By December 6, 2009

Sanyo Xacti FH1 review

Does the Sanyo Xacti VPC-FH1 camera live up to full HD expectations?

Hi everyone, this is my first review so please be gentle. When Matt told me I would be getting a full 1080p HD camcorder for my first review I was really looking forward to it and at roundabout the £400 mark, one that was quite affordable in the growing market of full HD cameras and the latest in the already popular Xacti series. Let’s see if it’s as good as I’d hoped.

The Sanyo Xacti VPC-FH1 

The Sanyo Xacti VPC-FH1

What’s in the box?

  • Sanyo Xacti VPC-FH1
  • Battery
  •  Hand Strap
  •  Lens cap
  •  Mains Charger
  • USB Cable and USB adapter
  • Component AV Cable
  • Remote Control
  • Easystart manual and software/manual disc

Check out Matt’s Sanyo Xacti VPC-FH1 unboxing video for a more detailed look at the camera.


Sanyo Xacti VPC-FH1 specification:

Effective pixel count/Camera element

Stills: Approx. 8.0-Megapixels
Videos: Approx. 5.31-Megapixels (in Full HD/HD mode), Approx. 2.00-Megapixels (in SD mode)

Camera element

1/2.5 inch CMOS sensor, Approx. 8.1-Megapixels (total)

Recording media

SD Memory Card, SDHC Memory Card (up to 32GB)

Recording file formats

Photos: JPEG (DCF*1, DPOF*2, Exif Ver2.2*3)
Videos: ISO standard MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 (.MP4)
Audio: 48kHZ sampling, 16bit, 2ch, AAC

Resolution (pixels)


12M: 4000 x 3000*4, 8M-H: 3264 x 2448 (low compression) 8M-S: 3264 x 2448 (standard compression) 6M[16:9]: 3264×1840 2M[16:9]: 1920×1080 2M: 1600 x 1200 0.9M[16:9]: 1280×720 0.3M: 640×480

Continuous shots

8M: 3264 x 2448 , 6fps/Max 9 photos, 4M: 2288 x 1712 , 12fps/Max 15 photos


Full-HR: 1920 x 1080 (60 fps/ 24Mbps) Full HD: 1920 x 1080 (60fields/sec 16Mbps)
Full-SHQ: 1920 x 1080 (30 fps/ 12Mbps) HD-SHQ: 1280 x 720 (30 fps/9Mbps)
TV-SHQ: 640 x 480 (30 fps/3Mbps)
Web-SHR: 448 x 336 (240 fps/8Mbps) Web-UHR: 192 x 108 (600fps/8Mbps)


10x optical zoom lens; Aperture: F=2.0(W) – 2.8(T)
Focus distance: f=5.95 to 59.5mm;
Galvanometer method structure, Auto focus: 9 groups, 12 elements (4 aspheric elements, 8 aspheric surfaces), Built-in neutral density filter
Photos: f=35.7-357mm(=35mm) Optical 10x zoom
Videos: f=41.7-666.9mm(=35mm) 16x Adv. zoom

Photo range

Standard: 50cm to infinity (wide), 1.0m to infinity (tele) / Super macro: 1cm – 1m (wide)

Digital zoom

Shooting: 10x max., Playback 62.5x max. (12M mode, depending on the resolution)

Low light sensitivity (video)

Approx. 6 lux (Auto mode, 1/30 sec.)
Approx. 2 lux (High-sensitivity/ Lamp mode, 1/15 sec.)

Stills sensitivity

Auto (ISO 50 – 200), Manual (ISO 50/100/200/400/800/1600/3200, Switching system)

Digital Image Stabilizer

Photos: Digital Image Stabilizer (Multi-Calculation method),Videos: Digital Image Stabilizer (electronic)


Microphone: Built-in stereo, Speaker: Built-in monaural (L+Rch mixed output)

LCD monitor

3.0 inch, Low-temperature polysilicon TFT color widescreen LCD display, Approx. 230,000 pixels (7-level brightness, 285 degrees rotation)


English/ French/ German/ Spanish/ Italian/ Dutch/ Russian/ Portuguese/ Turkish/ Thai/ Korean/ Simplified Chinese/ Traditional Chinese


AV output (Video: HDMI/D/ S-Video/ Composite video(NTSC/PAL) Audio: Stereo sound)
USB 2.0 (high-speed mode compatible)

Power source

Lithium-ion battery x 1 (DB-L50 included: 1900mAh) AC-adaptor

Power consumption

When using battery: 4.3W (when filming videos)

Approx. battery-use time

Photos: Approx. 355 shots (CIPA standard), Continuous video filming: Approx. 135min./Continuous playback: Approx. 350 min.


