New Canon Cam/Camcorder

Canon has expanded its consumer line of HD-capable camcorders with the addition of the 7.1-megapixel PowerShot TX1 digital camera that incorporates a high-definition video recorder in the same housing, making it a double bonus for those who would prefer not to lug both a still camera and a camcorder to their kids' birthday parties and soccer games. (It'll get through airport security a lot faster, too.) As indicated by the "PowerShot" moniker, The TX1 is a digital camera with an optically image-stabilized 10x (optical) zoom lens and a 115,000 pixel swivelling side-mounted LCD screen.

The digital camera includes Canon's new Face Detection AF/AE/FE function that allows the camera to detect, lock on, and track multiple human faces in a scene. According to Canon, "the face detection algorithm automatically prioritizes and selects faces... It will then optimize the focus, exposure and flash to help ensure the best possible results..." (Of course, there's still the old "garbage in/garbage out" rule to consider. Technology can only do so much.)

The TX1 goes beyond the traditional digital camera with the addition of 720p/30fps high-definition widescreen video recording capability that uses the still camera's 10x optical zoom and image-stabilized lens. The camcorder also provides the option of recording video in 640 x 480 (30 fps) or 320 x 240 (30 or 60 fps). The TX1 is able to capture high-resolution still images while recording movies.

Still images and video are stored on removable flash memory cards, including SD, SDHC, MultiMedia, and MMCplus cards. If you plan on doing a lot of HD video recording, you'd better start stocking up on SDHC cards now.

Canon says the PowerShot TX1 should be available in March with a $499.99 estimated selling price.