JPEG Quality / Image Sizes

Standard Test Scene

The Finecam S3 believes in the 'keep it simple' ethos, as such there are only four different image size / quality options:

  • T: 2048 x 1536 TIFF
  • S: 2048 x 1536 Super-Fine JPEG
  • F: 2048 x 1536 Fine JPEG
  • N: 1024 x 768 Fine JPEG

Images below are cropped 240 x 100 area of the image magnified 200% (nearest neighbour).

2048 x 1536

9,280 KB (TIFF not available for download) / As a re-saved JPEG (1,266 KB)

1,906 KB

850 KB

1024 x 768

317 KB

Without commenting too much on image quality at this stage it's clear that the S3 doesn't apply very much in-camera sharpening. The TIFF image appears to be saved before any in-camera colour correction is applied, it has far less contrast and less saturated colours, an almost 'flat' image. There's little between the Super-Fine and Fine compression's in regards to detail, with the lack of a 128 MB MMC card I'd recommend most people to shoot at the Fine setting.


The Finecam S3 has three sensitivity options which are labelled Standard, x2 and x4. These equate to ISO 100, 200 and 400 respectively.

Sensitivity: Standard (ISO 100), 1/56 sec, F3.1
Sensitivity: x2 (ISO 200), 1/97 sec, F3.1
Sensitivity: x4 (ISO 400), 1/194 sec, F3.1

A surprisingly good performance for an ultra-compact, up to ISO 200 there's almost no visible noise (this could be attributed to some kind of in-camera processing, we have already noted that the camera's images seem slightly softer than other comparable cameras). At ISO 400 some noise is visible, though only in darker portions of the image (shadow areas), it does appear to be the 'pattern noise' type which is harder to remove / easier to see at reduced sizes. Overall a good performance.

Picture Effects

The Finecam S3 allows you to select from three effects modes ("Colour modes"): Normal colour, Black & White and Sepia (Black & White with a sepia tinge).

Normal colour Black & White Sepia

Digital Zoom

Readers of my reviews will know I'm not a huge fan of digital zoom as it's often a badly implemented and seldom used (by owners) marketing "ploy" to sell cameras which don't have an optical zoom. The Finecam S3 features a 2 x optical zoom and beyond that digital zoom levels of 1.3x, 1.6x and 2.0x. Sensibly, on the Finecam this is only implemented in the 1024 x 768 resolution and thus us useful because it's taking progressively smaller crops of the full 2048 x 1536 frame.

Zoom: 2 x (76 mm, no digital) Zoom: 2.6 x (76 mm, 1.3 x digital)
Zoom: 3.2 x (76 mm, 1.6 x digital) Zoom: 4 x (76 mm, 2.0 x digital)