Canon Rolls Out 2009 Camcorder Line

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Canon has announced its 2009 camcorder lineup, including five new high-definition units in its Vixia line and six new standard-definition camcorders. The new camcorders use a variety of storage media—including flash memory—and add features designed to improve image quality and add consumer-friendly sharing options.

“Canon’s latest camcorder lineup features an exciting new array of advanced technologies that deliver superb image quality and easy operation,” said Canon Imaging Group senior VP and general manager Yuichi Ishizuka, in a statement. “These new camcorders are available in a variety of recording formats, providing consumers a camcorder choice that complements any lifestyle or situation.”

The new Vixia units feature Canon’s new DIGIC DV III image processor, which offers features like an 8 megapixel photo capture capability and a new advanced auto exposure system for improved image quality. The new units all feature instant autofocus, “SuperRange” optical image stabilization, and 24Mbps recording, which Canon claims is the highest bit rate available in AVCHD. The units also offer face detection technology that can track up to 35 faces, and up to nine detection frames can be displayed at one time so you can make sure the most important people in a shot are recognizable—the camera will track those faces while video is being shot. And the face-detection system will even pick out faces that are turned down or sideways.

The new camcorders also feature a Video Snapshot mode, which takes a series of four-second video clips users can then stitched together into a video montage using supplied software—the idea is to blend the clips with some background music and create a video with the same ease as taking traditional photographs.

The new Vixia HFS10 and HFS100 use flash memory to store video. The S10 has 32 GB on board and an SDHC card option, while the S100 records directly to an SDHC card: both models feature an 8.59 megapixel image sensor. The Vixia HF20 and HF200 feature a 3.89 megapixel CMOS sensor and a 15× HD video lens; the HF20 records to either 32 GB of onboard flash or SDHC, while the HF200 records to SDHC cards only. Finally, the Vixia HV40 offerings a 10× HD video lens, a 2.96 megapixel CMOS sensor, and can record in a native 24p mode to HDV tape—potentially a deal-making feature for serious videographers. The HFS10, HFS100, HF20, and HF200 should be available in February, with the HV40 following in March; Canon hasn’t released pricing information.

New standard definition camcorders include the FS22, FS21, and FS200, which are 17 percent smaller than previous FS-series camcorders. The FS22 and FS21 can record to SDHC media and also feature 32 and 16 GB of flash memory, respectively, and feature a Canon 48× zoom. The FS200 records just to SDHC media. The FS200 records just to SDHC media, but is also available in a variety of colors, including silver, red, and blue. All three camcorders should be available this month.

The Canon DC420 and DC410 aim at the consumer markets, with 48× and 41× zoom functions, respectively, and a DIGIC DV II image processor and the ability to add optional filters and lens accessories. Both camcorders record directly to DVD media. Meanwhile,t he CAnon ZR960 MiniDV camcorder records to MiniDV, and offers a 41× zoom, a microphone terminal for improved audio control, and the ability to add on filters and lenses. The DC420 and DC410 should be available this month, with the ZR960 following in March; no pricing information is available.

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