LAS VEGAS--For the past few years, Canon has been successively eliminating several camcorders from its annual lineup. This year, we're left with just three consumer models; really, though, just one model in three configurations. The surviving version is the still popular lowest-end HF R series -- specifically, the Vixia HF R40, R42 and R400.
The series gets a few hardware updates, including a bump to Digic DV IV, which enables several new video capabilities, including higher frame and bit rates -- MP4 1080/60p at 35 megabits per second and AVCHD 2.0 1080/30p at 28Mbps -- a new capacitive (phonelike) touch-screen LCD, and a wider-angle 32mm lens with a possibly longer zoom (Canon only mentions the faux 53x advanced zoom spec, not the actual optical zoom spec). Interestingly, they can record MP4 and AVCHD simultaneously.
Canon also says the series uses a new battery for twice the battery life, which is important since the HF R40 and R42 get Wi-Fi connectivity, a real drainer. Those two models support live streaming through its apps; video upload remains available only via iOS.
The HF R42 (32GB) will run $499.99, the R40 (8GB) costs $399.99, and the R400 (no internal memory or Wi-Fi), $299.99. They'll all ship in March.