Despite the clumsy menu navigation, casual shooters will have no trouble picking up and shooting with the S20. All the picture controls are set to auto by default, and the Camileo S20 powers on as soon as you open the LCD. From there, simply hit the record button to start filming. Of course, changing resolutions or playing back footage requires a tricky trip through the menu.
I have no complaints about the S20’s auto settings. All do a decent job and meet the standard set by other pocket camcorders. The auto white balance shows appropriate colors, the auto exposure quickly corrects with any change in lighting, and the auto focus is tough to trick.
The 4x digital zoom predictably destroys image quality and is best left alone; it doesn’t work at the highest recording resolution anyway. The image stabilization is also mostly useless, and again, that’s par for the pocket camcorder course.
The battery lasted for approximately one hour and 50 minutes of continuous shooting. That’s average for pocket camcorders. And the S20’s battery is removable, meaning users can purchase and pack an extra unit for added juice in a pinch.
The macro setting works as advertised. With it enabled, the camera needs about four inches of space to focus. When macro is switched off, the S20 requires approximately 10 inches.
Also, the rolling-shutter effect, or skewing, that plagued the H30 (and many other CMOS-sporting camcorders) is also present on the S20.