[CES 2012] Canon introduces a new Vixia HF line of camcorders, with the models M52, MN50 and M500. In terms of image quality, the main improvement of this camcorder line is the low-light sensitivity. The updated HD CMOS Pro produces 20% higher low-light sensitivity, which is quite impressive, since the previous HD CMOS Pro had received rave reviews.
But that’s not it, Canon has also worked to improve the light transmission across the whole imaging chain, form the lens, to the sensor, and through to color filter. In turn this increase the amount of light that arrives to a sensor that is 20% more sensitive.The overall Lux rating (a measure for what level of visible light the camcorder can operate at) is 1.2 Lux (at 1/30sec shutter speed), which is very good. For example, direct sunlight is 100000+ Lux, a road light is 30 Lux, residential street lighting is 3 Lux and a candle 3 feet away is 1 Lux.
It is also possible to capture videos in AVCHD or MP4. Basically, AVCHD provides the best image quality with 1080p (12hrs maximum length before the files starts dividing), while MP4 will be limited to 720p (4GB or 30mn, whichever comes first). MP4 is convenient because almost every modern device can play it back.
You can head to Canon’s website to see the complete specifications, but the main differences between M-Series models are that the M52 has 32GB of internal storage, the M50 has 8GB, and the M500 will not feature WiFi or DLNA. The storage can be extended, but only with a single memory card (versus 2 for past models). The Canon Vixia M-Series starts at $549.99 and will ship at the end of March.