When in doubt, Canon gets horizontal

Canon's HV20 HD camcorder is extremely similar to the HV10, but uses a more traditional horizontal design.

Though it's probably heretical to say this in consumer electronics' circles, sometimes it's nice when nothing new happens. Take for instance Canon's HV20 HDV camcorder. On the inside, it's pretty much identical to the HV10--the same 3-megapixel 1/2.7-inch, 1,920x1,080 CMOS sensor, the same 10X zoom Canon HD lens, the same Super-Range Optical Image Stabilizer and Instant AF focus support, and the same Digic DV II HD processor. All that similarity means we're probably going to be as impressed with the video from the HV20 as with the HV10's.

So you're bound to ask, if all that's the same, why did they bother introducing a new model? Well, the design of the HV10 made several ergonomic sacrifices to achieve its compact attitude. The HV20 eschews the sleek vertical look for a more practical and traditional horizontal design that provides room for an active accessory shoe, a manual focusing dial, and a higher capacity battery. Canon also added support for 24p frame-rate recording, I suppose to make the substantive price difference between the two models a bit more palatable: when it ships in April the HV20's street price will be about $1,100, compared to about $950 for the HV10.

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