If carrying both a digital camera and camcorder around drags you down, you'll want to pay close attention to Sanyo's new 2009 Xacti lineup, announced today. The company rolled out six models that it thinks merit a whole new category called "Dual Cameras," which it separates from digital cameras and digital camcorders on its site. The six models are separated into three pairs, each including a horizontal-form-factor model and a model with a vertically oriented, "pistol-grip" form factor (like existing Xacti camcorders).
All the cameras record both digital still images and videos to SD/SDHC memory cards and use separate video and photo buttons for quick switching between shooting video and photos (so you don't have to stop and switch modes as with most other camcorders that record stills).
The first pair, the Xacti VPC-FH1 (horizontal) and VPC-HD2000 (vertical), serve up full 1080p (that is, 1920x1080) HD video at 60 frames per second (fps) as well as 8-megapixel digital still photos with 10x optical zoom and 12 fps sequential shooting (in 4-megapixel mode). Features like digital image stabilization and face-detection technology apply to both photos and videos. The $499.99 VPC-FH1 sports a 3-inch, widescreen LCD and an HDMI output, while the $599.99 VPC-HD2000 uses a 2.7-inch, widescreen LCD, but can only connect to HDMI through its cradle. The top-of-the-line HD2000 also includes an external microphone input as well as hot shoe for external lighting. Both models will accept optional telephoto, wide-angle, and semi-fisheye lenses.
The next pair, the Xacti VPC-WH1 (horizontal) and VPC-CA9 (vertical) are waterproof models that shoot 720p (1280x720) HD video at 30 fps. The $399.99 VPC-WH1 is waterproof up to 10 feet (for one hour) and can shoot 2-megapixel digital still images with 30x optical zoom and 13 fps sequential shooting. The $349.99 VPC-CA9, on the other hand, is waterproof to just 5 feet for an hour, but shoots 9-megapixel digital stills with 5x optical zoom and 7 fps sequential shooting (in 2-megapixel mode) . Both include 2.5-inch LCDs and offer face-detection technology.
Last, and quite honestly least, are the Xacti VPC-TH1 (horizontal) and VPC-CG10 (vertical), non-waterproof models that shoot 720p HD video at 30 fps as well as stills. The $299.99 VPC-TH1 shoots 2-megapixel stills with a 30x optical zoom and 13 fps sequential shooting. The $199.99 VPC-CG10 shoots 10-megapixel stills with a 5x optical zoom and 7 fps sequential shooting (in 2-megapixel mode). Both models sport 3-inch widescreen LCDs and offer digital image stabilization for both video and stills as well as face-detection technology.
All six models are slated to ship in March.