By February 12, 2010

Sanyo Xacti VPC-CA9 review

CA9Ok this is my first review so I hope you have as much fun reading it as I did playing with this camera! When I opened the box I was rather pleased to see a cool looking red video camera staring at me. Right away I can tell you that for basic use, you can pick this camera up and without having to even look at the manual perform the basic tasks such as, taking pictures and videos, browsing through the material you have snapped or recorded and even deleting the unwanted shots is easy as 1-2-3.

What’s in the box?

  • Sanyo Xacti CA9 HD video camera
  • Battery charger
  • Power cable UK outlets
  • Power cable EU outlets
  • Micro USB – AV TV connection
  • Micro USB – USB 2.0 connection
  • Camera holding pouch
  • Instruction manual & quick guide
  • Wrist strap
  • Installation CD
  • Warning cards regarding the waterproof features.


You may also want to check out Matt’s Sanyo Xacti CA9 unboxing video.


Sanyo Xacti CA9 Specification:

Effective pixel count/Camera element

Photos: Approx. 9.0-Megapixels
Videos: HD: Approx. 7.31-Megapixels SD: Approx. 8.84-Megapixels

Camera element

1/2.5 inch CMOS sensor, Approx. 9.02-Megapixels (total)

Recording media

SD Memory Card, SDHC Memory Card (up to 32GB)
Internal memory: Approx. 43 mb

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, 
9M-H: 3456 x 2592 (low compression)
9M-S: 3456 x 2592 (standard compression)
6.7M[16:9]: 3456 x 1944
2M: 1600 x 1200
0.9M[16:9]: 1280 x 720
0.3M: 640 x 480

Continuous shots

9M: 3456 x 2592, 1.6fps/Max 13photos
2M: 1600 x 1200 , 7fps/Max 15 photos


HD-SHQ: 1280 x 720 (30 fps/ 9Mbps) 
TV-HR: 640 x 480 (60 fps/6Mbps)
TV-SHQ: 640 x 480 (30 fps/3Mbps)


5x optical zoom lens; Aperture: F=3.5(W)-4.7(T)
Focus distance: f=6.3 to 31.7mm;
Galvanometer method structure, Auto focus: 8 groups, 11 elements (3 aspheric elements, 5 aspheric surfaces), Built-in neutral density filter
Photos: f=38-190mm(=35mm) Optical 5x zoom
Videos: f=38-190mm(=35mm) Optical 5x zoom

Photo range

Standard: 50cm to infinity (wide), 1.0m to infinity (tele)
Super macro: 1cm – 80cm (wide)

Digital zoom

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

Low light sensitivity (video)

Approx. 16 lux (Auto mode, 1/30 sec.)
Approx. 4 lux (High-sensitivity/ Lamp mode, 1/15 sec.)

Stills sensitivity

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

Digital Image Stabilizer

Photos: Digital Image Stabilizer (electronic), Videos: Digital Image Stabilizer (electronic)


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

LCD monitor

2.5 inch, Low-temperature polysilicon TFT color LCD display,
Approx. 150,000 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: Composite video, NTSC/PAL,
USB 2.0 (high-speed mode compatible)

Power source

Lithium-ion battery x 1 (DB-L20 included: 720mAh)

Power consumption

When using battery: 3.1W (when filming videos)

Approx. battery-use time*6

Photos: Approx. 170 shots (CIPA standard), Continuous video filming: Approx. 70min.
Continuous playback: Approx. 220 min.


70.4 (W) x 111.4 (H) x 40.5 (D)mm (maximum dimensions, excluding protruding parts) 
Volume: Approx. 192cc


Approx. 230g (main unit only), Approx. 249g (including battery, Approx. 17 g, and SD card, Approx. 2 g)


SD Memory Card Type

Video Recording Time (Total Time)*7




Audio Memo

16 GB

3 hr 51 min.

5 hr 43 min.

11 hr 06 min.

261 hr.


SD Memory Card Type

Number of Photographs*7




6.7M [16:9]


0.9M [16:9]


9M Cont

2M Cont

16 GB












As you can see when the screen is folded away it does make a tidy little package! You can see on the side of the device the microphone.

Xacti CA9 controls and back view

Xacti CA9 controls and back view


You can see the controls on the back of the device, the 2 topmost buttons being the “Photo” (left) and “Video” (right) for switching between the cameras still image and video mode. To the left of these 2 buttons you might just be able to make out the white writing for the “Menu” button. Underneath these you will be able to see the D-Pad style button. This is for navigating the menu’s and controls the cameras zoom when in capture mode. The centre button is for selecting your options on the menu. Along the edge of the device you can see the “Lock Warning”. Opening this was rather easy and allows access to the battery, SD card slot and USB socket.

