The Canon HV20 is a handheld camcorder that captures high-definition video (1920x1080i) on miniDV tapes. The HV20 is the successor to the HV10 and a direct competitor to the Sony HC7 and contains many comparable features. Similar to the Sony the Canon's main focus is on recording video and doubles as a still photo digital camera with pictures stored on a miniSD card. With similar barrel-shaped form factors the HV20 matches the Sony with a 10x optical zoom lens, and electronically control internal lens cover.
- 10x optical zoom lens
- 3.1MP CMOS sensor
- up to 1080i video recording
- miniDV tapes for storage
- 2.7" LCD monitor, 211K pixels
- Internal lens cover mechanism
- Data ports: USB2.0, Firewire
- Video ports: Component, S-Video, HDMI
A hot shoe port on the top of the camera is used to hold and power optional accessories such as an additional light or microphone. Standard microphone ports are included alongside a built-in flash. Canon touts its "instant auto-focus" feature that uses a special AF sensor to measure distance. Covering the sensor has a significant impact on the speed that the auto-focus performs, and the sensor is susceptible to the same problems of a traditional AF system in low light conditions.
The HV20's 24p mode tries to simulate the distinct motion feel that filmed movies have. Canon also offers a cine mode that adjusts the gamma and color temperature of the picture to achieve a more muted look to get a more film-like quality. The 24p mode has an issue when transferring the video onto a computer as the camera outputs the video at 30FPS using a 2:3 pull down conversion which introduces field artifacts.