Reprinted from a Canon press release:

Canon U.S.A., Inc., a subsidiary of Canon, Inc. (NYSE: CAJ), continues to provide consumers with the highest quality and easy-to-use DV camcorders to help capture life’s moments with greater creative flexibility at affordable pricepoints with the introduction of the new Optura 20 and Optura 10 DV camcorder models. Beyond their ability to capture high quality digital video, both DV camcorders offer numerous advanced still photo capabilities, providing users with tremendous versatility. The Optura 20 and Optura 10 feature a 16X Genuine Canon Optical Zoom Lens, a 1.33 Megapixel CCD image sensor for creating high-quality digital still images directly onto the camcorders’ memory card. In addition, both units offer selectable focusing points to capture sharp images of off-center subjects; StitchAssist software for creating spectacular panoramas; the ability to simultaneously record video and digital photos with the push of a button; Direct Print capabilities using Canon’s Card Photo Printers and select Canon Bubble Jet printers; and Auto Exposure Bracketing to help obtain the best exposure of any scene or subject.

In addition, users of the Optura 20 will enjoy a number of additional features including a larger, 3.5-inch bright LCD viewfinder, making it easier to compose video segments. As with the Optura 10 LCD screen, it can be rotated for high or low-angle shots and swivel 180 degrees.

The Optura 20 also offers a Super Night Mode and Low Light Plus Mode, allowing for continued recording even in virtual darkness. An assist lamp in the front of the camera illuminates the subject just enough to allow excellent image quality while retaining the desired mood or effect. The Optura 20 is also bundled with a higher capacity battery, the BP-512, for longer continuous shooting.

“While Canon continues to strive to produce the very latest in imaging technology such as the new DIGIC DV image processing, we realize that our past accomplishments and breakthroughs in optics and lens design still represent the very best the industry can offer,” said Yukiaki Hashimoto, senior vice president and general manager, Consumer Imaging Group, Canon U.S.A.

“By bringing together our existing, technology, with new imaging technologies, we can provide consumers with the very best features and functions available today in an imaging device. The new Optura 20 and Optura 10 DV camcorders are a direct result of Canon selectively pulling from its past while investing in the future,” Mr. Hashimoto added.

Beyond its high-quality 16x optical zoom lens (320x digital), Image Stabilizer feature and new DIGIC DV image processing, the Optura 20 and Optura10 camcorders include a 1.33 Megapixel CCD for recording digital photos at 1280 x 960 resolution onto a MultiMediaCard / SD Memory Card; an extra-large 3.5-inch Color View LCD screen (2.5-inch on Optura 10); Direct Print capabilities with select Canon Bubble-Jet Printers and CP-10/100 Dye Sublimation printers; Motion JPEG Movie mode for producing short video clips designed for e-mail attachment or posting on website; Color Night Shooting mode; Programmed Auto Exposure modes for nearly every shooting condition and subject; Digital Effects including vertical and horizontal wipes and mosaic fades, black-and-white and sepia; Digital Stereo Sound (16/12 bit); IEEE 1394 / FireWire DV Terminal; Manual Controls; A/V Insert and Audio Dubbing; and External Microphone Terminal.

In addition, both camcorders are bundled with Canon’s DV Messenger software program. When combined with a Canon DV camcorder and a computer with Windows XP, DV Messenger allows two people to see each other and chat over the Internet, using the camcorder as the camera device. Users can also share video clips, transfer digital photos and even control each other’s camcorder. Although the software is bundled with the new Optura 20 and Optura 10 camcorders, consumers may download the DV Messenger software for free, directly from Canon’s Web site.

DIGIC DV
Canon DIGIC DV technology is responsible for achieving optimum results in both video and digital photos. For this reason, DIGIC DV provides dual image signal processing capabilities, which can differentiate between the video and digital still formats. DIGIC DV makes it possible to achieve accurate color for both video and digital photos by utilizing two different color techniques to maximize video quality on a TV and still image quality for print or computer display.

VIC
Embracing highly sophisticated technology, Canon Optura 20 and Optura 10 camcorders feature an exclusive connection circuit, called VIC. Traditionally, multiple chips were needed to perform the camcorder’s input and output functions. However VIC manages it all with one single chip. The result is seamless connectivity whether one is connecting to a computer, TV, or VCR.

Programmed Auto Exposure
While the Easy Recording mode is ideal for most shooting situations, the camcorder also includes additional pre-programmed auto exposure modes including Auto, Sports, Portrait, Spotlight, Sand and Snow, Low Light and Night mode.

