Sanyo Xacti VPC-2000HD and housing

So I’m preparing to go off for a week of relaxing and diving in equal measures. We are flying off to El Gouna in Egypt next week and I’m planning on diving with Colona divers again. I have been looking into upgrading my camera equipment for some time now and finally this week I made a choice and a purchase. First off, let me just say, I’m no photographer. I tend to use cameras to capture textures and reference shots to be used in my 3D and 2D art projects. I like to think that one day I’d develop some skill in the field but right now I have to shoot 50 pictures to even get close a one decent image. With that in mind you will understand some of my past purchases and why I’ve gone for a very simple video solution.

For stills I currently have two options. I always carry a black Olympus mju850 which is a nice little 8 megapixel, waterproof (to 3 meters) point and shoot family camera. It’s shockproof and scratchproof (yeah right!) and is a great little pocket camera. I also keep and use a Canon EOS 350D and three lenses. I have a Cannon 18-55mm standard lens, A Sigma DG 50mm Macro lens and a Sigma 70-300. With that combination of lenses and my compact I can pretty much get all the stills images I need.

So, I needed some sort of video solution to replace my aging Panasonic NVGS1 which now looks like a caveman gave it to my at Xmas. My primary requirement was a video camera and housing that could shoot reasonably bright footage in 15-20 meters of water without a complicated lighting rig. I have been looking at the equipment other divers have favoured on recent trips and they seem to be either very basic and not at all suitable for the job at hand or overly large, requiring two hands to use which is not ideal.

I have had some good experience with Toshiba products in recent years especially my Tecra M7 laptop but all the reviews of the Toshiba HD cameras seemed to indicate that they were at the lower end of the quality range unless you spend a small fortune. I like Canon equipment because to-date I have not had a bad experience with anything Cannon in including my awesome printer (Cannon i9950). I looked into the Canon DV camera range and came up with the Canon HF10 but when I held it I found the standard vid cam shape was not for me anymore. The pistol grip or `phaser` camera felt a better option for me and I liked the Sanyo VPC-1000 that I had seen . I actual got to see one in action in February this year whilst diving at a place called Shab-El-Erg just off Hurgada in Egypt. My Dive master wanted to show me a video of an Eagle ray swimming with two sharks underneath it that he had seen the previous week. He whipped out his little Sanyo and showed me that video and a few shots of wild dolphins swimming right up to the camera lens and that was it for me...sold!

I spent a few weeks researching and reading reviews about the different housings that you can buy and this is the kit I came up with. I added a flight case from Maplin as I like to have my gear looking like Mission impossible tech and I always at the relevant Lowepro bag to suit whatever new tech I buy.

Sanyo Xacti VPC-2000HD
MPEG Movie / Stills camera
HD1080, 60p MPEG-4 AVC/H. 8Mp still images
10 x optical zoom (equivalent to 38-380mm in 35mm format) for photo
16 x optical zoom (equivalent to 44-710mm in 35mm format) for video
1cm macro. Manual White balance
2.7" widescreen LCD.
Media: SD card (SDHC compatible)
ISO 50-3200.
Li-Ion rechargeable battery

Epoque EHS-1000HD Housing for Sanyo Xacti
Depth rating 45m
67m filter thread, for optional external macro and wide-angle lenses and UWCC filters
Controls for all camera functions.
¼" tripod socket for lighting trays.
Top accessory shoe for video light or flash.
Internal flash is blocked by port but can trigger

I’ll do some heavy duty testing next week and post my results.


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