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. The Pro815 offers the usual 640x480-pixel/25 fps option (though in this case limited to a maximum clip length of 30 seconds), as well as smaller and lower frame rate options. Unusually the Pro815 records stereo audio with movies.

The movies are recorded in M-JEPG (.avi) format, with fairly heavy compression (they work out at around 405 KB/sec, meaning you can fit nearly 40 minutes of the highest quality (640x480/ 25fps) footage onto a 1GB card), and though they do look slightly blocky (due to the strong compression), they're perfectly usable.

Overall quality is fine, and naturally you can zoom while shooting (though being a manual zoom it's nigh on impossible to do this smoothly). It's also worth noting that the continuous focus system struggles - and usually fails - to keep up when you do zoom whilst mid-movie, so it's usually best to switch to manual focus mode.

As with stills recording you can choose to shoot with or without an information overlay (though you can't use the live histogram). During filming a progress bar shows elapsed time (though unusually, not remaining time).
In movie mode you get a slightly more basic set of menus offering options for metering pattern, white balance and picture effects (sepia, black and white). You can also choose from one of three movie settings; 640x480 pixels/15 or 25 fps and 180x120 pixels at 15 fps.
In playback mode you get some basic controls for playing movies, allowing you to play, pause and rewind. You can also extract a frame from the movie and save it as a JPEG.

Sample movies

640x480 pixels @ 25 fps
File size: 4.4MB

Shot at mid-telephoto

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

640x480 pixels @ 30 fps
File size: 10.2MB

Shot at wide angle

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