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Compared to... Canon S2 IS

Below you will find a studio comparison between the Canon PowerShot S3 IS and its immediate predecessor the Canon S2 IS at ISO 400.

Studio scene comparison ( @ ISO 400)

  • Canon PowerShot S3 IS: Aperture Priority mode, ISO 400, Default Image Parameters,
    Manual white balance, +0.67 EV compensation
  • Canon PowerShot S2 IS: Aperture Priority mode, ISO 400, Default Image Parameters,
    Manual white balance, +1.0 EV compensation
     
  • Lighting: Daylight simulation, >98% CRI
Canon PowerShot S3 IS
Canon PowerShot S2 IS
ISO 400, 1/250 sec, F5.0
ISO 400, 1/318 sec, F5.0
3,013 KB JPEG
2,454 KB JPEG

Anyone hoping for a 'great leap forward' in noise is going to be slightly disappointed; not because the S3 isn't any better (it has much finer grained luminance noise and slightly less obvious color blotches), but because the S3's ISO 400 is measurably less sensitive (around half a stop) than the S2, so what you gain on the one hand, you lose on the other. That said, the new camera's ISO 400 results (in good light like this) are surprisingly usable, especially if you don't intend to print them too big. Canon's fairly light-handed approach to noise reduction means that more detail is retained than we see in some competitor models. What is noticeable comparing the S3 results with the S2 results is that the new sensor appears to require less aggressive noise reduction and therefore detail retention is better, but again this needs to be balanced with the lower sensitivity.

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