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Canon notches up its prosumer AVCHD flash camcorders

The company adds fast lens, large sensor models to its SD-based AVCHD camcorder lineup.

Canon HF S10
The HF S10, Canon's top consumer HD camcorder. Canon USA

Many companies turn out SD-based camcorders in compact designs, simply because the flash-based technologies allow for much smaller models than those based on tape, hard disks and mini DVDs. While Canon will continue to offer compact AVCHD models in 2009, the HF20 and HF200, the company's branches out with slightly more "pro" prosumer offerings in the Vixia HF S10 and Vixia HF S100. These two models feature a larger, fast f1.6 10X HD lens and a relatively large, high-resolution 1/1.26-inch 8-megapixel CMOS sensor, along with higher-end capabilities, such as SMPTE color bars, the ability to manually boost gain up to 18dB, fixed 70 and 100 IRE zebra stripes and a user-assignable button.

The camcorders also take advantage of capabilities introduced with the Digic DV III processor, like improved face detection--Canon claims it can identify faces at oblique angles as well as preselect faces--enhanced autoexposure with the company's Auto Lighting Optimizer, and better noise reduction.

Finally, the models incorporate the features added into the FS series: Video Snapshots, 4-second clips used to create a "highlights reel" effect (the camcorders ship with a music CD); quick charges in 10 minutes per half hour of battery life; an electronic lens cover and video light; 3-second prerecord; and Dual Shot for capturing photos while shooting video.

The only difference between the two models is memory configuration: the HF S10 has 32GB built in while the HF S100 has none.

Price and availability are still unknown.