updated 10:25 am EST, Mon January 5, 2009
Canon VIXIA at CES
Canon this morning unveiled a complete overhaul of its camcorder line starting with its VIXIA HD camcorders. The HF S10 and HF S100 are both the first Canon video cameras to sport the new DIGIC DV III chip and produce better overall image accuracy while adding support for live face detection, an improved auto exposure system and the ability to capture 8-megapixel still photos. Either can also record 1080-line AVCHD (H.264) video at up to the maximum 24Mbps supported by the spec.
Either of the 8.6-megapixel cameras carries a 10X optical zoom lens with stabilization and supports HDMI video output with the higher range of x.v.Color when viewed on a similarly-capable HDTV. Storage is the primary difference between the two camcorders, with the S10 getting 32GB of built-in flash memory in addition to SDHC expansion while the S100 relies on SDHC alone for memory; 32GB of space in either form allows for up to 2 hours and 55 minutes of video at maximum quality.
The HF20 and HF200 use the older DIGIC DV II component but in exchange get a new, 15X lens and preserve the same 32GB internal (HF20) and SDHC (both models) storage of the top-end cameras. The 3.9-megapixel devices continue to support auto exposure and lower-resolution still photo modes.
An entry model, the HV40, replaces the HV30 and switches to more conventional HDV tape as its storage medium versus the flash of the HF models. It further trims costs by stepping down to a 2.9-megapixel sensor and a 10X lens but does support native 24p, film-speed shooting.
Canon has yet to supply prices for all of the new VIXIA entries but expects all but the HV40 to arrive in February. This last model is expected to ship in March.
VIXIA HF S10/S100