Movie mode

Like most of its competitors the F30 offers movie capture at up to 640 x 480 pixels (VGA) / 30 frames per second, with the duration limited only by the space left on the card.

The movies are recorded in motion JPEG (.avi) format, with fairly heavy compression; they work out at around 1.1 MB/sec, meaning you can fit just under 15 minutes of 640x480 / 30fps footage onto a 1GB card.

Despite the strong compression movie quality is actually very good (it's always been one of Super CCD's strong points), though compared to something like the Canon S3 IS they look quite blocky, especially viewed full-screen on a television. The lack of image stabilization means you'll need a very steady hand if you don't want your movies to look jerky, but overall the F30 does as good a job as any camera in this class.

You cannot optically zoom during movies.

Unlike stills recording you cannot choose the amount of information overlaid on the live preview image. An indication of the remaining time using the current settings is all you get.
The only controls available in movie mode are for the movie size (the frame rate is fixed at 30 fps). You can't change anything else, nor can you use AE compensation.
During recording the time remaining on the card is counted down. Focus is fixed, but exposure and white balance are adjusted dynamically. You can't use the zoom whilst filming.
Playback mode shows a thumbnail of the first frame in the movie. Movie playback is fairly basic stuff - you get controls for audio volume, playing, pausing and moving forwards or backwards a frame at a time. Nothing fancy here. There are no in-camera movie editing options.

Sample movie

640x480 pixels @ 30 fps
Duration: 8.0 secs
File size: 8.9MB

Shot at telephoto (108mm equiv.)

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