Advanced Photo Features:

Simultaneous Photo Recording
While recording video, the Optura 20 and Optura 10 DV camcorders are able to simultaneously capture VGA-quality (640 X 480) digital photos directly onto its memory card. This is ideal for users who wish to capture e-mail-ready photos without interrupting video coverage of an event. All photos on the camcorder’s MultiMediaCard / SD card can easily be transferred to the computer using the supplied USB cable and ZoomBrowser EX (Windows) and ImageBrowser (Mac) software and the StitchAssist software helps create beautiful, seamless panorama photos.

Selectable AF Frames
Using technology currently found in its line of analog and digital still cameras, Canon was able to design the new camcorders with 3 focusing points which are clearly visible in the viewfinder, giving the photographer greater focusing flexibility when shooting still photographs. Often times the main subject in a scene is not in the center of the frame. By rotating the focusing selector dial, users can focus on the main subject no matter where it is in the frame.

Auto Exposure Bracketing
When the camcorders are set in the Auto Exposure Bracketing (AEB) mode, users can record three consecutive images reflecting normal, underexposure and overexposure, simply by pressing the photo button once.

Continuous Shooting Mode
The Optura 20 and Optura 10 feature a continuous shooting mode which allows users to capture a rapid succession of photos at a rate of up to 30 images at 3 frames per second in VGA (640×480) or 10 images at 2 frames per second in SXGA (1280×960).

Stitch Assist
By using the StitchAssist Mode, users can create magnificent panoramas. By using the included PhotoStitch software, magnificent panoramas can be created, quickly and easily. The PhotoStitch software automatically aligns, overlaps and crops each image to create a single, seamless panorama ready to be printed and framed.

Direct Print
The Optura 20 and Optura 10 camcorders offer a Direct Print feature, enabling users to print high-quality images without a computer. A single cable allows these camcorders to connect with Canon’s Card Photo Printer CP-10 and CP-100 dye-sublimation printers as well as select Canon Bubble Jet desktop printers. All printing options can be controlled directly from the camcorder’s LCD Screen. Options include selecting the print quantity, cropping, or whether the prints should be printed bordered or borderless.

Exif Print
Canon will continue to promote the benefits of digital photo imaging through the launch of new digital cameras, camcorders, and Bubble Jet printers which support the new Exif Print (Exif 2.2) standard. In addition to supporting Exif Print with new DV camcorders including the Optura 20 and Optura 10, Canon intends to broaden support for Exif Print across its imaging product ranges to include devices such as Multi-Functional products and others in the future.

Advanced Accessory Shoe
The Optura 20 and Optura 10 camcorders both offer an Advanced Accessory Shoe used for attaching an optional video light or microphone to be used without wires or additional power. It also accommodates a new accessory, the VFL-1 Video Flash Light. This item is a combination flash unit and video light, which allows enhanced performance in low light conditions.

Color Night Mode
The Night Mode function allows users to see, and shoot video in virtual darkness and functions much like “night vision” in certain binoculars and other optical devices with the exception of the “green tint” overlay experienced with other devices. Instead, objects are presented in color, providing even the dimmest shooting conditions with realistic color rendition for easy recording.

The Optura 20 also offers Super Night Mode and Low Light Plus Mode. The Assist Lamp located on the front of the camcorder allows users to illuminate their subjects and continue shooting even in virtual darkness.

Analog-To-Digital Converter
Now it’s easier than ever to transfer analog video footage to a DV-ready computer. Using the camcorders as a signal converter between an analog camcorder and the computer, VHS and Hi8 videos can easily be digitized and transferred to a computer for editing, sharing via the Internet and even burned onto a CD or DVD for outstanding video and audio quality. This benefit occurs without the need to initially record the analog video to digital tape.

DV Messenger Software
Canon is now bundling its DV Messenger software with every newly introduced DV camcorder. When combined with a Canon DV camcorder and a computer with Windows XP, DV Messenger allows two people to see each other and chat over the Internet, using the camcorder as the camera device. Furthermore, users can share video clips, transfer digital photos and even control the other person’s camcorder. Although the software is now bundled with the Optura 20 and Optura 10 camcorders, consumers may download the DV Messenger software for free, directly from Canon’s Web site.

The Canon Optura 20 DV camcorder will be available in March with a suggested retail price of $999. The Optura 10 DV camcorder will be available in May with a suggested retail price of $899.

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