As said before: the camera has to be operated in its very own way. Folding out the monitor a talking voice of the camera welcomes me. This friendly English speaking pal can be deactivated through the menu of the camera. Activating the menu of the camera a colourful menu appears on the monitor. Sanyo has divided the menu in a handy manner, one menu for starters and one menu for the more advanced photographers. Pushing the small SET button on the back of the camera to the left, the option Expert or Basic appears, by pushing the same button to the left again, you can switch between the two menus. The Basic menu is, as one would expect, simple and easy with a minimum of setting possibilities. The user can make his choice from various quality levels for movie recording or still images. Beside fully automatic operation also some five pre-set scenes are available. Every scene puts priority on a certain feature of the concerning image. Scrolling through the menu is possible using the SET button to change the different settings according ones preferences. Both menus, Basic as well as Expert, feature a Set-up menu. All features of the camera that are changeable can be set to ones own desire. There are nine language settings possible; unfortunately they don't include the Dutch language, my native language.
The optical zoom can be set rather roughly. The 5.8x optical zoom lens has a focal range from 38 to 220mm (compared with a 35mm camera), but despite the large focal range there are only 8 steps needed to go from 38mm to full telephoto range. The speed to zoom from wide angle to telephoto is quite quick. The camera stops briefly at the maximum optical range, the button has to be released for a second to be able to press it again to reach the digital zoom range. Of course there is image loss when a digital zoom is being used.
A disadvantage is the way in which Sanyo focuses. The speed of focussing is not bad and it reaches an average to good speed to focus on divers subjects. However the camera doesn't block when a subject is not focused correctly, which results in hazy images while expecting a clear image in the first instance. The camera does show whether focussing is possible through a so-called focus indicator, but if you (subconsciously) pass over this indicator, an unclear image will be the result.
The Sanyo Xacti C1 EX is not a star what speed is concerned. The camera can be operated easily and well-organised, but taking a series of images of a moving object is out of the question. Even choosing the Sport scene, a series of images is impossible. The emphasis is put on a fast shutter speed and a single image. Switching between still images and moving images can be done quickly pressing the button. However, recording a 5 second high quality MPEG movie (640x480 and 30 images per second) takes 10 seconds. During that time, it is not possible to switch to the still images mode.
Activating the camera takes 1.5 seconds. There are two ways of activating the camera. When the camera is turned off completely, through the on/off switch on the side of the camera, it takes approximately 3.5 seconds before the camera is ready to take the first image. When the camera is deactivated by folding up the monitor, and the camera is put to the stand-by mode as it were, it can be activated again within approximately 2 seconds.
Removing the Lithium-Ion battery is rather simple. Sliding the plastic cover aside turns the battery free. This button looks a little cheap but it does fit perfectly. Recharging the battery is possible through the standard delivered battery charger, or through the standard delivered docking station.
The camera can be used with ease and convenience. The menu looks well-organised, also because of the partition of the menu into an Expert and a Basic menu. A disadvantage of the lack of necessary quick buttons is that one often has to dig deep into the menu to change a certain setting. The Sanyo Xacti C1 EX really comes out as expected when operating the camera fully automatic. Someone who demands more than just the quick snapshot or movie will get bored soon. The Xacti C1 EX has to be looked upon as a fully automatic multimedia camera with a nice design that asks to be taken with you wherever you go. Like Sanyo announced during the first presentation: "For this special digital camera we seek a special target group."