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Canon PowerShot Pro Series S3 IS 6MP with 12x Image Stabilized Zoom (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
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- Powered by 4 AA-size batteries (alkaline batteries supplied) , stores images on SD memory cards (16 MB card included)
- DIGIC II, iSAPS, and Flexizone AF/AE for fast, precise results , 2.3-frame-per-second continuous shooting performance
- 12x optical zoom lens with USM and UD lens element , 2.0-inch vari-angle LCD display
- 6.0-megapixel CCD captures enough detail for photo-quality 14 x 19-inch prints
- 20 shooting modes and My Colors photo effects
- 6.0-megapixel CCD captures enough detail for photo-quality 14 x 19-inch prints
- 12x optical zoom lens with USM and UD lens element; 2.0-inch vari-angle LCD display
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|Auto Focus Technology|
|Camera Flash||BUILT IN FLASH|
|Continuous Shooting Speed||2.3 fps|
|Display Fixture Type||Fully-articulated|
|Display Resolution Maximum||115,000|
|Display Size||2 inches|
|Display Technology||Digital light|
|Effective Still Resolution||6 MP|
|Expanded ISO Maximum||800|
|Expanded ISO Minimum||80|
|External Memory Included||Yes|
|Flash Memory Type||SD/SDHC/MMC card|
|Flash Modes Description||auto, manual, Red-eye reduction|
|Flash Type||Built-in Flash|
|Flash Type||On the camera|
|Focus Description||TTL, FlexiZone|
|Focus Type||Autofocus & Manual|
|ISO Range||Auto, 80 ,100, 200, 400, 800|
|Image Aspect Ratio||4:3, 16:9|
|Included Components||Neck strap, 4AA Battery,Stereo video cable, Inter face cable, memory card and CD|
|Item Dimensions||3.07 x 2.99 x 4.45 inches|
|Item Display Weight||410 grams|
|Item Weight||1.12 pounds|
|Lithium Battery Energy Content||1 Watt Hour|
|Lithium Battery Voltage||1 Volt|
|Lithium Battery Weight||153 grams|
|Macro Focus Range||10 cm|
|Manufacturer Warranty Description||1 Year|
|Maximum Aperture Range||F2.7 - F3.5|
|Maximum Focal Length||432 mm|
|Maximum Shutter Speed||1/3200 of a second|
|Maximum horizontal resolution||2,816|
|Memory Slots Available||2 dimm|
|Memory Storage Capacity||16 MB|
|Minimum Focal Length||36 mm|
|Minimum Shutter Speed||15 seconds|
|Optical Sensor Resolution||6 MP|
|Optical Sensor Size||1/2.5|
|Optical Sensor Technology||CCD|
|Photo Sensor Technology||CCD|
|Removable Memory||Secure Digital card|
|Shipping Weight||1.35 pounds|
|Supported Battery Types||AA (4) batteries (NiMH recommended)|
|Video Capture Resolution||640 x 480, 15/30 fps, 320 x 240 15/30/60 fps|
|Water Resistance Level||Not Water Resistant|
The sleek PowerShot S3 IS digital camera offers you high resolution, an extra-long zoom, advanced yet easy-to-use movie functions plus great new shooting options. Also, with Image Stabilizer technology, images and movies taken with the S3 IS are sharp and smooth, even when the camera gets jostled. It's everything you need to capture the fun, excitement and beauty of your active life wherever it takes you.
From the Manufacturer
The sleek PowerShot S3 IS digital camera offers you high resolution, an extra-long zoom, advanced yet easy-to-use movie functions plus great new shooting options. Also, with Image Stabilizer technology, images and movies taken with the S3 IS are sharp and smooth, even when the camera gets jostled. It's everything you need to capture the fun, excitement and beauty of your active life - wherever it takes you!
Successor to the popular PowerShot S2 IS, the latest addition to the PowerShot S-series incorporates a 6.0-megapixel CCD sensor, Canon's renowned optical Image Stabilizer technology, and video functionality rivalling that of dedicated digital video camcorders. Sporting a striking new finish in gunmetal grey, the compact PowerShot S3 IS answers the demands of advanced photographers with several improvements over its predecessor, including an increased sensitivity range of ISO 80 to ISO 800, a larger 2.0-inch vari-angle LCD screen, widescreen (16:9) recording, new movie features, and an additional Sports mode.
