Sanyo takes the plunge into high-def, 14mp underwater shooting with the Xacti CA100

Whether you’re snorkelling, on the beach, or just plain stuck in your average Great British summer scenario (ie. wet), the latest offering from Sanyo will let you take high-def video and 14mp still shots at depths of up to 3m (that’s about 10ft).

The Sanyo Xacti CA100 has come out just in time for the school holidays, ready to be taken on holidays both abroad and in the great British outdoors.

Sanyo-Xacti-CA100

While 1080p high-def video is already available for water lovers in the shape of the Kodak Playsport and the Toshiba Camileo BW10, the Xacti CA100 blows them out of the water (sorry) with its 14mp still capabilities.

The pistol-grip design, which naturally lends itself to more active users, whether you’re treading water with the other arm, or holding a brolly, is similar to that of its predecessor the Xacti CA9, which failed to impress its critics by falling down on the quality of its photos. Hopefully, the Xacti CA100 has come up to the mark, offering improved video and stills quality. A nice touch is a dual record button, which allows users to take pictures instantly even while shooting a movie.

As well as the distinctive design, the Xacti CA 100 ensures it stands out thanks to a choice of bright yellow or pink versions – you’ll never lose those on the beach. Or if you’re feeling less than adventurous, there is a black option.

A 6x optical zoom is included in the package, with the added enhancement of a 6x “Advanced Zoom”, which crops the image sensor, rather than just blowing up the pixels, which is the case with your regular digital zoom.

There’s a wide-angle 35mm lens, with high-def video being shot at 60fps, and the 12x Double Range Advanced Zoom will help you capture even distant events underwater (why do I keep thinking about shark attacks?) There’s an underwater filming mode that automatically adjusts colour and contrast ration to help you achieve true-to-life colours under the water and Sanyo says it has an improved digital image stabiliser to keep footage smooth (again, I’m picturing shark attacks – “It’s okay dear, the beast ate the other arm, and thanks to the image stabiliser, I got a great shot of the whole thing.”)

Other technical niceties include a 2.7in TFT LCD display, recording to SD card and the new high-capacity SD XC cards and MP4 format for easy uploading to Facebook and YouTube. Eye-Fi card compatibility means you can upload videos and images to your social networks from any hotspot. (“I’m sitting in the hospital now, but here’s the footage of Gerald getting his arm chewed off by a great white.”)

The Sanyo Xacti CA100 is out now for the princely sum of £349, but if you take into account the fact that it may well be good enough to replace both your video and still camera, that makes it altogether more palatable (just like Gerald’s arm).

Sanyo widens Xacti Dual Camera range

This week sees the UK launch of Sanyo’s latest pocket-sized dual camera, the Xacti VPC-SH1. Following in the footsteps of last month’s tiny VPC-CS1, the SH1 is promising another industry first as the only dual camera in its class to offer a 30x Advanced Zoom and 35mm wide-angle feature.

The zoom function gives you the chance to indulge in some extreme close-ups; the wide-angle technology expands the video shooting area from 2-megapixels (the usual size on full HD models) to 3.5 megapixels to capture even more on film. Essentially this means that you’ll get a great quality shot whether your subject is invading your personal space or running off into the distance.

Sanyo-Xacti

The other main difference from the CS1 is the styling, as the SH1 is a more traditional palmcorder design. Sanyo has added a user-friendly second record button at the top of the unit to help make it easier if you are recording at a low or unusual angle.

Alongside these new elements, the SH1 maintains the principle idea of the Xacti range as a feature-packed collection of compact cameras. At only 43mm thick and weighing 203g, it still manages to cram in full HD video capabilities plus 10 mega-pixel stills, enhanced from 4 mega-pixels. There’s face recognition, and digital image stabilisation to help keep pictures pin-sharp if your hand begins to wobble.

As with the others in the range, the SH1 has a 2.7inch TFT LCD screen that can be rotated around 285 degrees, and features three microphone modes for audio recording. This allows you to capture all sounds for atmosphere, focus in on the subject of the film or change from one to the other as you zoom in.

The camera has 50MB of internal memory and works with SD, SDHC or SDXC memory cards. Footage is shot in You Tube-compatible MPEG4 and the camera works with the Eye-Fi SD cards for transferring files to the web – although the press release points out that the Eye-Fi uploading function may not actually operate in future, thanks to a change in card specifications. On a more positive note, there’s also a mini HDMI port for easy playback on the TV.

The Sanyo Xacti VPC-SH1 is available from this week in red or black for around £399, and includes a one year warranty.