updated 09:35 am EDT, Thu August 7, 2008
Canon VIXIA HF11 and HG21
Canon has quickly followed up on earlier Japanese releases with North American versions of its new VIXIA HD camcorders. The new models are all Canon's first to record their AVCHD (H.264) video at a full 24Mbps bitrate that produces better detail and color accuracy. Appropriately, the flagship HF11 doubles the capacity of its predecessor with 32GB of built-in flash memory, which is enough to hold two hours and 55 minutes of full-quality 1920x1080 video. It also has an SDHC card slot to potentially double that storage without the extra girth of hard drives or tapes.
The 60GB HG20 and 120GB HG21 add back the size and weight of a hard drive in exchange for more recording time; the HG21 can store 11 hours and five minutes of maximum-quality HD through its built-in storage. Both can add further video through their respective SDHC slots.
All of the cameras have optical image stabilization for their 12X zoom lenses and will shoot still images at 2.76 megapixels (1920x1440). The new VIXIA models ship in September at prices of $949 for the HG20, $1199 for the HF11, and $1299 for the HG21.