Canon PowerShot S3 IS

Last update: Review & Sample Photos @ TrustedReviews (added on 26.01.07)

Canon PowerShot S3 IS is a SLR-like digital camera (released on 21.02.06), featuring a 6.0 megapixels (CCD sensor) with 12x Optical Zoom lens (36 – 432mm equivalent) with Canon’s Image Stabilizer, a 2.0″ Vari-Angle LCD screen, measuring 4.5 x 3.1 x 3.0″ (113.4 x 78.0 x 75.5mm), 14.3 oz (410.0 g), and it’s running on 4 x AA Alkaline/Nimh batteries. Canon PowerShot S3 IS will be available in stores from May 2006 with an estimated retail price of $499.99.USD.


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>> SAMPLE PHOTOS (last updated: 26.01.07)

Canon PowerShot S3 IS Sample Photos @ TrustedReviews
Canon PowerShot S3 IS Sample Photos @ PhotographyReview
Canon PowerShot S3 IS Sample Photos @ ImagingResource
Canon PowerShot S3 IS Sample Photos posted @ Steve’sDigicams
Canon PowerShot S3 IS Sample Photos @ DCRP

>> REVIEWS (last updated: 26.01.07)

TrustedReviews have reviewed the Canon PowerShot S3 IS where they rate the camera 10/10 and write;
“Image quality is also superb. Despite only having a tiny 1/2.5in sensor, pictures are impressively sharp and detailed, far more than I would expect from a 6MP camera. In fact I’ve seen 8MP models that can’t match the S3 for fine detail, and this is undoubtedly due to the excellent lens. It is pin-sharp from edge to edge at all focal lengths, produces minimal wide-angle barrel distortion, and its fast maximum aperture ensures good shutter speeds at long focal lengths. Combined with the fast AF it provides pin-sharp shots even of distant moving subjects….The Canon PowerShot S3 IS is arguably the best value super-zoom camera currently available. It combines great handling, ultra-fast performance and real photographic versatility with superior image quality and one of the best zoom lenses I’ve seen on a compact. It may look like a bag of spanners, but beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”

PhotographyReview have reviewed the Canon PowerShot S3 IS where they rate the camera 79/100 and write;
“The Canon PowerShot S3 IS is a great digital camera for super-zoom shooters. People going on safari or shooting kids’ sports from a distance (i.e., soccer/football) will enjoy the benefits of the long zoom and the ISO 400 performance. Bird photographers and other wildlife shooters will also appreciate the long lens and may enjoy the pivoting LCD screen, which allows you to shoot from the waist. (Note: sports/wildlife photographers should try the S3 IS before they buy as these subjects are fairly demanding and are typically better handled by DSLR cameras.)”

PCWorld have reviewed the Canon PowerShot S3 IS where they rate the camera 79/100 and write;
“In our lab tests, the S3 IS delivered impressive overall image quality, its best attributes being color and exposure accuracy. The camera’s scores for distortion and sharpness, however, were below average. In my informal shots, the S3 IS generally delivered good results, though I did notice a fair amount of noise in landscape photos taken just after sunset and in close-ups taken during daylight in macro mode. In our battery life tests, the S3 IS’s battery lasted for just 331 shots on a single charge.”

ThinkCamera reviewed the Canon PowerShot S3 IS and wrote;
“Image quality is good especially at ISO 80 and 100; at higher ISOs you either see noise or smoothing from noise reduction and the ISO 800 setting is noisy enough that you’ll rarely use it. That’s annoying, particularly as it’s one of the selling points of this model over the S2. There’s a good range of colour and tone; colours are bright and accurate, saturated without being over-egged. Detail and sharpness is acceptable, though we found some images were a little “software-led” than with similar cameras. There is some chromatic aberration, but mainly at extreme zoom. “

LuminousLandscape reviewed the Canon PowerShot S3 IS and wrote;
“The Canon S3’s strength lies in its small size and long zoom reach, combined with Image Stabilization. While not a pocket digicam, it is coat pocket size, and therefore quite inconspicuous and portable. The use of AA batteries adds to the versatility, and a very high quality movie mode with a dedicated activation button are icing on the cake. At under US $500 retail this camera is a relative bargain. No, it’s not an alternative to the current generation of sub $500 DSLRs, but given its features it is capable of adding some interesting new capabilities to many a photographer’s bag of tricks. “

PCMag reviewed the Canon PowerShot S3 IS and wrote;
“The S3 IS performed quite well on my lab tests. The daylight shots revealed hardly any noise and were just a touch cleaner than the FZ7’s. On both the daylight and flash shots, there was very good color accuracy and fidelity. Flash and daylight exposures were quite good, but I found more purple fringing with the S3’s images than in the FZ7’s. Using the camera’s auto-flash mode, shots on the FZ7 were brighter than the S3 IS’s shots, which were a bit underexposed. The flash shots also revealed more noise than the daylight shot or what the FZ7 displayed.”

