Canon HV20 HDV Camcorder

Canon HV20 HDV Camcorder

The HV20 HDV Camcorder is causing quite a stir, due to its unprecedented image quality. Never before has there been this feature set for under $1000.

The top points:

true 1920 X 1080 chip – beautiful, sharp image quality

24 fps (adds pulldown for 59.97i) stream with film 180 degree (1/48th) shutter

“Cinema mode” switch for filmlike gamma

external audio jack for wireless receivers, or XLR cables and Beachtek adapter

Despite its consumer level manual controls (but you still have manual iris, focus, shutter) digital revolutionaries are coupling this camera with lens adapters for a true 35mm depth of field:

More pics and info here.

The HV20 features an HDMI connector for quick and easy one-cable transport of the High Definition video signal to an HDTV or monitor.

Stu Maschwitz notes you could pair it with a Blackmagic Intensity card ($250) to capture 4:2:2 uncompressed 24p for less than $1250.

The HV-20 features a 10x HD video zoom lens with Super Range Optical Image Stabilization and a Canon True HD 1920 x 1080 CMOS Image Sensor.

The HV20 HD Camcorder also features microphone and headphone input terminals with manual level control for professional quality audio recording.

Click here for Canon’s press release.

To ask a question or comment about the Canon HV20, click here.


  1. Josh 16 years ago

    Here’s the workflow for working with HV20 24p in FCP. It’s a little convoluted, the clips have to be conformed in Compressor before importing:

  2. Frederic Segard 15 years ago

    The image quality from the promo video is astounding! As a Betacam SP user, I am impressed by the definition. But it’s just that, a promo video. I doubt that you could get that finish with point and shoot mentality. I am sure a lot of time has been taken to tweak the camcorder to squeeze the most out of it’s potential. Not too many indoor shots… is that an indication of its shortcomings?

  3. Josh 15 years ago

    The word is the HV20’s low light performance has been improved over the HV10, which I have sot with and seems great already.

    But indeed, having a rig like the above just means you have the tools, doesn’t mean you can build a house!

    But with tutorials like this:

    and other secret upcoming courses, world class quality is very possible!

  4. David 15 years ago

    Can the video on a camera like this be captured via firewire and edited in FCE or FCP, or do I need a special capture card??

  5. Sean Lu 15 years ago


    Firewire will be fine. HV20 is HDV which compresses to the rough equivalent of regular DV. You can get the camera (and a FW400 cable), plug it into your computer/hub (I’ve been told not to use them, but I do anyway) and pull it into FC in real time.

    We run the HV20 as a backup to our A1s (sometimes as a third camera too). With a bit of tweaking in color correction, it usually blends beautifully with our A1s.

    A1 is still the better camera (by far). The HV20 just does 80% of the work for you as far as getting really nice shots. Great consumer camera for point & shoot. It will not replace a camera with more manual controls.

    • Joey 14 years ago

      Please help me. I am very new to this computer stuff, and I dont understand the words everyone is using. (A1s, 60i, adds pulldown, 24fps, 1920×1080) I have serious problems. I cannot connect my canon hv20 to my mac OS X 10.4.10. I am using Final Cut Express. I dont think its the camera or firewire cable that is the problem because I can import from imovie.
      What are capture presets?
      How can I Capture on Final Cut Express?

      • Sean Lu 14 years ago

        A1 is the camera (not the HV20), 60i is interlaced at 30 frames per second at 1920×1080 resolution, pulldown refers to moving from one type of images to another, 24 frames-per-second, a resolution of 1920×1080 is sometimes referred to as “full” high definition.

        I’ve never used Final Cut Express, but please email me the beginning of your workflow (the order you plug in your camera, open the program, turn on the camera). From the top bar under “Final Cut Express” is there a dropdown that shows either “Easy Setup” or “A/V Settings”?

        If there is, try HDV 29.97, if not, then try HDV 1080i60. Part of pulling it in depends on how you captured it originally in the camera. I’ve never worked with FCE so, please excuse my ignorance on how it works.

        Can look for same under “Sequence” then “Settings”.

        Then go to “Log & Capture” under “File” see if your camera shows up at all.

        Email me the start of your workflow and let me know what happens when you try the above. Will try working with you to get this right.

        sean at cutandpastepro dot com

  6. Davila 15 years ago

    Can the moderators and experts please elaborate more on the pros and cons of this Canon, as my DVX-100A got stolen not long ago and I was considering crossing the fence to a Canon XL-2, but after seeing the quality of this new Canon I would put it on my contenders list.

  7. Josh 15 years ago

    Here’s a video on adjusting iris & shutter:

  8. Josh 15 years ago

    Here is a workflow for capturing and converting 24p HV20 footage for editing on a 24p timeline in FCP:

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