53.3 (W) x 57.3 (H) x 105.0 (D)mm (maximum dimension, excluding protruding parts)
Volume: Approx. 253cc


Approx. 299g (main unit only), Approx. 342g (including battery, Approx. 41 g, and SD card, Approx. 2 g)


SD Memory Card Type

Video Recording Time (Total Time)








Audio Memo

16 GB

1 hr 28 min.

2 hr 11 min.

2 hr 54 min.

3 hr 51 min.

11 hr 06 min.

4 hr 19 min.

41 hr 19 min.

261 hr.


SD Memory Card Type

Number of Photographs




6.0M [16:9]

2M [16:9]


0.9M [16:9]


8M Cont.

4M Cont.

16 GB













Front –     Lens, flash and stereo mic’s left and right side

Sanyo Xacti FH1 front view 

Sanyo Xacti FH1 front view


Side       Right side has hand strap and lens cover holder, left side has Viewing screen which when opened reveals the on/off switch plus USB, Component/AV and HDMI sockets as well as the SDHC card holder

Sanyo Xacti FH1 left side view 

Sanyo Xacti FH1 left side view


Screen – The screen is a 3.0 inch, Low-temperature polysilicon TFT color widescreen LCD display, approx. 230,000 pixels (7-level brightness, 285 degrees rotation)


Bottom –  Underneath is the battery pack cover which slides off and the tripod screw

Top        On top is zoom rocker switch and small speaker grill

Controls – Controls are at the rear of the camera with the stills record button on the top left and the video record on the  top right with a set joystick and menu button. Underneath that is the AC adapter socket which has a rubber grommet type cover and the unlock latch for the battery cover.


Sanyo Xacti FH1 back view



  • Good build quality and looks
  • Value for money
  • Light and easy to use
  • Good quality video and stills
  • Remote Control


  • No HDMI lead (optional extra)




I don’t know about you, but being a bloke I tend to get things out the box and see how much I can do before referring to the instruction manual, this was no exception to that rule. I am pleased to say that it was all very user friendly and I managed to use all functions of the camera and navigate the menu system without any need for instruction.  Big plus point for Sanyo.

I like the looks of the camera especially in gloss black which has a glittery paint finish on the main body of the camera with silver round the lens. You can also have it in gold as well if that takes your fancy. The Xacti FH1 feels solid, robust and comfortable in your hand with your thumb falling nicely on the rear controls.  These controls are large and nicely spaced out and you get used to them very quickly which is great when you need to record the action fast.

The 3″ screen is sharp and clear and makes framing your shots easy. The menu system is very straightforward to use and even gives you a simple menu option for a less detailed format. You can even adjust white balance , exposure etc for the more manual touch and has 9 point or single spot focus and autoflash. It has face recognition/ face chaser technology  which keeps track of up to 12 faces at any one time which is great for group or family shots. The FH1 also includes video and image stabilisation, a must for any kind of movement while recording.

I tested the video and stills out on my 46″ Toshiba LED TV and were very pleased with the results. I used the supplied component leads and also dropped the SDHC card straight into my PS3 which outputs in 1080p just to see if there were any difference, but both ways resulted in great picture quality and clear sound with the camera switching from high to low light very well.  The stills are 8mp (12mp interpolated)  and were good quality  with nice colours and sharp focusing although you have to get used to pressing the stills button down halfway, waiting breifly for focus then pressing all the way down to take a picture with a shutter sound effect, the clever bit is being able to take stills while recording video. I also like the included remote control, very handy when playing back through your tv still sitting in your favourite chair.

The only thing that disappointed me was a lack of an included HDMI cable, especially when there is a HDMI socket on the camera, it is an optional extra (VCP-HDMI02) as well as a battery charger (VAR-L50) and spare battery (DB-L50).

 As far as recording time goes I used an 8 Gig SDHC card which will give about 1 hour recording time in full HD (more info in specs). Battery life is also very good with an average of over 2 hours this includes recording video, taking pics and playback through the screen and TV output. The 10x optical zoom with 16x advanced zoom and 160x digital zoom works well and is  smooth and progressive with the super macro mode working well for close-up work.



A Sanyo Xacti software CD is included with:

  • Arcsoft Total Media Extreme for full hd playback and editing
  • Arcsoft Panorama Maker 4 for easy panoramic photo stitching
  • Xacti screen capture 1.1



In conclusion I really love this camera and would have no problem buying it myself or recommending it to anyone else. Apart from the unincluded HDMI cable I cannot find any real faults as it did exactly what it said on the box , a small, easy to use full HD Dual camera at a very reasonable price. What more can I say ?


Review by: Charlie

[ Post Tags: Camcorder, Video Cameras, sanyo Xacti FH1, VPC-FH1, ]

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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