Tips on using Sanyo Xacti HD2000

Here are a few suggestions on how to use the Sanyo Xacti HD2000, which is certainly a nifty little camera.

Take control of the camera

From the outset, the Xacti aims to deliver strong results for general users. As is typical with today's cameras, this means including some settings that aren't always optimum.

Rather than just letting the camera take charge, it's best to know something about what's happening, so you can override settings at times. This means using in Normal, rather than Simple mode. And, read the manual - not just the short one, but also the pdf file that comes on the cd; have a look through the various menus.

Tips on settings for the Xacti HD2000

"Read the ?$£@! manual" is hardly a great tip, though, so here are some suggestions for settings:

Video - use size as big as or a little larger than required for your intended use. Smaller files are easier to handle, inc as take up substantially less space.

Scene Select - auto should be mostly fine.

Video and Photo Stabilizers - seems worth having both these on, though I've read stabilization of video isn't too good.

Focus - set to portrait/mountains; manual hard to use I've found; super macro great for extreme close-ups (but remember to switch back to Standard)

Digital Zoom - leave off, as the optical/near-optical zoom should produce sharper results, and 16x zoom pretty strong anyway.

Shortcuts

I've added title for this, as this is important I believe. Here, you can choose up to four settings that you can quickly choose and alter.
My suggestions, based on using camera so far:
AF Lock - so can focus on something, then lock the focus at that distance.
AE Lock - similarly, select exposure, maybe by pointing camera at different places till you like the result, and then lock the exposure. This is important when, for instance, panning across scenes of varying brightness: can prevent getting swift changes in exposure as you pan.
Exp Compensation - though I tend to use auto exposure, it can be useful to manually increase or decrease brightness.

Use a Small Tripod

Yes, this is a pretty obvious tip: a tripod is a boon for making shots more stable, particularly when using zoom.

I have a small, inexpensive Velbon tripod - CX-888 (not quite the same as the model I found on Amazon): lightweight, so easy to carry. Not fully smooth when panning/tilting, yet I enjoy using it, and quite often take "lock-off shots" without moving the camera.

It's also possible, I've found, to hold the tripod up high, with legs extended and holding it low down, to take shots from relatively high up. For these, can adjust the angle of the viewing screen to get at least some idea of what's in view; and best to use at widest angle possible, or even add a wide-angle lens. You can see results of this - when I tried this technique for first time - in the following video:

Use a Small Carrying Bag

I found a small, inexpensive carrying bag. The camera fits snugly inside, and there are compartments suitable for extra battery, wide angle lens etc.

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Martin Williams