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Canon's ZR400 camcorder. Courtesy of Canon, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Canon announces three new camcorders
By Michael R. Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, February 17, 2005 - 08:10 EST)

Rounding out Canon Inc.'s Photo Marketing Show 2005 announcements for the day, the company announces three new digital camcorders.

Of the three, the Canon Optura 50 and Optura 60 are closely related models, while the ZR400 (as the name would suggest) is totally dissimilar. The Optura 50 ($799) and Optura 60 ($899) look to be identical except for their choice of zoom lens - either 10x optical on the Optura 50, or 14x optical on the Optura 60. Other specs include a 1/3.4-inch 2.2 megapixel CCD imager, which gives up to an effective 2.0 megapixels depending on the recording media; 2.5-inch TFT LCD display, 0.33-inch TFT electronic viewfinder, and 34mm filter threads.

The ZR400, meanwhile, is a $549 model with 14x optical zoom lens, 1/4.5-inch CCD with 1.3 megapixels, effective resolution of up to 1.0 megapixels depending on the recording media, a 2.4-inch LCD display, 0.33-inch TFT electronic viewfinder, and 28mm filter threads.

The Canon Optura 40 and Optura 50 will ship this March, while the ZR400 will follow in April.

Canon Optura 50
Canon's Optura 50 camcorder. Courtesy of Canon, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!
Tape Format Videocassettes bearing the "DV" mark
Maximum Recording Time (80 min. cassette) SP: 80 min.; LP: 120 min.
Image Sensor
1/3.4-inch CCD, approx. 2,200,000 pixels
Effective pixels: tape: approx. 1,230,000 pixels (4:3)
approx. 1,500,000 pixels (16:9)
card: approx. 2,000,000 pixels
Lens f = 4.6 - 46mm, f/1.8 - 2.8, 10x power zoom
LCD Screen 2.5-inch. TFT color, approx. 123,000 pixels
Viewfinder 0.33-inch. TFT color, approx.113,000 pixels
Filter Diameter 34mm
Minimum Illumination 1.1 lx (using the Night Mode)
Recommended Illumination More than 100 lx
Dimensions (W x H x D) 2.8 x 3.2 x 5.2 in.(70 x 82 x 133 mm) excluding protrusions
Weight Camcorder body only: 1.2 lbs. (530g)
 

Canon Optura 60
Canon's Optura 60 camcorder. Courtesy of Canon, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!
Tape Format Videocassettes bearing the "DV" mark
Maximum Recording Time (80 min. cassette) SP: 80 min.; LP: 120 min.
Image Sensor
1/3.4-inch CCD, approx. 2,200,000 pixels
Effective pixels: tape: approx. 1,230,000 pixels (4:3)
approx. 1,500,000 pixels (16:9)
card: approx. 2,000,000 pixels
Lens f = 4.6 - 64.4mm, f/1.8 - 3.0, 14x power zoom
LCD Screen 2.5-inch. TFT color, approx. 123,000 pixels
Viewfinder 0.33-inch. TFT color, approx.113,000 pixels
Filter Diameter 34mm
Minimum Illumination 1.1 lx (using the Night Mode)
Recommended Illumination More than 100 lx
Dimensions (W x H x D) 2.8 x 3.2 x 5.2 in.(70 x 82 x 133 mm) excluding protrusions
Weight Camcorder body only: 1.2 lbs. (530g)
 

Canon ZR400
Canon's ZR400 camcorder. Courtesy of Canon, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!
Tape Format Videocassettes bearing the "DV" mark
Maximum Recording Time (80 min. cassette) SP: 80 min.; LP: 120 min.
Image Sensor
1/4.5-inch CCD, approx. 1,330,000 pixels
Effective pixels: tape: approx. 690,000 pixels (4:3)
approx. 750,000 pixels (16:9 / Image Stabilizer Off)
card: approx. 1,000,000 pixels
Lens f = 3.7 - 51.8mm, f/1.8 - 3.2, 14x power zoom
LCD Screen 2.4-inch. TFT color, approx. 112,000 pixels
Viewfinder 0.33-inch. TFT color, approx. 113,000 pixels
Filter Diameter 28mm
Minimum Illumination 1.8 lx (using the Night Mode)
Recommended Illumination More than 100 lx
Dimensions (W x H x D) 2.0 x 3.7 x 5.1 in. (51 x 93 x 130mm) excluding protrusions
Weight Camcorder Body only: 15.2 oz. (430g)
 

