Technology Used in Digital Camcorders

Video images require advanced digital imaging technology different from that used for photos. Canon produces high-quality 4K camcorders that achieve high-speed data processing, compact size, and low power consumption.

2018/12/27Featured Technology

Image Processing for Digital Camcorders

Camcorders incorporate a camera function, which converts signals of images of the subject into video, and a recorder function, which records and plays back the images from the recording media. Every stage of image processing is supported by proprietary Canon technologies.

Camera Function


Image formation


Image sensor
Conversion into image signals


Image processor
Image generation

Recorder Function


Codec engine
Compression and decompression


Recording media
Recording and playback


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Image Processor for Camcorders with Dramatically Improved Processing Power

DIGIC DV 6 is Canon's latest image processor for digital video camcorders. With image processing for digital video camcorders, reducing video noise1 is important, particularly in flat and dark areas. Canon uses proprietary image processing algorithms to reduce noise and enable the recording of beautiful images with vivid color reproduction and rich gradations.

Processing speed has been increased through various technologies, including Canon's unique architecture for creating ultra-large LSIs.

  • 1 Video noise
    Random noise is more noticeable in video than in still images and occurs more frequently when shooting in dark conditions. Remedying noise in video camcorders requires a different approach than that used in still cameras.


DIGIC DV 6 Image Processor

4K Video Lenses with an Image Stabilization Function

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Lenses Supporting High-resolution 4K Images

4K-compatible camcorders require a high level of resolving power. Canon utilizes glass aspherical lens elements2 in the lens system, optimizing the position and shape of the elements to achieve the best possible lens configuration. This makes possible 4K video that realizes high image quality and eliminates spherical aberration.


Focal Point Alignment with an Aspherical Lens

Additionally, as zoom magnification increases, the effects of camera shake become more pronounced. To counteract this problem, Canon employs optical lens-shift image stabilization, which detects a wide range of vibrations from low to high frequencies and corrects for them accordingly. This image stabilizing technology shifts the correcting lens element parallel to the image plane to correct the optical axis in response to image shake, minimizing blur even when shooting at a high level of zoom magnification.


Principles of Shift Type Image Stabilization

Canon has also developed a 3D real-time lens mechanism which combines an image-stabilization shift lens that moves perpendicular to the optical axis with a zoom lens that moves in parallel to the optical axis. The mechanism makes possible a compact body while increasing lens design freedom, image quality, angle of view, and magnification ratio.


3D Real-time Lens Mechanism
The orange arrows pointing perpendicular to the optical axis indicate the movement of the image-stabilization shift lens. The nearby red arrows indicate the movement of the zoom lens.

Dual Pixel CMOS AF

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An AF System that Achieves High-Speed, Smooth Focusing

Dual Pixel CMOS AF is revolutionary sensor-based phase detection AF technology utilizing a CMOS sensor on which all pixels are capable of both image capture and phase detect AF. Each pixel of the CMOS sensor consists of two separate photodiodes, and can simultaneously output an imaging signal and signal used for phase detection AF. These two photodiodes capture light separately, and during AF detection, each sends a separate signal which are then combined during recording into a single one for image capture.
This enables not only high-speed, high-precision AF, but also smooth, sensitive AF offering a high degree of tracking ability suitable for video recording.


One pixel(*Conceptual illustration)

4K CMOS Sensors

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Realizing High Sensitivity, a Wide Dynamic Range, and Low Noise

In order to reduce the size of Canon digital camcorders, the CMOS sensors they utilize must also be made smaller. They also have to support the reading and recording of 4K 3,840 x 2,160 pixel resolution (a total of approximately 8.29 million pixels), creating the need for densely grouped pixels on the sensor to achieve outstanding 4K images.

Canon has adapted the CMOS sensor technology utilized in its digital cameras to independently develop and manufacture CMOS sensors for 4K camcorders.


4K Digital Camcorder CMOS Sensor

The high-performance sensors developed by Canon for professional camcorders incorporate 8.29 megapixels, which is optimal for 4K broadcasting. For these sensors, the light-gathering capability is increased by increasing the area of each pixel. Furthermore, the curvature of the on-chip microlenses placed on each pixel has also been increased. In addition to increasing the surface area of the photodiodes, the charge that can be stored has also been increased by increasing the depth at which electrons are stored. The result is high sensitivity, a wide dynamic range, and low noise, making possible higher-quality visual expression.

In addition to achieving high-speed reading of images with low power consumption, Canon's CMOS sensors also utilize a primary color filter featuring comprehensive color information that achieves faithful color reproduction while minimizing false colors and moiré patterns. The CMOS sensors incorporate sensor-side on-chip noise reduction technology that supports low-noise recording in low-light conditions. Combined with the DIGIC DV 6's signal processing technology for reducing noise, users can capture high-quality images.

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