Canon PowerShot S3 IS features:
The PowerShot S3 IS caters for serious photo enthusiasts seeking extended zooming flexibility and fully featured movie recording in a versatile compact digital stills camera.
Still the most powerful zoom in a Canon digital compact camera (36 to 432mm, f2.7-f.3.5), the PowerShot S3 IS's lens incorporates the same leading technologies used in Canon's professional EF lenses. An Ultra-Sonic Motor (USM) drives rapid and near-silent zoom operation; an Ultra-low Dispersion (UD) lens element significantly reduces chromatic aberration in telephoto shots; Canon's optical Image Stabilizer (IS) technology counteracts camera shake to reduce image blur when shooting stills or recording video, essential for handheld shots at longer focal lengths. IS allows photographers to shoot at shutter speeds up to 3 stops slower for reliable flash-free photography in low light conditions.
The PowerShot S3 IS's 12x optical zoom combines with digital zoom to deliver 48x magnification for recording both stills and video. For even wider framing options, optional wide and telephoto converter lenses extend the focal length from wide 27mm to super-tele 648mm (35mm film equivalent) for an impressive 24x optical zoom. A Super Macro mode and optional Close-Up lens 500D (58mm) allow for detailed macro photography. (Optional wide, telephoto, and close-up lenses not included--must be purchased separately.)
Increased ISO speed
In addition to Image Stabilization, the PowerShot S3 IS features a new High ISO Auto setting and ISO 800 to further extend the camera's low light shooting capabilities. High ISO Auto automatically sets exposure using the higher range of ISO sensitivities, enabling faster shutter speeds in low light and increased image stability at the telephoto end. A dedicated ISO button allows for easy switching between ISO sensitivities.
Powerful video functions make the PowerShot S3 IS far more than just a high-performance digital still camera. A dedicated movie button means users do not need to switch modes to start recording, so spontaneous moments can be instantly captured in full motion. Users can record smooth 30-frame-per-second VGA quality movies of up to 1 GB with stereo sound, or create 60-frame-per-second QVGA clips for sharp slow-motion playback. The Movie mode also allows users to pre-select exposure and white balance, zoom throughout the camera's focal range, and manually adjust focus while shooting. A Photo In Movie feature enables the capture of full resolution digital stills during video recording.
The PowerShot S3 IS offers 20 shooting modes including full Manual mode, Aperture Priority, and Shutter Speed Priority. Together with 2.3-frame-per-second continuous shooting, a new fast-shutter Sports mode with improved autofocus accuracy provides unprecedented capabilities for capturing action sports sequences. Special Scene modes--such as Night Snapshot and Snow--assist with tricky lighting conditions, while Color Accent and Color Swap modes enable dramatic color effects to be applied to both images and movies. Canon's My Colors photo effects have been enhanced for this model, and can now be applied to images both before and after shooting.
The PowerShot S3 IS features a new Widescreen mode (2816 x 1584 recording pixels) for capturing still images in 16:9 format--perfect for viewing images on widescreen television or printing wide (10 x 20-centimeter) photos with a Selphy Compact Photo Printer.
Printing and other features
A new, dedicated Print menu simplifies printing of multiple images. Full PictBridge support means users can print directly to any PictBridge compatible printer without the need for a PC. New PictBridge features include the ability to print shooting data and optimize faces in portrait shots when connected to a compatible Canon PIXMA printer. The camera's ID photo and movie stills features are also available when connected to a Selphy CP Series Printer. A handy Print/Share button allows one-touch printing and easy uploads to Windows or Mac systems. (Printer not included--must be purchased separately.)
The camera's menu system now features support for Arabic, bringing the total number of supported languages to 23.
Canon technologies explained
Optical Image Stabilizer
Canon's lens-shift-type optical Image Stabilizer counteracts the camera shake caused by slight hand movements. Vibration sensors detect the angle and speed of movement and send this information to a processor, allowing the camera to compensate. This adds stability to hand-held, telephoto, or moving shots and enables shooting at shutter speeds of up to three stops slower with no noticeable increase in image blur.