Original Source Press Release:

CANON INTRODUCES NEW MINI-DV CAMCORDERS WITH TRUE TWO-IN-ONE VIDEO AND PHOTO CAPABILITIES

New ZR and Optura Camcorders Accommodate Viewing Video on Widescreen TVs and Printing Photos at Home

LAKE SUCCESS, N.Y., Feb. 17, 2005 – Responding to the increased technology demands of today’s digital household, Canon introduced three new megapixel Mini-DV camcorders that offer a variety of advanced video and photo features for the hobbyists and beginner alike. All three new models including the 2.2 megapixel Optura 50 and Optura 60 and the 1.33 megapixel ZR400 camcorder will be on display at PMA 2005, February 20 – 23 (Canon Booth #3503) in Orlando, Fla. Each of the three new camcorders will allow users of all levels to capture and share high quality video and photos using the high resolution 16:9 widescreen video recording mode and advanced photo features usually found on Canon’s award-winning digital cameras, among other features.

“With the addition of the budget-friendly ZR400 and the photo-optimized Optura series, the Canon lineup of Mini-DV camcorders helps feed the growing trend of consumers shooting photos with their camcorders and displaying video on their 16:9 widescreen televisions,” 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. (NYSE:CAJ). “Now more than ever is the time to enjoy the benefits of a hybrid camcorder, and discover the simplicity of bringing video and still images together for all levels of users, and for almost any occasion.”

Delivering Premium Performance To The Camcorder User
Each new camcorder features Canon’s exclusive DV Photo Plus system, a combination of features and technology that allows users to achieve high quality video and high resolution photos, with exceptional quality, color and clarity, in a single product.

Incorporated into each new model are four key technologies that collectively raise image quality, camera performance and user satisfaction. This fierce foursome includes:

  • Genuine Canon optics within the zoom lens that contributes to sharp, clear, colorful images and high magnification for amazing close up shots;
  • A megapixel CCD image sensor that offers higher resolution with finer detail than image sensors with less pixels;
  • Canon’s exclusive DIGIC DV image processor that applies distinct processing for video and photos to maximize color and sharpness;
  • Print & Share push button that greatly automates transferring images to a computer and printing photos with a Canon or Pictbridge compatible photo printer.

With widescreen televisions growing ever more popular, Canon has responded with a high-resolution 16:9 Widescreen video recording mode found on both the ZR400 and Optura 50 and Optura 60 camcorders. Now consumers can capture high-resolution 16:9 home videos with up to 33 percent more picture than standard video and enjoy them on a widescreen television for a superior home theater experience. All models use the full width of the CCD image sensor to record sharp, clear images in widescreen, which is not found on all digital camcorders today. While shooting, the viewscreen on each camcorder displays video in a clear widescreen style, free from distortion. Each model also records video in the standard 4:3 TV aspect ratio.

As consumers embrace shooting digital photos with their camcorders the new ZR and Optura models make it easy to capture, view, print and share pictures by incorporating advanced photo features from Canon’s line of digital cameras including the popular PowerShot series and professional EOS line of SLRs. Beginners may be pleased with using any of three auto focus areas for creative photo composition with ZR 400 while hobbyists and even pro-photographers can appreciate more photo precision with control over focus points, metering methods, aperture and shutter speeds on the Optura 50 and Optura 60 models.

The Optura 50 and 60 – Not Just Video and Photos, The Best of Both
The new Optura 50 and Optura 60 Mini-DV camcorders represent the strongest two in one product Canon has ever offered. The new Optura series includes a 2.2 megapixel CCD with an RGB primary color filter for color reproduction that contends with three CCD camcorders.

The Optura 50 camcorder is equipped with a 10x Optical Zoom Lens, while the Optura 60 model provides a 14x Optical Zoom Lens. Canon has brought the excellence of its Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) to the two new Optura camcorders. Optical Image Stabilization is superior to electronic image stabilization, which is found on most camcorders. OIS works by moving the optical lens elements to compensate for shake with startling accuracy for shooting both video and photos without sacrificing image quality.

A precise nine-point AiAF (Auto Intelligent Auto Focus) system with selectable AF points is also incorporated into each model that is versatile enough to accommodate shooting great photos whether candid or posed. The Optura models also offer a continuous shooting mode for capturing a burst of sequential photos up to five frames per second. In addition three exposure metering modes including Spot, Evaluative and Center Weighted provide choices for metering an individual subject or the entire image. Also, the Optura models include a built in flash for illuminating subjects while shooting photos at night or filling in shadows on sunny days.

