Sanyo has announced another low-end Xacti, the DMX-CA8, a companion to the new CG9. It’s still a VGA camera, something for which many people are dinging it, but it does manage to at least do 60FPS. And as my experience with my CG6 has shown, for quick turnarounds to the web, VGA is still just fine.
But what makes the DMX-CA8 noteworthy isn’t its video quality, but its ability to be used underwater up to 10 feet for up to an hour. (Don’t let the time restriction trip you up; most underwater gear has the same sort of caveats from the manufacturers who like to play it safe.) Sanyo’s current underwater model, the Xacti VPC-E1, is rated for depths of just five feet for 30 minutes.
Now most of the reason I love my Xacti CG6 was that it was cheap — I paid $200 — and that it is small enough to be pocketable and, god forbid, disposable. Yet it still has a proper optical zoom and all the other things that a camcorder should have. I get under the water a few times a year, though, and would have loved to have gotten the VPC-E1 instead, but it wasn’t worth paying twice as much. And unfortunately, the DMX-CA8 is set to be priced in the same ballpark at around $500.
My friend Jason just bought a Flip Video Ultra for $170 and added the $40 underwater housing. That’s about the same price as my CG6. For my purposes the CG6 is still the better choice, but it’s impossible not to get a little jealous when I see epic videos he’s shot like the one below. Especially since the underwater housing for the Ultra is rated to 30 feet (and will probably go deeper as long as you don’t try to get the buttons to work).
Akihabara News got a hands-on with the DMX-CA8, although like the CG9 there’s not a whole lot to it. If nothing else, perhaps the mid-year launch of the DMX-CA8 will force the price of the VPC-E1 down into a range where buying one — and then watching it sink into the abyss — won’t be so painful.