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Canon HDV Digital Camcorders

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Canon HDV Digital Camcorders Feature Comparison Chart

Click on model number in the chart below to see photo and detailed features.

Click on any underlined feature on this chart for a more detailed explanation.


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Key Features

Canon HF R400 Canon HF R40 Canon HF R42 Canon HF M500 Canon HF M50 Canon HF M52 Canon HF G20
Available Colors Black Black Black Black Black Black Black
Video Recording Media One SDXC/SDHC/SD Slot 8GB Internal/ One SDXC/SDHC/SD Slot 32GB Internal/ One SDXC/SDHC/SD Slot One SDXC/SDHC/SD Slot 8GB Internal/ One SDXC/SDHC/SD Slot 32GB Internal/ One SDXC/SDHC/SD Slot 32GB Internal/ Two SDXC/SDHC/SD Slots
True 1080 High Definition Video 1 x x x x x x x
Imaging Device/
Gross Pixels 2
1/4.85-inch CMOS
1/4.85-inch CMOS
1/4.85-inch CMOS
1/3-inch HD CMOS Pro
1/3-inch HD CMOS Pro
1/3-inch HD CMOS Pro
1/3-inch HD CMOS Pro
DIGIC DV III / DIGIC DV 4 HD Image Processor 3 4 4 4 III III III III
HD Video Zoom Lens 4 32x 32x 32x 10x 10x 10x 10x
Dynamic SuperRange Optical Image Stabilizer 5 x x x x x x x
Powered IS 6 x x x x x x x
Intelligent IS 8 x x x x x x x
Instant AF 7       x x x x
Widescreen Color LCD Monitor 9 3.0" Touch Panel 3.0" Touch Panel 3.0" Touch Panel 3.0" Touch Panel 3.0" Touch Panel 3.0" Touch Panel 3.5" Touch Panel
1080i/480i Component Video Out Terminal 10       x x x x
Digital Audio Format, AVCHD Recording 11 AVCHD: Dolby AC-3 2ch, MP4: MPEG-2 AVCHD: Dolby AC-3 2ch, MP4: MPEG-2 AVCHD: Dolby AC-3 2ch, MP4: MPEG-2 Dolby AC-3 2ch, 5.1-ch Dolby AC-3 2ch, 5.1-ch Dolby AC-3 2ch, 5.1-ch Dolby AC-3 2ch, 5.1-ch

Key Features

Canon HF R400 Canon HF R40 Canon HF R42 Canon HF M500 Canon HF M50 Canon HF M52 Canon HF G20
Megapixel Still Image Capture 12 2.1 2.1 2.1 2.1 2.1 2.1 2.1
HDMI Terminal 13 x x x x x x x
Lithium-Ion Battery 14 x x x x x x x
24p Cinema Mode 15 x x x x x x Native
SDXC, SDHC, SD Memory Card Slot 16 x x x x x x x
Touch & Track 17 x x x x x x x
Relay Recording 18   x x   x x x
Cinema-Look Filters 19 x x x x x x x
Story Creator 20 x x x x x x x
Touch Decoration 21 x x x x x x x
Built-in Wi-Fi 22   x x   x x  
Audio Scene Select 23 x x x x x x x
Dual Recording and Built-in Downconversion 24   x x        
Baby Mode 25 x x x        

Canon Camcorder Feature Explanations:

1 - True 1080 High Definition Video
No matter what you're shooting, bring it vividly to life with today's premier technology. The stunning clarity of true 1080 HD resolution is evident in every frame shot by Canon HDV camcorders. You'll record and play back images using widely available miniDV cassette tapes.
2 - Canon True HD CMOS Sensor (1920 x 1080)
Canon's expertise in designing and manufacturing CMOS image sensors for its line of EOS Digital SLR cameras is now available in Canon HD camcorders. The Megapixel Canon CMOS sensor captures true HD information at 1920 x 1080, giving your images the ultimate in realistic detail. Canon's advanced noise reduction technology, ensures the purity of each pixel even in dim light, minimizing noise and other aberrations. It incorporates an RGB Primary Color Filter with Bayer placement to deliver a sharp HD image with vibrant and accurate color reproduction.

Select VIXIA camcorders feature the Canon HD CMOS Pro Image Sensor, a 1/3-inch native 1920 x 1080 image sensor that incorporates the same proven technology at the heart of Canon's pro-grade camcorders. The HD CMOS Pro Image Sensor defies convention: using fewer pixels than typical consumer camcorder sensors, it delivers far superior video performance.

