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Sanyo Xacti HD1000 + Epoque housing


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#1 vkalia

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Posted 04 May 2008 - 12:51 PM

As we expand our divesites and add a couple of new diveshops in other islands, we are having more and more unexpected encounters (whales, mantas, dugongs, etc). As such, I am thinking of getting a compact video setup which I can clip to my harness and keep on me everytime I dive. I will also want it with me even when I am carrying my full still photography rig (still photography remains my primary objective) - so compact size is very important.

OTOH, I'd like to have some decent quality as well. The goal isnt broadcast quality of course - however, I would like the option of adding clips taken with this setup to a "Best of the Andamans" DVD that we have in production.

Low-light performance isnt a huge requirement as for the most part, the waters we dive in are clear and well-lit enough for the camera.

Based on all of this, I was looking at the Sanyo Xacti HD1000 and the matching Epoque housing.

Now, my concerns are:

1/ How does one split and merge the MPEG4 output into a more traditional DV/HDV output? Can iMovie or Final Cut or some simple 3rd-part software handle it, or will I need to do a lot of complex postproduction work to sort this out?

2/ Any idea how the auto WB of the Xacti holds up underwater?

Provided #1 above isnt a show stopper, it seems that I can live with whatever shortcomings the camera may have re. WB - everything else is ideal in terms of size and convenience. Anything else I am missing?

Or any other compact cameras that I can use which will do a better job at meeting the above needs than the Xacti?

TIA,
Vandit
DIVEIndia - Dive the Andaman Islands
Photo galleries and intermittent blog
7D, Aquatica case, Inon 45 degree finder, 2 Inon Z240s, Stix arms, Tokina 10-17FE, Sigma 10-20, Sigma 50 macro, Canon 100 macro and Macromate 2x macro adapter

#2 kimoy

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Posted 05 May 2008 - 06:39 AM

As we expand our divesites and add a couple of new diveshops in other islands, we are having more and more unexpected encounters (whales, mantas, dugongs, etc). As such, I am thinking of getting a compact video setup which I can clip to my harness and keep on me everytime I dive. I will also want it with me even when I am carrying my full still photography rig (still photography remains my primary objective) - so compact size is very important.

OTOH, I'd like to have some decent quality as well. The goal isnt broadcast quality of course - however, I would like the option of adding clips taken with this setup to a "Best of the Andamans" DVD that we have in production.

Low-light performance isnt a huge requirement as for the most part, the waters we dive in are clear and well-lit enough for the camera.

Based on all of this, I was looking at the Sanyo Xacti HD1000 and the matching Epoque housing.

Now, my concerns are:

1/ How does one split and merge the MPEG4 output into a more traditional DV/HDV output? Can iMovie or Final Cut or some simple 3rd-part software handle it, or will I need to do a lot of complex postproduction work to sort this out?

2/ Any idea how the auto WB of the Xacti holds up underwater?

Provided #1 above isnt a show stopper, it seems that I can live with whatever shortcomings the camera may have re. WB - everything else is ideal in terms of size and convenience. Anything else I am missing?

Or any other compact cameras that I can use which will do a better job at meeting the above needs than the Xacti?

TIA,
Vandit


Hi Vandit,
we only did 8 dives with this cam until it flooded so I do not have too much experience with it, but I can at least comment on your second question:
Auto-WB without red-filter on this cam is actually quite bad - we did not like the results at all - there was a very strong cyan-cast. :o
Auto-WB with red-filter was ok-ish but still nothing you would show someone else. ;)
Manual WB with red-filter really produced the AH!-effect. :(

Another thing with this camera housing combo is, it is almost impossible to hold the camera still without a tray which makes the whole thing a bit bulkier.

Hth
Kim

#3 vkalia

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Posted 06 May 2008 - 07:36 AM

Hi Kim -

Thanks for that info - I was hoping for a most positive report but atleast now I wont make a mistake and buy the wrong product.

If it is so hard to hold steady without a tray, that rules out this setup for me, as I will be shooting with a DSLR rig hanging off me as well. So now I guess I have to look elsewhere - the HC7 or HV30 would be nice were it not for the size of the housings (dragging 2 bulky housings is something I aint gonna do - not in the currents we get here).

Btw, out of curiosity - can you set Manual WB with that housing u/w? And what caused the flood - a design issue or user errpr (if you dont mind sharing)?

Thanks,
Vandit
DIVEIndia - Dive the Andaman Islands
Photo galleries and intermittent blog
7D, Aquatica case, Inon 45 degree finder, 2 Inon Z240s, Stix arms, Tokina 10-17FE, Sigma 10-20, Sigma 50 macro, Canon 100 macro and Macromate 2x macro adapter

#4 kimoy

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Posted 06 May 2008 - 11:00 PM

Vandit,

it is possible to set manual WB with this housing and it is actually quite easy to do.

I still don't know what caused the flooding, it might have been a user error although I was extra careful :guiness:

I still think that this camera housing combo is the smallest HD camera you can get - everything else is a lot bigger.

