Canon has announced a new range of 1.33 Megapixel camcorders – the MVX250i, MVX200i and MVX200 - with enhanced features for digital still capture and sharing footage over the Internet. Canon claims that the new camcorders, available from the end of April, are 40 per cent smaller than the MVX100 series models they replace. Pricing has yet to be announced.

The MVX250i features an 18x optical zoom while the MVX200i and MVX200 feature a 14x zoom. The 1.33 Mp 1/4.5 inch CCD (1.23 effective Mp for recording to memory card, 0.86 effective Mp to miniDV) offers normal and high-resolution 16:9 modes with image stabilisation. The DIGIC DV processor has discrete stills and video paths to allow separate optimisation algorithms and processing of stills and video.

These camcorders are the first from Canon to feature a Print/Share button for direct printing of digital stills to PictBridge compatible printers and the transfer of files to PCs. For further digital still support Canon has also included a mechanical shutter which the company claims eliminates the blur often associated with camcorder stills. Continuous still images can be recorded in SXGA resolution at up to five fps, and still images can be recorded to memory card while simultaneously recording video to tape. The cameras include auto-exposure bracketing and a three area auto-focus system.

Canon have included a number of features to facilitate sharing of footage over the Internet. Motion-JPEG files can be saved direct to MMC or SD memory cards and footage stored on tape can be converted into Motion-JPEG. The camcorders also come with DV Messenger 2.0 for exchanging live or recorded audio and video data over the Internet. Remote photo and video recording as well as video chat and Internet streaming are also possible.

The MVX250i features Super Night mode, with an LED for shooting in zero-light conditions, plus a Night+ mode for switching on and off the LED whilst shooting. All camcorders in the range feature another eight modes: full auto, auto, sports, portrait, spotlight, sand-&-snow, low light and night modes. Creative digital effects include art, sepia, monochrome, mosaic, mirror, cube and wave, with nine fade modes to choose from. A skin detail mode softens skin tones, claims Canon, giving warmer results.

The camcorders come with DV and USB terminals. The MVX200i and MVX250i feature an analogue to digital converter so analogue devices can be plugged in to have their analogue signals converted into digital, to be stored on the camcorder or output to a digital storage device.