It would be a brave manufacturer these days that produced even a budget model without a basic movie mode, and movie capability is becoming an ever more important part of the buying decision with this type of camera.
As is now the norm on cameras of this type the S9000 offers a maximum movie size of 640x480 pixels - enough to fill most television screens - at 30 frames per second. You can also choose a more space-efficient 320 x 240 pixel mode, again at 30 fps.
Overall quality pretty good, although they are quite heavily compressed (averaging about 1.1 MB per second). Exposure is excellent and responds quickly to changes in scene brightness, but the continuous focus can struggle to keep up - especially if you zoom whilst filming (this is because the focus position changes at every zoom position). When zooming or filming at the long end of the zoom you soon learn why image stabilization is such a boon for hand-held movie clips, and why no amount of high ISO performance can ever completely replace it.
|Movie mode standby mode; pretty basic display (shooting size and time remaining).|
|During recording a red dot and the word REC appears on screen. The only other information you can see is time remaining.|
|Pressing the 'F' button brings up a single option - to switch between 640 x 480 and 320 x 240 pixel modes.|
|In playback mode a thumbnail of the first frame of the movie appears when scrolling through saved images. Press the down arrow to play the movie (the S9000 has a small speaker so you can here the sound). And that's it; there's no edit options, no fast-forward or rewind, just play and pause.|