The biggest news is that the jog dial has been superseded by a touch-screen control system. With the fixed lens, this doesn’t provide any touch focusing, and it doesn’t offer touch exposure either. But the menu options, such as they are, have been made a little easier to access. Simply touch the screen to call up the menu, with functions accessible via icons at the top and bottom of the screen.
The top three icons let you toggle image stabilisation, change the recording format, and turn on the LED video light or Digital Light modes. The latter essentially ramps up the video gain, so you can see more detail and a brighter image in poor illumination. Along the bottom, the full menu provides access to these features again, but also some fun additional options.
There’s a motion detection setting, which will trigger recording if action is picked up within the frame. The slow motion setting crops into the frame considerably to produce video with a resolution of 320 x 240, but recorded at around four times the usual frame rate, then played back at the usual 30 frames/sec for smooth action. There’s a pre-rec option, which continually buffers footage, tacking this onto the beginning of the clip when you hit record so you don’t miss any action, if you pressed the button a fraction too late. There’s a time lapse function, which grabs one frame every one, three or five seconds, and then stitches them together to create one seamless video file.
The effects section provides access to scene modes, filters and white balance options. The scene modes include soft skin, night and backlight compensation, which really should have its own button for rapid access. Filters include black and white, classic and negative – essentially effects weâ€™d recommend leaving until the editing stage. The white balance options only include presets for daylight, fluorescent and tungsten. There’s no fully manual mode available.
There are also settings purely for photography. You can use the LED light as a flash, and resolution options include 3 and 8Mpixels as well as the aforementioned 16Mpixels. There’s a self timer, plus 800 and 1600 ISO options. It’s also possible to play your pictures back as a slideshow, which could be handy if you want to hook the S30 up to a screen and display pictures on that.
There are a few discrete buttons available, however. On the rear, a rocker works the zoom, and a switch is available to turn on the Digital Light mode and the LED video light. Strangely, there’s a separate button to pause video when in playback mode. On the side, buttons toggle between camcorder and stills camera, and provide a one-touch Internet upload function when connected to a computer.
Unlike other sites, we thoroughly test each product we review. We use industry standard tests in order to compare things properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever accept money to review a product. Tell us what you think - send your emails to the Editor.