As is now the norm on cameras of this type the A700 offers a maximum movie size of 640x480 pixels - enough to fill most television screens at 30 frames per second. It also offers options to shoot at smaller sizes and lower frame rates. There's a 'high frame rate' option that shoots 320x240-pixel movies at 60fps.
Overall quality is very good - as we've come to expect from Canon, with movies very smooth and showing few compression artifacts, though inevitably the quality drops a little if you use the digital zoom. The downside of such high quality is that the AVI files are large - at the best quality setting (640x480 / 30fps) you're burning around 1.7MB every second, so if you intend to shoot a lot of movies you're going to need to invest in some big, fast SD cards. As with all PowerShots there is a 1.0GB limit to each movie clip, though you're unlikely to hit that ceiling before the batteries run out.
You cannot use the optical zoom during filming, but you can enable and use the digital zoom, which is better than nothing.
|Here's the screen you see when you first turn the mode dial to movie mode. The left and right keys switch between the various movie mode presets: Standard, Compact, Color Accent, Color Swap and Fast Frame Rate. Icons indicate the file size, frame rate, metering, white balance etc and the amount of recording time left on the card.|
|On-screen information when recording movies is fairly basic - elapsed time and low battery warning.|
|The FUNC menu gives you options for white balance, self-timer, movie size (640x480 or 320x240 pixels) where available, frame rate (15 or 30 frames per second) and 'My Colors' effects.|
|Pressing the menu button in movie recording allows you to change self-timer, AF-assist beam and digital zoom settings.|
|In playback mode a thumbnail of the first frame of the movie appears when scrolling through saved images. Press the FUNC/SET to play movies. You can view a histogram and full shooting information for the movie by pressing the DISP. button.|
|When viewing movies a set of controls appears along the bottom of the frame allowing you to play, jump to either end, pause (and move one frame at a time) and edit.|
|The edit functions are simple, but do at least allow you to free up a little more card space by trimming from the start or end of clips.|