By >Daimaou - G.G-B
Sanyo Xacti, the buzz cam power in your pocket !
Sanyo has been very active on the Super Small Camera market with its Xactis, its immediate success pushed Panasonic and the D-Snaps from the reigning champion, to the challenger’s seat. Let’s take a look at what this last version of the Xacti is capable of.
The first thing that comes to your mind when you hold the Xacti DMX-CG65 is “how could they put so much technology in such a tiny box?”. This “toy” is as big as a pack of cigarettes (68 x 100 x 35 mm and 150g) but Sanyo managed to put a digital camera, camcorder, flash, “large” screen, stereo microphone, control buttons, SD card reader and all the connectivity that you need in… this is the ultimate weapon for all the buzz-men wandering in the streets of the world, no matter what you wear, the Xacti will fit in your pockets and take pictures, record videos or audio in the blink of an eye… really, really impressive.
I can already hear some saying that most products of this size are just “gadgets” and often offer nothing more than mediocrity in terms of visual quality… and I can’t say that they are entirely wrong… but not with the Xacti !
I was surprised by the quality of the videos and photos which is as good as any middle range product from the most famous companies, but more about that later.
|Effective Pixel Count||Approx. 6.0 megapixels|
|CCD||1/2.5-inch, 6.37-megapixel CCD (total)|
|Recording Media||SD memory card, SDHC memory card compatible (up to 8 GB)|
|Recording File Format||Still: JPEG (DCF, DPOF, Exif Ver2.2 standard)
Video: MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 (ISO standard)
Audio: 48 kHz sampling, 16-bit, 2-ch, AAC-compression (stereo)
[10M] 3680 x 2760
[6M-H] 2816 x 2112 (low-compression)
[6M-S] 2816 x 2112 (standard-compression)
[16:9] 2816 x 1584
[3M] 1536 x 2048 (vertical)
[2M] 1600 x 1200
[0.3M] 640 x 480
|Lens||f = 6.3 – 31.7 mm (equivalent to 38 – 190 mm on a 35 mm camera)
5.0x optical inner-zoom lens, F: 3.5 (wide) – 4.7 (tele)
Auto focus: 9 groups, 12 lenses
Built-in ND filter
|Photo Range||Standard: 10 cm (wide)/80 cm (tele) to infinity, Super macro: 1 cm – 80 cm (wide)|
|Shutter Speed||Still: 1/2 sec. – 1/2000 sec. (flash: 1/30 – 1/2000 sec., lamp mode: max. 4 sec.)
Video: 1/30 sec. – 1/10000 sec.
|Digital Zoom||Shooting: Max. 12x
Playback: Max. 58x (in [10M mode], depending on the resolution)
|Focus||Auto (Stills: 9-point AF/Spot AF, Video clips: Continuous area AF), Manual (16 steps)|
|Scene Select (Program AE)||Auto/Sports/Portrait/Night Portrait/Landscape/Snow & Beach/Fireworks/Lamp*5|
|Photometry||Multi-section measuring/Center-weighted measuring/Spot measuring|
|Sensitivity||Still: Auto (ISO 50– 400), Manual (ISO 50/100/200/400/800/1600, switchable)|
|Minimum Illumination for Movies||7 lux (Auto, 1/30 sec.)
2 lux (Lamp mode, 1/15 sec.)
|Exposure Correction||±1.8 EV (in 0.3EV steps)|
|Self-Timer||2 sec. or 10 sec.|
|White Balance||Auto: Full automatic TTL
|Flash Range||GN = 3 (10 cm – 1.7 m [wide], 80 cm – 1.3 m [tele])|
|Audio||Microphone: Built-in stereo
Speaker: Built-in mono (L/R mixed output)
|LCD Monitor||2.5-inch amorphous silicon color TFT LCD
110,000 pixels (100% coverage, 7-level brightness)
|Interface||AV output*(Video & audio): composite video, NTSC/PAL, stereo audio
AV output* (Audio only): 3.5 mm stereo headphone jack
USB 2.0 in high-speed mode (Storage Class + PC Camera + Video Class)
|Power Source||Lithium-ion battery*(DB-L20, included), Battery charger (VAR-L20NI, included)
|Approx. Battery Life||Stills: CIPA standard 155 images, Video clips: 70 min.
Playback: 200 min.
|Dimensions (W x H x D)||67.7 x 100.3 x 34.5 mm (when LCD is closed), Volume: 144 cc|
|Weight||Approx. 150 g (main unit only), Approx. 169 g (including battery and SD card)|
|Operating Environment||Temperature: 0°C – 40°C (32°F – 104°F); Humidity: 30% – 90% (non-condensing)|
In the hands
Simplicity, one button to start/stop video recording, another one to take snapshots at any moment (even while recording videos which will pause it…) and that’s it !! Of course there are zoom in/zoom out, playing/reading, menus… buttons. The small size doesn’t make it hard to manipulate, even for those who have large fingers, everything is pretty straight forward, well placed and you shouldn’t screw up that much.
As you can see, the Xacti DMX-CG35 is a pure “push and shoot” tool, and for me it has been a real pleasure to hang around with it during a couple days to shoot all the types of things that I wanted; once again, the size is a big advantage, because you’ll always find a place to put it.
Remember that it’s a camcorder, so this better be a good point and… it is, the quality is really enjoyable but there is, in my humble opinion, one downside: the 640×480 VGA resolution! A 720×480 (NTSC) or 720×576 (PAL) DVD-like resolution would have been so much better! As a result, the videos are more destined to web-sharing (Dailymotion, Youtube…) than anything else, and that’s a shame.
Here are a couple video tests (Quicktime needed):
- interior (7.55Mo)
- macro (5.4Mo)
- exterior, 5x zoom (2Mo)
- exterior, x5 zoom (6.85Mo)
- exterior, stabilized x5 zoom (7.20Mo)
- various exterior videos without stabilization (39.9Mo)
The Killer-Test !
Introducing to you with this review the “Killer-Test” for the video part in order to see what each product is really capable of !
Download the Killer-Test ! (5.42Mo)
The Stabilizer is not really good, and weird micro vibrations appear on screen when you use it… in the end, it isn’t very useful unless you really shake a lot… another good point though, comes from the possibility to edit your videos directly from the Xacti, perfect to keep the parts you want, delete the rest, and get some space back on your SD card !
The haters who were predicting an horrible image quality for photographs will once again be disappointed because, one more time, I have been surprised by the Xacti! So ok, we are nowhere near the quality of high end reflex digital cameras, but still, this is far from bad and the overall level is similar to most middle range digicams. Just take a look at the gallery, entirely made of pics taken with the DMX-CG65.
There is not much but…there is just what you need!
The mini USB will please 99.99% of the potential buyers, and it’s a “true” Plug-n-Play device: no driver or software needed, your computer will show it as an external HDD… one last thing; if you want to edit, make sure your software supports the .mp4 (h.264) !
Good picture quality for this range of product
SD cards support
Autonomy (easily 1 day of action)
VGA instead of DVD type resolution
I wish I could have kept this Xacti DMX-CG65 (especially the green version that i love) !
It is very easy to use, practical, able to record videos in no time and as much as you want… the only downside and fact that makes me hesitate to buy one is the VGA (640×480) resolution when a DVD standard like 720×480 NTSC or 720X576 PAL would have been much more enjoyable. As a result this product is mostly destined to internet, buzz/web videos.
All in all it’s a very good product, it simply depends on what you plan on doing with it; a sure thing is that it’s certainly the perfect tool for all the videopodcasters out there !!