The endless hassle of the Sanyo HD1 Camcorder
This long and complex tale starts when I was in America and looking for a camcorder. I wrote a blog entry from America talking about the differences in Camcorders and asking for which one I should go for. I was actually not looking at the High Defination (HD) cameras at the time because of the sheer price but did like the look of the Sanyo Xacti HD1. So after the blog post I got a couple of emails and comments. One suggested looking at Ebay.com because they seem to have lots of them on sale there. So I did while me and Sarah were staying with Birch in Minneapolis. I also looked at a few other places like ebay.co.uk, amazon.com, bensbargins, froogle, pcmag.com, etc etc. And of course Ebay was the best price by a long way. So I thought hummm, maybe this would be a good time to use ebay. Specially being in America and able to get things delivered to my in-laws address, plus of course the great conversion rate of the pound at the time (1.85 dollars to the pound). This is where the tale goes sour….
So me and Sarah decided to look at Ebay for the Sanyo HD1 Camera, we find a seller called Trading Circuit. It turns out that Trading Circuit is actually the online ebay arm of Circuit City (Like Comet in the UK). So basiclly if they can't shift something which has been returned in store, they will sell it on ebay instead. Makes sense and I'm not against this at all. Actually it would be great if Curry's Digital and Comet did the same thing in the UK. Anyway, so me and Sarah are thinking hey there feedback is pretty good and there not going to rip us off, so were looking through the closing auctions. We find one very close to this one (which ends in 2hours), but it only had 23mins remaining on it. I read very carefully thought the information and start bidding. Find out that I can't bid because my ebay account is based in the UK and trading circuit will only sell to the states. Which is stupid because I'm going to use an American credit card (Sarahs) and it will be sent to an America address. So in the end I rope Sarah into buying it because her ebay account is American. We finally finish and look at the bidding, well we lost out on that camera by about 2mins. So we look at the promo box at the bottom which reads See more great items from this seller. And come across this auction for a Sanyo HD1. Scanning quickly across the text, everything looks pretty much the same. Well I was just about to make a huge mistake.
If you look at the Item Specifics. It has 3 ticks, but if you read carefully (which I didn't) it says on the 2nd one
AS-IS (Primary function does not work – see description). Then if you look down a little more you will also see this…
Unit will not capture/save pictures or video onto memory card (primary function) – LCD and viewfinder are black during recording.
Well obviously I didn't full read this and you can't really blame me when you look at the other Sanyo HD1 auctions which look exactly the same. Anyhow, me and Sarah did bid on the broken Camera and won the auction at just over a 100 pounds. I was thinking wow were really got a great deal. Then we went off explorering Minneapolis with Birch.
That night, I was up really late and decided to look around at some of the forums about the Sanyo HD1 camera. See I had looked around before, when deciding which camera to get, hence the Samsung and Panasonics didn't stand a chance really. So I found this one called Dvinfo.net and they had a forum just for the Sanyo HD1. It was very useful because it had shots and videos from a HD1, hence I know what the quality is like of the HD camera, etc. So I came across this sticky topic titled Black Screen on my brand new HD1 Help!!!!!!!!! I start reading and guess what…
I found two HD1 items of ebay with the blackscreen problem. Being sold as a spare parts. I guess it's not completely uncommon.
one of the links points almost directly to the auction I had just won that morning. How do I know without clicking? Because the link was Purple not default blue. I honestly couldn't click it for a minute. In the darkness of Minneapolis at 4am, I could feel the blood just chilling all over me. Then I started to sweat, as my head got really hot thinking about the morning and how we had one the 2nd auction not the first one. The first one I had read really hard while the 2nd one I just scanned quickly. Then I finally clicked the link and bang there it was, except this time I could see all the flaws like unit will not capture. Trust me, I couldn't sleep that night and the fear of telling Sarah the next morning that we had just lost over 100 pounds on a camera which is used for spare bits. In the moment of disbelief, I wrote a email to trading circuit saying it was all a mistake and please don't send the package.
The next morning I did tell Sarah and we contacted Trading Circuit again but through Sarahs ebay account and offical means. Hoping they wouldn't ship the package and understand its all a big mistake. They did write back saying many people say this after an auction they won. We wrote back saying its honestly the truth and that we had bought the model below (Sanyo VPC-C6) at a Circuit City in Madison because we really did want the camera, but one which worked. Would they like to see the recept? We had left Minneapolis and ended up in Madison, so the email back and forth took about 3-4 days. Finally they asked us to fill out some form to claim back some of the money excluding a restocking fee of 10% (I believe). I hope to have all the emails available soon.
After we sent back the form, nothing. We did get the goods, and yes the Camera did turn on, but did not record of show anything on screen (which was not mentioned in the Auction only the forum). We decided to leave the camera and its almost useless accessories in the states, just in case Trading Circuit say yes, ok we'll have it back. I did buy the Sanyo C6 like I said in this blog post. And am happy with it except I had my heart set on the HD version with Widescreen video and external microphone port. So when I got back, I did bid on a few cameras which were just the cameras and no accessories, hoping to make up the complete package. But in the end got sick of the idea of buying another thing from Trading Circuit and decided to bid on this Refurbished one which includes the Manufacturer Warranty. So I shouldn't have the grey import problem which others have described in the same forum. The auction didn't have all the package of a new HD1, so those accessories will be useful after all. I'm still down on Trading Circuit and am choosing what to stick in there ebay feedback but at least I should have everything. Its cost me and Sarah over 700 dollars which is the same price as I could have got it for on Amazon or BestBuy but hopefully we will sell the Sanyo C6 in the UK and maybe beable to get the broken HD1 fixed or sold for parts.
