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Canon Powershot S3 IS

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    8 Reviews
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      03.12.2009 22:35
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      a great all round for family use and would be photographers

      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.


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        16.11.2009 12:56


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        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.


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        03.06.2009 11:48


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        Excellent value and quality

        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.


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        20.11.2008 00:53
        Very helpful



        Very Good Camera

        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.


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          25.06.2008 22:52
          Very helpful
          1 Comment


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          A great cameral overall with no major problems

          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.


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            06.02.2007 15:02
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            A great camera that will grow with you!

            Last summer I decided it was time to launch myself into the world of serious digital photography. I knew I wanted a camera that would be easy to use but would give good results. I also wanted a good zoom lens as I wanted to be able to photograph wildlife when the opportunity arose.

            I started by visiting my local (very knowledgeable) Jessops.I think it’s important to try any camera out before using. It needs to feel good in your hand. I had already looked at various camera reviews online. I had set myself a price limit of £300. Two cameras ticked many of the boxes on my wish list; the Sony cybershot h5 and the Canon powershot s3 IS. I really liked the look of both of these cameras and both had similar features. I decided on the Canon mainly because it felt good in my hand and it boasts an incredible super macro mode for taking close up shots. The canon has 6.0 mega pixels so was more that adequate for my needs.

            Decision made I then hunted around for the best price. Although I would have liked to support Jessops for all the help they gave me Amazon had the Canon S3 IS on sale for £246,nearly £100 less than Jessops and they couldn’t match this price.

            What you get for your money
            The parcel arrived quickly and well packed. Inside the box was my new camera complete with basic instruction guide to get me started.

            An instruction cd with more advanced instructions-I printed this document to take on holiday to read. There are hundreds of pages to get through!

            Lens cover.

            Neck strap.

            4 x aa alkaline batteries.

            16 mb memory card –this will only hold about 14 photos so you will need to buy a bigger one.

            Usb lead.

            What can this camera do?

            I was keen to get started with my new camera and a read through the very clear basic instruction book enabled me to quickly get started. The camera can be used in automatic mode and will take very respectable pictures. However this camera is capable of much more. I don’t want to just list all the cameras features as you can look at these my going onto a site such as Amazon,where they are listed and explained. I feel it is more useful to review how I rate this camera.

            I purchased a 2gb SD memory card from Jessops for about £30. I also purchased a set of NIMH batteries and a charger.

            The camera has 11 different scene modes to allow you take shots in most conditions. I have found the beach mode very useful and effective as it helps to cut out the glare from sea and sand and gives true colour.

            There is also a great sports mode which allows you to shot continuous images, great for children’s sports days. I have some lovely shots of my son coming down a water slide.

            The portrait mode is also one I use a lot as it gives really sharp results.

            This camera can also perform various clever tricks! Simply select its creative mode and experiment. I really love the colour swap feature that allows you to change the colour of your picture; portraits in black and white look stunning.

            As I mentioned earlier there is an excellent super macro mode. With this switched on it is possible to take clear close up shots with your subject virtually touching the lens. Be careful you don’t end up with pollen on the lens as I did!

            The camera can also be used in full manual mode.

            I love fact the LCD screen had be rotated. When not in use the screen can be folded back against the camera to protect it. It is also possible to turn the screen right round and take a self-portrait if you want to! In a crowd you can hold the camera up and position the screen so you can see above heads.

            There is an adequate flash that has to operated manually an icon on the LCD will tell you when the flash is needed and you simply pop it up. The flash strength can also be altered.

            There is a movie mode that again gives good results and is easy to use. However my one attempt at taking a moving shots resulted in the whole of my memory card being used up in about 5 minutes! As I have a camcorder I do not find this mode very useful. But it is good to know that if you do use it you can take a quality still picture whilst taking your movie.

            The camera has a superb x 12 zoom lens. I have taken some really clear pictures with the zoom although at full zoom the pictures begin to look a bit blurred.

            There is a self portrait mode that can be set to give different lengths of time delay.

            The Canon has optical image stabilization that helps to compensate for any camera shake and ensures a sharp image.

            The camera looks very professional in gun grey metal. It feels well made with easy to reach, well-positioned controls. I find the menu clear too although it took me a while to understand it all!

            I always use the LCD when taking a picture but there is also the option of using the digital viewfinder. This can be adjusted to match your eyesight.

            The camera comes with its own image software. However I have had numerous problems trying to use the supplied software, as it seems to crash at regular intervals. This may be my lack of technical knowledge, but it is something I am working on!

            Downloading pictures is easy however. The camera comes with the necessary USB cable.

            When you want to view your pictures you can either look at the by manually clicking through them or the camera can be set to give you an automatic slide show. It can even be programmed to fade each shot in and out!

            The camera is not the smallest around and looks more like an SLR camera. It weighs 560 grams. I find it comfortable to wear across my body in its case.

            The camera is pictbridge compatible so you don’t even need a computer to print your pictures.

