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Canon HV10 HD in the palm of your hand

With the price of the HV10 down, is now the time to jump in? By David Basulto

I love technological advances as much as the next guy, but 1080i HD in the palm of my hand? This I had to check out for myself. I had been using my trusty old Sony Handycam for years now for on the spot shooting. It has always done well for me but transitioning to the HD world made me look for an upgrade. Could the HV10 be the one? Let me share my experience with you.

Size matters
As I opened the HV10 box I knew something special was inside. The camera literally fits in the palm of my hand. Ok so Im 63 but still. I was amazed at the size. The camera comes in at 2.1 inches by 3.5 inches by 1.1 inches. An awesome size for an on-the-go, point-and-shoot person or even a pro wanting something tiny to take to hard to shoot in places. Controls such as zoom and record are ergonomically perfect. I found getting my grip on the camera was easy and comfortable. I loved it so far.

One thing I loved immediately was the battery placement. The battery snaps into place on the left side of the camera right below the widescreen viewfinder. It has a flush fit. Fully charged, I was able to get about an hour and ten minutes of HD video footage. Thats ok. Im always adamant about having more than one battery handy as you never know when you might run into Paris Hilton going to jail or something newsworthy to send to CNN.

You are in control
As I said all the controls you need are at your fingertips. Placed on the back of the camera are the on/off button, record, function, focus and focus assist. Perfect placement for thumb work. On the right side is the zoom control, a 10 times optical zoom.


The Canon HV10 uses miniDV HDV tapes. This is a nice format that I have used to shoot feature films with. Marveling at the size of this camera, I decided to try to pocket the camera, with battery, in my side pocket. It fit fine. The weight, about 16 ounces, wasnt bad at all. After loading a tape via the cameras bottom tape loader, I was off to shoot some HD video. The picture that this camera captures is outstanding. Yes it is true; I can shoot gorgeous 1080i footage with a camera that fits in the palm of my hand.

The HV10 records 1080i at 60fps in 16:9 mode. Perfect for sports and other live action shoots. It uses a 1/2.7 CMOS chip with 2.7 mega pixels. The images I shot were extremely sharp and clear. The auto focus worked like a charm as well. The auto exposure presets are great for quick fixes too. They include Auto, Program, Av, TV, Portrait, Sports, Night, Snow, Beach, Sunset, Spotlight, and Fireworks. Keep in mind however that you cant switch between them while recording.

The audio records in stereo from a microphone on top of the camera. Upon capture on the tape the audio seems nice and crisp. A nice accessory would be to get a wide converter lens and a tele converter lens. Being a Canon made camera both are available.

What about stills?
I am not one who uses a video recording device to shoot still photography. Thats what my 9 megapixel Fuji is for. That being said, you do have the option of shooting stills up to 3.1 megapixels.

Wheres the hot shoe?
I really enjoy this little camera. One thing however got to me. Why couldnt it have a hot shoe on top to add an external microphone? That would have been the cherry on top for me. I am a big fan of adding an external microphone to any camera I use.

The Canon HV10 is a tremendously little, powerful, and affordable HD camera. The images it captures are clear and crisp and the colors are vivid. The price of the HV10 has also dropped considerably from its $1200 introduction. Retail is under $700 making it accessible to even those with the most modest of budgets who are seeking an HD camcorder. For more information, visit

Specifications of the HV10 High Definition Camcorder:

Recording Media:
High Definition MiniDV (recommended) (63min.) or MiniDV cassette
Recording Time SP: 80 min. 


10x Optical/200x Digital

Zoom Ratio
Focal Length f=6.1-61mm
Zoom Speed: Variable/3 Fixed Zoom Speeds

Max. F/Stop:
f/1.8-3.0mm (when tapes are used)

Filter Size:
Image Stabilization:
Super-range Optical (lens shift)
Minimum Object Distance:
10 mm (wide)/1m (tele)
Widescreen 0.27" Color Viewfinder/(Approx 123,000 pixels)
LCD Screen:
2.7" Widescreen LCD (Approx. 210,000 pixels)
Auto focus System:
Instant AF, Through the Lens/Manual Focusing Possible
Manual Focus Assist Functions: 
Magnifying, Peaking
Manual Exposure:
Programmed AE:
Auto, Program, Av, Tv, Portrait, Sports, Night, Snow, Beach, Sunset, Spotlight, Fireworks
White Balance Method:
Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Fluorescent H
Image Sensor:
1/2.7" CMOS Sensor, RGB Primary Color Filter
Total Pixels:
Approx. 2,960,000
Effective Pixels Movies:
HDV/DV (WIDE): approx. 2,070,000
DV (NORMAL): approx. 1,550,000

Still Images:
16:9 still images: approx. 2,070,000
4:3 still images: approx. 2,760,000
Tape Recording HD/DV (wide) mode:
Approx 2.07 Megapixels (1920 x 1080)
DV (normal) mode:
Approx 1.55 Megapixels (1440 x 1080)
Card Recording 4:3 mode:
Approx. 2.76 Megapixels (1920 x 1440)
16:9 mode:
Approx. 2.07 Megapixels (1920 x 1080)
Supported Playback Modes:
1080/60i, 1080/30F, 1080/24F
Max Shutter Speed:
1/2000, 1/500 (card)
Auto Date/Time: Yes
Record Search/Review:
DV 16 bit (2ch) 48 kHz
12 bit (4ch): 32 kHz

HDV: MPEG1 Audio Layer II (2 ch)
(4-channel playback of tapes containing 4-channel recordings possible)
Power Sources:
Supplied CA-570 Compact Power Adapter
Supplied BP-310 Battery Pack
Weight w/o Battery:
0.97 lbs
W X H X D 2.2 x 4.1 x 4.2 in



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David Basulto is an independent filmmaker in Los Angeles. After 17 plus years, David is well versed in all aspects of filmmaking from development to distribution. He produces, directs, edits, and now is addicted to motion graphics and 3d. His last film, Death Clique is in Blockbusters nationwide. David is also the host of the In his spare time David is an avid gamer and can be found slaying monsters in the world of Vanguard. For more info visit
Related Keywords:HDV, HD video, HV10, hd camcorder, canon hd camcorder


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