CES: Canon unveils new AVCHD camcorders

Canon on Monday introduced its new line of Vixia High-Definition camcorders. Vixia camcorders record using the AVCHD codec.

The new devices include the Vixia HF10 Dual Flash Memory camcorder, the HF100 Flash Memory camcorder and the HV30 camcorder. They join the previously-released HG10 AVCHD Hard Disk Drive camcorder and the HR10 AVCHD DVD camcorder. Also new is the DW0100 DVD Burner.

All the new Vixia camcorders share an HD CMOS Image Sensor that can record full HD (1920 x 1080) images and use Canon's own DIGIC DV II image processor. They also feature optical image stabilization.

The $1,099 HF10 employs "Dual Flash Memory" support -- the ability to record video to an internal Flash drive along with an SDHC memory card. The HF10 features a 16GB internal Flash drive that can record up to 6 hours of video, depending on the quality selected (at full HD, it can record about two hours). The $899 HF100 features an SDHC-compatible flash memory slot only.

Flash memory is more reliable than hard drives, because it's solid state, according to Canon; it's also less power-hungry, so you get better battery time. Another benefit compared to tape-based cameras is the speed at which it begins to record video, as it doesn't have to spool up a tape or boot up a hard drive.

Both the HF100 and the HF10 use 12x HD Video lenses, 3.3 megapixel full HD CMOS image sensors and full HD lens-to-screen (1920 x 1080 resolution to capture, record and output). The cameras sport both 24p Cinema Mode and 30p Progressive Mode, better for capturing fast action and better for grabbing video that you might turn into Web content. They also sport 2.7-inch widescreen LCD displays and have "Mini Advanced Accessory Shoes" which ban be used to connect optional accessories like a microphone or video light. They all connect to a host Mac or PC using USB.

The new $999 HV30 records its video to MiniDV cassettes, and uses a 10x HD Video Lens, 2.96 megapixel Full HD CMOS image sensor and 2.7-inch widescreen LCD. The camera supports the 24p Cinema Mode and 30p Progressive Mode found on the other cameras, and it's compatible with Canon's BP-2L24H high-cap lithium ion battery.

For users who want to burn video to DVD without having to edit it on a computer first, Canon offers the DW-100 DVD burner, which connects to the cameras using USB and is designed for one-touch operation. It can burn standard definition DVDs, and can also burn AVCHD DVDs which can be played back in compatible Blu-Ray Disc players. The DW-100 costs $269.

The HF10 and HF100 camcorders will be available in late April. The HV30 is coming in late February, and the DW-100 is coming in late April.

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