Canon's purpose-built DIGIC II (DIGital Imaging Core) image processor links all primary camera functions for maximum efficiency. High-speed processing results in outstanding responsiveness, rapid autofocus, and extended continuous shooting ability. Advanced image processing algorithms deliver superb image detail and color reproduction with accurate white balance and minimal noise. DIGIC II operates efficiently to extend battery life, for longer shooting on a single charge.
iSAPS (Intelligent Scene Analysis based on Photographic Space) automatically optimizes key camera settings before every shot. Each scene is analyzed and cross-referenced against Photographic Space--a vast in-camera library of photographic data. This enables the camera to make optimal adjustments to autoexposure, autofocus, and auto white balance before image capture occurs.
Canon's 9-point AiAF (Artificial Intelligence Autofocus) automatically scans and selects subjects from a set of nine focusing areas across the scene. This ensures accurately focused images even when subjects are not in the centre of the frame.
FlexiZone AF/AE lets users manually select the focus point from almost any point in the frame by moving the autofocus window in the viewfinder. Exposure is linked to the focus point to ensure that the chosen subject is accurately focused and exposed.
Ultra-low Dispersion (UD) lens technology
No matter how well engineered, conventional optical glass lens elements cause chromatic aberrations which can 'soften' images and appear in photographs as fringing around the outside edge of subjects. Canon's Ultra-low Dispersion (UD) glass has special optical properties to successfully reduce these aberrations. Especially effective in super telephoto lenses, UD glass helps to deliver crisp, sharp, high-contrast images.
What's in the Box
PowerShot S3 IS body, AA-size alkaline battery (x 4), SD memory card SDC-16MB, lens cap, neck strap NS-DC4, Digital Camera Solution CD-ROM, USB interface cable IFC-400PCU, stereo video cable STV-250N
Read about our customers' top-rated cameras on our review page: Point-and-Shoot Cameras
Top Customer Reviews
I bought this camera for personal use in 2006. I still have mine, 6 years later and it takes fantastic sport pictures and anything else I like in my lens. I have just purchased a used PowerShot S3IS for the company I work for. The one I purchased for my work is for our online advertising. The pictures always turn out perfect. We have had 4 different cameras in the past 6 years. They can't keep up with the multiple photos, clarity, focus and "abuse" of the daily use. This S3IS is sturdy. It also has one feature I will never do without, a moveable LCD monitor. This makes out of view shots viewable. I love taking pictures with this camera, even 6 years later.
The clarity is amazing. I have read multiple reviews and the best one said the PowerShot S3 IS gives DSLR camera's a run for the money. This is also the reason I have not upgraded to a DSLR camera. I hope this helps.
I opted not to get the S5 as I would not be using an external flash, the extra megapixels are not needed, and the other minor differences did not justify the additional $200 in cost.
So, am I better off than before? Maybe. I have a nice stabilized zoom, and a better movie mode that I'm sure I will put to use on occasion. I have a faster continuous shooting mode as well. And the live histogram is a great feature, too.
If that was the end of it I would give it 4 or 5 stars. However, with all the good stuff, there are a couple things that are a real problem.
First is the ISO button on the back. This is very easy to push by accident (perhaps even with my nose?) and if you don't frequently check the tiny ISO setting in the viewfinder (if you are shooting that way), you run the risk of some unusable, grainy high-ISO shots :-(
Second, a good/bad thing is the "S" button on the back. This is a "shortcut" button that can be set to one of a few functions, such as focus lock, white balance, movie frame rate, etc. However, it comes set to adjust the image size. So, much like the ISO button, until you switch the setting you'll risk shooting a bunch of small images before you realize the error. I have subsequently changed the button to simply turn off the display.
The third issue is the poor high-ISO performance. At 80 or 100 the image is smooth and nice. At 200 there is a touch of grain but definitely acceptable. At 400 you are going to have noticeable grain, and you should only use 800 for documentation - such as showing the neighbor's car in your parking space, or similar non-artistic images (unless you are using grain as the effect).
So, essentially a great camera has some serious button problems. Too bad the ISO is not just another programmable shortcut button. I'm thinking of making a little cover over it - how silly is that? (Edit - I've stuck some 1/4 inch rubber circles right next to the button. They've nearly eliminated accidental button pushes, though I still check the setting frequently.)
