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Dennis Hissink : June 10th 2004 - 02:11 CET

New Canon Optura 500 and Optura 400 videocams

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CanonCanon's new vertically designed Optura 500 and Optura 400 Mini DV 2.2-megapixel camcorders provide consumers with high quality video and photos in a compact and easy-to-use package. Incorporating Canon's DV Photo Plus technology, these eye-catching camcorders are shorter and smaller than their predecessors, take advantage of Genuine Canon Optics and advanced photo features often found in Canon's line of PowerShot and EOS digital cameras. "Two-in-one camcorders have become increasingly popular as technology provides consumers with these options," said Yukiaki Hashimoto, senior vice president and general manager of the consumer imaging group at Canon USA, Inc., a subsidiary of Canon Inc.
New Canon Optura 500 and Optura 400 videocams"Canon's technological innovations and ability to seamlessly marry these two functions results in breakthrough products like the new Optura 400 and Optura 500 Mini DV camcorders. This is just the beginning for Canon in this arena."

DV Photo Plus: The Symbol of Advanced Technology
At the core of the Optura 500 and Optura 400 camcorders' imaging excellence is Canon's DV Photo Plus. Encompassing the company's core imaging essentials, DV Photo Plus integrates Genuine Canon Optics; a 2.2-megapixel CCD image sensor, the exclusive DIGIC DV Image Processor, and Print and Share that makes it easy to print photos directly from a printer, or transfer them to a computer at the touch of a button.

Advanced Photo Features
With the Optura 500 and Optura 400 camcorders, users are able to capture sharp, high-quality two megapixel photo images that are e-mail ready. Additionally, the camcorders are equipped with simultaneous photo-recording which enables consumers to record high-quality video to the camcorders' SD Memory Card while capturing digital still images without interrupting video recording.

Other photo features of the Optura 500 and Optura 400 Mini DV camcorders include:

-- Continuous shooting mode (works like the motor drive of a camera)
-- Selectable focus points
-- Auto Exposure Bracketing
-- Built-in Flash
-- Horizontal & Vertical Trimming
-- Photo Review

These brushed silver beauties feature a 10x Optical Zoom for both video and still photography. Among the camcorders' other top-tier video functions are Image Stabilization to ensure steady shooting for the occasional unsteady hand. The RGB Primary Color Filter (also beneficial in capturing digital photos) separates light passing through the lens into red, green and blue color components providing similar color quality found in professional 3 CCD camcorders, yielding truer more natural looking colors. What's more, the camcorders' High Resolution 16:9 Widescreen mode utilizes the entire width of the CCD (unlike some systems that electronically stretch the picture vertically) retaining image quality and providing a wider horizontal angle of view that is ideal for creating a theater-like experience at home. A variety of Program Auto Exposure settings allow for easy, optimal shooting in a wide range of lighting situations. The Optura 500 and Optura 400 are also equipped with Manual Audio Level Control, commonly found only on prosumer camcorder models and a swivel grip and palm pad, providing maximum comfort when shooting for long periods of time.

Easy Connectivity/Editing
Adding to their ease of use, both the Optura 500 and Optura 400 camcorders are fully Mac compatible and certified by Microsoft for Windows XP. For easy connectivity, both camcorders can connect to Canon's CP line of Compact Photo Printers, Canon Photo Direct Bubble Jet Printers and any other manufacturers' printers, which supports the PictBridge standard. Consumers are able to print beautiful, true to color photos in a variety of sizes including 4x6, 5x7 and 8x10 that can be shared with friends and family. The camcorders come bundled with Pinnacle Systems Studio 9 SE Software and Instant Photo Album, an over $100 value. Studio 9 SE allows users to edit video with the option to send the video back to tape, create a movie for the web, or burn a DVD or Video CD. Instant Photo Album can be used to edit and organize your photos into dynamic slide shows.

Unique Features to the Optura 500
Setting itself apart from its "partner," the Optura 500 model sports a high resolution 2.5 inch LCD screen (211,000 pixels) and for those times when you find yourself shooting in complete darkness, the Optura 500 camcorder features a mini video light enabling users to shoot in total darkness up to 4.9 feet away. A supplied ring light adapter is provided for macro video shooting, allowing users to explore the amazing detail of objects such as flowers, insects, coins, and stamps. The adapter eliminates shadows and hot spots and evenly distributes light on your subject. Other exclusive features found in the Optura 500 camcorder, are MPEG4 and USB 2.0 High Speed. MPEG4 -- better compression than MJPEG -- provides higher quality video images that take up less room on the camcorder's SD card at 15 frames per second. The USB 2.0 High Speed terminal allows full quality digital video to be sent to the computer for editing. Various computers on the market will be outfitted with USB 2.0 High Speed terminals.

This powerful pair will be available to consumers in mid-July just in time to capture backyard barbeques, beach parties and end-of-summer celebrations. The Optura 500 and Optura 400 camcorders carry an estimated selling price of $1199 and $999 respectively.

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