Well. That’s Cool.

It seemed a bit uncharacteristic of him, so one morning when I opened my email to find this, I thought it might be in my interest to pay attention. So I did; and it was.


You can see how nicely it fits in one hand, and all operation is with the thumb. Here’s the Sanyo Digital Movie C40 roundup & specs. To sum it up, though, this shoots amazing 640×480 video at 30 frames per second. Still images are 4-5 mega-pixel, and it has 6x optical zoom. Best of all, no tape, no mini-DVD, and no HDD. It used an SD memory card; 2 gigs goes for about 40 bucks, and I believe they have 4 gig cards now. At max quality, it’ll shoot better than an hour of video. Cool feature: it will shoot beautiful, hi-res stills while shooting video. Just press the button. Here’s a photo taken this morning, using the built-in flash.


Here’s a video I uploaded to YouTube this morning, documenting our arrival in Arnold, CA, our second home, after a 500-mile, 8-hr-on-the-button (calculate my average speed) trip from the San Diego area yesterday. Now, the first thing I notice about that video is that the quality is way turned down from what I shot. I’d love to show it to you here, but it’s an 86 Meg file, and that would eat up just too much storage.

But here’s a short one that’s only 21 Megs of the snow falling this morning, outside the front door of the cabin. If your system doesn’t pick up the .mp4 extension type, it’s Quicktime that’ll play it in this native form (it comes off the camera like this — no pain-in-the-ass capture and convert required). Now, to get an idea of the quality difference, here’s the same thing after getting YouTubed.

More stuff to come, and when I get home, I’ll snap a picture of the Sony Camcorder and the Kodac still camera that this is replacing.

Oh…200 bucks.

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  1. Billy Beck on February 22, 2007 at 15:58

    It's a lovely bit of snowfall viddie, innit? It's amazing for something that you can carry around in your hand like that.

    Hmm. I think the iron-lung needs a drop of 3-in-One. Anyway…

    The YouTube wrench on the image is about what I expect, although I'm not sending them MP4 directly. I'm usually editing clips and then outputting to something near the highest quality .WMV. Sabotta hates it, but he's running a Macintosh and he just despises video in any case, and besides: the format's been working out pretty well with the band videos, considering an output for Web presentation. I don't know how differently YouTube might handle an MP4 from a WMV, but I'm finding that I actually might be able to live with what YouTube ends up at playing out.

    The camera, though, is the thing. It's really something. These Web outputs don't compare to plugging the thig to your TV and playing videos off a bleedin' memory card. It looks great and the whole storage-format/form-factor thing is at least as cool as it looks.

    I think it's great.

  2. Richard Nikoley on February 23, 2007 at 11:31

    They do. I saw a couple by Sony at Best Buy, I think for a price point of around $1,000, maybe a bit more. I believe one uses 8mm tape to store the data, and the other uses a hard drive.

  3. Lute Nikoley on February 23, 2007 at 11:19

    Brrrrrr, sure looks cold up there at the cabin. And, here's wishing you two a very happy anniversary. Do cam-corders come in HD yet?

  4. Richard Nikoley on February 26, 2007 at 21:13

    I don't get the aversion to HD, other than perhaps it's digital and not film. I think you're gong to have to face facts, John. For everything but truly "artistic" adaptations, bits of data are simply easier, cheaper, and more flexible to work with than celluloid. And then there's distribution. Theaters are going digital, and now, even the ads show before a film are digital projections instead of slides.

    The other aspect too, is barrier to entry. "Film" making has been an elite endeavor, in part, because it's really really costly. There's already interesting and fun things you can find on YouTube and I only see that continuing. This simply was not available in film.

    As to HD, I don't know your real experience, but I've been HD as far as TV goes for a few years now, and it's rare that I ever see anything not in HD anymore. I think it's fantastic, to say the least. It does have true film-like qualities, I think, in that I often judge much of what I see in HD to be better than in real life. This is common in film too, of course, using particularly suited film stock, special lighting, and lenses. That all is available in video, at least HD video, provided one has the software.

  5. John Sabotta on February 26, 2007 at 19:05

    .WMV is good for naked catfight porn clips, is what I always say.

    The C40 is nice though. It's unfortunate that the people who make these "non-tape" camcorders can't make one that records standard 720×480 DV, but I suspect that is a liscensing issue, and nothing to do with technical limitations. 640×480 is, in any case, better than NTSC (NTSC stands for, as is well known "never twice the same color")

  6. John Sabotta on February 26, 2007 at 19:09

    Do cam-corders come in HD yet?

    To hell with "HD". Get this instead.

    Yes, I do despise video.

  7. Andrew George on March 1, 2007 at 17:39

    This looks great for outdoor activities.
    I have a HD camcorder (JVC MG505), and it's VERY sensitive to vibration and movement – unless you turn off the drop detection.
    However if you do, there's chance you could trash the HD. The other thing is that I don't really want to use such an expensive camera for some of the things I get up to.

    Don't get me wrong, the HD camcorder is the bees knees. It will record 14 hours of video on standard def, and 27 hours on low res. For playback, you just find the right thumbnail, click on it, and bingo. Wouldn't go back to tape.

    However this memory card camcorder is exactly what I'm looking for to record outdoor pursuits.

  8. Shola Ogunlokun on March 2, 2007 at 05:23

    I have one of these camera's as well, and love it. I hope to be able to use it with my hang glider.

    Sanyo even have a HD version!

  9. Philip Morgan on March 2, 2007 at 08:37

    I have the high definition verison of this Sanyo camcorder (HD1A) and so far have been somewhat dissapointed. I noticed in your version that the mp4 also ends with a white screen. that is distracting when joining several clips together. I have to edit out the last two frames for a smooth transistion. Also, my apple computer will not play the raw video smoothly. Even yours which is 640X480 pauses during the play while the computer catches up. There may be an easy fix for the white frames but I have been unable to contact Sanyo for help.
    I am glad that you like yours though.
    I plan on flying with mine on the hangglider. It is light enough for the helmet cam. Then I will be able to relive the flight (at least the first 55 minutes).

  10. Richard Nikoley on March 6, 2007 at 11:49


    Battery runs for a little over an hour continuous. There may be a setting to allow it to run with the screen closed, but default is that it goes to sleep. However, you can turn it sideways so it's faired into the wind (you might even get a little lift off it :). Yes, there's a standard tripod mount at the bottom.

    Good flying.

  11. Andre on March 6, 2007 at 11:41

    Hi, Thanks for the post of this small wonder.I'm considering buying one to film my hang gliding flights. 3 Important Questions:
    1- How long does the battery runs out of charge?
    2- It's possible to Record without the screen open?When flying theres no need to open the screen. Thanks in advance fr your comments.
    3-If there is a screw in the bottom to screw it to a camera mount.
    Thanks in advance for you info.

    Andre – Portugal

  12. Billy Beck on March 28, 2007 at 22:38

    Gentlemen: I'm a bit late to this discussion, but I want to point out something concerning fairing the viewscreen in flight. I don't know if you've noticed this, Rich, but you can open the screen — just straight up as it pivots in its very first move, until it stops, and then turn it completely upside-down and fold it back into place, so that it is now stowed, but with the screen facing out.

    The stand-by is not engaged, now, and it will record, but with nearly exactly the same profile that is has when the screen is folded down in the stand-by mode.

    Am I making sense of this for you, Rich?

    I didn't realize this until my sister picked mine up and just did it. It was actually startling.

  13. Richard Nikoley on March 29, 2007 at 08:25


    Yep, I get exactly what you mean.

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