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Canon HV20 3MP High Definition MiniDV Camcorder with 10x Optical Image Stabilized Zoom (Discontinued by Manufacturer)

3.9 out of 5 stars 126 customer reviews
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  • HDV camcorder with 1/2.7-inch CMOS image sensor; 24p Cinema Mode
  • High-definition 10x optical zoom lens; super-range optical image stabilizer
  • Advanced photo features: up to 3-megapixel stills, histogram display, built-in flash, and more
  • 2.7-inch color widescreen LCD; color viewfinder
  • HDMI terminal; advanced accessory shoe
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Technical Details

Product Description

Product Description

You've heard of HDTV and expect to get one if you haven't already. Here's a camcorder that lets you record your own HDTV-compatible images. The stylish Canon HV20 gives you the ultimate in HD video and digital photo quality with advanced features. Its 10x optical zoom lens, 2.96 Megapixel CMOS image sensor and Canon's advanced DIGIC DVII image processor ensures meticulous detail and superior color reproduction. 24p Cinema Mode brings Film-Look options to the HV20 owner. And, with its HD and Standard Definition recording modes, you can make the move to HD without making your SD equipment obsolete. The HV20 is easy to use and delivers the high level of performance you've come to expect from Canon. Focal Length - f=6.1-61mm Zoom Speed - Variable/3 Fixed Zoom Speeds Max. F/Stop - f/1.8-3.0mm Filter Size - 43mm 2.7-inch Widescreen LCD Screen (Approx. 211,000 pixels) and color viewfinder High Definition miniDV (recommended) (63 minutes) or miniDV Cassette Recording Media Microphone Terminal - 3.5 mm Stereo Mini Jack HDMI USB 2.0 Full Speed Terminal for fast transfer of photos Analog-Digital Converter lets you share the precious video memories you have stored on analog videotapes Advanced Accessory Shoe Terminal - Attach extras such as a video light or directional microphone without additional wires or batteries to raise the production value of the video you shoot Dimensions - Width 3.5 x Height 3.2 x Depth 5.4 inch Weight - 1.2 pounds without lens and battery pack Canon 1 Year Parts And Labor Limited Warranty

From the Manufacturer

To tech-savvy, sophisticated, and discerning videographers who demand a premium quality camcorder, the Canon's HV20 enables the ultimate in HD video and still photo quality. The HV20 offers an unparalled combination of a 10x optical zoom, a 2.96-megapixel CMOS sensor, and a stylish design. With HD and SD recording modes, you can make the move to HD while retaining compatibility standard-definition equipment. Capturing meticulous detail and superior color reproduction, the HV20 raises the bar for HD resolution quality.

HV20 Highlights

HDV format The HV20 records true 1080 high-definition resolution video, and is capable of recording and playing back HD images using MiniDV cassette tapes.

Canon True HD CMOS sensor The HV20 features a Canon-manufactured CMOS sensor. Similar to its use in Canon's EOS-series digital SLR cameras, CMOS reproduces high-resolution images with true HD information in movies. Canon's CMOS sensor acquires image information at 1920 x 1080. Canon's HD CMOS Sensor also features on-chip noise-reduction technology. The low noise technology feature means that even in dimly-lit scenes, the signals from each pixel are as pure as possible, with minimal "noise" or other aberrations.

RGB Primary Color Filter Whether you're shooting video or photos, you will appreciate the HV20's stunning, high-definition image production. For rich, accurate color, the HV20 uses an RGB Primary Color Filter. It separates light into red, green, and blue color components, resulting in vibrant images with natural-looking tones similar to what you'd obtain from 3CCD camcorders.

Genuine Canon 10x high-definition video lens The HV20 comes equipped with a Genuine Canon 10x HD video lens. An aspherical lens is used to help achieve low aberration and high resolution. The HV20 lens also features super-spectra coating technology, which lowers flare and ghosting. A new gradation ND system is used for better exposure in bright shooting situations. The lens design creates true HD image quality.

DIGIC DV II image processor DIGIC DV II is Canon's exclusive DIGIC DV signal processing technology designed specifically for HD. Even though video and still images have different color requirements, DIGIC DV II HD digital signal processing ensures optimal image quality for both HD video and still images. Thanks to DIGIC DV II image processing, the HV20 produces video with improved color reproduction -- especially in skin tones, and dark and light scenes. It also uses a hybrid noise reduction system that employs two types of noise reduction, for images that are crystal clear.

