Pre-PMA 2006: Canon today announce the third generation of its 'super zoom' compact with the release of the PowerShot S3 IS, the successor to the popular S2 IS. The 6-megapixel camera features the same 12x optical zoom but boosts the sensitivity range up to ISO 800, has a larger 2.0-inch vari-angle screen and boasts several new features. It's also a serious looking gunmetal gray.

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Press Release:

Canon launches improved monster zoom compact

Amstelveen, The Netherlands, 21 February, 2006: Canon today announces the release of the 12x optical zoom PowerShot S3 IS. Successor to the popular PowerShot S2 IS, the latest addition to the PowerShot S-series incorporates a 6.0 Megapixel CCD sensor, Canon's renowned optical Image Stabilizer technology and video functionality rivalling that of dedicated digital video camcorders. Sporting a striking new finish in gunmetal grey, the compact PowerShot S3 IS answers the demands of advanced photographers with several improvements over its predecessor, including an increased sensitivity range of ISO 80 to ISO 800, a larger 2.0" vari-angle LCD screen, widescreen (16:9) recording, new movie features and an additional Sports mode.

The PowerShot S3 IS features:

  • 12x optical zoom lens with USM and UD lens element
  • Optical Image Stabilizer
  • 6.0 Megapixel CCD
  • Larger size 2.0” Vari-angle LCD
  • 30fps VGA movies with stereo sound and Photo in Movie feature
  • DIGIC II, iSAPS and Flexizone AF/AE for fast, precise results and 2.3 fps continuous shooting performance
  • 20 shooting modes and My Colors photo effects
  • High ISO Auto and ISO 800 for low light flexibility
  • Widescreen (16:9) recording

The PowerShot S3 IS caters for serious photo enthusiasts seeking extended zooming flexibility and fully featured movie recording in a versatile compact digital stills camera.

Optics

Still the most powerful zoom in a Canon digital compact camera (36 – 432mm f/2.7-f.3.5), the PowerShot S3 IS’s lens incorporates the same leading technologies used in Canon's professional EF lenses. An Ultra-Sonic Motor (USM) drives rapid and near-silent zoom operation; an Ultra-low Dispersion (UD) lens element significantly reduces chromatic aberration in telephoto shots; Canon's optical Image Stabilizer (IS) technology counteracts camera shake to reduce image blur when shooting stills or recording video, essential for handheld shots at longer focal lengths. IS allows photographers to shoot at shutter speeds up to 3 stops slower for reliable flash-free photography in low light conditions.

The PowerShot S3 IS's 12x optical zoom combines with digital zoom to deliver 48x magnification for recording both stills and video. For even wider framing options, optional Wide and Tele converter lenses extend the focal length from wide 27mm to super-tele 648mm (35mm film equivalent) for an impressive 24x optical zoom. A Super Macro mode with 0cm shooting distance and optional Close-Up lens 500D (58mm) allow for detailed macro photography.

Increased ISO speed

In addition to Image Stabilization, the PowerShot S3 IS features a new High ISO Auto setting and ISO 800 to further extend the camera's low light shooting capabilities. High ISO Auto automatically sets exposure using the higher range of ISO sensitivities, enabling faster shutter speeds in low light and increased image stability at the telephoto end. A dedicated ISO button allows for easy switching between ISO sensitivities.

Movie functions

Powerful video functions make the PowerShot S3 IS far more than just a high performance digital still camera. A dedicated movie button means users do not need to switch modes to start recording, so spontaneous moments can be instantly captured in full motion. Users can record smooth 30fps VGA quality movies of up to 1GB with stereo sound, or create 60fps QVGA clips for sharp slow motion playback. The Movie mode also allows users to pre-select exposure and white balance, zoom throughout the camera's focal range and manually adjust focus while shooting. A Photo In Movie feature enables the capture of full resolution digital stills during video recording.

Creative shooting

The PowerShot S3 IS offers 20 shooting modes including full Manual mode, Aperture Priority and Shutter Speed Priority. Together with 2.3 fps continuous shooting, a new fast-shutter Sports mode with improved auto focus accuracy provides unprecedented capabilities for capturing action sports sequences. Special Scene modes – such as Night Snapshot and Snow – assist with tricky lighting conditions, while Color Accent and Color Swap modes enable dramatic colour effects to be applied to both images and movies. Canon's My Colors photo effects have been enhanced for this model, and can now be applied to images both before and after shooting.

The PowerShot S3 IS features a new Widescreen mode (2816 x 1584 recording pixels) for capturing still images in 16:9 format – perfect for viewing images on widescreen television or printing wide (10 x 20cm) photos with a SELPHY Compact Photo Printer.

Printing and other features

A new, dedicated Print menu simplifies printing of multiple images. Full PictBridge support means users can print directly to any PictBridge compatible printer without the need for a PC. New PictBridge features include the ability to print shooting data and optimise faces in portrait shots when connected to a compatible Canon PIXMA printer. The camera's ID photo and movie stills features are also available when connected to a SELPHY CP Series Printer. A handy Print/Share button allows one-touch printing and easy uploads to Windows or Mac systems.
The camera's menu system now features support for Arabic, bringing the total number of supported languages to 23.

Accessories

A complete range of optional accessories is available to extend the functionality of the PowerShot S3 IS:

  • Tele-converter 1.5x lens (TC-DC58B)
  • Wide-converter 0.75x lens (WC-DC58A)
  • Lens Adapter/Hood Set (LAH-DC20)
  • Close-Up Lens 500D (58mm)
  • High Power Flash HF-DC1
  • Soft Case (DCC-90)
  • Compact AC Power Adapter (CA-PS700)
  • Battery and Charger Kit (CBK4-300)

The camera is compatible with MMC/SD cards, and comes supplied with a 16MB Canon card.

