By Matthew Henry

SYDNEY: Canon Australia will launch the world’s smallest and lightest high definition camcorder in October, entering the emerging category which has been the exclusive playground of Sony to date.

The Canon HV10 HDV camcorder is a compact, vertically-oriented unit and will use MiniDV tapes to record home video in the 1080i high definition format.

The model will be pitted against Sony’s range, which was recently expanded from one model to three when Sony introduced its new AVCHD models.

Canon has incorporated a CMOS sensor into the HV10 in place of a CCD. The CMOS sensor is better able to deal with the vast amount of image detail, and will reduce power consumption.

A new autofocus system has also been developed because the increased resolution of the high definition image requires more precise focussing, Canon said.

While the HD camcorder category is growing, Canon does not expect it to take over from standard definition camcorders in the near future. DVD and hard disk models will continue to be the major areas of growth in the category during the next year, said Canon Australia interim marketing manager and camcorder product manager, Darren Ryan.

“It (HDV) will grow over time, but maybe not as fast as DVD. This whole segment is typified by format change at the moment, and there are some major changes occuring. It has become about who has the latest and greatest format, and it is becoming a hard category for consumers,” said Ryan.

Canon has also launched the DC22 DVD camcorder featuring dual-layer recording, which will also be available in October.

“One of the big challenges for consumers shooting with DVD is that they only have a short time to record before they need to find a new disk, or with double sided disks turn it over. So this is a good feature for people who don’t want to miss out on capturing their memories as they happen,” he said.

Canon has not yet announced any plans to enter the hard disk drive camcorder market, which along with DVD is growing rapidly at the expense of the MiniDV format, but the brand hinted at a future product release.

“(HDD) is not on the radar just yet, but I am sure we have technicians working away on it. I think the rapid growth of hard disk caught everyone by suprise. Technology around hard disk still has a way to go, but as a format I am sure it is here to stay,” said Ryan.