Canon Claims Smallest, Lightest HD Camcorder

Canon has unveiled a high-definition camcorder that it says is the world’s smallest and lightest such device.

The HV10 is based on the HDV tape format that uses conventional MiniDV tape for storage of high-definition video. Unlike previous HDV camcorders from competitors, the HV10 looks much more like a traditional compact consumer camcorder.

The camera measures 56 by 104 by 106 millimeters and weighs 500 grams, including battery and tape. That compares favorably with Sony’s most compact HDV camcorder, the HDR-HC3, that measures 82 by 78 by 139 millimeters and weighs 560 grams with a battery pack.

Like other HD camcorders, it can manage full 1,920-by-1,080-pixel resolution. It has a 10X optical zoom lens and optical image stabilization.

Canon HV10 high-definition digital camcorder
Canon HV10

When it goes on sale in September, it will be the latest of a number of high-definition camcorders to hit the Japanese market. Just last week, Canon announced two HDV-based camcorders for the professional and high-end consumer market, and earlier in July, Sony and Sanyo Electric took the wraps off new models aimed at consumers. Sony unveiled two models: one based on the new AVCHD format and another that stores video on a hard-disk drive, while Sanyo’s camera uses memory cards.

Sony is aggressively targeting consumers with high-definition models and hopes that half of all the camcorders it is selling in Japan by the end of the year will be high-definiton models. Other camera makers are equally keen, especially with the back-to-school season coming in Japan. Many schools hold sports days around September, and that makes it the busiest period of the year for camcorder sales.

Sales of Canon’s HV10 outside Japan are due to begin in mid-September in the United States and late September in Europe. Prices for those markets haven’t been announced, but it will cost around 150,000 yen (US$1,311) in Japan.

-Martyn Williams, IDG News Service (Tokyo Bureau)

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