Canon's High Definition Video Camera - the XL H1

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September 18, 2005 Canon has broken new ground in the digital video camera (DVC) category, announcing the XL H1 - Canon's first DVC featuring high definition. Developed based on the needs of professional and enthusiast videographers, the XL H1 retains the operability of Canon's popular XL2 while increasing professional functionality and supporting high definition recording. To make the camera suitable for broadcasters, the XL H1 includes HD-SDI (Serial Digital Interface) output connectors, which allows uncompressed output for seamless integration into broadcast studios.

The flagship DVC for Canon, the XL H1 is ideal for use across the spectrum of professional content making, from film and television production to filming weddings or documentaries. The XL H1 comes equipped with a newly developed HD 20x zoom video lens, the XL 5.4-108 mm L IS II, contributing to Canon's development aim of delivering the highest recording quality available today.

As Canon's first HD video camera, the XL H1 High Definition (HD) camcorder and 20x HD video zoom lens provide broadcasters with a low-cost 1080i resolution option for ENG, Documentary or Reality TV production. Filmmakers will also appreciate the extensive Cine controls and 24 Frame rate option the XL H1 camcorder offers. Canon's "professional jackpack" features include uncompressed digital HD-SDI output for seamless integration into broadcast studios or high-quality image transfer to non-linear editing systems. The Genlock feature allows movie sets to easily synchronize camera settings across multiple camcorders and SMPTE time-codes in-and-out allow for streamlined tape and edit management.

"As FCC deadlines for transferring all television content to digital rapidly approach, broadcasters are looking for low-cost acquisition options that do not require them to revamp their entire infrastructure," said Yukiaki Hashimoto, senior vice president and general manager of the Consumer Imaging Group at Canon U.S.A., Inc., a subsidiary of Canon Inc. "By offering backward compatibility with current SD-based infrastructure, the XL H1 HD camcorder combines the right features at the right price to meet the demanding needs of television production and movie making."

The XL H1 camcorder has three 1/3-inch 1.67 megapixel interlaced CCDs that capture images at 1080i resolution. It also features selectable frame rates of 50i and 25F, so capturing fast motion, sports news footage or achieving the look and feel of film for movie making is possible with the XL H1.

Lens

A high performance 20x HD video lens has been specifically designed for the XL H1. Created with Canon's world-class lens expertise, this high performance lens features a fluorite element (as used in Canon's professional 35mm and broadcast TV lenses) and two aspherical lenses which reduce aberrations, resulting in excellent colour, contrast and resolution throughout the zoom range. This lens also features a newly developed SR coating that significantly reduces ghosting.

With a fast f/1.6 to f/3.5 aperture users can shoot under the most demanding lighting conditions and at a close focusing distance as little as 20mm away (when at wide angle). When shooting with an aspect ratio of 16:9, the 20x zoom range is an impressive 38.9mm to 778mm (35mm equivalent). At the 4:3 aspect ratio, it is an equally impressive 47.4mm to 954mm (35mm equivalent). This lens features two independent ND filters (1/6, 1/32) that allow shooting in extremely bright conditions. Focus and zoom presets are perfect for scene retakes or fixed range shooting. It also incorporates the most advanced optical image stabilization available today.

Canon's SuperRange Optical Image Stabilization system eliminates camera shake by detecting and correcting vibrations even at full telephoto so shots are smooth and steady. This optical system avoids any degradation in image quality.

The new XL H1 HD video camera features Canon's XL-interchangeable lens mount system so users can choose the lens best suited to their unique recording situations.

Professional Use Functions

Canon's XL H1 is the first HDV-format video camera to incorporate broadcast industry standard HD-SDI (Serial Digital Interface) output connectors. This allows uncompressed output for seamless integration into broadcast studios, or high-quality image transfer to non-linear editing systems.

In addition the XL H1 incorporates a range of new features and enhancements to meet the needs of professional users, including SMPTE time code input and output connectors that enable synchronisation of time code data on footage taken by multiple video cameras or recorders, as well as a Genlock synchronisation input feature for multi-camera shots without image distortion when switching the video feed source.

Users selling their work overseas will benefit from XL H1's option of a service upgrade to enable both NTSC and PAL recording capability.

Total Image Control

The XL H1 offers the highest degree of customisation available thanks to its complete range of image quality adjustment functions. Movie makers seeking the look and feel of film can adjust a range of variables including three colour matrices for a wide range of colour correction and two cine gammas for intricate adjustment of dynamic range. Other controls include customisable knee, black stretch, horizontal detail, coring, sharpness, noise reduction, colour gain, hue and master colour, giving users ultimate control over the appearance of their video.

Software Designed for broadcast and filmmaking applications, Canon's new Console software provides remote control over four key XL H1 camera functions: image control, camera operation, video recording in HDV or SD and playback. Users will be able to receive a trial version to assess the software before purchase, available in late November

Pricing and Availability

The XL H1 camcorder and the 20x HD Video Lens with Superior Canon Optics will be available as a kit in November for an estimated selling price of US$8,999

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