Kim

#5 vkalia

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Posted 07 May 2008 - 07:37 AM

Hi Kim -

Ah, ok, if it is possible to set manual WB then there is still hope for this camera.

The other question still remains re. the downside of shooting when the output is already encoded into MPEG4, as with this camera. If anyone has any thoughts they'd care to share here, it'd be much appreciated.

Vandit
DIVEIndia - Dive the Andaman Islands
Photo galleries and intermittent blog
7D, Aquatica case, Inon 45 degree finder, 2 Inon Z240s, Stix arms, Tokina 10-17FE, Sigma 10-20, Sigma 50 macro, Canon 100 macro and Macromate 2x macro adapter

#6 TheRealDrew

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Posted 07 May 2008 - 08:18 AM

Vandit,

it is possible to set manual WB with this housing and it is actually quite easy to do.

I still don't know what caused the flooding, it might have been a user error although I was extra careful :guiness:

I still think that this camera housing combo is the smallest HD camera you can get - everything else is a lot bigger.

Kim



Bonica also makes a small HDish rig (MPEG-4 type thing)

http://www.bonicadive.com/

I saw some footage shot with this and it is definately moving in the right direction quality/price wise. I have been looking at the small Sanyo or Bonica rigs as a throw in emergency back up for awhile. I almost pulled the trigger on the Bonica a month or so back, but am holding off a bit until the next trip where I must have a back-up...

#7 ukmountie

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Posted 12 May 2008 - 06:58 AM

I can't speak for the HD1000, but I use an HD2 in the epoque housing and I've been quite pleased with the results. Certainly it won't match the quality of something like an HV30 in an appropriate housing, but I bought it as a starter camera and for that it is great.

I've (knocking on wood) not had any problems with the housing. I am fairly careful, but not over the top. I've done about 20 odd dives with it so far.

I don't know how the menu's vary between the two, but I found the white balance easy to set, and with the HD2 didn't think there was much of a need for a red filter. But you really do have to manually white balance, ideally each and every time you plan to record. I can see if you're using it as a casual shooter with your big SLR that could be troublesome.

On the editing side I did all of my editing using the older version of iMovie on my Mac. Seemed fine to me. You may have to install Perian, I already had it on there so I'm not sure if it was really necessary, but it's free anyway. The only annoying thing that I found was that the very first frame of every clip was green, but blank. Easy to cut out, but annoying as the camera starts a new clip every time you hit record.

Finally I fully agree with the comment about holding it steady. I used a tray with mine and it was still really difficult. I have a gorillapod which I used when there was somewhere to set it, but most times that isn't practical.

UK

#8 sjspeck

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Posted 17 May 2008 - 09:06 PM

You might also consider the Fisheye/Seatool line of housings. http://www.fisheye-j...lish/index.html

They're practically molded (machined) around the Sony cameras they support. They also have housings for some Panasonic and Canon models. Most avg. about 7x7x4.5" or so.

Edited by sjspeck, 17 May 2008 - 09:07 PM.


#9 cavefish

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Posted 14 June 2008 - 07:55 AM

Just so you know: My Epoque EHS-1000HD housing also flooded after only seven dives, thereby totally ruining my Sanyo HD1000 camcorder. On a subsequent test dive the housing remained dry... Just bad luck or is Epoque's underwater housing prone to leaks? Your bet is as good as mine. But it sure looks like I'm not the only unlucky one here. FYI I've done hundreds of dives with a Sea&Sea DX8000G, so I'm not new to taking a digital camera underwater.

I've thought of two possible causes for the leak:
(1) An unseen impurity on the main O-ring? Even though I didn't see any before (obviously) nor after the fatal flood.
(2) An improper closure of the housing? All clamps were properly closed but the housing being made of plastic it could actually have been slightly bent out of shape... e.g. by a silica bag causing a pressure point somewhere?

Other points to be considered:
- Despite its relatively compact size, the Epoque EHS-1000HD is rather bulky and very uncomfortable to hold.
- Fitted with a WAL this housing becomes very front-heavy.
- Inside the housing, the HD1000's auto-focus becomes very noisy, rendering any underwater tone almost useless (unless you shoot in locked focus mode).
- Epoque's screw-on WAL is a pain to remove & replace underwater. Personally I much prefer e.g. Sea&Sea's quick & easy bayonet system, but alas that's not an option in this case. Still, I recommend using a WAL.

As for the actual video quality, I think it's quite acceptable for such a small camcorder, especially considering the underwater shooting conditions I had to deal with, i.e. total darkness! (for a short cave diving video sample, see: http://uk.youtube.co...h?v=wnC6VXaShXE )

Edited by cavefish, 15 June 2008 - 02:48 AM.


#10 Diverking

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Posted 13 July 2008 - 07:24 AM

I think by now you should have already decided against buyibg this camera, since everything that is to be said about it has already been said (and cons far outweigh the pros). Let me just add that I flooded my camera after 5 dives. Since then I've of about 15 cases of flooding within the first 10 uses. :)

#11 hammer-head

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Posted 14 July 2008 - 02:24 PM

BE AWARE OF THIS PACK. Not for the camera that is ok for a good quality amateur video, but for the EPOQUE HOUSING.

