Canon PowerShot S3 IS
- Brilliant pictures, Big Zoom, Advanced Functionality
- Burst mode could be better
An absolutely brilliant ultra zoom model that combines a 12X zoom lens with exceptional picture quality and all the usual functionality.
Price$ 799.00 (AUD)
Canon's latest ultra-zoom model, the Powershot S3 IS, offers just about everything you could want in an advanced camera. The image quality is superb, the zoom is huge and the features are robust enough to keep most budding photographers happy. It does have a few minor flaws, but overall there are few cameras as complete as this one on the market today.
A successor to Canon's S2 IS, the S3's performance in our Imatest testing was nothing short of stunning. It achieved a record score in one of the three categories and achieved strong results in the others. If you want high quality pictures and a big zoom, this is most definitely the camera for you.
The most impressive result came in our Colourchecker test with the S3 scoring a ridiculously low 5.64. No camera has broken the 6 barrier before this one, so it really is in a league of its own. As usual, the biggest margins of error came in the red spectrum, but even those were minimal. As you can see in our charts all the other colours, from greens and yellows right through to the grayscale shades, were virtually flawless. Our test shots reflected this, with brilliantly deep, rich hues that really brought the shots to life.
Canon complemented this with an extremely strong score of 1443 in our sharpness test. The Olympus MJU 700 previously held the record for a compact model with 1429, but we have a new winner in the S3. Its shots were razor sharp, with no hints of colour fringing and minimal blurring.
What little blurring there was stemmed from chromatic aberration, which Imatest gave a score of .083%. While a few cameras have achieved lower than this, it is common for point and shoots to achieve results over .1% so this is a fairly strong result. It still has some impact on the quality of the images, but it isn't strong enough to really make a big difference, and the score is still well below the average.
The image noise test was the only area where the camera didn't blow us away, but even there it was still extremely good. Achieving a result of .64% at its lowest ISO setting, it didn't quite outdo some other camera's we've looked at recently, which scored .55% or lower, but the difference is fairly negligible and we couldn't see any evidence of noise in our shots. It did however scale rather poorly, with ISO 800 receiving a huge score of 2.46%. At this level we would say the shots aren't really useable. This is the one weakness this camera exhibited.
Performance and Features
To further assist in take great pictures, Canon has included image stabilisation (represented by the 'IS' in the product's name). At lower zoom levels it is less of a factor, but on an ultra zoom at full lens extension, even the tiniest movement of the hand can have a big impact on your shots. The image stabilisation helps counteract this, and our testing indicated it was quite effective when shooting distant targets.
The S3 comes with most of the bells and whistles you'd expect from an advanced model with full manual modes, although it doesn't take the settings to the extreme levels of some of its competitors. The ISO level extends to 800 and shutter speed stretches from 15 seconds to 1/1600th of a second, with no bulb mode available. The burst mode was decent but not exceptional, operating at two frames per second. Rounding out the features are the manual focus and white balance options as well as 14 scene modes.
The 12X zoom lens is also an excellent feature. It autofocuses quite quickly and makes very little noise.
The most notable design element of the S3 is its adjustable LCD. Protected from view when closed, it can be flipped open, angled up and down or re-oriented to face outwards. This not only allows you to shield it from damage but also take angled shots that would be otherwise impossible with a regular screen. The LCD is a little small for our liking, but we're willing to make the trade for the flexibility offered by an angled screen.
LCD aside, the S3 closely resembles the S2. Most companies struggle to produce aesthetically pleasing advanced models, but Canon's charcoal model both looks attractive and is comfortable to hold. With a jutting, rubberised right hand grip and a curved design it sits nicely in the hand and isn't overly heavy for an advanced model.
As a fully advanced model, the S3 sports quite a few buttons, but there are no real surprises here. A standard directional pad, function wheel and set of face buttons give you all the control you need. Everything is within easy reach, and the menu system is sub-divided in the usual Canon way, which is functional and intuitive.
Join the newsletter!
