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The Canon HV20 is a handheld camcorder that captures high-definition video (1920x1080i) on miniDV tapes.

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Image stabilization works well

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Less expensive than Sony

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Great image quality

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Easy joystick controls

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Generic hot shoe accessory slot

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Hot shoe cover isn't attached to camera making it easy to lose

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Poor low light performance

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Focus dial instead of focus ring

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No night-shot mode

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Less features than the HC7

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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.

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