Xacti CA9 front view

Xacti CA9 Front View


At the front you can see the Lens and the Flash for the camera.

Xacti CA9 inner controls

Xacti CA9 inner controls


Lifting up the screen you will see 2 buttons. The Higher button being the “Rec / Play” button, clicking this will allow you to see all the videos and pictures you have stored on the device. The lower button is the power button, pretty obvious what this does.haha!



Now, as you can see from the picture above, the screen is nicely framed and plenty big enough. But you will see the second thing I do not like about this camera. How narrow the “grip” section is. I don’t like to think that I have massive hands, but I still fond that the device was too narrow to be able to use the device comfortably one handed, I often found myself holding the side of the screen when taking pictures and reaching around at an uncomfortable angle with my thumb to hit the power and REC/Play buttons.



On the underside of the device there is a socket for affixing the camera to a Tripod for steadier shots and video, coupled with a nice large loop to make attaching a lanyard easier!



  • Good video quality.
  • Waterproof.
  • Excellent zoom!
  • Attractive (mostly).


  • Still image quality an afterthought?
  • Image stabilizer not very good.
  • Still images take about 5 seconds for the picture to be captured.
  • No HDMI cable linkup.



I’m going to start off with the points that I don’t like with this device. Firstly, the screws on the top, bottom and side of the screen unit. On the main body of the camera the screws you can see, Sanyo have coloured to match the colour of the body work, but on the screen unit you can see the 4 chrome heads standing out against the red colour. It’s just one of the things that will bug me to look at.

The second thing I do not like about this camera. How narrow the “grip” section is. I don’t like to think that I have massive hands, but I still fond that the device was too narrow to be able to use the device comfortably one handed, I often found myself holding the side of the screen when taking pictures and reaching around at an uncomfortable angle with my thumb to hit the power and REC/Play buttons.

Last thing I do not like is the D-pad on the back of the camera. It feels loose and flimsy. Not like it is going to fall off, but more like it just hasn’t been seated properly. The whole thing wobbles up and down and you don’t even experience a nice “click” feeling when you use the buttons.

Now, on with the picture quality. I found the still image quality with this camera ok; the reason being is that an adequate amount of movement would blur the shot terribly. I found myself having to take several shots of the same thing over and over to get a picture I deemed suitable. The main downside to the still images was the length of time I would need to be pressing the picture button. This thing takes about 5 seconds to actually capture an image. Precisely the length of time it will take someone standing for their picture to be taken to say “Is it done yet?” thus messing up the whole shot completely.

The video capture quality however is good. Smooth and nice to watch even on the small screen and seems to suffer a lot less than the normal camera mode with the blur. The video mode is recorded in HD720p! making the playback an exceptional quality for a small device such as this.

Other features that this device boasts are a 9 megapixel camera, high speed sequential shot, face chaser, a “Digital Image stabilizer” (which worked ok) and the waterproof features of the camera. I can see the waterproof features being useful if you are recording around a pool area, or other water features, as a little splash from the water this device will shrug off. In fact included in the box there is a warning card telling you the waterproof capabilities of the camera.

On the menu there are plenty of different features that you can fiddle with such as:

– Video Recording Quality

– The Photo Quality (which can go up to 12m 4000×3000)

– The Scene selection.

The Scene Selection screen gives you so many different scenarios to choose from; sports, portrait, landscape, night portrait, snow and beach, underwater, fireworks and lamp. Different filters are also available as well as flash settings and a self timer mode. The focus can be set to manual or automatic and the auto focus can be set from spot mode to full auto focus.

On the 3rd recording menu you will be able to access the white balance settings, the exposure settings, the face chaser settings, the sensitivity settings and the zoom settings.

Other settings for the camera include the standard date and time settings, the display settings and the noise the camera makes.



To conclude then, I think Sanyo have made a great little video recording device, but the picture quality for the still images seems to me that the still features are more of an add-on than anything else. This camera is still definitely worth buying however, the video quality alone is good enough reason for me. That coupled with the fact that it’s a nice looking device. Don’t think though that the still image camera will replace your SLR cameras. But if space is an issue then the picture is adequate enough, just don’t expect to be snapping several times in a short space with how long it takes to capture the images.


Review by: Jason

[ Post Tags: Camcorder, Video Cameras, sanyo Xacti CA9, VPC-CA9, ]

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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