Nespresso Creatista Coffee Machine
Apple iPhone X
Bang and Olufsen BeoVision 14
WD MY PASSPORT™ Gaming Storage
SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™
Panasonic OLED 4K Ultra HD TV - TH-55EZ950U
Panasonic OLED 4K Ultra HD TV - TH-77EZ1000U
WD MY PASSPORT™ X Gaming Storage
cloudandco Smart Cane
Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44
Toys for Boys
Lego Mindstorms EV3
Propel Star Wars T-65 X-Wing Drone
Bose SoundLink Micro
Ubiquiti Network’s Front Row Camera
Google Daydream View VR Headset
UBTech First Order Stormtrooper Robot
Onyx Smart Walkie Talkie
Leica M10 Digital Rangefinder Camera
LaCie Rugged USB-C Portable Hard Drive
Toffee Bags Commuter Satchel
Nest Protect Smart Smoke Alarm
Amazon Echo Bluetooth Speaker
WD MY CLOUD™ HOME Personal Cloud Storage
Xbox One X
Belkin Pocket Power 10,000mAh
Panasonic Hi-Fi - SC-UA7GS-K
PETKIG Go Smart Dog Leash
Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K
iRobot Roomba 980 Vaccum Cleaning Robot
Dearear Endear In-ear Wireless Earphones
Logitech Doodle Collection Wireless Mouse
Raspberry Pi Starter Kit
Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse
Tile Pro Bluetooth Tracker
Panasonic Portable Splashproof Fun - RF-D20U
Kogan Bluetooth Soundbar
Ikea NORDMÄRKE Wireless Charging Pad
Fallout Geeki Tikis
Urbanworx Full HD Action Camera
3SIXT 3-in-1 Smartphone Lens Kit
Lexon Flip Alarm Clock
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 LG 65E7T Ultra HD OLED TV review: The South Korean thoroughbred is still first past the post
- 2 Hisense takes the fight to home entertainment heavyweights with flagship Series 8 and 9 ULED TVs
- 3 Sony's latest Ultra HD OLED debuts in Australia
- 4 Panasonic Ultra HD OLED TV Review
- 5 D-Link Omna 180 Cam HD DSH-C310 review
Latest News Articles
- Panasonic Announces Compact, Lightweight ultra-telephoto LEICA Lens
- Panasonic announce still-shooter flagship G9
- Sony Announces Development of New G Master Super-Telephoto Full-Frame E-Mount Lens
- Sony Expands Full-frame E-mount lens lineup
- Sony’s New Full-Frame α7R III Interchangeable Lens Camera promises to delivers both resolution and speed
PCW Evaluation Team
I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.
It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.
Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.
The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.
The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.
The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic
- JBL Link 10 review: Full, in-depth review
- OPPO Load Up A73 Smartphone With Flagship Features
- CES 2018
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTSoftware Configuration ManagerOther
- FTSenior Front End Developer - ReactOther
- CCTest Analyst - Port Macquarie NSWNSW
- CCSenior Program ManagerNSW
- FTPortfolio Management & Governance ConsultantOther
- FTEL1 Scrum MasterACT
- CCMachine Learning SpecialistACT
- FTSenior Healthcare Pre-Sales Exec. / Clinical Advisor - Perm - North Ryde areaNSW
- FTSenior Change ManagerACT
- TPProgram ManagerACT
- TPOrganisational Change ManagerVIC
- FTTechnical Business AnalystVIC
- CCBack-End Developers - PHP - Federal GovernmentVIC
- CCWindows Desktop SpecialistNSW
- FTInfrastructure Project ManagerOther
- CCFull Stack Developer (Angular / .Net)NSW
- FTSolution Architect- SAP S/4 HANA - Orange NSWOther
- FTNetwork AdministratorOther
- CCSenior Business AnalystNSW
- FTJava DeveloperOther
- FTNetwork Engineering Team Lead/Network ManagerACT
- TPPMO ManagerNSW
- CCNetwork Surveyor - TelcoVIC
- FTData ScientistOther
- FTTechnical LeadNSW