Canon arrived at the 2012 CES show with six new camcorders. All models record to flash memory (either internal memory or SDXC card or both). Canon is also embracing MPEG-4 format recording on its new models, in addition to the usual AVCHD format found on most higher-end camcorders. They've also added built-in Wi-Fi to the majority of their camcorders, giving them the ability to upload videos directly to YouTube or Facebook, to a PC for storage or to DLNA-compatible TVs for viewing on the big screen. There will even be a free mobile app (dubbed Movie Uploader) for iOS devices that will enable the camcorders to wirelessly transfer footage from the camcorder to an iPhone or iPad.Canon will not introduce any new standard definition camcorders in 2012, so it's high definition all the way (unless you want to spring for an existing standard def model, which will presumably remain in their lineup while supplies last).
You'll find a few more goodies in the 2012 line, some new and others carried over from last year. Among them is an intelligent image stabilization system that will automatically change between four modes (dynamic, powered, macro and tripod) to optimize image stabilization. There's also an intelligent auto mode which automatically detects brightness, color, distance and subject movement and matches them with one of 38 preset settings to get the best exposure. Cinema-Look filters are on hand to add creative effects to video while you shoot. Select models will offer relay-recording between internal memory and SDXC cards.
All the new camcorders will be compatible with Eye Fi wireless memory cards. Several models will be able to transfer footage to external hard drives via an optional USB cable.
Vixia HF M-series
The HF M series consists of three models that will ship in March. Canon says they'll be 15-percent smaller vs. the 2011 M-series (which were themselves fairly slim and trim). They will offer 1920 x 1080 recording, a 10x optical zoom lens, Canon's HD CMOS Pro image sensor and a new 3-inch "flat touch panel" LCD display which offers a new menu system and button layout. The M series models will record high def video in both the computer-friendly MPEG-4 format and AVCHD.
Also new for the M-class is an Audio Scene Select menu which Canon says makes it easier to select a custom audio setting (for instance, you can choose the audio to be captured from a concert or speech, etc. and the camcorder will adjust microphone direction and volume, wind screens and other settings accordingly).
The M52 ($750) offers 32GB of internal memory while the M50 $(650) will include 8GB of internal flash memory. Both offer SDXC card slots and can convert high definition video to standard definition video in camera. These two M-series models will offer built-in Wi-Fi.
The $550 M500 will share most of the features of the M52/M50 but records directly to SDXC cards (no internal memory) and will not offer built-in Wi-Fi.
All the M-series camcorders will fit into the WP-V4 waterproof case (sold separately for $600). The case allows the camcorders to dive underwater up to a depth of 130 feet. It's also due in March.
Vixia HF R-series
The R-series will also consist of three models at lower price points than the M. All will offer 1920 x 1080 recording in both MPEG-4 and AVCHD and get a 21 percent size reduction vs. last year's R-series Vixias. Common to all R-series models is a 51x advanced zoom lens , 3-megapixel CMOS sensor, 3-inch touchscreen display, intelligent auto mode and intelligent image stabilization.
The R32 will pack 32GB of internal memory for $550. The R30 will offer 8GB of flash memory for $450. Both will feature built-in Wi-Fi. The R300 won't offer Wi-Fi and will record only to SDXC cards for a price of $350. All three R-series models are due in March.