Video Mode

To switch to video mode, you tap the camera icon in the right corner and select the movie camera (the fact that Time Shift mode is treated as a third camera mode rather than a scene mode prevents the usual still/video toggle). The switch to video mode is persistent, which we prefer: some camera apps flip back to still mode whenever you exit. You have the choice of capturing 1080p full HD video or 720p to save storage space.

 In video mode, a screen tap or volume button press starts recording.
 The video settings menu is easy to navigate, much like in stills mode.

You can turn on “Stabilization” under the shooting mode menu, but, as in stills mode, this no optical image stabilization system. Instead, the video frames are aligned digitally and a small proportion of the frame is cropped around the edges. There also isn't much of a stabilizing effect to speak of and hand movement is just as noticeable with it engaged. 

The Night scene mode may tempt you in low-light conditions, but it works by dropping the frame rate to 15 fps, half of normal video. This allows the Z10 to use longer shutter speeds and capture more light per frame, but at the cost of blur from the slow shutter speeds and less smooth motion from the low frame rate. In most situations you’ll probably be happier with an underexposed video in normal mode.  

Video Sample 1 - Good Light

The Z10 captures smooth video with good detail under ideal lighting conditions. Colors are generally accurate though on the saturated side. Exposure is good and consistent. Focus is confident, with minimal drift. Sound is monophonic and good quality, with the usual caveat about wind noise and pinhole microphones. 

Video Sample 2 - Low Light

In low light, video gets noticeably grainy but less smeary than is often the case. Shutter speeds remain high enough to keep moving objects from getting too blurry, though video can become underexposed in very low-light conditions. The white balance sometimes struggles with mixed city lighting, which can create oscillating color changes. Focus remains impressively confident in low light, without too much hunting.

 

Video Sample 3 - Night Mode

The Night scene allows you to capture video footage in very low light but the frame rate drops to 15 fps, resulting in slightly jerky playback.