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Kyocera Finecam S3 Review

July 2001 | By Phil Askey
Buy on From $69.00

Review based on a production Finecam S3
(Known as the Yashica Finecam S3 in Europe and SE Asia)

Kyocera (Yashica) are quite proud of the S3, it's the smallest (yes, it's very small) three megapixel digital camera, indeed it's quite a bit smaller than most ultra-compact 2 megapixel digital cameras. It's kitted out with a 2x optical zoom lens (with an automatic lens cover), supplied rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery and a sturdy stainless steel case. The Finecam S3 first hit the headlines just before PMA 2001, indeed I had the pleasure of authoring the news article for the S3 while half way across the Atlantic on my way to Orlando.

The S3 also has the dubious honour of being the first digital camera reviewed here on dpreview which uses MMC (Multi Media Card) storage cards (so that'll be another bunch of memory cards rattling around my desk drawers). These dinky storage cards are just slightly thicker than a SmartMedia card but are considerably smaller (more of this later).

The S3 doesn't really have any competition if you consider it as an ultra-compact 3 megapixel because there simply aren't any (except maybe the Nikon Coolpix 880 - but that isn't really ultra-compact). Instead it's easier to compare it to other ultra-compact's such as the Canon Digital IXUS 300 (S300), Digital IXUS v (S110) or Nikon Coolpix 775 - all of which are 2 megapixel digital cameras.

One thing which may weigh against the S3 is its price, with a street price around $700 it's certainly at the expensive end of the ultra-compact segment. Kyocera will almost definitely be betting on the camera's resolution, tiny size and stainless steel case to carry this price.

The S3 is designed both as a point-and-shoot fully automatic and has a few shutterbug features such as manual white balance, ISO sensitivity, aperture priority and manual focus hidden away in its record menu. One thing noticeably absent from the S3 is a USB or any type of digital I/O terminal. The lack of USB is made up for by the inclusion of a small USB MMC reader device which is obviously the same OEM unit which is sold by Microtech as the Zio! (and by others under different names). I suppose not including USB helps to cut down the amount of space taken up by the cameras electronics.

If you're new to digital photography you may wish to read the Digital Photography Glossary before diving into this review (it may help you understand some of the terms used).

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DPReview calibrate their monitors using Color Vision OptiCal at the (fairly well accepted) PC normal gamma 2.2, this means that on our monitors we can make out the difference between all of the (computer generated) grayscale blocks below. We recommend to make the most of this review you should be able to see the difference (at least) between X,Y and Z and ideally A,B and C.

This review is Copyright 2001 Phil Askey and the review in part or in whole may NOT be reproduced in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from the author. For information on reproducing any part of this review (or any images) please contact: Phil Askey.

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