Canon launches compact "full HD" camcorder

Posted by Wolfgang Gruener

Lake Success (NY) - Following Sony's HDR-UX1 and HDR-SR1 mini-camcorders, Canon announced its first compact high-definition camcorder. The HV10 will be available beginning in September and carry a suggested retail price of $1300.

If you have been delaying the purchase of a camcorder in the hope of high-definition home video capability becoming more affordable and available in compact form factor devices, then it's time to watch out for new products hitting retail shelves in the next few weeks and months.

Sony has been pioneering the home HD field for several months with a more or less bulky products and just recently announced devices one can carry easily in one hand. Canon's HV10 sports a look that resembles most camcorders on the market today, but offers a CMOS Sensor that Canon describes as "Real Full HD 1920 x 1080 Sensing."

The company claims that the 1 /2.7" sensor deliver a sharp HD image with vibrant and accurate color in a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. The 2.96 megapixel sensor sends 1080 HD video to a mini HDV video tape and can take 3.1 megapixel still images that are saved on a Mini-SD cards.

Canon HV10

Among other notable features of the 0.97 pounds light HV10 are an automatic lens with a 10X optical and a 200X digital zoom. The device is Canon's first consumer-level camcorder that that integrates Canon's proprietary "super-range" image stabilization technology, which promises to deliver smooth, steady video, even at longer focal lengths. The system uses two detection methods (gyro and vector) to sense the widest range of vibrations from hand-held shake, to vibration from a moving vehicle. By using optical stabilization, it can compensate for a greater degree of camera shake and avoid any loss in image quality, unlike electronic image stabilizers, Canon claims.

Interestingly, neither the press release announcing the HV10 nor the product pages specify what "full HD" really means. There is no information whether "full" refers to 1080p (progressive), which often is also called "true HD" or to the inferior 1080i (interlaced) format, which prompted us to get clarification from Canon's PR department. Spokesman Geoff Coalter told us that the HV10's recording capability in fact is limited to 1080i.

It will be interesting to see whether the omission of the "i" sets a new trend and if it will reduce or contribute to the confusion surrounding high definition video today.