Canon has debuted two new additions to its high-end High Definition XL series camcorder range: the XL H1S, designed for studio-based professional broadcast cameramen, and the XL H1A, which is designrd for independent filmmakers and fieldwork cameramen.

Recording High Definition Video (HDV) to tape, both models share a 1/3-inch 1.67 Megapixel 3CCD system, for HD 1080i image capture. In addition, the XL H1S features Canon’s Professional Jackpack: a full suite of studio standard connections comprising HD-SDI output – for uncompressed 1920x1080 HD video – Gen lock input and Time code input/output for multi-camera shoots. The HD-SDI output of the XL H1S now incorporates embedded audio and Time code data.

Replacing the XL H1, both new camcorders have been constructed using the feedback of professional cameraman from around the world, says Canon. Key refinements over the XL H1 include a new 20x L-series Video Lens, incorporating three separate focus, zoom and iris control rings. Conveniently mounted on the lens body, each can be operated simultaneously, allowing focus to be pulled while zooming, for instance.

Sensitivity of the zoom ring is also customisable. Two-channel XLR audio recording now features independent limiters and auto/manual settings, allowing complete control over sound recording.

The camcorders include a DIGIC DV II processor for fast, accurate HD data handling - plus full image customisation and Cine Gamma controls. All settings -- including preset, function and display -- are saved to SD/MMC card are fully compatible with Canon XH series camcorders.

Pricing and availability has yet to be announced.