Technologies Explained

Optical Image Stabilizer

Canon's lens shift-type optical Image Stabilizer counteracts the camera shake caused by slight hand movements. Vibration sensors detect the angle and speed of movement and send this information to a processor, allowing the camera to compensate. This adds stability to hand-held, telephoto or moving shots and enables shooting at shutter speeds of up to three stops slower with no noticeable increase in image blur.

DIGIC II

Canon's purpose-built DIGIC II (DIGital Imaging Core) image processor links all primary camera functions for maximum efficiency. High-speed processing results in outstanding responsiveness, rapid auto focus and extended continuous shooting ability. Advanced image processing algorithms deliver superb image detail and colour reproduction with accurate white balance and minimal noise. DIGIC II operates efficiently to extend battery life, for longer shooting on a single charge.

iSAPS

iSAPS (Intelligent Scene Analysis based on Photographic Space) automatically optimises key camera settings before every shot. Each scene is analysed and cross-referenced against Photographic Space – a vast in-camera library of photographic data. This enables the camera to make optimal adjustments to auto exposure, auto focus and auto white balance before image capture occurs.

9-Point AiAF

Canon's 9-point AiAF (Artificial Intelligence Auto Focus) automatically scans and selects subjects from a set of nine focusing areas across the scene. This ensures accurately focused images even when subjects are not in the centre of the frame.

FlexiZone AF/AE

FlexiZone AF/AE lets users manually select the focus point from almost any point in the frame by moving the auto focus window in the viewfinder. Exposure is linked to the focus point to ensure that the chosen subject is accurately focused and exposed.

Ultra-low Dispersion (UD) lens technology

No matter how well engineered, conventional optical glass lens elements cause chromatic aberrations which can ‘soften’ images and appear in photographs as fringing around the outside edge of subjects. Canon’s Ultra-low Dispersion (UD) glass has special optical properties to successfully reduce these aberrations. Especially effective in super telephoto lenses, UD glass helps to deliver crisp, sharp, high contrast images.

Pricing and Availability

Canon’s new PowerShot S3 IS digital camera will be available in May for an estimated selling price of $499.99.

Canon PowerShot S3 IS specifications

Sensor

• 1/2.5 " Type CCD
• 6.0 million effective pixels

Image sizes • 2816 x 2112
• 2816 x 1584
• 2272 x 1704
• 1600 x 1200
• 640 x 480
Movie clips • 640 x 480 @ 30 / 15fps
• 320 x 240 @ 60 / 30 / 15fps
• WAVE (stereo)
File formats • Still: JPEG (Exif 2.2)
• Movie: AVI (Motion JPEG compression)
Lens • 36-432mm equiv
• 12x Optical zoom
• F2.7-3.5 (max)
Image stabilization Yes (Lens shift-type)
Conversion lenses Yes
Digital zoom up to 4x
Focus • TTL
• 1 point AF (any position)
• Single
• Continuous
• Manual
AF assist lamp Yes
Focus distance Closest 0cm
Metering • Evaluative
• Center-weighted average
• Spot (centre or linked to focusing frame)
ISO sensitivity • Auto
• High ISO Auto
• ISO 80
• ISO 100
• ISO 200
• ISO 400
• ISO 800
Exposure compensation • +/- 2EV
• 1/3 stop increments
Exposure bracketing • 1/3-2EV
• 1/3 stop increments
Shuttter speed 15 – 1/3200 sec
Aperture F2.7-3.5 (max)
Modes • Auto
• Program AE
• Shutter Priority AE
• Aperture Priority AE
• Manual
• Custom
• Portrait
• Landscape
• Night Scene
• Sports
• Stitch Assist
• Special Scene
Scene modes • Foliage
• Snow
• Beach
• Fireworks
• Indoor
• Night Snapshot
• Color Accent
• Color Swap
White balance • TTL
• Auto
• Daylight
• Cloudy
• Tungsten
• Fluorescent
• Fluorescent H
• Flash
• Custom
Self timer • 2 or 10secs
• Custom
Continuous shooting • High Speed approx. 2.3fps
• Normal approx. 1.5fps
Image parameters My Colors (Off, Vivid, Neutral, Sepia, B&W, Positive film, Lighter skin tone, Darker skin tone, Vivid blue, Vivid red, Vivid Green, Custom color)
Flash • Auto
• Manual Flash On / Off
• Slow Synch
• Red eye reduction
• Flash exposure lock
• Flash Exposure Compensation +/- 2EV in 1/3 stop increments
• Manual Power adjustment
• Second Curtain Synch
• Range: 50cm-5.2m (wide) / 90cm-4.0m (tele)
Viewfinder • EVF (0.33" type)
• 115,000 pixels
LCD monitor • Vari-angle 2.0-inch Low Temp P-Si TFT
• 115,000 pixels
• Adjustable Brightness
Connectivity • USB 2.0 Hi-Speed
• AV out
Print compliance • PictBridge
• Canon SELPHY Compact Photo Printers and PIXMA Printers supporting PictBridge (ID Photo Print, Movie Print supported on SELPHY CP printers only)
Storage • SD / MMC compatible
• 16MB card supplied
Power • 4x AA Alkaline battery supplied or NiMH batteries
• Optional AC adapter
Weight (no batt) 410 g
Dimensions 113.4 x 78 x 75.5 mm

Additional images