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Sanyo adds optical zoom to Dual Camera

If you've hesitated buying a minicamcorder for lack of an optical zoom, Sanyo's "full HD" VPC-PD2 may be the answer.


One of the biggest detractors for Flip-style minicamcorders is their fixed lenses. These candy-bar cams feature only digital zooms, which destroy video quality. The Sanyo Dual Camera VPC-PD2 fixes that by shoehorning a 3x zoom lens--36-108mm for photos and 37-111mm for video (35mm equivalent)--into a body measuring 2.5 inches wide by 4.4 inches high by 0.9 inch deep. Basically, it's an ultracompact point-and-shoot camera with the lens repositioned so the device can be held vertically for shooting video. And like all of Sanyo's Dual Cameras, it takes stills just as easily as it shoots video clips.

Spec highlights include:

  • 1,920x1,080-pixel-resolution video (30fps/12Mbps)
  • 1,280x720 pixels (60fps/12Mbps)
  • MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 format (AAC 48KHz, 16-bit stereo audio)
  • 10-megapixel photos
  • Built-in stereo microphone
  • Flip-out USB connector and embedded sharing software
  • Mini-HDMI out
  • 2-inch LCD
  • Face detection for photo and video
  • Digital image stabilization
  • Stores to SD/SDHC/SDXC memory cards

It'll sell for about $170 in September. Though there are plenty of ultracompact still cameras that do HD video at this price, this is "full HD," though Sanyo doesn't seem to specify whether its progressive or interlaced. And I can think of only one camera, the Samsung PL90, that has a built-in USB connector. However, that costs $150 and captures VGA video.