Canon is to launch a pair of updates to its pro HDV tape camcorders in December.

The XH A1S and XH G1S have had their 20X zoom lenses upgraded, with improvements to focus, irising and zoom.

They are also to get upgraded camera firmware that allows users to adjust the zooming speed during pull-in or pull-out shots.

Audio has also been improved overall, including two XLR inputs at varying sensitivity and the ability to record with external and built-in mics at the same time.

The two cameras continue to share long-range optical image stabilization, an SDHC card slot for sharing footage, extreme customization of white balance and other settings to generate particular effects.

There is also the option of shooting in film-grade 24FPS progressive, 30FPS or a 60FPS interlaced mode. An optional hard drive connection allows for longer shooting than normally possible on HDV tape.

Yuichi Ishizuka, senior vice president and general manager, Consumer Imaging Group, Canon USA, said HDV tape format continues to be the most cost-effective medium for high-quality high definition video capture and storage.

"With the new XH A1S and XH G1S HD camcorders, professional user-requested refinements have been incorporated to provide even easier on-camera usability and operation," he said.

The XH A1S is designed for serious amateurs or entry-level professionals who need only standard input and output and should be available in late December for USD $3,999.

The G1S, which will go on sales at USD $6,999, adds HD- and SD-SDI output, timecode input and output, as well as Genlock sync input for multi-camera shooting.

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