by Alan Sheckter, Videomaker news editor


Incorporating a 1.3 million-pixel CCD image sensor, Canon has thrown its hat into the dual-format ring with the soon-to-be-released Optura100 MC. Performing like two cameras in one, the unit will also deliver 1280×960 high-resolution still images, four times better than the typical 640×480 resolutions most other camcorders offer.

Canon is also giving the Optura100 MC a vertical design, a different look and feel than its previous Optura models. Aside from a fresh appearance, the new design is styled for single-hand operation.


Optura 100 MC features will include: 10x optical zoom lens; 200x digital zoom with Optical Image Stabilization that operates in both video and photo modes; built-in Auto
Pop-up Flash to illuminate subjects for digital photos, and Extended Recording Mode to deliver four
hours of video recording on one 80-minute Mini DV videotape.


The Optura 100 MC will operate in three shooting modes: Video, Photo and Progressive Photo. The Video mode will, not surprisingly, capture high-quality video. Photo mode will capture excellent still images for TV, e-mail or Web sites. Video and digital photos may be combined on one cassette, and accessed with a photo search feature. Each digital photo will be recorded for about six seconds, along with the ambient audio. More than 700 640×480 images will fit on a single 80-minute Mini DV cassette.


Progressive Photo mode will capture digital still photos to a removable MultiMedia Card. In this mode, the Optura100 MC will use a shutter that takes advantage of the 1.3 million-pixel CCD image sensor, producing sharp digital photos. Digital stills will be compressed and saved as .jpg files.


The unit will include one 8MB MultiMedia card, which will hold up to 106 images (640×480, Standard) or 17 images (1280×960, Fine). Higher capacity 16, 32 and 64MB MultiMedia cards will be optionally available.


The camcorder will be equipped with a DV IN/OUT terminal, which conforms to IEEE
1394/Firewire. Only a single digital cable will be needed to copy video to another Mini DV
camcorder, or transfer to a DV-ready computer for editing or use on the Internet.


Also, while fully automatic, the Optura100 MC will offer manual control over focus,
exposure, white balance and shutter speed.


An A/V Insert and Audio Dubbing feature will allow users to insert new video
scenes from a VCR or other camcorder into an original recording. When adding audio to a
recording made in the 12-bit audio mode, stereo sound can be added from another audio source,
or the internal or external microphone.


Canon’s Optura 100 MC is slated for a September release, and will be available through authorized Canon dealers for a suggested list price of $1,899.

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