I still remember a conversation I had a couple years ago with a digital camera product manager about movie recording in his company's cameras and why it was limited to clips only 30 seconds long. His response was "our research tells us consumers don't use the movie mode or don't even know it's on their camera so it's really not a concern for us." YouTube and other video-sharing sites weren't exactly a secret at that time so the answer--regardless of research--seemed pretty off to me.
Since then, camera makers have been steadily rolling out improvements to movie recording. The main thing they've gone after--no surprise--is resolution. Slapping "HD" on a camera is the video equivalent of megapixels. Put "full HD" on a model and you'll really grab some attention. Squeeze an HDMI jack on the camera and you're in even better shape to sell some units to consumers interested in getting one product that takes good photos and videos and can play them back instantly on an HDTV.
One of the biggest missteps in this quest for the perfect movie mode, however, seems to be whether you get use of the optical zoom while recording. Kodak was one of the first, if not the first to add HD capabilities to its cameras. Its longest megazoom, the EasyShare Z980, is currently under review and like most of its other cameras features HD-quality movie capture with full use of its 24x zoom lens.
So, is a good movie mode crucial to a purchase decision these days or is it just one more thing manufacturers can slap on the box to up-sell you?
See the latest reviews of digital cameras in all types and sizes that capture HD video after the break. … Read more