updated 02:10 pm EST, Tue January 5, 2010
Changes include touchscreens, less sensor noise
Canon has announced nine new camcorders in its VIXIA line, based around flash storage. Each new model relies on a CMOS sensor and a DIGIC DV III processor, which have together been improved this year to reduce noise and display better blues and purples. Image stabilization has likewise been upgraded with a Powered mode, and new touchscreen displays can be tapped to select a subject and track it automatically.
Also new in 2010 is HD-to-SD Downconversion, which creates a separate SD copy of a video while retaining the HD material. The Advanced Video Snapshot mode has meanwhile been enhanced with the ability to capture 2-, 4- or 8-second clips during the middle of recording or playback.
The high-end VIXIAs include the HF S21, HF S20 and HFS200, which all have 10x lenses, 3.5-inch touchscreens and two SD card slots, as well as support for AVCHD. The S21 and S20 feature 64 and 32GB of internal memory, respectively, while the S200 is limited to SD storage. An April launch is expected with prices set at $1,400, $1,100 and $1,000.
The HF M31, HF M30 and HF M300 lack AVCHD, and shrink their displays down to 2.7 inches, but do allow 15x zoom. The M31 and M30 incorporate 32 and 8GB of internal memory. The cameras should cost $800, $700 and $680 and likewise ship in April.
The HF R11, HF R10 and HF R100 are due in March, and are similar to the M-series units but swap in 20x lenses while stripping out touchscreens and support for Powered IS. Prices are listed at $700, $550 and $500. Canon is also introducing two SD camcorders in the same timeframe, the FS31 and the FS300, the first of which has 16GB of internal flash. Costs are $350 and $300.