Canon PowerShot S3 IS Review
Like the S2 IS before it (and for that matter the original S1 IS), the latest version of Canon's flagship Image stabilized Ultra zoom PowerShot has been one of the most popular cameras on dpreview (measured by clicks) since the day it was announced. Unlike the S2, the PowerShot S3 IS is a relatively minor upgrade to it's predecessor, much more of an evolutionary change than a wholesale reinvention. The basic spec (aside from the sensor) is pretty familiar; 12x optical zoom, flip 'n' twist LCD, tons of photographic control and advanced movie mode with stereo sound. The S2 IS was one of the best big zoom cameras of last year, but this is a highly competitive sector of the market, so does the S3 IS still have what it takes to keep Canon near the top? Let's find out.
- 12x optical zoom lens with USM and UD lens element
- Optical Image Stabilizer
- 6.0 Megapixel CCD
- 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
- 20 shooting modes and My Colors photo effects
- High ISO Auto and ISO 800 for low light flexibility
- Widescreen (16:9) recording
Powershot S3 IS vs S2 IS; what's changed?
Aside from the move to the new 1/2.5" 6 megapixel sensor and a larger screen the S3 IS is, as mentioned above, a pretty minor upgrade. The most immediately obvious difference is the color; very dark gunmetal as opposed to shiny silver. Sat next to the S2 IS the new camera looks a lot more serious, and is a lot more inconspicuous when you're out shooting. Externally the cameras are otherwise almost identical (the S3 IS is fractionally heavier, not that you'd notice).
- New sensor (6MP versus 5MP)
- Higher maximum sensitivity (ISO 800)
- Bigger LCD screen (2.0-inch versus 1.8-inch)
- New Sports mode
- Record Histogram
- Widescreen shooting mode (stills)
- Fractionally larger and heavier
Canon PowerShot S3 IS
Canon PowerShot S2 IS
|Body color||Gunmetal grey||Silver|
|Sensor||1/2.5” CCD, 6.2 million pixels||1/2.5” CCD, 5.3 million pixels|
|Effective Resolution||6.0 million pixels||5.0 million pixels|
|Maximum Image Size|| 2816 x 2112
||2592 x 1944|
|Histogram||Record & playback||Playback only|
|Continuous Shooting||2.3 fps, unlimited||2.4 fps, unlimited|
|LCD screen||• 2.0-inch TFT (flip out and twist)
• 115,000 pixels
|• 1.8-inch TFT (flip out and twist)
• 115,000 pixels
|Weight (no batteries)||410g||405g|
|Street price|| US: $480
|Sensor||• 1/2.5 " Type CCD
• 6.0 million effective pixels
|Image sizes||• 2816 x 2112
• 2816 x 1584 (16:9 widescreen mode)
• 2272 x 1704
• 1600 x 1200
• 640 x 480
|Movie clips||• 640 x 480 @ 30 / 15fps
• 320 x 240 @ 60 / 30 / 15fps
• Photo in Movie feature
• WAVE (stereo)
Length limited only by storage (maximum single movie file 1GB)
• AVI (Motion JPEG compression)
36 - 432mm equiv. (12x optical zoom)
|Focus|| TTL autofocus
Single / Continuous AF
1-point AF (center or flexizone)
10 cm minimum focus range (macro)
• Center-weighted average
• Spot (center or linked to focusing frame)
Mechanical shutter + Electronic shutter
|Aperture|| F2.7-F8.0 (wide)
|Shooting mode||• Auto
• Program AE
• Shutter Priority AE
• Aperture Priority AE
• Night Scene
• Stitch Assist
• Night Snapshot
• Color Accent
• Color Swap
• High ISO Auto
• ISO 80
• ISO 100
• ISO 200
• ISO 400
• ISO 800
|White Balance|| Auto
Contrast (3 levels)
|Continuous||• High Speed approx. 2.3fps
• Normal approx. 1.5fps
• 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 (wide): 50cm - 5.2m (1.6-17ft)
• Range (tele): 90cm - 4.0m (3.0-13 ft)
• Range (macro): 30 - 50m (1.0-1.6 ft)
|Storage||• SD / MMC compatible
• 16MB card supplied
|Viewfinder||• EVF (0.33" type)
• 115,000 pixels
Dioptre adjustment (-5.5 to 1.5 dpt)
|LCD monitor||• Vari-angle 2.0-inch Low Temp P-Si TFT
• 115,000 pixels
• Adjustable Brightness
|Connectivity|| USB 2.0 High speed
|Power|| 4 x AA batteries (NiMH recommended)
(Optional AC adapter)
|Optional accessories|| 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)
|Weight (no batt)||410 g|
|Dimensions||113.4 x 78 x 75.5 mm|
* Supplied accessories may differ in each country or area
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