the videos. Those recorded at 1920x1080 (60i), the second highest resolution, playback without problem but those at the highest resolution of 1920x1080 (60p) was jerky on my desktop. I suspect that there's not enough RAM memory for this task since there is only 1G RAM. I will test again later when I increase the RAM.
(Apple Quicktime showed only colour pixels!)
Playback on the Lenovo S10 (with the maximum 2G RAM) using Nero Showtime was even jerky for the lower resolution so using this netbook for viewing is out of the question. I will shoot some videos later at lower resolutions to see which is the highest that can be playback on the Lenovo S10. I suppose this is the price of quality, the typical PC just cannot handle this high resolution of the Sanyo. I suspect editing the videos will also be PC resource demanding as well. Will test this later as well.
Next I will get some blank DVD's and see if there is any issue burning the videos onto DVD. And finally test how the DVD will playback on a normal DVD player. So there are plenty of tasks to be perform. Sigh.
Ronald Kwok


  1. Please let me know if you figure out how to edit the videos effectively. I have the VPC-FH1 model, which is very similar to this. I've tried a variety of free to try editing software, but don't seem to be able to find anything that edits the 1080p:60FPS video without losing something in the translation (audio or frames). I may end up sending this back if I can't figure it out soon.

  2. Hi Bryce,
    Sorry, I'm a complete newbie in this videocam stuff so I've not tried any editing software yet. I believe the software that came with the Sanyo (Nero Vision) can do some basic editing but probably you are looking for something more. Suggest you look at some of the videocam forums (like AVSForum) where you may find some softwares that works with the HD video. Maybe it's ahead of its time! Cheers.

  3. Hi Ronald
    I would like to know how is response time in photo mode.
    How long do you have to wait until picture is taken (when camera is in standby) and what is response time until you can shoot the second picture.
    I am not asking on burst mode but only in regular mode without preview (and if you can state about using with or with flash)
    I don't mean in seconds but only as a user expireance.

  4. Hi Kobi,
    I'll do a test in daylight tomorrow and inform the results later. At low light the auto focus is noticeably slow.

  5. Another site tested some PC software and they stated that CyberLink PowerDirector 7 was the only program (amongst the tested) that can handle all HD2000 formats. Also Final Cut on Mac can handle 60p if a small 60i clip is inserted into the timeline first, according to another site.

    I would like to know details regarding filming in 1080@60p and outputting PAL from the camera:

    1. Will the result be in true anamorphic 16:9 (you know "streched" so people get thinner instead of as letterbox)?

    2. Is the motion jerky or smooth at panning the camera?

    3. Is the PAL output true PAL or pseudo PAL (= e.g. PAL at 60 HZ)? I.e. can the signal be recorded with a PAL VHS video reccorder or a PAL DV-cam.

    The reason for the last question is that I would like to transfer the footage into my DV-cam for normal editing on my old/slow computer while keeping the HI-def for the future.

  6. Thanks for the quick reply.
    I would also like to know one more thing:
    In one review they mentioned that you can connet tha video cable (not HDMI) that goes from the cradle to the TV (composite or component) directly to the camcorder thus eliminating the need for a cradle if you want a quick view without the hasstle of carying the cradle with you.
    Can you confirm/disconfirm that point?

  7. Hi Kobi,
    Please see my post published today for your answers.

  8. Hi Erik,
    I presume your questions refers to the output directly from the camcorder to a PAL TV.
    1. The video is displayed in letterbox 16:9 on a 4:3 TV using RCA video (yellow) plug via the docking station.
    2. Motion is smooth and no audio sync issue.
    3. I wouldn't know if the output is true PAL or pseudo PAL. Maybe you can infer from the above answers.

    Hope the answers are of help.

  9. Thanks.

    1. So it is not possible to get non-letterbox 16:9 (i.e. no black borders) for a 16:9 TV from the PAL/yellow plug output?

    2. Good to know that the motion is smooth.

    3. By "pseudo PAL" I mean not true PAL in opposite to PAL friendly that can be NTSC with PAL-corrected colors. The eisiest way to test this is to try to transfer the footage to a normal PAL VHS recorder (or a PAL DV-camera). Do you have a PAL VHS recorder?

    If i am correct old laser disk players could output PAL but the video couldn't be recorded to a VHS due to the non-true PAL issue (PAL @ 60 Hz). Therefore, the PAL playback of this Sanyo could be smooth but non-recordable.

  10. Hi Erik,
    I have dumped the VHS format many years ago so I no longer have a VHS recorder to test. Suggest you get a DVD player for the grandprents so they can watch the videos on DVD! But editing would be a pain though (in a PC) before burning onto DVD. However, the HD2000 can peform basic video editing (just cut and join) in-camera.

  11. Hi, hsve you done any review of the image stabilization of the sanyo ?

    How are the videos when you record fast moving objects ?

    I know that 1 of the problem is the IS .
    I have a canon hv10 that has a great IS, but I hate its low light.
    Want buy the sanyo but I am afraid of the its sucky IS .

    thank you

  12. Ronald, 2 questions:
    1)Did you ever have any problems with luminescent lights in an indoor hall?
    People say that shooting @30 or 60 fps under luminescent light running @50 Hz (UK)can be a real problem, especially using 1/60 or 1/120 and shorter shutter speed. The problem is that luminescent lights blink 100 times a second so some frames may be brighter then others.
    2)What are exact manual shutter speed settings available in your camcorder? It would help also if you would tell us exact model name (e.g. Amazon sells VPC-HD2000EBK - does yours has any suffix like EBK?)

    My problem is that I am looking to buy this camcorder to shoot indoor basketball in UK mostly and I really need to know if (and which modifications of VPC-HD2000) has 1/100 sec shutter speed which I need (as opposed to 1/120sec which would be normally used in US for this purpose).
    Thanks very much
    Glasgow UK

  13. Ronald -
    and one more suggestion:
    would you be able to actually test you camera under luminescent light running @50 Hz - I take it you have 50Hz where you are ?
    Different modes (I am primarily interested 60P mode, but also 30P and 60i) with different shutter speeds.

    Thanks again

  14. Hi Sergei,
    My exact model is VPC-HD2000EX BK and I think the BK stands for black as mine is black in colour. The user manual is common for VPC-HD2000EX, VPC-HD2000 and VPC-HD2000GX and the difference seems only in the power cord supplied according to the manual.
    The shutter speed that can be set manually is from 4s to 1/1000s but the lowest used in normal video mode is 1/30s; details are in my reply to your post in AV Forum.
    I'll run the test you wanted later. Cheers.