by Alan Sheckter, Videomaker news editor

Canon has announced several new camcorders for 2002. Three new Mini DV models are all expected by the end of March: the ZR40 ($699), ZR45 MC ($799) and the ZR50 MC ($899). The ZR50 MC will feature a 22x, f/1.6 optical zoom lens, illuminated camera control buttons (in six neon colors), headphone jack, microphone jack, an 8MB removable disk for still images and three extended recording functions that will allow up to four hours of footage on an 80-minute tape. The top two models will incorporate MultiMedia Cards for capturing digital stills.

The ZR40 and ZR45 MC will offer 18x, f/1.6 optical zoom lenses. All three models will come equipped with a 2.5-inch swiveling viewscreen, a new Night Mode that Canon says presents objects in color, rather than one green tint, and the new cams can act as analog to digital signal converters.

In addition, Canon showed it isn’t yet abandoning the analog format, introducing two new Hi8 models. The ES75 will come with an astounding $229 price tag, and the ES8400, which will sport a 2.5-inch flip-screen and image stabilizer, is set to cost $299.

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