Sunday, June 03, 2007


Canon S3 IS digital camera

Park with cherry treesI've recently replaced my Canon A70 camera with a Canon S3 IS. I love it! The photos here and here were taken with it, and I'll post two or three more with this entry. I had thought that I might replace the A70 with a smaller camera, easier to stick into my pocket. Instead, I was lured by the features, and realized that a somewhat larger camera feels better in my hand and is actually easier for me to use. So far, I've been willing to take it with me, and its size hasn't been a burden (but it's new yet...).

And the features....

6 megapixels, up from 3, makes the resolution mighty fine. And the photos are better — crisper and more detailed — even when I crank the resolution down, as I usually do.

GooseThe 12x zoom is wonderful! The “zoom” on the A70 went from wide to normal. Having been used to an SLR with a 200mm lens (with a 2x on the side) before, I didn't consider the A70's lens to have a real zoom. The S3 IS has a real zoom (maximum zoom is about equivalent to a 400mm lens, and at f3.5 it's much faster than what my SLR would do). The photo of the goose in this entry is with the full 12x zoom. And the image stabilization feature makes the zoom more practically usable.

The S3 IS has a fold-out, adjustable-angle LCD, which is larger and more usable than the fixed one on the A70. And when you flip it closed, you can use the old-style viewfinder, which is generally my preference (I find it disorienting to aim with the LCD).

Morning gloryThere are two macro settings, for close-focus and super-close-focus, and they work great (the photo of the morning glory was taken at super-macro).

Everything is automatic, and yet everything can be set manually. I love having the ability to make those manual adjustments, even if I rarely use most of them. And I like how the flash works: it's a flip-up flash, so you never have to worry about the flash going off when you didn't want it to. There's a warning on the LCD when it thinks you need the flash, but you can take the shot anyway, of course.

It takes movies at a choice of resolutions and frame rates, and they look nice. And it doesn't articifially limit the movie length, as the A70 did — you can keep shooting until the memory card is full.

The only thing that bothered me was that Canon has switched to SD memory cards from Flash cards. But that really was OK for me, since my Flash cards were old and didn't have enough capacity... so I just got a 2GB SD card to go with the new camera. (The camera comes with a 16MB card; honestly, with these resolutions and the price of memory cards these days, there's really no excuse for manufacturers to ship the cameras with cards that small. At the highest resolution, the 16MB card that comes with it can only hold three photos. That's ridiculous.)

Time to sell the A70 on eBay....


scouter573 said...

I've had an S3 for about a year. I love it. I'm getting close to 10,000 exposures with it and I'm still learning how to use the features. The highest ASA rating is basically useless (ASA 800, I think it is - the noise is excessive), but the antishake technology makes for fine shooting at slower shutter speeds. I also use the photo-stitch assist - it makes it easy to assemble wide, wide panoramas. And Canon designs for photographers - the S3 is very easy to use.

Old Cranky Redneck said...

I disagree with you on 91% of what you write here (however compelling I find it to read), but I also recently got an S3 IS, and it does rock! I upgraded from a Canon A40 (2mp) that has always taken superb pictures. But I love the S3, it takes awesome pictures, has as much control as any SLR, with the 12X zoom has little need of interchangeable lenses, and is just loaded with inherent cool. It's a bargain, too.

Barry Leiba said...

Wow... thanks for the comment, and thanks for reading! I'm honoured that you enjoy what I write, even though you don't usually agree. Cool!

And you're right, I find that I don't miss changing lenses, with the great zoom.