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ACTION CAMS

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My favourite USB battery power Pack

This is the excellent USB power pack I use when I travel.

2 x 2.1amp outputs. 8400mAh capacity.

Two digit Led display shows battery level

 

What SD CARD should I buy?

If you want an SD Card for your camera - these are the ones I use and recommend. 

I'd strongly recommend not to buy any SD cards off ebay - I've heard about too many issues with counterfeit cards - often sold on by unwitting resellers. My inbox regularly gets messages from people who bought a £150 camera then cheaped out and bought a £3 memory card on ebay - Then when it doesn't worth they blame the camera! It doesn't make any sense. Good memory is cheaper than it's ever been - see the links above.

A lot of HD cameras will not work properly with cards larger than 32GB (cards over 32GB are usually SDXC rather than the SDHC standard used by 32GB cards. SDXC cards use the ex-FAT system rather than FAT32 - in short they are a different standard). - so don't just buy the biggest card you can afford - read the specs in the manual to see what it accepts.

UK & US LINKS & PRICES BELOW

RECOMMENDED CARDS (for action cams - see dashcams below)

CLASS 10 UHS-1 CARDS (For HD Cameras)

 

U3 CARD (For 4K cameras)

 

 

SPECIAL DASHCAM CARDS

The SD card in a dashcam is re-written over, more frequently than in other types of cameras. Some manufacturers void their guarantee if an SD card was used in a dashcam. So, no surprise, there are special High Endurance SD cards made just for dashcams...here's some.

 

VERY IMPORTANT. These links take you to the product, however Amazon have three different ways of selling. There's Amazon Direct - This means that you are only dealing with Amazon themselves, then there's other sellers that use Amazon's facilities - these show as Fulfilled By Amazon and finally there's Market Place sellers that advertise on Amazon, but operate independently.  I strongly recommend that you only use the first...the Amazon Direct - Sold By Amazon option. Even if it appears that you are paying a couple of £/$ more it is more than likely you are comparing the price of a real item against the price of a fake.

To give you an idea of the extent of the fake goods problem. In a 2016 survey by Apple - 90% of the 'Apple' chargers sold through Amazon - using the other the two methods..which includes the "Fulfilled by Amazon" option -  were found to be counterfeit....90%! 

            

 
« A useful (& cheap) Camera Clamp | Main | HD808 #11 The Story So Far »
Monday
May092011

The Sanyo VPC-PD1 - The best value pocket HD camera (AFAIK).

I’ve always been very interested in 3D and therefore managed to convince myself that the Sony MHS-FS3 would be a good first 3D camera for me to experiment with. I decided that even if I ended up rarely using the 3D functionality – it would still be a good pocket HD video camera anyway.

So I waited patiently for the camera to come out. Eventually, five months after the camera was first shown at CES, 3D footage shot by early adopters in Japan started to appear on youtube. Unfortunately it looked terrible, shaky, out of focus, washed out and blocky.

 

So I quickly cancelled my £220 pre-order for the MHS-FS3 and decided instead to go on a hunt to find the pocket HD camera that offered the best bang for the buck, and I think I found it in the £70 Sanyo VPC-PD1.  

I bought this camera without reading any reviews – this wasn't by choice, I just couldn’t find any. However it turns out that this camera is better known as the VPC-PD2 in the rest of the world, it came out in the last quarter of 2010 but appears to have been largely ignored or forgotten about. This may be a result of its initial high price point of £200. At that price it may be a difficult sell, even taking into account the camera’s additional features over it's competition. However when it is re-evaluated at the discounted price of approx £70 (eBay), it offers outstanding value for money. Video review below.

 

UPDATE 09/05/11

A couple of links.... 

The PDF Manual on the German Sanyo Website

A 2 minute montage of 1080p clips posted on YouTube (this was a special request - Be aware that your computer will need to have some serious horsepower to play 1080p Flash video smoothly).

 

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Reader Comments (26)

Another great review!

May 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNick

need to have some serious horsepower to play 1080p
and this is real OOLOLLO i've tried to play and it played with breaks LOLOLOL i guess i dont have a strong horse over here ehehhe

nice review again

May 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJoão

Certainly a better camera than most pocketcams available, specially for that price. Excellent review, thanks for sharing.

May 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJose

Hi there, how does this compare to the VPC CS1 you reviewed earlier? Does this trump the CS1 in terms of video/audio quality?

Thanks!

May 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterHK

@HK. I'm pretty sure the video quality will be identical...but I gave the CS1 back so can't do a direct comparison. It's down to personal preference, but for some reason after using both, I prefer the PD1, I keep it in my work bag all the time. I probably would have left the CS1 at home.

May 25, 2011 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

@Techmoan, thanks for the reply and thoughts! I thought I'd ask because I couldn't really see a (big) difference between the CS1's video quality when compared to the PD1, although the PD1 does look better, likely because it was a newer model.

I think the CS1's colour was probably the biggest single reason why you were reluctant to put it into your work bag! :P

I bought the Samsung HMX E10 recently, it seems to perform quite well, in my layman's opinion, and seems to do better in low light compared to other similar sized camcorders, likely because of its larger aperture. Check it out if you have the time!

May 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterHK

Hi there
I enoy reading your product reviews. Just one question which is about the battery. What is the lenght of time I can use the unit before the battery needs recharging. I have just purchased one from e-bay following your review as I was after somthing better than my ZX1 cam.

regards

May 28, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterleon

What a fantastic review. Really enjoyed it. Thanks to this review i'm going to be purchasing one today!

