Canon announced a trio of new lightweight HD camcorders designed to hit a price-performance sweet spot for field acquisition.

The three cameras share the same basic design and imaging characteristics — HD CMOS sensor, Digic DV4 image processing and a 20x optical zoom lens. Canon’s Wide DR mode compresses high-luminance areas of the image to suppress overexposure when shooting under demanding conditions, and a slow/fast function offers selectable shooting speeds ranging from 0.4x to 1,200x.

They record up to a max of 60p at 35Mbps to dual SD card slots and can record to AVCHD and MP4 formats. All three models offer five-axis image stabilization in “dynamic mode” and feature HDMI, a headphone jack, and optional GPS support.

Canon XA15 HD camcorder

Canon XA15 HD camcorder

The Vixia HF G21 is the base model, at $999. The next step up is the XA11, which adds a handle and XLR audio terminals, for $1,399. Finally, the XA15 makes it a real pro affair by adding an HD-SDI output for $1,899. Canon said all three models are scheduled to ship by the end of this month.

Canon USA: