Overall Image Quality

The Finecam S3 is capable of producing pleasing, vividly coloured and relatively accurate images. However, there were a few things that bothered me. Some images showed slightly odd 'out of hue' colours which I didn't expect, most images appeared soft and almost 'cleaned' (that slight oil painting look very close up). Metering mostly erred on the side of caution, most images appearing a little 'flat' because the metering system had chosen to maintain highlight detail by slightly underexposing. Resolution wise the S3 didn't perform as well as I'd have liked, it's certainly not as capable at capturing fine details as the average 3 megapixel digital camera.

Purple Fringing (Chromatic Aberrations)

The S3 performed well, hardly any visible chromatic aberrations. There was occasionally some blooming around very bright areas of an image.

Little visible chromatic aberrations in an "every day shot"
Our now standard chromatic aberration test shot (mostly blooming)

Barrel and Pincushion Distortion

The Finecam S3's lens performed pretty much as expected for a compact extending lens. We measured barrel distortion of 1.0% at wide angle (38 mm equiv.) and pincushion distortion of 0.8% at telephoto (76 mm equiv.). Neither of these measurements are so great that you'd notice lens distortion every day.

Barrel Distortion, 1.0% @ Wide Angle Pincushion Distortion, 0.8% @ Telephoto

White Balance

The S3's automatic white balance seemed to cope well even under artificial light. Add to this the fact that this little camera has a sensible range of pre-programmed white balance settings as well as a manual white balance preset option and it's safe to say that the S3 has white balance solved.

Outdoors, Auto Outdoors, Cloudy Outdoors, Manual
Incandescent, Auto Incandescent, Incandescent Incandescent, Manual
Fluorescent, Auto Fluorescent, Fluorescent Fluorescent, Manual