Outstanding Video Resolution (800 Vertical and 900 Horizontal TV Lines): The effective number of pixels in the HD CMOS Pro Image Sensor is exactly equal to 1920 x 1080, the resolution of Full High Definition video. Because there is no need to resize the image captured by the sensor, Full HD video is recorded with the utmost precision, resulting in exceptionally high resolution.

Superb Low-Light Performance (1.5 Lux*): Because the pixel dimensions are precisely those needed to capture Full HD, each pixel site is larger and more sensitive to light. This results in far greater light gathering capability, enabling high-quality video to be captured even in dim lighting.

* Rating measured with auto shutter speed of 1/30 of a second.

Wide Dynamic Range: The larger pixel area also enables more light to be stored, making it possible to detect and capture a wider range of tonal values. The sensor design yields an improvement in dynamic range, enabling both highlights and shadows to be reproduced with remarkable accuracy and depth. Skin tones are captured with fine gradation.

3 - DIGIC DV III / DIGIC DV 4 HD Processor
DIGIC DV III is one of Canon's most advanced HD image processors ever, helping to deliver enhanced image quality, true color production for both video and photos, and a sophisticated noise reduction system for exceptional low-light performance. It is also the high-speed engine which powers a variety of Canon technologies including the Advanced Auto Exposure system and Genuine Canon Face Detection. Plus, the Canon DIGIC DV III Image Processor allows continuous shooting of digital photos. You can also enjoy faster processing of your images to your memory card (1.4x normal card; 2.5x Hi Speed card). In addition, it helps lower power consumption for longer battery life.

The latest and most advanced Canon HD Image Processor, the DIGIC DV 4 Image Processor, is a significant upgrade on several fronts. The DIGIC DV 4 Image Processor captures more light, for brighter, noise-free images even in dark scenes. Dramatically increased processing power lets you record in both AVCHD and easy-to-share MP4 formats simultaneously.

4 - HD Video Zoom Lens
The Canon name is synonymous with optical excellence. More than seven decades of manufacturing lenses for professional broadcast and photography have given Canon superiority in its optical products, and a legendary reputation among professional videographers and photographers. Every Canon camcorder is equipped with a Genuine Canon Video Lens. And Canon high definition video lenses use an aspherical lens to achieve low chromatic aberration with high resolution, and use super spectra coating technology to lower flare and ghosting. A gradation Neutral Density system allows better exposure in bright shooting situations.

HD image quality starts with optics, and the XH A1s delivers the many benefits of Canon's world-renowned lens technologies. The Genuine Canon 20x HD video zoom lens is a professional L Series lens, incorporating Fluorite and Ultra-Low-Dispersion elements. This state-of-the-art design ensures outstanding resolution, contrast, and color reproduction, delivering image quality throughout the entire zoom range unmatched by conventional optics. The 20x zoom covers an exceptionally wide and useful range of focal lengths -- from 32.5-650mm (35mm photography equivalent), an optional 0.8x HD Wide Angle Adapter is available -- assuring unmatched versatility for a wide range of shooting applications.

Optical Image Stabilizer
Optical Image Stabilizer
5 - Dynamic SuperRange Optical Image Stabilizer
In the past, optical image stabilizers used solely a gyro sensor to detect camcorder vibration (the data from which controls a vari-angle prism that continuously corrects the path of the incoming light). SuperRange goes one step further by examining the image after it is received by the CCD, and detecting any low-frequency vibrations missed by the gyro. This data is fed-back to accelerate and refine the movement of the vari-angle prism. This greatly improves performance for low frequency vibration, resulting in the most advanced optical image stabilization available. Dynamic SuperRange Optical Image Stabilizer takes shake correction to a whole new level. It provides continuous adjustment throughout the entire zoom range to correct an even broader range of motion. Extra compensation is applied at wide-angle focal lengths to eliminate unwanted vibration common with walking.
6 - Powered IS
In addition to Canon's Dynamic SuperRange Optical Image Stabilization, Powered IS provides an even higher level of compensation for subtle hand movement at the telephoto end of the zoom range. This new enhancement can be engaged by pressing the Powered IS button on the LCD panel.
7 - Intelligent IS
Intelligent IS makes it easy to shoot clear, sharply focused video, even in situations that typically cause camera shake. The Intelligent IS system analyzes the shooting situation for you, then automatically switches to the image stabilization method best able to produce sharp, steady video. Four IS systems cover the gamut of shooting situations. Dynamic IS corrects minor movement and the shaking caused by walking while shooting. Macro IS delivers perfectly steady close-up shots. Powered IS comes into play when you're using the camcorder's powerful zoom, correcting shake that can occur in telephoto shots. Tripod Mode stops IS when the camcorder is stationary.
8 - Instant AF
Sharp focus is especially important in HD, so Canon developed Instant AF, a revolutionary new focusing system that combines an external sensor with Canon's proven high-performance AF system. The two work together to dramatically decrease focusing time, especially when shooting in dim light or with the camera in motion.
9 - Widescreen Color LCD Monitor
The big view screen makes it easier to compose sensational shots from any angle. It swivels and flips for maximum handling comfort and flexibility. It also tucks neatly away when shooting conditions make the eyecup viewfinder the preferred way to shoot.