I would love to say this will be the end, but I don't think it is. First it I'm not counting any chickens till both boxes are in my hands in the UK and it does work correctly. Second, I've been reading this blank screen of death or black screen disease is maybe common across all Sanyo HD1's! Which means at some point in the future everyone will have this problem? Geez, maybe the C6 was the best idea after all.
Back from my Holiday in the midwest
So I'm finally back from my holidays. You can tell your holiday is over when your back on the train going to work again. My Jetlag is pretty bad because I've been having really problems getting to sleep and staying a sleep. In my usual way, if I'm not able to sleep for a while, I will get up and do something. Do something last night was sorting out my Holiday photos on Flickr and locally on my network. Believe it or not I actually took over 800 photos and about 20 movies.
On the technology side, lots of the shots were done with my SPV M600 Cameraphone which actually kicks out some quite amazing quality pictures during the daytime. At night its not so good. My old Digital Camera the Nikon 3400 did a great job but I found it painful to pull it out of the case and select the right mode. My new purchase the Sanyo VPC-C6 starts up in a matter of seconds and delivered even better quality shots.
Yes I did finally buy the Sanyo VPC-C6 Camcorder/Camera. Its got a great 6meg pixel sensor but I've not quite worked out all the settings yet because i'm getting tons of blurry shots in low light. I also did buy the High Defination version of the camera but it doesn't quite work as expected. Its a long story…keeping it short. I bidded for the high def version on ebay.com and thought I was getting a great deal when I won an auction by circuit city returns (trading circuit) but 12 hours later found out it didn't actually record anything through this forum which linked to the one I won. Yeah you can imagine, I couldn't sleep without thinking about the nightmare which I had bought. I'm currently going through the process of getting my money back in return for the camera minus a restocking fee. This is my only ebay bad story to date however.
Some more highlights of my holiday include going clubbing in Minneapolis again. That place gets more and more european everytime I see it. The Trams are now working and people walk a lot when out and about. The No guns past this point signs are now gone from all the doors which is a good thing, and its honestly very green and beautiful during the summer. I also saw a different side of Milwaukee that I've seen before but I still don't like it as much as Minneapolis. Madison was also cool but I'm still not a big fan althought the people are super friendly compared to elsewhere. Being in De Forrest just outside of Madison was suprisingly nice and relaxing but I missed the inner city living which I'm use to very quickly. Chicago was cool and we hooked up with Sarahs Friend like most of the cities and towns we went to around the midwest. But I'm still not feeling Chicago compared to other cities. At first I thought it was its size and urban spawl but actually its something else because London is bigger. I think this picture maybe sums it up nicely. Another highlight was having icecream freshly made from Cold stone icecream in north Chicago. It was, I kid you not the best icecream I've ever had!
Which kind of Camcorder should I go for?
So I've now got the chance to get a camcorder of my own. The exchange rate for British pounds is great compared to the American dollar. So its natrual to go out get everything here, including some stuff which I wouldn't normally consider. Hence the Camcorder.
So it looks like I got 4 main choices. I've rulied out HDV cams because there still out of my price range and Hi8 is far too large and on its way out.
- DV Cam
- DVD Cam
- HDD Cam
- Mpeg4 Cam
I like DV Cam because I know the quality will always be there, plus they all have Firewire for quick capturing to the computer but I hate those tiny DV tapes. DVD cam looks great but I'm unsure its easy to get the footage off this disc for re-editing on a normal desktop computer. I'm also not sure about the price of these 8cm DVD discs and how much they store. I believe 1.3gig discs will hold about 30mins? HDD Cam looks great, no tapes, firewire support and no worries about storage. They seem to be between 20-30gig and that seems to store about 4-5 hours of standard DV 25 footage. There usually a little more expensive but maybe worth it in the end. Then last of the bunch is Mpeg4 camera which store there footage to SD or Memory Stick using Mpeg4 instead of Mpeg2. This means the quality won't quite be there but you can fit a couple of hours on a 1gig SD card (which costs 40 dollars here at the moment). The thing I'm unsure about is how easy it is to edit mpeg4? To be honest the lure of using SD/MMC is very strong because everything including my phone, laptop and ipaq supports SD and MMC.
So although I may seem to be ruling out the others, I'm not but I do like these Mpeg4 camcorders. I've had my eye on the Sanyo Xacti range for about a year and bit now. But the only one which seems to be available at Circuit City at the moment is the 6megapixal monster VPC-C6 which weights in at 549 dollars, its almost as expensive as the 20gig HDD Camcorders. If I could find the 5megapixal version I would be more happy. However whats even more tempting is the HDTV version, which I've not seen anywhere yet.
So if you were in my poistion what would you seek and buy?