Reprinted from a Canon press release:

Whether taping the kids’ play-off game or snapping photo album pictures of the adventure vacation, Canon’s two new dual-function camcorders — the Optura 300 and the Optura Xi — capture vibrant video and brilliant two megapixel memories which can then be directly printed on any PictBridge-enabled photo printer.

“Our camcorders have evolved into photo-friendly devices that allow consumers to truly capture, print and share their memories,” said Yukiaki Hashimoto, senior vice president and general manager of the Consumer Imaging Group at Canon U.S.A., Inc., a subsidiary of Canon Inc. (NYSE:CAJ). “These two new camcorders provide excellent value and versatility that we believe will arouse greater customer satisfaction and more frequent use.”

These Canon DV camcorders are the first in the marketplace to incorporate PictBridge, the new industry standard in direct photo printing that enables consumers to connect their digital camera or camcorder directly to a PictBridge-enabled printer, making it easy to print pictures at home, the office or while traveling. Simply connect any PictBridge enabled digital camera or camcorder via USB cable to any PictBridge enabled printer.

Photo fans and movie mavens no longer need to choose between their digital video and digital still cameras. With the new Canon Optura 300 and Optura Xi mini DV Camcorders, the best features of both technologies are at users’ fingertips, including an extraordinary 10x or 11x optical zoom and a 200x and 220x digital zoom, respectively. Both camcorders also feature the Genuine Canon Optics that should make Canon lenses the “glass” of choice for professional photographers, videographers and filmmakers the world over. The camcorders’ feature a robust 1/3.4 inch 2.0 megapixel CCD, which combines a crisp lens and image stabilization to create and capture outstanding quality digital video and digital photos.

The Optura Xi Camcorder Encourages Enthusiasts’ Ingenuity
Among the features unique to the Canon Optura Xi camcorder are a 3.5″ LCD viewscreen and an optical image stabilizer. The unit features Aperture Priority (AP); shutter priority (TV); Zebra Pattern for creative exposure control; a manual focus ring; and an advanced accessory shoe for attaching an optional video light or directional microphone. Canon’s lens design for Optura Xi camcorder includes a dedicated optical element that preserves image quality and ensures that videos always look smooth, steady and natural whether shooting hand-held at full telephoto or from a moving vehicle. The optical image stabilizer offers advanced shake-reduction in low light or zooming situations and is even effective when shooting digital photos. Ergonomically designed to fit the curve of the human hand, the horizontally oriented Optura Xi camcorder makes it easy to shoot steady video for long periods of time.

Canon’s Optura 300 Camcorder Packs Powerful Features into a Petite Package
The Optura 300 features a 2.5″ LCD viewscreen and an electronic image stabilization system that helps to correct camera shake and steady the frames even when shooting hand-held or in telephoto mode. Indeed, features on the Canon Optura 300 camcorder focus on form as well as function, the trim vertical profile makes this mini marvel a perfect fit for the palm or the pocket.

Video Virtuosity
Both the Optura 300 and Optura Xi camcorders offer an array of video features including high-resolution, Mini-DV format and a choice of either 4:3 aspect ratio or an advanced 16:9 widescreen mode for those who wish to emulate movie theatre screen proportions in their own epic adventures. The camcorders also incorporate an RGB Primary Color Filter similar to those found on professional models. The RGB filter actually separates the light passing through the lens into its individual red, green and blue color components in order to provide more accurate color reproduction. For filming in low light situations, Canon’s Color Night Mode and Super Color Night Mode save the day and the scene. Both units feature 16 and 12 bit PCM digital sound, manual audio level control, a virtual tool box of digital effects, USB terminal for high speed transfer of images to a computer and IEEE 1394 port that enables connections to a computer or another Canon DV camcorder.

The Optura 300 and the Optura Xi camcorders also come bundled with DV Messenger 2 software for internet video chat and videoconferencing sessions; simultaneous VGA quality photo recording (640 x480 pixels) while recording video.

Fantastic Photos
With nothing more complicated than the turn of a dial, these cutting-edge Canon camcorders allow users to switch from video to photo and back again. When the time comes to switch from video mode to photo mode, these camcorders prove that the combination of Canon optics and Canon electronics make a digital camera worth its weight in megapixels. Indeed, the integrated video and still technologies enhance the richness and responsiveness in photo mode.

“These two new additions to our Optura line capture images easily capable of producing framing quality prints up to 8 x 11 inches on any Canon CP photo printer, Bubble Jet Direct or Pictbrige-compatible printer,” added Hashimoto.

Among the still photography features of the Optura 300 and Optura Xi camcorders are built-in and pop-up flash (respectively); auto exposure bracketing and selectable focusing points, which allow users to choose from one of three focusing points to automatically place the desired subject in focus; continuous shooting mode which enables users to capture up to 30 images at three frames per second in VGA mode; and simultaneous shooting mode, which allows users to capture e-mail ready photos while shooting video.

Both models use two varieties of media, Mini DV tape for recording video and SD memory cards for storing still images and short MPEG-4 movie clips.

The Optura 300 and Optura Xi camcorders also benefit from Canon’s proprietary DIGIC DV processor technology that optimizes results when shooting video or photos. DIGIC DV technology provides dual image signal processing capabilities, which can differentiate between the video and digital still formats and makes it possible to achieve accurate color for both video and digital photos. DIGIC DV technology utilizes two different color processing techniques to optimize the image quality of video for playback on TV or computer monitor and photos for TV viewing or printing.

The Canon Optura Xi camcorder will be available in August and the Optura 300 camcorder will be available in September for an estimated selling price of $1499 and $1299, respectively.

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