“PISTOL-GRIP PARADISE!”    

You bring a good fish aboard, you want to return it, but time is of the essence for getting it back. Who will believe you if you don’t get a good picture?? The next day you view the pictures and Oh dear …in your panic you have cut the anglers head off, left the fish half out of the shot, or blurred everything with excitement. We must all have been there at some time or other. Now you have the best of both worlds with the option of either video or stills. I first became aware of the pistol grip Sanyo Camera when son Mike wandered in with the usual “look what I’ve just bought for £100.We use it for sports training”. My first glance put it down as just another gadget. How wrong I was to be!!

The new Sanyo “Xacti”VPC-CG20 offers the dual facility of 10megapixel stills, or . . . wait for this. High Definition video. It has 5x optical zoom, high speed sequential shot, image stabiliser,HDMI output, and a super close-up mode on the video that is quite frankly amazing. We even tried it on a woodlice which came out on the TV like something out of Jurassic Park .Mike sent off for a separate 4gb memory card that the offer came with, but after shooting it dry on a Plaice fishing session aboard Wayne Comben’s boat “Taryn” I quickly realised the 30 mins was not enough time. I purchased a Sony 16gb card for a bit over £30 and it now gives me over 2 hours of high definition video filming or….nearly 4000 stills pictures, which even I cannot hope to fill on a fishing trip. Quite how all this techno wizardy gets into something not much bigger than a mobile phone is beyond me, but I’m currently in love and may marry it. You’ll need to get an HDMI mini to TV cable in order to watch the high def on your tv,but while I was asked £22 at an electrical outlet for the cable, Mike tracked one down on Amazon for about £6.What a boy! A chip off the old block. It may seem like there are no limits to this wonder camera, but as usual you might want a few pointers. Out of wind, on a boat its sound level is fine, but on a windy day you’ll get the wind rush into the integral Mike. Always make your video shots in downwind positions. It records in stereo with the microphones on the outside of the display panel .The zoom runs from 5X optical to digital, but being so light it’s hard to hold still, so go for standard shots unless you are on land and using a tripod. I’m currently making up a monopod with a “v” for my wrist so I can get steady shots. You can move in close to baits and it takes a short time to focus, but with video that’s not a problem. If you shoot stills take your time on the shutter depression as it takes a second to focus, other than that it seems idiot-proof. Now to the best bit. It’s easier to run the video as you get everything you want, but when you look back at it on the screen you can select the exact moment you want, press the camera and it will save a still of whatever part of the video you want. The current lens is 35mm which is pretty tight when you want a wide shot. But when I phoned the techno dept of Sanyo the guy said buy a spare lens cap, drill it out and fit one of those door security eyepiece viewers that lets you see who is outside. Apparently enthusiasts do it for visual effects, but I have yet to try it. There are various edit suites that you can download and try before purchasing, but remember if you have an older computer it may not handle the High Def. Mine is like that but I get all the stills I want (still can’t believe the close-ups) but if you get the HDMI cable to TV you can watch it with your mouth open in amazement. Now how this unit stands up in my fishing environment remains to be tested, but for the stills alone the cost is surely worth it, especially if you look after it. I’m so impressed Mike may never get it back, and I’m already looking at other Sanyo models. More details from your local camera shops or Sanyo on the web.