Canon puts pro sensor in top prosumer camcorder

The highlight of Canon's 2011 prosumer lineup is a new series that integrates the CMOS sensor used by its professional XF models.

Lori Grunin Senior Editor / Advice
I've been reviewing hardware and software, devising testing methodology and handed out buying advice for what seems like forever; I'm currently absorbed by computers and gaming hardware, but previously spent many years concentrating on cameras. I've also volunteered with a cat rescue for over 15 years doing adoptions, designing marketing materials, managing volunteers and, of course, photographing cats.
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Lori Grunin
2 min read

Vixia HF G10 Canon USA

Canon's redefining its top-end prosumer camcorder model. Not just with a higher price--you can look forward to forking over as much as $1,499 for the best the company has to offer, up from $1,399 in 2010--but with a pro-level sensor brought down from its XF series. It will be in the Vixia HF G10, which launches a new AVCHD-compliant G series for Canon.

The sensor, newly dubbed HD CMOS Pro, is the same 1/3-inch 2.07-megapixel model currently used by the company's entry-level pro models, albeit by itself rather than in a trio. Because it's larger than a typical consumer sensor, with 2.75 micron vs. 1.7 micron pixels, Canon claims a 280 percent improvement in dynamic range over previous prosumer models, with a new minimum recommended light level of 1.5 lux.

That said, Canon's sensor doesn't use backside-illuminated CMOS technology like Sony's competing Exmor R models, so it remains to be seen how it compares, especially for low-light shooting.

The rest of the G10's specs look pretty typical for a top-end prosumer model. It's got a f1.8 10x zoom lens that starts at a fairly wide angle of 30.4mm and has an 8-bladed iris for better bokeh, manual focus ring, and an EVF. There's 32GB memory built in, and it uses a nice, big 3.5-inch 922,000-dot LCD and has dual SDXC slots. Canon says the G10 will support 24p recording.

Canon HF S30 Canon USA

Canon also claims improvements in its built-in microphone, with the ability to set directionality. It will support Canon's new special effects feature, called Cinema-Look Filters.

In other news, the company has also updated its S series for 2011 with the HF S30. The S30 is basically the S20 with an EVF and the addition of support for SDXC cards. It will run $1,099.

Both models will be available in March.