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Canon Unveils Consumer HD Camcorder

Canon announced a string of new camcorders last week, including its first consumer-level HD camcorder, two additions to its professional HD series, and a new mid-level DVD camcorder.

The HV10 HDV is Canon’s first foray into consumer HD. It records at 1080i resolution to DV tape. Canon claims it is currently the smallest and lightest HDV camcorder on the market at .97 pounds and sizing in at 2-inches wide by 4-inches tall. It will ship in September for an estimated price of $1,299.

The new high def camcorder borrows many features from Canon’s higher-end line of HD camcorders, including HD optics with super range optical image stabilization, Canon’s DIGIC DV II image processor, the company’s 1920 by 1080 video CMOS sensor, and the recently introduced Instant AF auto-focus technology.

The HV10 features a 10x optical zoom HD video lens with a 200x digital zoom and smooth zoom control. According to Canon, the HV10 is its first consumer camera to offer its super range optical image stabilization. It also incorporates the new instant AF system, which the company claims improves the speed and accuracy of focusing in regular and low light environments.

The camcorder will offer a 2.7-inch widescreen LCD, level shot control to assist in framing, a built-in video light, and offer letterboxing for viewing 16:9 footage on standard definition TVs.

On the still image side, the HV10 can snap 3-megapixel images to MiniSD cards or 2-megapixel images to tape while simultaneously recording video. It sports 11 shooting modes, including continuous shooting to capture five full resolution still images per second, a built-in flash, histogram display and PictBridge compatibility.

The new DC22 DVD camcorder features a 10x optical zoom lens, 2.2-megapixel CCD sensor with an RGB primary color filter, widescreen HR (high resolution) recording and a 2.7-inch widescreen LCD. It accepts three-inch DVD-R/-RW discs, which can store up to 60 minutes of video. Canon and Verbatim teamed to create a new dual layer disc, which the companies claim lets the DC33 double the recording time without replacing or flipping the DVD.

Verbatim’s DL discs will ship in September and offer recording times of 36 minutes in XP mode; 54 minutes in SP mode and 108 minutes in LP mode.

The DC22 can snap 2-megapixel still images and offers several photo features including image effects, auto exposure bracketing, continuous shooting modes, scene modes, a built-in flash and red-eye reduction.

The model also offers smooth zoom with a choice of three fixed zoom speeds, level shot control and a built-in electronic lens cover that automatically opens in record mode and closes when switched to playback or when the unit is turned off.

The DC22 will ship in September for an estimated $699.

Canon also added two new models to its high-end, three-CCD HD camcorder line, aiming to bring its professional level HD video solution to a wider professional audience.

Both of Canon’s new three-CCD HD camcorders — the XH A1 and XH G1 models — record 1,080i HD video, feature a 20x optical zoom lens with image stabilization and a 2.8-inch widescreen flip-out LCD screen under the handle.

The models also offer 60i, 24F, 30F frame rates, Canon’s Digic DV II processor, and a new noise reduction system.

The XH A1 will ship in late October for an estimated $3,999, while the XH G1 model adds HD-SDI output with embedded audio and timecode, Genlock synchronization and timecode In/Out for an estimated $6,999. It will ship in mid-November.

The camcorder lens on both features fluorite and Ultra-Low Dispersion glass elements and multi-coatings. They offer manual focus and zoom rings, a manual iris ring and a high speed zoom mode.

The models will also incorporate a new instant AF focusing system that uses an external sensor to decrease the time it takes to find focus.

The camcorders offer control over 23 image settings, including color gain, RGB independent gain, and 6-axis matrix, and can customize the camcorder’s display. Users can store up to nine image presets to internal memory or to an SD card for exporting to other XH A1 or XH G1 camcorders.