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Canon Vixia HF M41At CES 2011, Lori Grunin checks out Canon's newly announced top-of-the range camcorder, the HF M41.
-Hi. I'm Lori Grunin, Senior Editor with CNET, and I'm here at CES with the Canon Vixia HF M41. This is Canon's newly-announced top of the midrange camcorder. It runs about $800 and it's the top of the series that holds that, you know, $600 to $800 position there line-up. Now, this one has an EVF. The other models don't. This one has 32 gigs of memory. The others have 16 and 0 respectively. And as usual, to me, the best deal is always the one without any memory. They all come with 2 SDXC slots, so you can just configure it as you want and it's generally cheaper to do it that way. One of the really notable things about this-- the midrange class of models this year is that they're using Canon's HD CMOS Pro Sensor. Now, it's not a new sensor. It's just a single version of the trio of sensors that are in Canon's pro camcorders, the XF series. The interesting thing about them is that they're 2.07 megapixels which is exactly HD resolution. They're not extremely high resolution, so that means that you're not gonna want to use these camcorders for shooting stills as well. However, it's because they're 1/3-inch and low resolution, the pixels are bigger and chances are you'll get decent low-light video out of them and certainly better than you would with lower-end sensors. With this year's models, Canon introduced a few new features designed to help users shoot either better video or if not better, then more-- more consistent and comprehensive video. The most notable one of these new features is Story Creator which is actually a mode that walks you through shooting your video. So, you pick a template like vacation and it tells you what shots you need to take in order to build a really decent vacation video. The design of the camcorders is pretty nice. It has membrane buttons which, you know, they're not crazy but they're functional. The LCD seems a little small to me especially since it uses the old touchscreen menu system that is really difficult to use because of the way it's designed. The other specs are pretty typical. It's got a 10x f/1.8 zoom lens, you know, stereo speakers that are down here, and-- and as I said before, the top-end of the trade, the M41, has the EVF. One thing I did notice is this huge battery cavity. I don't have the battery life specs for this; but usually when they make that much room for it, there's a reason. If the sensor does make a significant difference in low-light video, then this will be an interesting camcorder to beat especially if they can get the price down, say just 3-- between $500 and $600. I'm looking forward to testing it. I'm Lori Grunin and this is the Canon Vixia HF M41.