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Canon HV10: Smaller than your average hi-def camcorder

Canon hopes to win your hi-def loving heart with the HV10, the smallest HDV camcorder we've seen

Hardly a week goes by without someone announcing the world's smallest, lightest, thinnest consumer tech product. Last week we brought you the slimmest slider phone, the Samsung D900, and this week we present the smallest HDV 1080i camcorder -- the Canon HV10 (pictured right; click to enlarge). Measuring 56 by 104 by 106mm and weighing 440g, it's much smaller than your head, but probably heavier than your heart.

The HV10 is aimed at consumers who want to record hi-def home movies that'll look impressive on an HD Ready LCD or plasma television. It's a compact, single-chip device that captures widescreen 1080i video and records it onto standard MiniDV tapes. It uses a CMOS sensor, as seen in Canon's digital SLRs, and has a 10x optical zoom lens with optical image stabilisation. A new Instant AF autofocus system aims to speed up focusing, since the greater resolution of high definition makes any errors more obvious.

The HV10 also doubles as a 3.1-megapixel stills camera, complete with built-in flash. Images are recorded onto a miniSD card and can be printed directly via PictBridge or transferred to your computer by USB. We can't believe that anyone who's enough of a detail freak to record their holidays in hi-def is going to settle for photographs from a camcorder, but you never know. 

Canon's hi-def camcorder is lighter than Sony's comparable offering, the Handycam HDR-HC3, but we don't yet know how the footage stacks up. Watch out for a full review when the HV10 goes on sale in September. Pricing is yet to be confirmed, but we'll be surprised if the change from £1,000 buys you much more than a weekend in Blackpool. -ML