May 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTbert33

Hello Techman, it´s possible to use this camera with a 180º lens like this??

http://www.dealextreme.com/p/15mm-detachable-180-degree-wide-angle-fish-eye-lens-for-cell-phones-and-compact-digital-cameras-39814

Thanks you, for this blog

May 31, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSergio

IS NOT HERE SORRY

May 31, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSergio

I'm so glad that I stumbled across your Web site. The reviews are delightful: smart, accessible, clear-eyed, enthusiastic but also properly skeptical. I saw the Sanyo come up on Woot.com and quickly bought three at an embarrassingly low $90 each. Can I ask what method(s) you use to download the video? I have a Mac and the Sanyo downloader seems to work only with Windows. My Mac recognizes the still photos on the Sanyo when connected, but not the video files. It will download the video files into iPhoto and I'm in the process of transferring one to iMovie but it looks like it will take an hour to transfer 12 minutes of video. Have you found an easier way?

I

June 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterVoxford

@Voxoford
Hi - and thanks for the comments.

Your Mac is set up to auto-load iPhoto when a camera is attached. It then starts downloading the photos.
iMovie doesn't auto recognise video cameras like this - and to make things less confusing you would be better off switching off the option that auto-loads iPhoto because when you attach your camera you don't want iPhoto loading every time - some times you'll want iMovie instead.

So go into iPhoto Preferences>General> Change "Connecting Camera Opens" - to show "No Application"

Then open up iMovie, and connect your camera to the Mac - iMovie's importer window should open up - but if it doesn't then click on File>Import from Camera

If all this doesn't work for you, you could always choose File > Import Movies> then navigate to the folder containing the .mp4 files on the camera and import this way.

Importing video does take a while - expect to leave your Mac importing for a couple of hours (at least).

June 6, 2011 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

HI there
Great site and great reviews.

What speed/class of card do you recommend to use with this device to ensure no dropped frames etc...
Would a class 6 be sufficient or is a class 10 needed?

Based on your review I've ordered a PD1, but now need to order a card asap to stick in it when it arrives, and I'm conscious of the great variations in price between class of card and capacity.

Id rather spend the money on a class6 32Gb than a class10 16Gb as long as its going to work ok.

Many Thanks! :)

June 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterInspector Gadget

@Inspector Gadget. Yes, Class 6 is fine. I use a class 6 in mine and haven't had any issues at all. If I were you though I'd get a couple of 16GB cards rather than one 32Gb one. Having too much one one card can get a bit unwieldy when it comes to importing the footage into a PC.

June 15, 2011 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Thanks for the quick response! :)
Good advice about splitting the size.
Class 6 it is! :D

PD1 arrived an hour ago, very quickly from ebay seller. It looks a nice bit of kit, and that that price something that can come out with me all the time and get knocked about without any tears if it gets dropped, lost or water in it. It looks much more expensive than it was too, which is always nice for bragging rights.

Thanks again! :D

June 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterInspector Gadget

I saw the review and picked up a PD2. It has some features I like: wide angle, non-fixed focus, optical zoom.

On the other hand, it has a few issues, too. The quality of video and images is surprisingly poor for something that says it has a 10MP sensor. I have a Kodak Zi8 (advertised as a 5MP sensor, research says it's really 1.6MP) which provides a more detailed image than this.

I guess I should probably do a comparison review of my own. In the meantime, if you're in the market you can probably find a Kodak Zi8 for a similar price and you'll enjoy better image quality if you do.

Here's a quick video to compare the two: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fpNC7A_tNWY

July 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNormMonkey

Zi8 has now been discontinued.

July 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDave

Didn't know James May did camera reviews :p lol

Nice review - think I might just purchase this camera

July 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMe

I saw your video-review on YT, very nice and pro! Im looking for a small device like that for documentary purposes and thought, this sanyo would be just the right thing. But when i went through german amazon, i saw a lot of compliants about the sanyo. This leeds me to the question: is it possible that there is a weak QC with producing that kind of mass-market devices, and/or a massive difference in the producing (sensors, optics, placing)? it is not possible that some authentic professionals are excited about the cam while other buyers complaining *much*? what do you mean? i was myself working in quality controls a while back; i know whats up in the (german) industry...

August 23, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterxtom1973

Do you think the Sony Bloggie Touch or the Sanyo PD1 is better is ?

November 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJohn

@John. Never tried the Bloggie Touch...but it has no optical zoom or stabilisation (as far as I know)

November 19, 2011 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

The Sony Bloggie Touch does have image stabilisation, but no optical zoom like you said. Have you heard of the Samsung HMX-U20? It also has a 3X optical zoom, but no flash. The Samsung HMX-U20 does have a metal tripod mount, a hand strap is included in the box, it has touch sensitive buttons, and a timelapse feature.

November 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJohn

-as an avid Techmoaner.....This is one of your best! "stepping it a knotch" never hurts. We like your opinions, or at least I do. Can't speak for the rest.

Two thumbs up!

March 14, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterjettywolf

Great review! I like all your reviews!
I just bought the VPC-PD2 on ebay for $39.99. (used) What's the difference between the VPC-PD2 and the VPC-PD1

February 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTony

Hi again. I've been trying to find this little video camera and am having a hard time (especially since I want to get hold of the red version!). But I was wondering if you knew if it had a "PC Camera" fuction (aka webcam). I know that some of the older Sanyo camcorders did this, but this one is so small and with pretty good quality, that I would love to make it work. Could you tell me what options you get when you plug the USB in to a PC (or in your case Mac)?

Thanks in advance!

November 24, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterSyreeta

I uploaded this in May 2011, I think they stopped making these over 5 years ago. I'd forgotten making this video.

November 24, 2016 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

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