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Canon Powershot S3 IS Review

Digital camera review overview
Canon Powershot S3 IS Introduction
Canon Powershot S3 IS Camera
Canon Powershot S3 IS Control
Canon Powershot S3 IS Adjustments
Canon Powershot S3 IS Storage and Energy
Canon Powershot S3 IS Conclusion

Canon Powershot S3 IS Review conclusion

Canon PowerShot S3 IS - 12x optical zoom
The Canon PowerShot S3 IS is not your average digital compact camera with a large zoom range. It is in fact a multimedia device. After all, this camera enables you to do so much more than take photos; you now have the choice of video clips with stereo sound, as well as the option to add audio to your photos afterwards. It is an exceptionally versatile camera that leaves very little to be desired as far as user-friendliness is concerned. Compared to its predecessor, the PowerShot S2 IS, there have been more changes made than you would assume at first glance. The resolution is higher, the sensitivity has increased, the screen has grown and several snags and negative points have been fixed.

Canon PowerShot S3 IS camera - ISO 800
These improvements lead not only to a camera that is pleasant to work with, but also to results that are simply better than before. It goes without saying that the centre stage is once again taken by the unprecedented DIGIC II processor. The Canon PowerShot S3 IS can easily be used in low-light conditions. Even at ISO 800 the camera performs surprisingly well. This sensitivity, however, also comes in handy when taking photos in the maximum tele mode, which increases the risk of blur caused by jitter, even though the camera is equipped with an excellent image stabiliser. Faster shutter speeds prove to be at least as effective.

Canon S3 IS camera - Lens & Focussing
The lens produces superb results. Although distortion is visible at wide-angle, it stays easily within the margins. The sharpness is very decent from the corners to the centre. Focussing proves both fast and accurate, and takes places soundlessly. The colour rendition is first-rate, and Canon have managed to achieve an excellent compromise where sharpening and contrast are concerned. The photos from the Canon S3 IS are ready for instant use, without requiring any editing afterwards.

Canon Powershot S3 IS - Clear operation
However, image quality isn't the only thing that makes the Canon S3 IS an attractive camera; it also features an exceptionally swift and easy operation. The combination of the menu, which offers an impressive amount of languages, and the clear, effortless operation ensure even the least experienced user is able to find his way around the camera. The Canon PowerShot S3 IS is also without question a camera that allows you to enhance your photographic skills and abilities. From simple and fully automatic to entirely manual, there's nothing that this camera can't do! In addition, the Canon PowerShot S3 IS is a pleasant camera to hold, mainly thanks to the rough and somewhat rigid handgrip.

Canon S3 IS improvements - LCD display & RAW
Naturally, there's always room for improvement. Granted, with its 2 inch display, the camera already features a slightly larger monitor, but that doesn't change the fact we would still prefer to see a 2.5 inch screen. Provided, of course, that it fits within the size of the camera, seeing as this is a very pleasant feature. To enable users to truly "grow" into the camera, and broaden their photographic horizons even further, the option to capture images in RAW would be a welcome addition. The inexperienced user would undoubtedly also benefit from a flash that flips up automatically. Lastly, I would appreciate a different zoom range; slightly more wide-angle, and a little less tele. However, these changes wouldn't have to be radical. After all, the Canon PowerShot S3 IS proves to be a true Canon gem, as well as a simply fantastic product.

Canon Powershot S3 IS - Great digital camera
All in all, it didn't take much for the Canon PowerShot S3 IS to convince yours truly. You can get started quickly, and you will be able to capture all your moments with excellent quality in no-time. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised to see the Canon PowerShot S3 IS rise instantly to worldwide bestseller fame. It is indeed a unique camera, suitable for everyone. Truly recommended to all that are looking for a high-quality versatile camera!

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Canon Powershot S3 IS review

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SanDisk Extreme III SD memory card
The SD memory card is placed behind the door that can be found in the handgrip of the Canon PowerShot S3 IS. Upon opening the door, the camera is immediately deactivated. This means a certain amount of caution is required; if you do not wait until all photos have been written onto the card, you are sure to lose one or even several of your images. We would also recommend using a slightly faster card, such as the SanDisk Ultra II, or for the speed freaks, a SanDisk Extreme III card. This really does make a difference in the speed with which the images are stored, as well as enable faster sequential shooting. In addition, these types of cards take less time to copy to the computer's hard drive.

512MB Secure Digital memory card
Canon supply the Canon PowerShot S3 IS with a 16MB card, which, if truth be told, isn't much use, and therefore best left in the box. It is advisable to purchase a 256MB or 512MB card, so that you are at least able to capture your images. The following table shows the amount of images that can be taken in combination with a 512MB Secure Digital memory card.

Considering 512MB of storage capacity:
Resolution L Large - Super fine - 2816x2112 - 2720kB - 176 images
Resolution L Large - Fine - 2816x2112 pixels - 1620kB - 292 images
Resolution L Large - Normal - 2816x2112 pixels - 780kB - 603 images
Resolution M1 Normal 1 - Super fine - 2272x1704 - 2002kB - 237 images
Resolution M1 Normal 1 - Fine - 2272x1704 - 1116kB - 425 images
Resolution M1 Normal 1 - Normal - 2272x1704 - 556kB - 839 images
Resolution M2 Normal 2 - Super fine - 1600x1200 - 1002kB - 471 images
Resolution M2 Normal 2 - Fine - 1600x1200 pixels - 558kB - 839 images
Resolution M2 Normal 2 - Normal - 1600x1200 - 278kB - 1590 images
Resolution S Small - Super fine - 640x480 pixels - 249kB - 1777 images
Resolution S Small - Fine - 640x480 pixels - 150KB - 2747 images
Resolution S Small - Normal - 640x480 pixels - 84KB - 4317 images
Resolution W Wide-angle - Super fine - 2816x1584 - 2026kB - 235
Resolution W Wide-angle - Fine - 2816x1584 - 1210kB - 392 images
Resolution W Wide-angle - Normal - 2816x1584 - 585kB - 794 images

Video resolution - 640x480 pixels - 30fps - 4 min 9 sec
Video resolution - 640x480 pixels - 15fps - 8 min 14 sec
Video resolution - 320x240 pixels - 60fps - 5 min 59 sec
Video resolution - 320x240 pixels - 30fps - 11 min 42 sec
Video resolution - 320x240 pixels - 15fps - 22 min 53 sec

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