Oh, the EVF is pretty grainy compared to an optical viewfinder. And the LCD, like most, is a pain in sunlight, even in the "bright" setting.
If you don't need the fancy stereo-sound movies or a rotating LCD, there may be better alternatives.
If you just select Auto, you will probably be disappointed. Canon makes better point and shoot cameras like the S series. My wife uses the S80 for her business, my daughter has the S70, and we have two other Canon P&S around that we all use for fun shots. I needed something with a real zoom lens and didn't want to do all the way to DSLR as I wanted something that also shot movies. I'm a HS tennis coach and I wanted to be able to take short videos of my players to help them see their strengths and weaknesses.
The S3 takes unbelievable videos! Better than my sony video camera that cost much more AND it is easier to get them into my computer, edit them, and produce a CD to hand to one of my players. A feature that I didn't find on any of the other competitive cameras was the ability to snap a still picture in the middle of taking a video. Also like the separate video button so you can take videos without changing anything on the camera, just hit the video button and it starts.
It also takes GREAT pictures. When you understand the options on the camera, you can take pictures that are close to the best you can do with a pro DSLR camera. I now shoot all my normal pics in P mode with it set for ISO 100 or ISO 200 and a 3 shot bracket. Great pics everytime. The anti-shake (IS) makes it easy to take great pics in low light. In low light when I let it go up to high ISO I can get noise like you wouldn't believe. However, I still get the pictures. Now that I know better, I can set up the camera to get really good low light pictures without going into high ISO ranges. I also have been able to take wonderful pics of my Koi, my cats, my kids, my wife, my car, my anything that takes my fancy. I have a framed 10x14 picture in front of me taken of a squirrel in the very top of a 100' redwood tree with the camera at max optical + digital zoom of 48x. Hand held and clear as a bell due to the IS and the optional settings available. Try that at home with any other camera in this price range.
Bottom line: after looking at all the current offerings from Panasonic/Sony/Nikon et al, this is the best of the bunch for a prosumer big zoom camera. None of the rest of them paid any attention to making videos, canon did. All the rest tried to get our attention by promising more pixels, but Canon when for quality and a reasonable price. This camera takes better pics than the Panasonic Lumix that costs several hundred $$$ more and has 10 mega pixels -- oh, and the canon is considerably smaller and easier to carry.
Accessories: I recommend that you get the Lensmate 52mm lens adapter and the Tiffen 3 pack of filters. I didn't bother with the Canon 58mm stuff, just got everything in 52mm. Unfortunately Amazon doesn't carry Lensmate but you can Google them. I also got the Raynox .7x wide angle lens from Lensmate at a good price. It has a bit of barrel distortion, but easily correctable with software -- big feature is that it is extremely clear at full zoom. Much better than the Canon wide angle lens. Case Logic makes a case that holds the S3 with the lens adapter on, so I can carry it around with the UV filter in place. The Lensmate lens adapter is made from metal and gives you a place to grip with your left hand so you are extra steady. Wish that Canon would just put threads on the end of their lenses, but they have their way of doing things.
Also got the Transend 4GB 150x SD card. Works like a charm. Make sure you low format it before your first use and then do that again every so often to keep the card clean. Very fast and lets me take up to 30 minutes of videos if I want. Get the SD cards wherever . . . Fry's had the Transend card for $10 less than Amazon.
Great camera, well worth the time I spent researching and testing everything available in September through early November of 2006. I did test every Panasonic, Sony, and Canon model in my price range of $250 to $750. Bought an SD card first and then went to camera stores and tried them all, bought the card home and looked at every pic and video. I ended up paying $350+ here at Amazon for the S3 which was the best price from a trusted source.
Again, what I wanted was a digital camera that could zoom to 10x+, take videos that were as good as my video camera, take fast action still shots in varying conditions, and had a resolution of 5mp or more. I also wanted it to be compact and easy to use, with the capability of using storage cards larger than 2GB. I already have taken almost 2 hours of action videos of my tennis players and several hundred pictures of them. I also have a batch of family pics that range from grainy to perfect as I learned how to set the ISO properly and use the features of the camera. Lots of educational help available online from Canon and others that is specific to the camera.
Bottom Line: buy it.