The Sanyo Xacti SH1 video camera offers 10Mp photo capture alongside Full HD video – but it does so with far more panache.
Here, the shiny black and silver exterior looks expensive and flash rather than merely glitzy. The build is solid and meaty and has a reassuring weight to it. The Sanyo Xacti SH1 is also the slimmest of the traditional flip-out video cameras we've tested recently.
The Sanyo Xacti SH1 comes with a wriststrap rather than a wrap around strap. This is fine for making sure you don’t drop the camera, but the flattened sides and lack of a retaining strap meant the Sanyo isn’t as comfortable to hold. We also weren’t able to keep it as steady as we could the Canon and Panasonic models.
Sanyo’s support for dual recording modes is a real boon, however. The Sanyo Xacti SH1 boasts superbly functional left and right buttons to switch between photo and video capture modes. These are placed just where you need them where your thumb can get at them easily. The CS1 loses something by changing this intuitive function to a rocker instead, while the Panasonic and Canon offer mere snapshot options.
A navipad and a menu button also feature on the back of the camera where they are easy to access. (Other models place important setting menus on the frame of the LCD.). With the Sanyo Xacti SH1, you get a slew of camera-specific image adjustment options and a good range of scene modes. HDMI and USB ports are hidden by the flip-out LCD, next to the SDXC card slot.
As on previous Xacti camcorders, we were impressed with the brightness and high-resolution of the LCD – a good representation of the video footage it captures. Video is still well above par for a camcorder in this price range.
Colours were accurately represented and the Sanyo Xacti SH1 camcorder was better than several others when it came to focusing in over significant distances. The zoom is a generous 30x – more than enough for most purposes – and once we’d got the measure of how much to press the rocker to move from telephoto to wide-angle, we found its action relatively smooth.
Another pleasant surprise was the Sanyo Xacti SH1’s handling of low light conditions. Backgrounds came out grainy, granted, but lack of light didn’t deter the SH1’s ability to pick out detail. The audio pickup is surprisingly good too. Even in a crowded room we could easily make out conversations.
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