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Movie mode

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 Z740 offers a maximum movie size of 640 x 480 pixels - enough to fill most television screens - but only at a 12 frames per second (according to the specification it's 13 fps, it's actually 11.7 fps).

Unusually the movies are recorded using MPEG-4 compression (saved as QuickTime .MOV files), which makes them very small indeed - you can fit over an hour of VGA (640 x 480 pixel) footage on a 1.0 GB card, which certainly puts many of the Z740's competitors to shame (though of course many of them offer frame rates of up to 30fps).

Overall quality is good, though nowhere near what you can get from the Sony H1 or (especially) the Canon S2 IS. The compression artifacts can sometimes be quite obvious and the low-ish frame rate means the movies don't look that smooth, but you can keep shooting until the card runs out (this will give you about 31 minutes on a 512MB card at the 640 x 480-pixel setting).

Not only can you not use the optical zoom during filming, but you can't even digitally zoom.

On-screen information when recording movies is fairly basic - elapsed time and battery status. You cannot zoom whilst shooting a movie (optically or digitally), nor can you use any form of exposure compensation.
In movie mode you get a slightly more basic set of menus offering options for movie size (640 x 480 or 320 x 240 pixels), albums, and focus mode (single or continuous). You cannot change white balance in movie mode.
In playback mode a thumbnail of the first frame of the movie appears when scrolling through saved images. Press the joystick to play (or pause) movies.
When playing movies you get a basic display showing elapsed time (and total movie length), and the ability to change the playback volume (the Z740 has a built-in speaker). There's no options for editing movies in-camera.

Sample movies

640 x 480 pixels @ 12 fps
File size: 2.1MB

Shot at wide angle (38mm equiv.)

Click on the thumbnail to view the movie (caution: large file!)

 

640 x 480 pixels @ 12 fps
File size: 2.4MB

Shot at wide angle (38mm equiv.)

Click on the thumbnail to view the movie (caution: large file!)

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