By >Akihabara News Team
[Review] Sanyo Xacti DMX-CS1
Sanyo is now a well-known company, especially for their huge line-up of Xacti HD camcorders… A series that’s also known for their pistol-shaped camera.
And since the first Xacti model, the Japanese manufacturer worked hard to improve every part of the device to make it more powerful in a smaller and thinner body. And earlier this year, Sanyo kindly sent us their latest Xacti DMX-CS1 (or VSP-CS1 in the US), which is introduced as the world’s smallest, lightest and thinnest dual camera.
During the press conference we had the chance to get a brief hands-on, and we have to admit that wasn’t the most exciting shape… Indeed, our camcorder is simply lightweight and ultra slim, but we would say incompatible with our hands.
However, Ladies could be seduced by their sleek shape, and their stylish design. Actually, these cameras seem to be perfect to carry with you at all times in a handbag, in your pocket or on holiday.
Anyway, let’s give this new series a try and see what we can get with this dual Camera capable of shooting videos in 1920x1080i @ 60fps with its 8 Megapixels sensor.
Sanyo Xacti DMX-CS1 specifications
• Image sensor: C-MOS sensor, 1/5 inch, approx. 3.4 megapixels
• Resolution (pixels) Video
- Full HD: 1920 x 1080 (60fields/sec 16Mbps)
- Full-SHQ: 1920 x 1080 (30 fps/ 12Mbps)
- HD-HR: 1280 x 720 (60fps, 12Mbps) HD-SHQ: 1280 x 720 (30 fps/9Mbps)
- (iFrame): 960 × 540 (30fps, 24Mbps)
- TV-SHQ: 640 x 480 (30 fps/3Mbps)
- f= 3.2 – 28.8 mm
- F= 2.8 (wide) – 3.0 (tele)
- Auto Focus
- 9 groups, 12 elements (aspheric elements, 6 aspheric surfaces)
- Built-in ND filter
• Shutter Speed:
- Photo: 1/2 – 1/1000 sec. (Lamp mode: Max. 1 sec.)
- Sequential: 1/15 – 1/1000 sec.
- Video: 1/30 – 1/10000 sec.
• Resolution (pixels) Sequential:
- 8M: 3264 x 2448 (6fps/20 shots)
- 3M: 2048 x 1536 (6fps/20 shots)
• Monitor: 2.7 inch Low-temperature polysilicon TFT color wide screen LCD
• Dimension: 62.5 (W) × 26.8 (D) × 123.5 (H)mm
• Weight: Approx. 159g (including battery and SD card)
Packaging and first impressions
It’s not a surprise; the DMX-CS1 from Sanyo is a stylish and ultra compact camcorder. With a 29mm thickness, our camcorder is really lightweight (approx. 159g) and you will be able to bring it anywhere in order to catch the most out of the ordinary images at anytime.
In the package you will find the minimum that will let you enjoy your toys, along with the the DMX-CS1, a battery charger, an AV cable, an USB cable, a strap and the instruction manual. Note that Sanyo don’t provide any HDMI cable.
Regarding the product, the shape is not bad, but to be honest, I don’t really know how to handle it… Being too thin, it’s not so easy to carry it in your hand. I had the impression that the CS1 didn’t fit to my hand’s shape which made me think that this Xacti camera has rather been designed for ladies than men.
Regarding the control button, they have been designated to let the users handle the device with only one hand… The most important control button, like the record button, or the zooming control are placed on the side of the CS1, just within thumb’s reach…
For the other buttons, especially for the navigation buttons you will have to open your device’s 2.7 inch screen. They are along the edge of the flip-and-swivel LCD screen. You will have a D-Pad (four-way joystick) letting you enjoy the Xacti’s menu, as well as separate Menu and Set buttons. And I have to admit that was not the most convenient button setting. If you are born with a big thumb, I should warn you that it won’t be easy to navigate within the menu and validate your setting. Concerning the On/Off button, here again, it has been inconveniently placed near the hinge and just above the battery compartment, and it’s far from being easy to reach. Fortunately, the Xacti will be automatically powered on when you will open your screen, saving you from the toil of trying to push the button.
Regarding the 38mm wide-angle lens part, surprisingly, Sanyo didn’t do anything to protect the lens, like a lens cover…. And I don’t know about you, but if you have to carry it in your pocket where you put your personal keys, I’m not sure that if the lens would much appreciate it….
The 2.7 LCD screen with its 230 000 pixels is not bad, but I found that under the sunlight, that wasn’t really handy to see what I was shooting. But the good surprise was to see that this camera is available in many different languages in Japan (from the French to the Finnish language, and of course to English)
Yep, the Xacti DMX-CS1 is stylish, lightweight, slim, but it seems that it has been designed more for
people with dedicated-fingers like women rather than guys and their usually bulky thumbs.
Let’s shoot baby!
I know that there is a huge number of fans of Xacti series among Akihabara News readers. Fan, because that’s right, Sanyo’s Xacti usually provides a really good image quality.
So before going more into detail let’s check what we have for this new Opus. We have a large choice of resolutions concerning the video mode, from TV-SHQ (640 x 480 at 30fps) to Full HD at 1920 x 1080 (@60fps 16Mbps) resolution, an 8-megapixel still photo, and 9x optical zoom and the compatibility with SDXC cards.
