Hybrid camera and HD camcorder that aims to multi-task, but does it deliver?
Why carry two devices, when you can get a digital camera and video recorder all in one?
At a street price of about £375, the Sanyo VPC-HD2 has much to recommend it, with its 7MP sensor, 10x optical zoom and an ISO range of 50-1600. The high-definition video mode records MPEG4 videos at up to 1280x720pixels at 30fps and allows you to take a photo while recording, though this results in dropped frames within the video footage. Along with a very comprehensive manual, the camera comes with software for both video and photo-editing.
The camera feels solid and fits itself nicely into your hand. The location of the on/off button under the foldaway LCD is a little awkward, but does at least make it harder to switch it off by mistake. The layout of the buttons is neat, with all the main functions accessible to your thumb. Panning the camera too quickly can make the visual image look very jumpy – something accentuated when the zoom is used. The camera design makes it less user-friendly for portrait-format shooting but the pop-up flash can be fired manually.
Where the camera least impresses is in its image quality: specifically the noise is apparent on every ISO setting. The lens has barrel distortion at both wide and the telephoto, and fringing is visible throughout the sensitivity range. The video quality is better than that of your average compact, but would not compare to the quality of a similarly-priced video camera, and therefore sits somewhat unimpressively in the middle.
The VPC-HD2 improves on Sanyo’s preceding models and at an improved price, but its poor image quality still affirms its status as a Jack-of-all-trades and master of none.