Canon released updates to its HF S and HF R line of HD camcorders today, as well as announcing two new standard definition models, the FS40 and FS400. The new camcorders represent basic updates over last year's models, so don't expect any major overhauls or design alterations.
Instead of offering a series of HF S camcorders in 2011, Canon decided to slim the line down to one model—the HF S30. The camcorder looks nearly identical to last year's HF S21, but it has a few extra features. On the surface, it has the same 3.5-inch touchscreen LCD, electronic viewfinder, and 32GB of internal flash memory. Like the HF S21, the HF S30 has dual memory card slots, but the slots onthe new camcorder are compatible with SDXC cards as well as SD and SDHC memory cards.
The HF S30 is Canon's only new 2011 model to continue using the company's 1/2.6-inch CMOS with a 6-megapixel effective pixel count. Canon switched to 1/3-inch CMOS chips for its new HF G10 camcorder, as well as its new line of HF M camcorders. The HF S30 is also the company's only new camcorder that includes a pop-up flash and can take high-resolution still photos.
The Vixia HF R series has three members: the HF R21 (32GB internal memory), the HF R20 (8GB), and the HF R200 (card only). Like the HF S30, these three models aren't very different from their predecessors. They have slightly larger LCDs, which have been bumped up to 3-inches, and the LCDs use touchscreen technology. Each camcorder has been outfitted with two memory card slots (with SDXC capability) and a filter thread has been added to the lens. All of the HF R camcorders will offer video recording at a 24MBps bitrate, which is a feature available on all 2011 Vixia models from Canon.
Canon's new standard definition camcorders, the FS40 and FS400, are basic updates over last year's FS31 and FS300. These standard definition models are Canon's only camcorders that don't include a touchscreen LCDs (they have the same 2.7-inch screens found on previous models), but they do have SDXC memory card compatibility.