UPDATED May 5:
I apologize to the forum for mixing two different problems. They are unrelated.
Problem #1: User error. I thought I was using a class 6 SD card but I was wrong. The yellow "!" indicates a pathologically slow card. Upgrading to a class 10 resolved this problem.
Problem #2: UNRESOLVED. Red battery indicator comes on prematurely. On a fresh charge, it'll turn red after recording for a couple of minutes. On a partially drained battery, it turns red immediately upon entering movie mode or pressing the record button. Turn the camera off and then right back on in "still" mode and it shows full charge and works fine ... until trying to shoot video. I have not precisely measured recording times but it'll record for at least 20 (maybe 30?) minutes while flashing red.
B&H gave me a full refund - and couldn't have been nicer, even though I was outside their return window. I, too, bought this camera mostly for stills, and for me, the sx280 looked fantastic on paper but was a practical disappointment on many levels. I purchased 2, and found them to be identical. But for me, the big shocker was Canon's terrible customer service. I got a Nikon as a replacement and am quite happy. I'm just hanging around here to see how long Canon drags this out, and how little regard it shows loyal customers. Most people won't wade through 27 pages of this forum, true enough, but if they see nothing else, I hope they see that Canon is keeping anyone who bought this camera slowly twisting in the wind, waiting for word on when there might be a fix.
I called B&H customer service number and told the rep there was a known flaw that Canon had acknowledged with no ETA on a fix. I said I knew it wasn't B&H's problem but asked if there was any way they'd take back the lemon that I bought in good faith - even though it was outside their return window. Minutes later, I had a return shipping label in hand, and two weeks later, the money was refunded to my card. I can't tell you how much I respect B&H for that simple gesture.
I think you're right on most of your points, US, though I still think our plaints won't make them work any faster on a fix. I do not understand why Canon (and other major manufacturers, like Apple) seem to handle these things so poorly—though I'm not sure if it would simply further aggrivate me to hear the rep repeat on this forum "we are working on a fix."
Actually, this is tailor-made for a class-action suit. And if my "ranting" is bothering you, please forgive me. I want to get the message out that this camera is terrible and that there's no ETA on a fix for a design flaw that Canon acknowledged two weeks ago (and denied weeks before that - and is currently denying now in the U.K., from what davy is reporting). Personally, RCJ, I don't believe you are stuck past a return window. There's a documented flaw with this camera, and reputable retailers will likely work with you to keep your business. Mine did, no questions asked. I got my money back on my first camera, and will be returning the second shortly. And please keep in mind that Canon has clearly been monitoring this forum because this is where they've responded to tell us that they're working on the problem. If you want to go ahead and give Canon a pass on this, feel free. But there are a lot of us here that want Canon to know that we feel burned and want answers.
It is obviously a problem since everyone has the issue. Most of us will not hang around until a fix comes. By that time, it will be too late to return the camera. Unless a fix is forthcoming within a couple days back it goes to amazon and I will purchase a Panasonic sz30. This is an obvious flaw that should have been caught in product testing.
In reply to Jessica when she says "we are listening" ('we' presumably being Canon):
I live in the UK. When I noticed noticed the 'red flashing battery icon' problem on my first camera I joined this forum which is a USA user forum. There does not seem to be an equivalent forum in the UK. As the problem was being discussed by members of this forum I contacted the Canon Helpdesk. The helpdesk telephone number I called had a UK code so I presume I was getting advise from Canon UK (although of course the helpdesk could be sited in a call center anywhere in the world).
After returning my 1st camera for a replacement, and then still having the same fault problem with the new camera, I again phoned the helpdesk. This time the agent asked if he could put me on hold whilst he checked to see if the fault had been reported by any other owners. Upon his return he said that no other reports of the fault had been received.
I suggested that perhaps he should check with the posts on this forum.
The only advise he could offer was for me to return the camera, this time not for replacement, but for an alternative.
So Jessica - are Canon really listening?