By September 13, 2008

Camcorder group test (Part 1)

If you are a regular on tracyandmatt you’ll remember that I recorded the Palm Treo Pro launch event a few weeks ago. At the time I mentioned that the Camcorder that I was using at the time didn’t perform very well in the low light conditions at the event and that I was looking for a replacement.

So over in the last few weeks I started looking for a new camcorder that I could use to record our unboxing videos but that would also be small and light enough to take out to press events without contributing too much to my already overloaded kit bag. I for the sake of convenience, also wanted a camera that recorded footage on to memory cards rather than DVD or Tape (yes the still make DV camcorders). I preferred to have camera that could record HD but this wasn’t essential, it was the recording quality that mattered most as our videos would always be scaled down for web-streaming anyway. Finally I didn’t want to spend a fortune on the camera; about £200 – £250 was ideal.

As you can imagine, there are a lot of models to choose from within the requirements set out above and it was difficult to decide which one would suit me best. So I decided it would be a good idea to perform a group test of some camcorders that fit the bill. Not only would it help me to select the model I wanted but would also make for an interesting series of posts here on the site.

The models that we short-listed (and were able to get hold of) are the Sanyo Xacti HD700, Panasonic SD7, Canon FS100 and Toshiba Camileo H10.

All of the cameras record on to SD memory cards. The Sanyo and the Toshiba are capable of recording at 720p whereas the Canon and Panasonic record SD.

Sanyo Xacti HD700

Canon FS100

Toshiba Camileo H10

Panasonic SDR-S7


canon_fs100 toshiba_h10 SDR-S7

Effective Pixel Count

Approx. 7.1 megapixels

1.07 megapixels

10.48 megapixels

0.8 megapixels

Camera Element

1/2.5 inch, 7.38-megapixel CCD (total)

1/6" Interlaced CCD

1/2.5 inch, 10.48 megapixel CCD

1/6" CCD 800k Pixels

Recording Media

SDHC (up to 8 GB)

SDHC (up to 16GB)

SDHC (max cap. Unknown)

SDHC (up to 16GB)

Recording File Format

Still: JPEG
Video: MPEG-4 AVC/H.264
Audio: AAC-compression (stereo)

Still: JPEG
Video: MPEG-4
Audio: AC3

Still: JPEG
Video: MPEG-4
Audio: MPEG1-L2

Still: JPEG
Video: MPEG-4
Audio: MPEG1-L2

Resolution (Pixels) Still:

[10M] 3680 x 2760 interpolated
[7M] 3072 x 2304

1152 x 864
1152 x 648

4608 x 3456 max

JPEG size:640 x 480

Resolution (Pixels) Video:

[HD-SHQ] 1280 x 720 (30 fps, 9 Mbps)
[HD-HQ] 1280 x 720 (30 fps, 6 Mbps)
[TV-SHQ] 640 x 480 (30 fps, 3 Mbps)
[TV-HQ] 640 x 480 (30 fps, 2 Mbps)
[Web-SHQ] 320 x 240 (30 fps)

standard-definition video resolution of 720×480


H.264 – 1280 x 720 – 30 fps
H.264 – 720 x 480 – 30 fps
H.264 – 640 x 480 – 30 fps
H.264 – 320 x 240 – 30 fps

640 x 840 XP (10Mbps/VBR)
640 x 480 SP (5Mbps/VBR)
640 x 480 LP (2.5Mbps/VBR)


5.0x optical zoom lens

37x optical zoom lens

5.0x optical zoom lens

10.0x optical zoom lens

Digital Zoom

Shooting: Max. 12x
Playback: Max. 58x (in [10M mode], depending on the resolution)

2000x digital zoom

4x digital zoom

10 – 700x Digital


Auto (Stills: 9-point AF), Manual





Still: Auto (ISO 50–400), Manual (ISO 50/100/200/400/800/1600/3200)

1.7 Lux Minimum Illumination


2 Lux Minimum Illumination


2 sec. or 10 sec.

2 sec. or 10 sec.

10 sec.








Microphone: Built-in stereo
Speaker: Built-in mono (L/R mixed output)

Stereo Mic
Built in mono speaker

Stereo Mic
Built in mono speaker

Stereo Zoom Mic, Wind Noise Reduction
Built in mono speaker

LCD Monitor

2.7-inch, TFT color wide screen LCD, Approx. 230,000 pixels

2.7” Wide LCD (123,200 pixels)

2.7” Wide LCD (123,200 pixels)

2.7” Wide LCD (123,200 pixels)


Via docking cradle: AV output (HDMI/component video/S-video/composite video, Audio: stereo sound), USB 2.0

AV output (S-video/composite video, Audio: stereo sound), USB 2.0

AV output (HDMI/composite video, Audio: stereo sound), USB 2.0

AV output (S-video/composite video, Audio: stereo sound), USB 2.0

Power Source

Lithium-ion battery (1200 mAh)

Lithium-ion battery

Lithium-ion battery

Lithium-ion battery

Approx. Battery Life

Stills: CIPA standard approx. 180 images
Video clips (HD-SHQ): Approx. 80 min.
Playback: Approx. 190 min.





73.7 x 109.0 x 35.0 mm

58 x 60 x 124 mm

56 x 117 x 65 mm

41.0 x 59.0 x 102.0 mm


Approx. 189 g (main unit only), Approx. 214 g (including battery and SD card)

260 g with battery

340 g with battery

Approx. 165 g w/o Battery

Price (Amazon)





Over the next few weeks, with Nigel’s help, we are going to be testing the four camcorders under real world, general use conditions as well as for the specific job I need them for. We’ll have an unboxing and a sample video from each camera as well as a short review and then we’ll have a final summary post at the end where we’ll pick the camcorder that we’ve decided to buy.

If you have any questions or comments along the way then please do get in touch through our contact page!

Part 2 of the group test is now live – check out the Panasonic SDR-S7 review!

Part 3 of the group test is now live – check out the Toshiba Camileo H10 review!

Part 4 of the group test is now live – check out the Sanyo Xacti HD700 review!


Posted by: Matt

Posted in: Reviews

About the Author:

More than 20 years in the IT industry. Blogging with a passion and thirst for new technology since 2005.
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