Canon's Touch Panel LCD Screen offers easy menu navigation and quick control over a variety of camcorder functions -- such as scene selection, Genuine Canon Face Selection and Touch & Track -- right at your fingertips. For the ultimate viewing experience, Canon's 3.5-inch High Resolution Touch Panel LCD Screen offers the added benefit of a large expansive area and a resolution of 922,000 dots, delivering exceptional detail and brilliant color.

10 - 1080i/480i Component Video Out Terminal
Industry standard connectors are provided, including component video outputs that support High Definition (1080i) and Standard Definition (480i) video.
11 - Digital Audio Format
MPEG-1 / PCM Digital Audio: When recording in DV mode to tape, Canon XH A1s HDV camcorder offers two PCM digital audio stereo modes to enhance the playback experience. The 16 bit mode produces the higher, CD equivalent, two channel sound quality. In HDV recording mode MPEG1 Audio Layer II is used.

Dolby Digital 2 Channel Audio ensures your audio quality is as good as your image quality.

For the ultimate home theater experience, 5.1-Channel Surround Sound (optional Canon SM-V1 5.1-Channel Surround Microphone required) allows you to capture audio quality that matches the stunning realism of your high definition video. Since sound is captured from all directions through five different pickup sensors, your home movies will look and sound more lifelike than ever before.

12 - Megapixel Still Image Capture
The same Canon Exclusive Full HD CMOS image sensor that ensures sharp, vivid HD video also gives you brilliant digital photographs. Like the CMOS image sensors in Canon's EOS Series digital SLR cameras, the VIXIA image sensor results in outstanding digital photographs. It gives an impressive resolution for sharp, crisp still images.

In addition to the capture and recording of motion video, the XH A1s can also capture digital still images and store them on a memory card. Still images can be captured at full HD (1920 x 1080) resolution in either video color space or digital camera color space. Still images captured in video color space include time code and camera set-up metadata. Still images captured in digital still color space includes EXiF metadata. Also included are numerous advanced still camera features expected from Canon, such as auto exposure bracketing, selectable metering modes, continuous shooting and the option to use select EOS System Speedlite flashes. With many pre/post production, storyboarding, and continuity applications, still image recording is just another way the XH A1s delivers versatility.

13 - Convenient HDMI Terminal
Allows easy connection to today's latest HD televisions through its HDMI Terminal. Only one cable is needed to output a pure digital signal (video and audio) for the ultimate viewing experience.
14 - Lithium-Ion Battery
Lithium ion battery packs can be recharged at any time, so they will always be prepared for peak shooting performance, and never caught without power unexpectedly.
15 - 24p Cinema Mode
24p Cinema Mode enables all aspiring moviemakers to achieve a professional film-like look. You can change the camcorder's frame rate to 24p, which provides the same frame rate as movie film. In addition, you can use the CINE setting, which changes the color and tonal characteristics, evoking the look and feel of a movie shown in a theater. For added flexibility, these settings can be used together, or independently.

Native 24p Mode allows 24 frames per second to be captured and recorded -- a big advantage for serious filmmaking work.