- Video Mode
As we mentioned, Sanyo propose several types of recording modes. You will have the choice of Full HD mode (1920 x 1080 60field/s), the Full-SHQ mode (1920 x 1080 30fps SHQ), the HD-HR mode (1280 x 720 60fps, 12Mbps), the HD-SHQ mode (1280 x 720 30 fps/9Mbps), the iFrame mode (960 × 540 30fps, 24Mbps), and the TV-SHQ mode 640 x 480 (30 fps/3Mbps)
Regarding the 1920 x 1080 (60field/s) mode, it will give you good result in perfect condition. The image is colorful, vivid, and sharp. As it is the case with almost all the products available on Sanyo’s catalog, the videos are nice. But to be honest with you, I still don’t understand this video mode. You know, the interlaced thingy. I don’t know about you, but the image quality is really tarnished by a crappy ‘line’ appearing on the moving subject on the video…
OK, some of you will tell me that thanks to a different editing software you will be able to manage these ‘lines’ and polish your image. But how many people among the consumers know that there are video editing softwares dedicated for improving the Quality? Moreover, I don’t think that Sanyo are targeting the professionals, but probably more the average consumers who don’t have editing skills.
And even if you can edit the image quality, when you watch what you shot directly on your computer with RAW footage, the image will be displayed interlaced…
To let you have a better understanding of what I’m saying, just take look at the screenshot below. When you stop the video, you will see a blurry subject with a kind of ‘ghost’ effect…
In 1280 x 720p mode (Progressive mode), we have found that the image became better. You will get smooth quality image, with interesting colors. And I would say that I prefer way more this mode since you won’t have this interlaced crappy image. However, even in the best possible condition with a nice sun I have to admit that the colors were flat and kind of pale.
This mode is still more interesting for the average consumer. They won’t have to edit their video to get something descent to show to their friends.
- Low Light Quality
I would like to say that there aree not surprises here again. Sanyo didn’t really improve this part of the camera. Shooting in low light will give you really crappy images. The 1/5 inch CMOS sensor won’t be good enough against the noise that appear at low sensitivities. So if you were planning to get this camcorder to shoot images during parties, forget about it. I tried to test it with flash and without it, still the same. To put it simple, the image quality won’t be workable at all.
- Zoom with the Sound Zoom Technology
Some of you were asking us to test the zoom in order to see if there wasn’t any noise when you’re zooming. Actually not, but the bad point is the zoom is not progressive, I mean you won’t be able to manage the zoom speed.
The interesting point about this Sound Zoom technology is that it will let the device focus the audio recording on the subject you’re zooming. Nice, but actually I haven’t been much amazed by this point. I didn’t feel any changes in the voice recording…
But there is really something interesting and I don’t know if it’s due to this technology but this is the recorded audio in windy conditions where the mic makes well the difference between the voice and the wind.
- Image stabilization
It works well when the subject you’re shooting is perfectly stable, but we noticed that when the subject is moving, or if you’re shooting footage when you’re walking, the camcorder becomes more sensitive to shakes… Notice that this is also due to the lightweight of the DMX-CS1 .
- Pictures Mode
In Xacti Dual camera series, the term ‘dual’ means that you can shoot both pictures and videos. However, this function of the Xacti is simply useless. The image is really noisy, and it will be almost impossible to take good enough pictures in low light.
The focus and the Xacti are deadly slow… In short, if you looking for something capable of taking pictures, invest in a real ‘point & amp; shoot’ camera!
- Battery’s life Span.
The Xacti DMX-CS1 comes with a 700mAh battery that promises 60 minutes of video in Full HD mode. And during our test, our sample was ‘dead’ after about 50 minutes.
- Sound Zoom technology
- Lightweight and thin
- Different recording mode
- Perfect for women
- Absence of Lens cover
- Poor performance in Low light (Photo and Video)
- Difficulties to navigate in menu with the 4 direction pad
- Pictures mode useless
- Image stabilizer could be better
- 1080i and not 1080p
The DMX-CS1, offered in three different flavors (Green, Pink and silver), is a stylish camcorder. Lightweight, ultra-slim, this new device should mainly seduce ladies. You will be able to bring it anywhere, and let it slide into your bag.
Regarding the overall quality, Sanyo made something really interesting. The device is well-built, however we regret the lack of cover for the lens. The navigation pad placed on the edge of the 2.7 inch LCD screen is not the best thing we’ve ever seen.
As for the image quality, when you’re in perfect condition, you will have good quality videos and photos. Yep, for the average user, the camera is perfect. You will just have to let it into your bag, and shoot at anytime…
However, we are really disappointed with the choice of the video resolutions available. Why are Sanyo still offering such mode with interlaced image?
And, when it comes to taking videos in the low light, you can forget about it. The image is simply unworkable and noisy.
Anyway, if you are looking for a camcorder, the DMX-CS1 will be more interesting for its convenience side than the image quality. Honestly, the previous model is probably better in terms of quality and convenience than this series.
• Video Sample
• Pictures Sample