DigitalCameraReview reviewed the Canon PowerShot S3 IS and wrote;
“One of the S3’s major strengths is its ability to produce excellent images at the camera’s default settings. Images are consistently well exposed and punchy right out of the camera, although there is a very slight tendency toward over exposure and occasional blown out highlights. Auto White balance is dependable even in challenging lighting; colors are hue accurate, but (like many digital cameras) red and blue saturation is noticeably boosted and native contrast is a bit hard. Images shot at ISO 80 and 100 (ISO 80 and ISO 100 are virtually indistinguishable) had extremely low noise levels – with good shadow/highlight detail and accurate skin tones.”

ImagingResource reviewed the Canon PowerShot S3 IS and wrote;
“..functionally, Canon’s control system works well on the PowerShot S3 IS. There’s no EV button, for example, but one press of the Menu button brings up the shooting menu with EV selected. You just have to press the Left or Right arrow to set EV. That’s functionally equivalent to pressing an EV button and spinning a dial. It’s just that until you find that out, you’re at lose ends.”

DigitalCameraInfo reviewed the Canon PowerShot S3 IS and wrote;
“..the Canon PowerShot S3 IS is one of the larger ultra-zoom cameras. It still doesn’t even approach the size of a DSLR, though: it falls somewhere in between. The design certainly doesn’t aim to be compact like the ultra-zoom Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ1. Instead, this chunky digital camera goes for hybrid functionality in a sturdy plastic shell. Its protrusions will keep it from conveniently sliding into a pocket, and users should look into purchasing a small camera bag for transporting it. “

Steve’sDigicams reviewed the Canon PowerShot S3 IS and wrote;
“The S3’s shooting performance is very good. From power-on until the first shot was captured measured just under two seconds. Shutter lag, the elapsed time between depressing the shutter and capturing an image, is improved over the S2IS; it measured a fast 1/10 second when pre-focused, most of that attributable to the delay in the live image presented on either of the S3’s viewfinders; lag including autofocus was also fast at 1/2 second (also including viewfinder delay)”

DPInterface reviewed the Canon PowerShot S3 IS and wrote;
“Everything about the S3 IS’ performance is fast except autofocus. The camera fires off continuous shots at over 2 FPS till the memory card is full. Autofocus is fairly fast but still lags behind the Panasonic FZ7 and even the Sony H5.All-in-all, the Canon PowerShot S3 IS is a great ultra-zoom with very good image quality and some unique features. Well, the Canon S-series ultra-zoom cameras are usually known as hybrid cameras because of their superior movie mode. So, some improvements ought to be made so the S3 IS will really become a bridge between camcorders and digital cameras.”

LetsGoDigital reviewed the Canon PowerShot S3 IS and wrote;
“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…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! “

CNET Asia reviewed the Canon PowerShot S3 IS and wrote;
“Noise levels were relatively contained though, at ISO 400 and ISO 800, our pictures were rendered practically useless, especially at the maximum sensitivity level. We particularly liked the Super Macro mode on the S3 IS which allowed us to get as close as 0cm to our subject.
Overall, the camera took well-exposed pictures with good color reproduction. Purple fringing wasn’t an issue in most of our frames as well, although there were the occasional clippings in the highlights and shadows which shouldn’t affect general photography users.”

DCRP reviewed the Canon PowerShot S3 IS and wrote;
“Overall, the PowerShot S3’s photo quality is very good. The camera took well-exposed photos with accurate color, low purple fringing levels, pleasing sharpness, and Canon’s trademark “smooth” look. Noise levels were low through ISO 200, and even ISO 400 is usable for small and midsized prints. This new 6MP sensor that Canon is using on many of their 2006 cameras has really impressed me in this area…Overall, I really like the PowerShot S3, and it earns my enthusiastic recommendation. Yes, it has a few flaws, but doesn’t everything? For people wanting a solid and capable ultra zoom camera, this one should be high on your list. If you yearn for a few more controls, external flash support, and manual zoom and focus rings then you’ll want to look at the Panasonic FZ30 or the Fuji S9000.”

DigitalCameraInfo reviewed the Canon PowerShot S3 IS and wrote;
“he Canon PowerShot S3 IS has a lot of solid functions, but its actual image quality has yet to be tested. Its predecessor, the S2, produced noisy images that didn’t have great colors for a Canon. Still, the S3 has a whole new image sensor. With a 6 megapixel 1/2.5-inch CCD that is more sensitive, the Canon S3 has completely revamped and hopefully improved inner workings.


– Download Canon PowerShot S3 IS User Manual Advanced (PDF – 2.25MB)
– Download Canon PowerShot S3 IS User Manual Basic (PDF – 1.19MB)


Amstelveen, The Netherlands, 21 February, 2006: Canon today announces the release of the 12x optical zoom PowerShot S3 IS. 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″ vari-angle LCD screen, widescreen (16:9) recording, new movie features and an additional Sports mode.

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3 Responses to “Canon PowerShot S3 IS”

  1. Evil Dad says:

    I love the ability to video w this unit, certainly a strength…i found hi speed taking ability to be below avg by my standards for quality and speed. You end up having to use sports settting for anything and almost EVERYTHING in medium light situations w out flashwhere an object or person maybe moving slightly (as in turning their face a few inches while sitting). Maybe asking for too much but can i get this in a $400 dollar camera?

  2. hobo says:

    put a owners manual on here thanks

  3. Links to PowerShot S3 IS user manuals have been updated. Thanks!

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