Blemish the thought!

There’s no doubting that high-definition makes for a super-sharp image. But do you really want to see yourself in that much detail?

Kushan Mitra        Print Edition: November 30 2008

The advantage of standard definition—you know, the stuff you watch on television most of the time—is that it smoothens the little faults. Which is why the anchorettes can douse their faces in foundation and a year’s supply of eye make-up and you could be forgiven for thinking they’re cute.

Well, our fascination with foundation pancake anchorettes will continue for the foreseeable future because there won’t be any high-definition on regular broadcasts for a while yet. So, to make full use of that brilliant and expensive flat panel display you just bought, you will have to go out and buy a Xbox 360 or Playstation3. Which, when you think about it, is a darn good investment.

But it’s one thing watching video game characters in skimpy outfits jumping around beating each other up. And its another to watch real people in high-definition. And if TV won’t give you that—and if you can’t find any Blu-Ray Discs in India (and those are difficult to come by)—you’ll need to create your own content. And Canon has come out with just the device— the HF-100.

Now, a regular camcorder costs under Rs 10,000, so the Rs 55,000-price tag for this one is a bit of a shocker. Particularly, because it’s very small. But then, it is remarkable that the Japanese have managed to cram high-definition optics and an image sensor into such an amazingly small package.

Leaving price aside, even the HF-100’s recording medium is great—instead of using expensive high-definition tapes, it uses Secure Digital (SD) cards. And on a standard 4-gig card, you can fit in 90 minutes of video. Invest in a 16-gig card (for around Rs 4,000) and you can record for six hours (even though the battery won’t last that long). Price aside, this is an awesome video camera. It has a High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) output, which means you can pretty much plug it into any new Full/HD 1080p flat panel display—1080 lines of progressive vertical resolution—and watch your videos directly. And that is when you realise the biggest asset of the HF-100. Brilliant video capture—the details on the video are amazing. Perhaps, a little too amazing—have you looked at yourself in high-definition lately? It’s a humbling experience.

Hopefully, Canon will apply what they’ve learnt from the HF-100 to a broader ranger of products, which will be a bit cheaper. But, if you’ve had a kid recently, or are planning one, you will need a high-definition video camera— you don’t want your kids berating you for shooting their videos in outdated standard definition? And if you have the cash to spare, this is the best there is.

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