Despite its somewhat high pricing, the Canon Vixia HF series has traditionally delivered solid AVCHD recording performance and quality for the money. Depending upon your feelings about touch screens, however, Canon's either improving on a good thing or ruining a great camcorder. Rebranding its Vixia HF series (replacing the HF20 and HF200) as HF M--with the "M" denoting its position in the middle of Canon's HD camcorder lineup--the three models differ primarily by memory configuration and some capabilities enabled by that memory. The cheapest, the HF M300, will cost $679 and have no memory, just an … Read more
While I applaud many of Canon's 2010 camcorder strategy decisions, the company still offers up some groan-worthy product choices, like the new entry-level HF R series of "high-definition" camcorders. Why the quotation marks? Because the announcement's given me flashbacks to the early days of HD when everyone was taking old, relatively low-resolution sensors and upconverting from 1,440x1,080-pixel resolution, either in software or hardware, to real HD 1,920x1,080-pixel resolution. For its modestly priced (though not dirt cheap) HF R series, Canon captures AVCHD video at 1,664x936 pixels and upconverts to 1,920x1,… Read more
Eye-Fi heads into the new decade with a completely rearchitected design for its Wi-Fi-enabled SD cards for digital cameras. The system, an integrated ASIC dubbed "Arcturus," powers the new Eye-Fi Pro X2 card, delivering higher capacities, theoretically better speed and power usage, and an overhauled software interface with more of a client-side focus. The Pro X2 builds on the feature set available in the currently shipping Pro card.
Most notably, the new $149.99 Pro X2 card, which inaugurates SDHC support with an 8GB capacity rated at Class 6 performance, moves up to 802.11n wireless from 802.… Read more
From the makers of the Digital Underwater Camera Mask comes a new gizmo that lets adrenaline junkies capture their skiing adventures. Liquid Image will be showing off its new 335 Snow Camera Goggle at the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas.
The shooter is part of the new Summit Series of ski masks with integrated cameras. The hands-free snapper has a 5-megapixel image sensor that's also capable of recording 720x480-pixel videos with audio. Controls are laid out on the right side of the snow goggles and are large to facilitate users wearing gloves. The eyewear has 16MB of internal … Read more
Updated 1/21/10: added a few details to chart and analysis based on B&H's price of $699.99 at the end.
It's been 9 months since Samsung first displayed its interchangeable-lens camera under glass; though now officially announced, in preproduction, and slated for availability this spring, there still isn't a whole lot of information available. Unfortunately, that includes price, which is key for this segment. Also still unknown are any real details about shooting performance, such as burst rate and shutter speed range. Samsung's only claim about autofocus is that it's "fast and decisive."
The most significant potential downside is the proprietary new lens mount--the Samsung NX mount. That alone has disappointed the small but vocal legions of Pentaxians who've been counting on Samsung to deliver an interchangeable-lens model to support their lenses (a reasonable assumption, given Samsung's dSLR relationship with Pentax). Samsung really could have used the support of these fanboys; now it has no built-in boosters to help with marketing. Although there's a plan to supply a Pentax K-mount adapter, it won't support autofocus. At launch, Samsung plans to offer three NX mount lenses: an 18-55mm f3.5-5.6, 50-200mm f4-5.6, and 30mm pancake.… Read more
Our wrap-up from last year's CES was relatively optimistic. "All things considered, this year's CES had a surprising amount of innovative--or at least interesting--tech for cameras and camcorders, beyond the usual bigger/faster/cheaper we've come to expect from the show." Some of the more notable innovations included Sony's back-illuminated sensor, GPS-enabled camcorders, some of which turned out to be pretty good (if pricey); the new SDXC even-higher-capacity card specification; Samsung's odd tilted-lens camcorders; Casio's superburst shooting compacts; and Eye-Fi adding wireless upload support for video to its cards. But while the … Read more
All things considered, this year's CES had a surprising amount of innovative--or at least interesting--tech for cameras and camcorders, beyond the usual bigger/faster/cheaper we've come to expect from the show.
Though each manufacturer took a different approach to pumping up its HD camcorder lines, they all took a split-the-market attitude: new models based on last year's technology designed to reach lower, entry-level prices on one side and beefing up sensors, optics, and controls for more expensive products to appeal to video enthusiasts. For instance, Sony's new XV500 series features a new back-illuminated sensor and … Read more
Before the world went high-def, Panasonic made a point of upgrading many of its camcorders to 3-chip models; now it's happening again, as Panasonic rolls out its 3MOS chipsets in its prosumer 2009 AVCHD camcorders. And at 2 megapixels per chip, they're each reasonably high-resolution, as well. However, you won't see the likes of popular, older, budget 3-chip models such as the PV-GS320, at least not in the first half of the year. In fact, you won't see any tape- or DVD-based models at all from Panasonic, according to the company. Ever.
For its standard-definition clients, … Read more
While Panasonic and Canon look like they're delivering a solid, if somewhat uninspiring, line of camcorders for the first half of the year, Sony emerged from CES with the most newsworthy set of models--newsworthy for what the product line doesn't include, as well as what it does.
What's missing? MiniDV camcorders, for one. While last year's DCR-HC52 and HC62 remain on the market, Sony didn't announce anything relevant to MiniDV--no consolidation of the existing models, as Canon did, or outright declaration of dropping models, as with Panasonic (if not publicly, then at least in conversation). … Read more
People are still lamenting the passing of Polaroid Instant Film into history, but thanks to technology featured in its tiny portable PoGo printer launched in 2008, the company is offering a new shoot-and-print option: the Polaroid PoGo Instant Digital Camera. And despite its parent company's woes, Polaroid has no intention of curtailing product plans in 2009.
The camera, which has a certain retro boxiness to it, is pretty big in comparison to most point-and-shoots with its camera specs. … Read more