updated 12:25 pm EST, Mon January 7, 2008
Canon VIXIA Camcorders
Canon's time at CES has been spent introducing a completely new line of HD video cameras and upgrading its standard-definition models. Called VIXIA, the premium range is entirely HD-capable and relies largely on tapeless storage. The HF10 serves as the flagship by using 16GB of internal flash memory and offering an SDHC slot that can accept as much or more storage in removable form. This allows it to capture as much as six hours of HD video in AVCHD format just on built-in memory while offering the instant response and skip protection of the flash format. A second model, the HF100, shares the same features but uses only removable SDHC cards for video.
Both are capable of shooting at a full 1080p resolution at up to 30 frames per second and can also shoot at a slower 24-frame speed to replicate the speed of theater movies. Each provides a 12X optical zoom lens with hardware image stabilization and the ability to shoot still photos at 3.1 megapixels. The two flash-based VIXIAs will arrive by late April at prices of $899 for the HF100 and $1,099 for the HF10.
A third HD camcorder, the HV30, succeeds the HV20 and switches to a miniDV tape system versus the flash of the other models. It shares the same 1080p, 30/24 frame rate progressive recording support as the HF cameras and should be ready by the end of February for $999.
New standard-definition camcorders borrow some of this technology, Canon says. The FS11 offers the same 16GB built-in memory and SDHC slot but uses the lower resolution to record 10 hours of footage. It gains a 48X effective zoom shared with the FS10, which carries 8GB of storage, and the card-only FS100. These cameras ship sometime in April for $599, $499, and $399 each.
Canon has also updated its ZR series miniDV cameras to include the 41X zoom ZR900 ($249), 48X zoom and sharper-resolution ZR930 ($269), and the top ZR950 ($279), which adds an SDHC slot and USB. Three DVD-based camcorders, the DC310, DC320, and DC330, mirror their miniDV counterparts save for SDHC being standard across all three models. They sell in March for $349, $369, and $379.
(more expected soon)