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I researched for a long while which camera to buy and in the end I plumped for the Canon Power Shot S3 IS and boy ... I'm glad I did.
I have been very pleased with everything from the macro and super macro to the optical zoom and the details that come to life when viewing the pictures.
The icing on the cake for me is the movie facility. You can easily make home movies with this camera though you do need to make sure you have a fast SD card and go for at least 1 GB upwards if you want to film for longer than a few minutes. The audio capture is good as well.
I took pictures of my friend's wedding and filmed their ceremony for them and the quality was great, everyone was really impressed with the end results and when I put some pics and movie together with the music they loved - they were sooo delighted!
There are many features and you can buy wide and polarised lenses etc quite reasonably to add on and bring more to your photography.
So whether it is filming your children, pets or polar bears at the zoo or zooming across a bay to bring in details and views you would have missed, I think this camera tops many and can be a simple point and click for a great quick photograph and yet enough to keep an enthusiastic would be photographer going for some time.
Any drawbacks? Well, the one negative I have is the loose lens cap - it jumps off at the least excuse, but worth putting up with.
The best digital camera I ever had. Why? That's easy;- really good zoom- image stabilization (I've got trembling hand when I see something exciting ;))- super macro function (easy way to wonderful macro photos)- like all Canon cams is easy to use- looks really professional - night photos are in good qualityI recommend this camera for everyone - amateurs ans professionals.
This is a great camera and I highly recommend it.
I have been using it for 2 years now and have produced some great shots. it has also stood up to being dropped and severely splashed under a waterfall!
The super macro mode is fantastic for providing super close ups at 0 range, although a light reflector is recommended to avoid dark photos in this situation.
The video mode is good, but the main draw is the 12x optical zoom which is one of the highest available in this price range. The button placement is intuitive and battery length is good. I was able to buy a 3rd party adaptor ring to fit ND filters for more professional options. The pop up flash has variable intensity although it can be a bit harsh (I made a filter out of a milk carton) and drain the battery.
the screen swivels which is invaluable in taking high and low angle shots.
The only downsides I have found with this camera are reduced batery life when using flash, and reduced image quality when taking pictures of fine detail against a bright background i.e. branches against white sky. Obviously also, it is a little too bulky to carry around on nights out - so I use this as my day camera and take a cheap compact camera for parties/bars etc.
For those of you who have read some of my previous reviews, you'll realise I have owned a lot of cameras - I must be a bit of an addict. Anyway, one of my favourites is now a couple of years old, but still produces the goods...
The Six MegaPixel Canon 'Powershot S3' is a stylish digital compact camera with a 12x optical zoom. Although this camera is smaller than a digital SLR, it certainly won't fit in the pocket and is slightly heavier than some of it's competitors. However, what it lacks in portability it more than makes up for in features.
The camera includes a 'Twist & Flip' LCD, which can be pulled out from the camera body and rotated through 270 degrees - making self-portraits and overhead photography a doddle.
It also features:
- Image Stabilisation -
Highly effective and silent system which allows shots to be taken at slower shutter speeds in low-light.
- Excellent movie mode -
Although it can't shoot in HD, the overall quality is very good. Whilst filming, the image stabilisation continues to work, and unlike many compacts, the powerful zoom is also fully operational.
The body is tough and well constructed - looking quite professional in it's dark grey colour. It features a decent grip, and overall the product is comfortable to hold.
As well as the LCD screen, the camera uses an electronic viewfinder which gives an accurate representation of what the lens sees. If you haven't used one of these before, you won't be disappointed and should find it easy to adjust to.
It terms of the image quality, the S3 produces excellent results at the lower ISO levels (80-200) - however, at ISO 400-800 there is quite a bit of image noise in evidence, which makes it possible to only create small prints from the images taken at these settings.
Allowing manual controls over shutter-speeds and a range of other customisable features, I highly recommend the Powershot S3, which when first released had a retail price of over £400, but now can be purchased for under £200. The zoom range is impressive, and although there are newer cameras which have similar features, the S3 should be considered for the price.
The Canon S3IS is a great all round camera that is a good half way between a portable camera and an SLR. It takes great pictures and is easy to use thanks to the internal stabilisation. For those who want them there are also a number of accesories to enhance the capabilities of the camera (although i do not have these so cannot comment on how they perform).
The automatic settings on the camera make it very easy to use straight out of the box and on top of this it has many other modes that make it easy to take good pictures under a large number of difficult conditions. It even does well in low light conditions.
For digital camera the video mode isnt too bad either as it records at 640x480 allowing you to take video of a sufficient quality when necessary (including sound), I took the camera to my sister in laws wedding and managed to record the entire civil ceremony on a two gig card as well as take a large number of pictures.
