Camcorders tend to be far too big to fit into a coat pocket. But not Sanyo's Xacti VPC-CG65. This small, lightweight camcorder stores video and photos on an SD Card, thereby avoiding the need to accommodate a bulky hard-disk drive, tape drive, or DVD drive.

The Xacti VPC-CG65 is slightly larger than a typical point-and-shoot camera. Because it records video and still images to an SD Card (a storage mechanism that has no moving parts), the Sanyo Xacti VPC-CG65 ought to handle hard knocks better than an HDD or DVD camcorder. The Sanyo Xacti VPC-CG65's case feels plasticky and not particularly rugged, however.

Sanyo's Xacti VPC-CG65 produces good-looking video, which it shoots in Mpeg4 format at a maximum resolution of 640x480 pixels (the Xacti VPC-CG65 doesn't capture wide-aspect video). That translates into a data transfer rate of 3mbps. Low-light video was particularly impressive. Overall, the Sanyo Xacti VPC-CG65 showed very good video quality in our lab tests. The outdoor footage we shot in daylight during informal testing looked very attractive. The nighttime footage shot indoors looked good but not perfect: errant pixels danced in shadow areas, and the exposure changed abruptly as we moved into well-lit areas from darker ones.

When used as a digital camera, Sanyo's Xacti VPC-CG65 records still images at resolutions of up to 6 megapixels, and shows superior photo quality. Colours look vivid and accurate, while images are sharp. The Sanyo Xacti VPC-CG65 worked exceptionally well in macro mode, focusing accurately for most of our close-ups of flowers, although its auto focus failed to lock on to the subject at some extremely short distances.


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