Super-Range Optical Image Stabilizer The HV20 features Super-Range Optical Image Stabilization (OIS). Utilizing a hybrid detection method (combining vector and gyro detection method), it corrects camera shake instantly for steady shots -- even when they're handheld at long focal lengths, or taken with the camera in motion. And unlike electronic stablization, which can cause a loss in image quality, the optical system corrects the shake while preserving the quality. It is even effective while taking photos.

24p Cinema Mode 24p Cinema Mode is a feature demanded by professional filmmakers and previously only available on pro-level camcorders. 24p Cinema Mode enables all aspiring moviemakers a professional "film look." This mode is actually two different features, which can be used independantly or together, depending on the user's preferences:

  • The frame rate changed to 24p -- the same frame rate as movie film
  • The HV20 changes the color and tonal characteristics to make you feel like you are watching a movie in the theatre.

Instant AF (Auto Focus) Instant AF is Canon's new and advanced autofocus system. Using a Hybrid Control system that combines an external sensor and a TVAF, Instant AF makes it easier to focus on previously difficult subjects. It dramatically decreases the time it takes to achieve proper focus and increases accuracy, especially in low-light and high-brightness situations.

HDMI terminal The HDMI terminal transports high-definition video signals (with audio in one cable) to your HD television.

Built-in electronic lens cover A built-in electronic lens cover automatically opens when the camcorder is turned on and closes when turned off. There is no dangling lens cover to lose.

Advanced accessory shoe terminal The advanced accessory shoe allows the use of additional accessories such as a video light and directional microphone.

Simultaneous photo shooting While shooting an HDV movie, you can simultaneously capture a 2-megapixel photo to a memory card by simply pressing the photo button. It's perfect for any time you don't want to miss a moment.

Histogram display Commonly used in Canon's line of digital SLR cameras, the HV20 features a histogram display. With just one push of a button, the brightness information of a still image is revealed. This allows you to monitor image quality so you can make adjustments for the next shot.

Program AE mode The HV20 gives you settings that automatically result in the best exposure settings for different conditions. Secen modes include: Portrait, Sports, Night, Snow, Beach, Sunset, Spotlight, and Fireworks. Each adjusts your camcorder's settings to compensate for different lighting conditions and different subjects.

9-Point Ai-AF mode Auto Intelligent Auto Focus ensures sharp images and creative flexibility. Even when your subject isn't in the center of the frame, the HV20's Ai-AF function will automatically select from 9 metering frames on the screen to help bring images into sharp focus.

Built-in flash Capture superb images in low light and indoor photography settings.

Built-in Ultra Video light Increase your low-light capabilities even further by shooting with the HV20. Featuring an Ultra Video light, the HV20 enables you to shoot subjects in color in low-light at distances up to 4.9 feet away.

Mic/headphone terminal The HV20 features a microphone terminal for attaching an external microphone. The audio/video terminal doubles as a headphone terminal for monitoring sound while recording. The HV20 also offers manual audio level adjustment, giving the user precise control.

Focus Assist function When shooting high definition, a properly focused subject is more critical than ever. With one push of the Focus Assist button (during manual focus setting), video zoom and peaking (for emphasizing image contours) are displayed. Not to worry, this is automatically cancelled when recording starts.

Level and grid markers It's easy to keep your D120 level for more professional-looking video. Simply press the Level Shot Control button, and a horizontal marker appears in your viewfinder. Line up any horizontal lines in your shot to the marker and you know your camcorder is level. Also, the grid marker is very convenient for setting up the special balance in your shots. Since background colors vary, you can select from two line colors to make the lines easily visible.

Variable zoom speed control with 5 presets With this innovative feature, you can always be sure of smooth, steady, professional-looking zoom shots. Simply select one of five pre-set zoom speeds.

3.1-megapixel photos Capture stunning 3.1-megapixel photos in 4:3 aspect ratio to a miniSD card, or 2-megapixel photos in 16:9 aspect ratio.

Capture 2-megapixel still images from tape While playing the recorded movie, you can capture 2-megapixel still images onto a miniSD card, simply by pressing the Photo button. If you prefer, you can even capture 2-megapixel photos while recording HD video to tape.

2.7-inch widescreen LCD and widescreen color viewfinder A widescreen LCD and widescreen viewfinder lets you see exactly what your camcorder is recording, and what your TV will display later.

Print/Share button For fast, easy, one-touch printing of your photos at home, simply press the camcorder's Print & Share button. The button can also be used for one-touch downloading of your images to a computer.

