If you’re looking for a compact camcorder that can handle rough weather on the trail and even the occasional dunk in a lake or river, this is it! The Sanyo Xacti VPC-WH1 ($399; www.sanyo.com/xacti) is the world’s first waterproof high-definition video camera. It’s compact, weighs just three-quarters of a pound, and is so user-friendly that we didn’t even have to crack the manual to start shooting with the thing. The Xacti is also a dual cam which means it can shoot both video and still photos. You can even snap pics while you’re filming in the video mode. Unfortunately the still image quality isn’t really that good. The 2-megapixel photos look grainy and roughly the same quality you’d expect from a cell phone camera.
That said, the HD video quality is good. It records all the video and images on a removable SD card that you can simply pop into your home computer for easy dragging-and-dropping your vids into emails and such. A 16-gigabyte SD card will hold almost four hours of HD video and the camera’s rechargeable battery yields 200 minutes of continuous filming off one charge. The Xacti is indeed waterproof (up to a depth of 10 feet) and we even took it snorkeling. Zero problems. Finally, at less than $350 bucks, you’d be hard pressed to find a better, more affordable camcorder that’s so well suited for the outdoors.