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.
Okay, so I bit the bullet and bought another SX280 because I simply couldn't find anything comparable. My original has been sent back to Amazon, refund has been issued, so I picked up another one locally at Bestbuy.. I'm silver rewardszone, so I have 60 days to play..
First off, this new camera came with firmware version 1.01. so before doing anyting I tried to shoot some video.. got 8:59 in before the Red Battery of Death appeared. This is 8x longer then my original camera.. my original would blink red within a minute of attempting to record video.
I made the Best Buy guy let me look at each one they had and I made sure to get the one with the latest serial number.
I've just upgraded the firmware to 1.02 (yes I checked to make sure the s/n was calling for the update)
I'll report back as to if the firmware update fixes the issue on this particular camera.
For everyone keeping score, we now have a grand total of 3 people who seem satisfied with the sx280 firmware update.
I don't know who you are counting, but count me in!
I did the firmware update with a fresh battery (3m of power drain, how much?) and started shooting movies only in the garden, zooming like hell (really!) and got 15m of recording (3 movies) before the battery light started flashing. Then I could shoot another 12m until my card was full and also the battery almost empty (after deleting stuff shooting a movie and zooming would shut it down). That's 27 minutes - taken into account the 3m of firmware update and the frantic zooming, I'd say 30m of video shooting is a reasonable expectation here. Flashing about after 20m is also to be expected. So after 2/3. Don't know how consistent this will be.
So I now learn to see the indicator as "what you are currently doing will give you 'soon' a drained battery". Pitty the indicator does not adjust back upwards when you start doing something more calm! That would be a great improvement.
Oh and the battery was warm, but the whole camera body also, because yesterday it was hot and sunny ...
So I think I am satisfied, especially when I expect mostly to shoot short clips. The occasional longer sessions, I'll prepare myself and keep a spare battery ...
So I am happy with the update.
Of course there are still other ergonomic issues, but I am getting used to it.
The quality of the pictures is so fantastic that it's worth adapting ...