This housing has a terrible design problem, and you are betting on your camera in each dive. The camera doesn't fit the housing perfectly, and you have to be sure that it is perfectly centered in the housing. If the camera moves 1 mm to the right ot to the left, you can close the housing without problems, it seems that is perfectly closed, all buttons works, ... but when you go to the water, a leakage problem appears and you lose your camera.

I know some vendors, are returning a significant percentage of EPOQUE HOUSINGS sold for SANYO XACTI HD1000, due to flooding problems in the first divings; i know directly half a dozen of cases. And the best is that EPOQUE, DO NOT RECOGNIZE the problem. They are changing the flooded housing for new ones (I don't know why, if there is no problem), but they do not assume responsibility for the flooded camera (just between 600 and 900 euros, people are losing, because of a poor desing).

So, If you buy this pack, know what are you buying. Other people couldn't.

Edited by hammer-head, 14 July 2008 - 02:29 PM.


#12 NicoKSA

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Posted 27 August 2008 - 12:36 AM

If you are interested patima is going to release a case for the sanyo xacti HD1000, check this link :

http://uwcam.com/eng/rd/sub3_1.html

#13 garrykfl

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Posted 10 September 2008 - 06:51 AM

If you are interested patima is going to release a case for the sanyo xacti HD1000, check this link :

http://uwcam.com/eng/rd/sub3_1.html


Reef Photo in Ft Lauderdale, Fl quoted me a 3 to 4 month lead time with a cost of $1400.

#14 arsibaba

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Posted 21 September 2008 - 12:33 PM

Looks like I won't be buying this product then, which is sad because I love the camera so much. Any advice on what to invest in instead?

#15 NicoKSA

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Posted 06 October 2008 - 01:01 AM

Reef Photo in Ft Lauderdale, Fl quoted me a 3 to 4 month lead time with a cost of $1400.

I just saw on divervision website that the patima case is sold for 949,95$

#16 kimoy

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Posted 08 October 2008 - 04:02 AM

I just saw on divervision website that the patima case is sold for 949,95$


The Patima housing is definitely the way to go with this cam! I just flooded the second Xacti in the crappy Epoque housing. :)

Kim

#17 Ryan

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Posted 08 October 2008 - 08:01 AM

We have received inventory of the Patima Xacti Housings for VPC-HD-1000 and VPC-HD-1010. They are in stock at the moment...

founder of Reef Photo & Video
manufacturer of Zen Domes

distributor of Nauticam in the Americas

 

n2theblue at reefphoto.com


#18 shchae

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Posted 08 October 2008 - 07:25 PM

I just saw on divervision website that the patima case is sold for 949,95$

It looks like above price has been changed...

Sam

Edited by shchae, 08 October 2008 - 07:25 PM.

D800/D4 in modified Nexus housing
and Nauticam D-7000 with Insect-eye lens.

#19 Davenrothz

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Posted 22 October 2009 - 08:09 AM

I don't mean to bring a necro thread alive, but this had some good information.

Any further comments on people using an HD2000 (or 1000) with the Epoque? I'd prefer to purchase the lesser costing Epoque than the Patima, which costs over twice as much. For 1k, I could either buy an extra HD2000 & the epoque, or just the Patima housing. It's just a tough sell to pay $400 more than the cost of the camcorder on an accessory. However, if the Epoque doesn't work, then it's a waste.

I'm really looking for any type of comment on the stability of the oring or leakage post 'fix' of 'tight tolerances' back in 2008.

Thanks guys ahead of time!

#20 msanderson

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Posted 30 October 2009 - 11:13 PM

More than 200 dives on mine, no leaks. The talk about the stability is an issue. That's because the rig is so small and lightweight. I added a couple of big arms with LED heads, mounted the canisters under the tray, and voila, much more steady (I also use the VR most of the time).

For this camera, light is mandatory. The quality is nice when you have light, when you don't it's poor. The autofocus can hunt a lot too. If you want to see a short video I did with this camera, you can check out - this was before I got the new lights - the clip of the Calico Bass is nice I think.

I'm not sure if I got a "fixed" unit or not - I must have bought it in the early fall of 2008 - so I as right on the cusp.

Cheers,
mike



I don't mean to bring a necro thread alive, but this had some good information.

Any further comments on people using an HD2000 (or 1000) with the Epoque? I'd prefer to purchase the lesser costing Epoque than the Patima, which costs over twice as much. For 1k, I could either buy an extra HD2000 & the epoque, or just the Patima housing. It's just a tough sell to pay $400 more than the cost of the camcorder on an accessory. However, if the Epoque doesn't work, then it's a waste.

I'm really looking for any type of comment on the stability of the oring or leakage post 'fix' of 'tight tolerances' back in 2008.

Thanks guys ahead of time!