To make capturing photos even easier, the new Optura series features, for the first time ever, scene modes that are easily selected from the side mounted control wheel. User-friendly modes include beach, sunset, snow, foliage, fireworks, and spotlight to adapt to most shooting situations for both photo and video. Users can also be creative with manual features such as aperture and shutter priority modes, manual audio level recording and a large manual focusing ring on the front of the lens. Both the Optura 50 and Optura 60 camcorders feature a Night Mode, which allows users to capture video under low light conditions.

Exclusive features offered on the Optura 60 camcorder include a USB 2.0 high-speed terminal, which is beneficial for fast and easy transfer of full-quality digital video to a computer. In addition, the Optura 60 model comes with an Advanced Accessory Shoe, which allows certain Canon accessories to attach and be powered directly from the camera without wires or additional power. For more advanced low light recording, the Optura 60 camcorder also offers a built-in video light, which enables users to keep shooting even in the dark.

The ZR 400 – Bringing the Megapixel Message To The Masses
The new Canon ZR400 Mini-DV camcorder offers for the first time in an entry-level model a 1.33-megapixel CCD, which provides consumers with higher quality video and still photos. The new ZR model demonstrates Genuine Canon Optics with a 14x Optical Zoom Lens and image stabilization. Included with the camcorder is a Canon 0.6x wide attachment that increases the field of view by approximately 40 percent, which is helpful for including everyone in a large group of people, the span of an interior room or the scope of a landscape.

Supporting the belief that consumer camcorders should be easy to use, Canon’s new ZR400 model offers users a compact design that is sleek enough to be carried anywhere and an EASY control switch that sets the camcorder in full automatic mode for point and shoot simplicity.

The ZR400 camcorder records high-resolution 16:9 widescreen video and uses the full width of the CCD by filling the entire screen with crisp, high quality images.

For added convenience, users can shoot simultaneous stills to the provided MultiMediaCard while taping video without interruption. Printing images from the ZR400 model is also a snap due to the Print and Share function, which allows quick and easy direct printing to a Canon brand PIXMA, SELPHY or CP series photo printer or any PictBridge compatible photo printer.

The ZR 400 will be available in mid April at an estimated selling price of $549* and will come bundled with a rechargeable NB-2LH battery, a 0.6x wide attachment, remote control, 16MB MultiMediaCard, a power adaptor, USB and stereo video cables, shoulder strap and Canon’s Digital Video Solution CD for select Windows and Apple computer operating systems.

The Optura series of MiniDV camcorders come bundled with a rechargeable NB-2LH battery, remote control, 16 MB MultiMediaCard, a power adaptor, cables for stereo video and USB transfer, shoulder strap and Canon’s Digital Video Solution CD for select Windows and Apple computer operating systems. The Optura 50 and Optura 60 Mini DV camcorders will arrive in retail stores in March, with an estimated selling price of $799* and $899*, respectively.

Representing consumer protection and providing ease of mind, all Canon Mini-DV camcorders come complete with a manufacturer’s limited warranty covering parts and labor for one full year, one of the longest warranty terms in the camcorder industry**. Additionally, Canon features complementary operation with both Windows XP and Macintosh OS X operating systems, which, using a IEEE 1394 cable, allows people to easily connect and download their video and photos onto a computer for viewing or editing.

About Canon U.S.A., Inc.
Canon U.S.A., Inc. delivers consumer, business-to-business, and industrial imaging solutions. The Company is listed as one of Fortune's Most Admired Companies in America and is rated #35 on the BusinessWeek list of "Top 100 Brands." Its parent company Canon Inc. (NYSE:CAJ) is a top patent holder of technology, ranking third overall in the U.S. in 2004, with global revenues of $33.3 billion. For more information, visit www.usa.canon.com.

# # #

All referenced product names, and other marks, are trademarks of their respective owners.
Specifications and availability are subject to change with notice.

*All prices are set by the individual dealer and may vary.
** For complete warranty terms, see www.canondv.com.

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Top 3 photos this month win:

1 $300 Adorama Gift Certificate

2 $200 Adorama Gift Certificate

3 $100 Adorama Gift Certificate