Product Information

Product Dimensions 8.9 x 7.2 x 5.6 inches
Item Weight 3 pounds
Shipping Weight 3 pounds
Item model number 2059B001
Batteries 1 Lithium ion batteries required.
Customer Reviews
3.9 out of 5 stars 126 customer reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
Best Sellers Rank #14,619 in Camera & Photo
#759 in Camera & Photo > Camcorders
Discontinued by manufacturer Yes
Date first available at Amazon.com January 31, 2007

Warranty & Support

Product Warranty: For warranty information about this product, please click here


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Customer Questions & Answers

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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The HV-20 is Canon's "flagship" camcorder, and received [...] "2007 Camcorder of the Year" award. It has the best low-light image quality in it's class (in 24p mode, using 1/48th second shutter speed), and CCI says that it has the overall best image quality of all comparable models.
What I like about the HV-20:
1. High definition 1440x1080i video image, using MPEG-2 compression. The similar Canon HG-10 outputs the full 1920x1080i resolution, but since it uses the more aggressive MPEG-4 compression scheme, it's low light performance suffers. Another advantage of the HV-20 is that MPEG-2 is easier to edit than MPEG-4.
2. Manual focus control that is relatively easy to access. The focus control consists of a button and wheel placed just behind the lens on the left side. The button toggles between manual and auto focus and the wheel effects the actual focussing. A lens-mounted ring would be a lot better, but these have gone by the way side on consumer priced camcorders - you have to spend $2500 or more on a semi-pro model to get a focus ring nowadays. WHY MANUAL FOCUS IS IMPORTANT: Digital cameras in general often have trouble focusing in low light or low contrast situations, for example shooting seascapes on a foggy day where everything is shades of gray and outlines are blurry and dim. On auto focus, the camera will "hunt" back and forth trying to lock focus, or will lose lock and start hunting in the middle of a shot, ruining that take. You will get better results if you use manual focus in these conditions.
3. Stereo Microphone jack, mounted on the side instead of the front. If you buy any MiniDV camcorder, you will eventually want to use an external shotgun or lavalier microphone.
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I am going to give it a 4 star rating because even though the image quality surpassed my expectations, you still need to buy an external microphone which defeats the portability of the camera. Here is a quick review:
1) The image is as sharp as they say it is if not better.
2) Awesome White Balance, never seen anything better.
3) Amazing latitude.
4) Color rendition comparable to more expensive 3CCD cameras.
5) The optical stabilizer is the best one I have seen in my entire life as a professional cameraman, you won't believe your eyes.
6) More sensitive in low light than advertised!
7) Audio line-in for external mike.
8) Canon HD footage is universally compatible unlike Sony's proprietary compression. Avoid Sony HD cameras, you won't be able to edit easily with Sony.

1) Built-in mike is too sensitive to camera noise and it is completely useless in windy conditions.
2) The Canon battery included will record about one hour of High Definition. The BP-2l14 (not included) may last two hours.
3) Playback buttons are difficult to find and press in dark environments or at night.
4) Audio monitoring is not automatic, playing back recorded audio on headphones is a real pain requiring extra steps.
5) Editing canon footage is easier than editing Sony footage but it is still costly and cumbersome.

Conclusion: This camera is not for the novice, don't buy it unless you are willing to spend extra money on a High-Definition LCD Monitor, an external microphone ($100-$150) and a third-party battery (min $50).
Turn on the sound attenuator if you are under windy conditions.
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6 Comments 114 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Hi Everyone,

We got this camera to use on a 7 week tour we just completed across Europe. We're big Canon fans and own a Canon XL2 which we use to video a lot of live music events in the work we do. Because of the length of the tour and flying, we had to get a smaller camera and this seemed like a good choice. We are not pro's nor are we videophiles. We're just average users who shoot a lot of interesting places and footage. We do it to archive places and people and events. I doubt most average users shoot as much footage as we do, so perhaps this will be of help to others since we faced a wide variety of real world situations.

Ruggedness: It gets a surprising 10 out of 10. We had this thing in all sorts of bad weather conditions including a solid week of heavy downpours across Belgium and Germany. We used it in the rain (with efforts to shield it a bit in the heaviest storms) and it chugged along with no problem. We took it in and out of pockets (it fits in sweatshirt and jacket pockets pretty easily.. I even got it to fit in my jeans pocket in a pinch (I am a big guy with big pockets) and I was worried that it would break with all the wear and tear. But it held up perfectly. (Which is more than I can say for my Canon G7 digital camera which completely fell apart or the Canon 30 D which had all sorts of dirt on the mirror problems during the same trip). We recorded over 30 hours of footage in the 7 weeks and it worked just as well at the end as the start. The camera feels very light and flimsy and I was sure it would break in some way. But it held up like a champ.

Battery Life: It gets an average 7 out of 10. We started and stopped the camera constantly and left it in pause mode lot. The battery far surpassed our expectations.
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