            The cons.
            For me there is very little to grumble about with this camera. I have found that the camera sometimes struggles to focus when I’m using the zoom. This can be annoying when I have been using it to film wildlife as by the time the camera locks onto the subject the subject is long gone!

            I would have liked to have a camera case included in the price. This is not a cheap camera and the addition of a bag; even a basic one would have been nice.

            My verdict.

            As I said this is my no means a comprehensive review of all that this camera can do. I have chosen to pick out just some of its features and look at how I think they perform.

            I wanted a camera that would grow with me from novice to (hopefully) a more advanced photographer. This camera certainly fits the bill. I have taken some excellent shots as well as some very disappointing ones, but that is more to do with my lack of skill than the camera!


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            • More +
              01.09.2006 14:39



              Zoom, swivel display, vido mode and feel make this camera a joy to use.

              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.


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                11.08.2006 00:21
                Very helpful


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                Good alternative for those who don't want another compact or a SLR

                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.

                Technical specifications
                - 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
                - flash

                Physical specifications
                -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.


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              • Product Details

                PowerShot S3 IS is equipped with an approximately 6.0 million camera effective pixel 1/2.5-inch Charge Coupled Device (CCD). Also, with DIGIC II, higher resolution and high-speed processing were achieved and the startup time and response time were shortened.

                This camera is equipped with a 12x optical zoom lens, which covers a 35mm film equivalent focal length ranging from 36 mm (Wide Angle) to 432 mm (Telephoto), and has an f/2.7 (Wide Angle) - f/3.5 (Telephoto) aperture. By incorporating a UD (Ultra Low Dispersion) lens into the lens element, the chromatic aberration has been reduced. This model incorporates an image stabilizer, which reduces the effects of camera shake while shooting. In addition, the zoom lens's super-smooth, super-fast ultra sonic motor (USM) provides all the zooming speed you need.

                This camera can take VGA (640 x 480 pixels) movies with exceptional image quality at a full 30 frames per second. Furthermore, it can shoot movies even in the still image shooting modes and vice versa. Also, a new mode to take very smooth QVGA (320 x 240 pixels) movies at 60 frames per second has been newly added. Moreover, digital zoom and manual focus are available as well as adjusting the zoom or exposure, or locking the AF or exposure while shooting a movie. Movies can be taken continuously (depending on the storage capacity of the recording media) until the clip size reaches 1GB or the clip length reaches 1 hour.

                The recording pixels include a "Widescreen" feature that has the same aspect ratio as 16:9 widescreen TVs for shooting wide images. Adding ISO [800] has resulted in a faster shutter speed even when shooting in dark environments. Also, [High ISO Auto] that has a program diagram with a higher ISO speed setting has been added to the ISO speed position.

                Featuring "Sports" as a shooting mode has resulted in better focusing of moving subjects, which is especially useful when shooting sporting events. A "My Colors" mode that changes image colors when shooting has been added to the FUNC. Menu of the PowerShot S3 IS.

                Macro mode is used to record subjects at close range, and Super Macro is used when the distance from the front of the lens to the subject is in the range of 0 to 10 cm (0 to 3.9 in.).

                This camera is equipped with an upgraded 2.0-inch Liquid Crystal Display (LCD). Information display on the LCD monitor and LCD viewfinder when shooting can be customized. The function (shooting mode: P/Tv/Av/M) to display the histogram when shooting was added and Grid lines can be displayed for easier photo composition. Also, this camera shows the possible shooting range within which auto-focusing at the current zoom position.

                As the recording quality is set up to 16 bit, 44.100 k Hz with the stereo microphone, high quality recording is possible when shooting movies. In addition, "Sound Recorder" can record sound only, without images.

                Using My Colors, effects can be added to images that have already been shot (still images only). The functions to create a folder to store recorded images by shooting date or shooting month, and to jump to the first image of each shooting date or to a movie and play have been newly added. Transition effects can be applied while transitioning between scenes or on slide shows.

                A Print/Share button has also been equipped, letting you easily print your images by connecting the camera directly to a direct print compatible printer and then simply pressing this button. When the camera is connected to a computer, pressing the Print/Share button lets you easily download images directly from the camera to the computer.

                Technical Data

                Product Description: Canon PowerShot S3 IS - digital camera
                Product Type: Digital camera - compact
                Memory Card Slot: SD card
                Image Processor: DIGIC II
                Sensor Resolution: 6.0 Megapixel
                Lens System: 12 x zoom lens - 6 - 72 mm - f/2.7-3.5
                Focus Adjustment: Automatic, manual
                Min Focus Distance: 50 cm
                Digital Zoom: 4 x
                Image Stabiliser: Optical
                Camera Flash: Pop-up flash
                Viewfinder: Electronic - 0.33" - colour
                Display: LCD display - 2"
                Supported Battery: 4 x AA alkaline battery ( included )
                AV Interfaces: Composite video
                Dimensions (WxDxH): 11.3 cm x 7.6 cm x 7.8 cm
                Weight: 410 g