16 - Memory Card Slot
The memory card slot Canon HD camcorders accepts SDHC, SD, and MultiMediaCards (MMC). In addition to enabling camera-to-camera transfer of custom settings, memory cards can be used to store digital still images taken with the camcorder.
17 - Touch & Track
Canon's Touch & Track technology enables users to select a subject on the Touch Panel LCD that the camcorder will then recognize and track. This sophisticated technology recognizes faces, objects, even animals, ensuring that your subject will always be in focus and properly exposed.
18 - Relay Recording
Relay Recording allows users to capture uninterrupted video when the primary recording media is full. The camcorder will continue to record a scene by switching from one memory source to the other as it fills up, so that you won't miss a moment of action.
19 - Cinema-Look Filters
Cinema-Look Filters offer 9 different built-in filters allowing users to create video with a variety of professional cinematic looks.
  • Cinema Standard: Recreates the warm tones and muted highlights of classic film.
  • Cool: Adds a bluish tint for cool, futuristic-looking scenes.
  • Old Movie: Gives video the aged look of old cinema.
  • Nostalgic: Recreates the look of old '70s TV programs.
  • Dramatic B&W: Creates bold black-and-white movies with high contrast and grain.
  • Sepia: Applies a sepia tint for an antique, faded look.
  • Vivid: Accentuates primary colors for a bright, cheerful look.
  • Dream: Adds a magical look (soft focus) for dream-like scenes.
  • Memory: Produces a faded, misty look, such as for flashback scenes.
20 - Story Creator
Story Creator assists you in the process of producing an organized video with a logical storyline. Choose one of five different themes -- Travel, Kids & Pets, Party, Ceremony and Blog -- and the camcorder provides a list of suggested scenes to shoot. Each theme has more than 20 scene suggestions. After you've captured your footage, Story Creator helps you categorize and rate your scenes, making it easy to review, select and play back your favorites.
21 - Touch Decoration
Use the Touch Panel LCD while shooting to activate Touch Decoration, a novel feature that lets you superimpose and record a variety of fun and exciting images along with your video. Animations (e.g., shooting stars, thought bubbles, etc.), stamps, decorative frames and even freehand drawings (using the supplied stylus) can be added to give your videos a fun and creative flair.
22 - Built-in Wi-Fi
Built-in Wi-Fi™ opens up a world of new possibilities, giving you the connectivity and immediacy you expect today. The VIXIA camcorder is a sharing device, ready to send your video wherever you like: delight faraway relatives with video of a wedding seconds after it took place; share video of your travels as they happen; post event-documenting videos online more. If you're in an Internet hotspot, you can post video to YouTube™, Facebook™, and other sharing sites. The free Canon iOS Movie Upload app lets you upload video from the VIXIA HF M52 camcorder to your iPhone™, iPad™ or iPod Touch? virtually anywhere. And when you send video to your smartphone or tablet, you'll find it conveniently filed where your other videos are stored. Shoot video in your living room, and save it to the PC in your home office over your home network. Wireless setup with the VIXIA HF M52 is as quick and easy as it is with your other devices, and you can register and store up to three networks for immediate retrieval any time.
23 - Audio Scene Select
Audio Scene Select offers five modes that automatically optimize settings based on the recording situation, making it easy to record realistic, immersive audio in a range of situations.
  • Standard: Default setting, best for recording in a variety of audio environments
  • Speech: Audio recording focused on the speaker in front of the camera
  • Music: Rich soundstage and timbre, perefect for live indoor performances
  • Noise Suppression: Reduces ambient sound, such as wind and moving vehicles
  • Forest and Birds: Useful in fairly quiet settings, natural soundscapes are clearly audible
24 - Dual Recording and Built-in Downconversion
Dual Recording and built-in transcoding ensure that no matter how you decide to use the video you've recorded, you'll have the right format available. Using the power of the DIGIC DV 4 Image Processor, select VIXIA camcorders can simultaneously record video to internal memory in AVCHD format, and to an SD card in MP4 format. The widely used MP4 format provides quick, conversion-free playback on tablets and smartphones, and lets you upload videos directly to social networking sites for easy sharing with friends, family and the world. AVCHD is perfect for watching videos on an HDTV or archiving them to Blu-ray discs. The camcorder also has a built-in transcoding function that converts AVCHD files to MP4s, or from MP4 to MP4 across memory media, making them easy to upload to the Web or save to an SD card.
25 - Baby Mode
Select VIXIA camcorders feature Baby Mode -- a complete solution for capturing, tracking, organizing and sharing every precious moment of your baby's development. A custom control button on the shooting screen activates the mode, and optimal settings for the shooting conditions, including Intelligent IS and more, are automatically selected. Simply pick up the camera and start recording, knowing capture will be of the highest quality. Videos shot in Baby Mode are automatically saved into a dedicated Baby Album so they'll never get lost among your other videos. You can then view the Baby Album chronologically for a seamless way to relive and share your baby's growth with friends and relatives.

When you're shooting in Baby Mode, the camcorder's Pre-Record (Pre REC) function is always on. This places the camcorder in a stand-by "pre-roll" mode, where it continuously records three seconds of video to memory before you even press the record button. When you start recording, the additional video is saved too, so it's easier than ever to capture the baby's "firsts" and every special moment. Touch Decoration in Baby Mode includes stamps to mark each video with your baby's current height and weight. And with a single registration of the baby's birth date, the camcorder will automatically calculate the number of days old and stamp videos accordingly, creating an exact diary of developmental milestones for years to come. The camcorder's other Touch Decoration options, including your own drawings, captions, animations and more, are fully available in Baby Mode, and all can easily be appended to previously shot video as well.

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