The only drawback i can find with this product is that it is much bigger than many of its competitors due to the four AA batteries used to power it, but on the positive side, this means that you have a power source that will last some time and can be replaced with replacements purchased from anywhere should you run out of power when out.
This camera has a wonderful feel to it and takes great pictures. A DSLR with a 12x optical zoom with image stabalisation would be both expensive, cumbersome and wouldn't take videos. This camera won't fit in your pocket but it's not much of a burden. The balance and proportions are wonderful. The controls you need are one button away. Low light performance can be noisy but I found I could often take good indoor photos without the flash - better colours and without hurting people's eyes. The optical zoom just gi9ves so many more options. The swivel display makes it so much easier to take interesting angled shots. I don't need the display to be any bigger. The EVF is too low definition, but still I enjoyed it, except in bright sunlight.
The video mode is excellent: 30fps VGA with good stereo sound means in most cases you don't need a camcorder for home movies. Because video is at VGA resolution this is the only mode where the digital zoom is worth using giving 48x. You can take still images whilst videoing but this messes up the video by pausing the action and putting a big click sound in.
A fun, quality camera I've taken some very pleasing photos and videois with that I couldn't have with any other single camera that I know of.
Why I brought the camera?
Most compact digital cameras only have a 3x optical zoom which means you are limited how far away you can be from the subject matter. SLR cameras have the problem that you can get dust between the lenses and have the hassle of getting the dust out or using a graphics program to edit your pictures. The Canon Powershot S3 IS has the advantage that it is an ultrazoom which means that unlike compact digital cameras you have a wider range of distance you can be from the subject matter, and unlike SLRs it has a fixed lense which means you will not get dust between the lenses. As I like taking pictures of people, landscapes and close shots of plants I wanted a camera with a better zoom and at least as good a macro mode as my old Pentax camera but wasn't as hard to learn to use as a SLR.
What's in the box
Depending where you buy your camera you will get the camera, 2 instruction manuals, a 16MB SD card, various cables and 4 AA batteries for about £324. There are better deals out there and for £350 I got all the above plus a mini tripod,a camera case, a battery charger with 4 rechargeable batteries and a 512MB SD card.
I'm just learning to use the camera (I've had it for 1.5 weeks ) so while it has an array of features i.e. you can change your ISO settings manually for different light conditions, I have mainly used the camera in the easy modes such as autofocus mode, sports mode, landscape mode, portait mode, macro mode and scene mode.
The auto focus mode is the first mode you would use when you get the camera. It is basically the point and shoot mode i.e. you set the lense to the zoom position you want and you point and shoot.
The landscape and portrait modes are for taking panoramic pictures of landscapes and portraits of people/animals respectively. The sports mode is to take pictures of fast moving objects however I found that sometimes taking pictures of people and landscapes in this mode gave very good results particularly in poor light conditions.
The scene mode seems to be a mode you select to get a more accurate representation of the colour and light conditions of the item you are taking a picture off. For example if you are taking a picture of some plants you would choose the scene mode and then select foliage from the menu.
There is a macro mode and a super macro mode. These allow you to take pictures of objects very close up i.e. from 0cm away. However for best results you should use a tripod or a table.
There is a night scene mode which any pictures I took using that mode looked awful. Maybe because it was not dark enough at dusk to use that mode, instead I found that if I took the same/similar scene in sports mode I got a very nice result.
There is also a video camera mode which I have yet to use. This is because the camera runs until your SD card is full and as I was on holiday using the camera I didn't want to run out of memory space.
- 12x optical zoom with image stablizer, USM and UD lens
- DIGIC II image processor to drive continous shooting.
- iSAPS technology to optimise camera settings before a shot is taken.
- FlexiZone AF/AE to manually select the focus point from almost anywhere in the frame.
- 6.0 Megapixes
- Widescreen 16:9 mode
- 20 shooting modes
- 30fps VGA movies with full audio
- High ISO Auto and ISO 800 for low light flexibility
- Macro and Supermacro modes to take pictures from 0cm away.
- movable LCD and has an eye viewer
- has pict bridge technology so you can attach camera straight to a printer
-Dimensions 113.4mm X 78.0mm X 75.5 mm (excluding viewfinder-eyepiece & protrusions)
-Weight approx. 410g
SD cards or MMC cards
4 times AA batteries
- lots of modes
- produces amazing pictures
- smaller than SLR and can get some extra lenses for it.
- movable LCD
- uses SD and MMC cards which are now cheap
- provided with software so you can stitch panoramic shots together
- need to learn a lot to make the most out of the camera
- need a good tripod or a solid platform to take pictures with the zoom fully extended or macro photos
- pictures only in JPEG format
- needs 4 times AA batteries
- not pocket size
As you can see this camera has a lot of functionality which as someone new to taking pictures with a camera that is not just point and shoot it will take more than 1.5 weeks to get use to it.