Behind the LCD, there's an Easy button for a completely automatic mode and a button to display battery info, which displays the estimated time remaining. There's also a standard mini-USB port, 3.5mm microphone jack, and an AV out connector for hooking up to a TV via the bundled composite cable. As is becoming typical for Canon, you use a joystick on the LCD to bring up a few quick-access controls, including triggering the video light, exposure compensation, shutter speed, and manual focus. It doesn't magnify the focus area while in manual focus, but despite the smallish 2.7-inch LCD, it's pretty usable.
You also use the joystick to navigate the menus, which you pull up via a membrane button on the bevel of the LCD (other membrane buttons include playback controls, recording start/stop, and backlight compensation). Unusual in a budget model, the camcorder offers shutter-priority mode in addition to program exposure and a variety of scene modes. Beyond that, the shooting functions are scarce: white balance, digital and image effects, and a choice of 9Mbps, 6Mbps, and 3Mbps bit rates. Some of the other options, available deeper within the menus, include variable or one of three constant zoom speeds, 16:9 wide-screen recording mode, and a wind screen filter.
I do have a few minor quibbles with the design and operation. First, the zoom switch feels a bit loose, and I had trouble controlling the pace of the zoom with it. The on/off switch lies flush with the body of the camcorder, and thus requires some concerted effort to press. Finally, I don't like the placement of the USB port underneath the LCD or the SD card slot on the bottom of the unit; those just feel like awkward locations.
With the FS series, Canon debuts its Advanced Zoom technology, which transforms the camera's 37x optical zoom into 48x. It does so by moving lens elements to change the area of the sensor focused on by the lens. As a result, the effective video resolution changes while you zoom. For example, with AZ turned off, 16:9 video sensor resolution is about 550,000 pixels. With it on, at minimum zoom, it's approximately 710,000 pixels (full effective sensor resolution), and at 48x, it's 410,000 pixels. So while it's technically not digital zoom, it's still not maintaining the resolution across the entire zoom range (though it's in fact better than status quo at the wide angle). And for that reason, though I know Canon will probably beg to differ, I'm going to refer to it as a hybrid zoom