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Canon on HDV

New camera by end of year? By Stephen Schleicher

While this certainly is the year for HD and HDV, there are still many companies sitting back quietly and observing just what will become of it all.  Many professionals know better than to buy a first generation product, but what about a company that waits to see what mistakes others have made before introducing its own solution? Canon seems to be one of those companies that has the ?wait and see approach, and that may work out in its favor.

Ive stated before that I am somewhat disappointed in the un-announcements made at this years NAB. Yes, there are some cool new products, but not many of them were shipping.  The Sony HDV camera was the only camera shipping at the show.  Panasonic unveiled its HVX200, but it was still a prototype. While it is compact with a super sweet lens, the company has yet to finalize the chip that will capture the images. All they do know is it will be 16x9 native. 

The JVC camera certainly looks promising, and had the crowd lined up 20 deep just to hold it in their hands. (You can read Charlie Whites detailed report on the camera here .  It contains many hi-res photos of the new camera).

The buzz on the JVC GY-HD100 camera reminded me of when the XL1 was first introduced and had people packing the Canon booth for the entire show.

And what about Canon?  Didnt they have an HDV solution to unveil at the show?  Sadly no, and the reason is quite simple.  Canon PR spokespeople continued to press the idea that Canon likes to take the sit back and wait attitude toward new products.  While Canon is a member of the HDV consortium, it really wants to see what problems will arise and what solutions are offered before unveiling a new product. Seems like a smart plan, but that still begs the question, ?WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO HAVE A HDV XL2!!!???.

The answer comes in the form of a cryptic reply that was stated loosely as, ?In the second half of the year, Canon will have five or six announcements that should answer your question.  While I did remind the Canon reps that the second half of the year starts in July, they simply smiled. I felt like I was in a Monty Python sketch (nudge, nudge, wink, wink, know what I mean, know what I mean?). 

I further inquired if Canon would be making these announcements to coincide with any major trade shows.  The answer received was, ?No, with another smile.

If we were to take this cryptic answer as truth, I would put money on the claim that by the end of the year, you will see a Canon HDV solution. I would postulate Canon unveils a GL3 HDV camera first, followed by an end-of-the year XL3 HDV.  Why? When I was at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, I mentioned to Canon that they havent had a GL2 upgrade in some time, and their response was, ?That is correct (nudge, nudge, wink, wink, know what I mean?).

Canon certainly isnt sitting on the HD fence waiting to see what the industry will do. For professional cameras, Canon had more HD lenses than SD lenses for the first time at any of their shows.  The only high powered SD lens they had was a 62x SD lens for sports.

The professional lens rep I spoke with also showed me the HD news lens they had just developed.  ?HD News? I asked,  ?Who would want to do HD News? While Canon realizes not every will need the HD News lens right away, he predicted that two years from now most television stations across the country will be shooting HD. Current HD lenses are large and heavy, and SD lenses, while smaller, just wont cut it.  This lead to the creation of an intermediate lighter HD lens perfect for ENG production.

While Canon may not be leading the pack when it comes to HDV cameras, they certainly are taking the lead in HD ENG lenses. And it only makes sense. In three more years when everyone has an HD television set, the first news station to start offering an HD signal will take the market share. While that may not be a big deal for a small city, larger metropolises will certainly gain revenue share.

As the year progresses, Ill certainly be awaiting each and every one of Canons announcements earnestly, knowing one of them will be the unveiling of an HDV camera.

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Stephen Schleicher is a well known writer, visual effects artist and media guru! You can see more of Stephen at
www.majorspoilers.com and www.stephenschleicher.com
Related Keywords:canon, hdv, hd, sony, panasonic, nab, schleicher, xl1, xl2, xl3, gl2, gl3, camera, dv

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