In the face of mounting competition from Sony, Panasonic, and others, Canon is holding its ground in the HD camcorder market as it announced nine new flash-memory models to its VIXIA line at CES 2010. With new additions to the high-end VIXIA HF S-series and mid-range and compact HF M-series, Canon also introduced a new line of entry-level models, the HF R-series.
While not all of Canon's new HD camcorders offer internal memory, all are now SDXC compatible (SDXC cards are said to be capable of holding 2TB). However, initial pricing on SDXC cards is high compared to the camcorders; early reports indicated that Panasonic's recently-announced 64GB SDXC card will retail for approximately $600. Canon also revealed that select models will be Eye-Fi SD compatible, allowing users to wirelessly upload footage.
Canon's top of the line
Canon touted the newest additions to its flagship VIXIA HF S-series as their premiere camcorders. The VIXIA HF S21, S20, and S200 all record 1920x1080 HD video through a Genuine Canon 10x HD Video Lens and 1/2.6, 8.59 megapixel CMOS Image Sensor, which is capable of also snapping 8.0 megapixel stills. They also include a high-resolution, 3.5-inch LCD Touch Panel and Canon's Touch & Track feature, allowing the camera to automatically track and keep selected objects in focus.
Canon Vixia HF-S21
Canon also hyped the additions of the Smart Auto feature (enhanced auto settings detection), Relay Recording (automatic switching between storage devices when the primary becomes full), increased image stabilization when in full zoom, and HD-to-SD downconversion for video sharing and uploading through Eye-fi SD.
Each model features two SD card slots, with the S21 and S20 coming with 64GB and 32GB of internal flash memory, respectively. Canon claimed the VIXIA HF S21, S20, and S200 will be available in April, for $1,399.99, $1,099.99 and $999.99, respectively.
At the mid-range
For those daunted by a four-figure price point, but still looking for a few high-end touches, Canon announced VIXIA HF M31, HF M30 and HF M300. These camcorders shoot the same 1920x1080 high-definition video through a Genuine Canon 15x HD Video Lens coupled with the zoom image stabilization, Smart Auto feature, Relay Recording, Canon Touch & Track, and HD-to-SD Downconversion, with much of the action controlled through the 2.7 inch LCD touchscreen. The M31 and M30 each have internal flash memory, 32GB and 8GB, respectively, while the M300 only records to SD.
Canon claimed this line would also be available in April, with the M31 costing, $799.99, the M30 costing $699.99, and the M300 costing $679.99.
Canon is also catering to the budget-conscious consumer as it revealed the HF R11, HF R10, and HF R100. All three shoot HD through a 20x HD Video Lens, and feature Canon's Smart Auto tracking technology. The HF R11 and R10 also include Relay Recording and HD-to-SD Downconversion.
Canon Vixia HF-R100
The HF R11comes with 32GB of internal memory, while the R10 has 8GB. The R100 shoots directly to SD. The R10, R11, and R100 will be available in March for $699.99, $549.99 and $499.99 respectively.
Don't forget standard definition
Canon also introduced two new standard-definition camcorders, the FS31 and FS300. These bare-bones cameras feature what Canon referred to as 41x Advanced Zoom (37x optical zoom) and image stabilization. The FS31 has 16GB of internal flash memory and will retail for $349.99. The FS300 has no internal memory and will retail for $299.99. Both models will be available in March.