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New Canon HD camcorders target professionals

Both feature adjustable frame rates that let operators change look and feel of captured video. Photos: Canon HD camcorders

Canon has released two new handheld high-definition camcorders priced under $7,000 and aimed at broadcasters and cinematographers.

The XH A1 and the XH G1 HD camcorders each have three image sensors (also known as charge coupled devices, or CCDs) that record at 1,440 pixels by 1,080 pixels, capturing video images at 1080i HD resolution. Both models also feature a Canon 20x HD zoom lens, image stabilization and adjustable frame rates. (To see a CNET Review, click here.)

Canon HD camcorders

The XH A1, due out in October, will retail for about $3,999. The XH G1, planned for release in November for about $6,999, also features HD-SDI output (SDI stands for serial digital interface, a digitized video interface for broadcast-quality video) with embedded audio and time code, generator-lock synchronization for easy switching among multiple cameras, and an "In/Out" feature to synchronize the time codes of those cameras.

The adjustable frame rates featured on both cameras allow the operator to change the look and feel of the captured HD video. The cameras' 30-frame rate is intended for high-speed sports and other high-clarity video, their 24-frame rate for a film-quality look, and their 60i setting (a shutter rate of one 60th of a second) for reality TV-type shooting or YouTube fun.

Canon's announcement follows an unveiling by Sony of its latest models. In early July, Sony announced two camcorders that record to DVDs and hard-disc drives slated for retail release this fall.