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Old Oct 19, 2006, 9:47 PM   #21
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Hi all. I bought my S3 3 months ago and have been happily playing around with its features. I have used it for Portraits, Nature shots, astro-photography, time-lapse photography, and even those tricky indoor sports shots without flash where most of the time you have to rely on manual settings and manual focusing to compensate the fast movements in low-light conditions. The manual focusing with a zoomed preview is really very handy specially if your subject is behind the net in a volleyball or badminton game -- the auto-focus messes it up by focusing on the net instead of the subject. The hi-speed continuous shooting mode gives you even more flexibility to capture a sequence of great actions. The Macro and Super-Macro mode gives excellent results and the 12x zoom just turns us into spoiled brats (I'm buying an Olympus TCON-17 because I want more :G.

I have also some gripes. First, there is significant chromatic aberration, specially on high-contrast images and near the highest points of the zoom at lower aperture values (large opening). This may be the lens' limitation but I wish they used better lenses like Nikon.Anyway this can be mostly compensated by using higher Aperture values (lower opening). Second, ISO 800 is IMHO useless. The noise in ISO 400 is tolerable and a good percentage of the images are useful for large-format printing but ISO 800 is just too noisy. Noise reduction softwares help but also reduces the details significantly making the images look unnatural. Lastly, the video sizes are just too large -- I wish Canon used video compression (H264 or MPEG4/DivX) so we can accomodate more videos because the video feature in this camera is just Super! (Now I'm forced to buy a 4GB SD card)

Overall this is a great camera in its class. Low noise compared to other cameras with same sensor or even those slightly larger sensors. Hi-zoom, Clear, sharp and well-balanced and accurate colors. Auto, Semi-auto and Manual controls allows it to be handled by any level of user. Very easy video operation with near-DVD quality. Great software which links it to your computer and even allows you to operate the camera from the computer. Really worth it!
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Old Oct 21, 2006, 5:20 AM   #22
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I've had mine for about three months and am happy with it. I have a G6 but really wanted a longer and flexible zoom and the S3 provides this.

I love the convenience and lightness of the S3 and I've good results in low light as well. In fact I rarely use the flash.

The LCD screen is not as good as the on the G6 but you get used to it, In fact every camer is quite unique and you just have to keep shooting till you learn.

For really important shots I still have my G6, bit for spontaneity with great results and a good zoom the S3 does the job.

I'm a Canon girl, anyway
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Old Oct 22, 2006, 9:37 PM   #23
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I've owned my Canon S3 for four days. VERY Satisfied so far. Had Canon's A540 for about a week, but the S3's zoom is better, and comes with electronic I.S. to let me use the zoom.

I agree with others -- using "P" instead of "Auto" to reduce ISO noise is smart. The LCD and EVF will give a noisy view in low light, so view the results on your computer when practicing. You could even use "M" instead of "P" for practicing -- but if you're in a hurry, auto will do a fairly good job.

It seems that digicams have a larger depth of field than a film camera, all other things being equal (ISO, aperture). Blurring the background to draw your attention to the subject could be very hard.

I haven't noticed any chromatic aberration in the S3, but I might.

Also, the widest lens setting (35mm) still forces you to the back wall of the room to capture any party with the S3, probably the Sony too. So either use a wide-angle lens or a cheaper "bar/party" camera in smaller rooms.

I have also heard that overall, digicams need more light than film cameras. And the flash is weak (but I think that's true for film models as well). Canon has an accessory flash available, don't know about the Sony model.

But unlike other digicam models, I don't believe the flash can be turned off on the S3. It will fire anyway without being open, but this could still be distracting or get you in trouble if flash is frowned upon or completely illegal in some shooting situations.

Apparently barrel distortion at wide angles (of normal lens) is normal in many models. Making what you want take less of the viewfinder and cropping is the only way I know to reduce barrel distortion. Post-processing software that knows your camera's profile might exist, but I don't know.

The S3 might take longer to auto-focus than you like, especially at longer focal lengths, but it is about what I expected from trying Circuit City's S3 on display. If you use manual focus, EVF and LCD screen won't show exact state of focus well (I've heard optical zoom is not practical with super-zoom cameras unless you have lots of money to buy a dSLR).

Because of personal bias against proprietary batteries and memory, I never really considered the Sony. I'm completely satisfied with the Canon S3 (after buying larger SD -- shipping with 16 megs is a joke). Completely satisfied. My A540 gave about 120 pictures on two older 1800 NiMH AA batteries. With two sets of four AAs for the S3, I should be well-prepared for any outdoor sports event or larger indoor event (basketball / school play / wedding) -- but birthday parties in the living room will need a wide-angle lens. The Sony probably would probably also need a wide-angle as well.

The S3 has the features to let you produce quite accomplished results. Don't know about Sony, but Canon seems quite good to me as I "grow into it". HAPPY SHOOTING!

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Old Dec 25, 2006, 2:19 PM   #24
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Fellow S3 Owners and potential buyers...

I have owned my S3 for about a month now, and am quite pleased.

I have taken good landscapes, skylines, pet and still life with it, and the camera will do what it's told quite well. It's operator failings that cause most of the blundered images, and I have been guilty.

I wanted a camera for astrophotography, but wasn't about to shell out $1000.00 + for a dSLR. I liked the 12x on the S3, and thought I would try it out. So far it's fine, although I am a bit concerned that I am not getting pin point stars - focused to infinity - when zoomed in all the way with the additional 4x digital zoom. I wonder if that's inherent to all digital cameras?

Color is good, and with all digital exposures just a slight sharpening in post-processing. I think I will keep it, as I like the movie feature a lot. Even at it's lowest setting, the movie flow is good.

There are examples of my first astrophotography attempts here:


I have yet to attach it to a telescope, but I anticipate the results. Just have to work on the adapter set up. I do plan to purchase the 58mm adapter for additional wide-angle/telephoto lenses, filters and hood.

I only wish the the shutter setting was longer than 15 sec. Another observation is that the tripod socket is a bit shallow and made out of plastic... Could have been made better.

I got mine for $360.00 with an in-store deal. Should I have waited till after X-mas? - probably, but they threw in a Canon photo printer and a 512 Mb SD card to sweeten the deal. I researched the S3 extensively on-line for good deals, but they wern't much better, and besides, I like to purchase my electronics in person instead of shipped.

Over all...I like the S3 a great deal and considering it's advanced electronics, I hope it will last for a long time.


Chicago Astronomer Joe

Telescope/Observatory Operator
Adler Planetarium & Museum
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Old Dec 27, 2006, 2:20 PM   #25
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As I grow into the S3, I find it has all the features that I will ever need. The manual (plus this site and others) let me have fun and increase my skills and take better and better pictures as I keep shooting (I have taken about 650 pictures so far). I'm sorry I can't spend all my time with the camera, but I am happy -- I can reach the highest level of quality pictures up to the maximum time and commitment I want to put into photography. The EVF/LCD does not give the same quality picture as an optical viewfinder, but I am learning to live with that. I am happy with the camera and my pictures.

At my skill level, PS Elements 5 can improve many problems, and using it (especially to fix barrel distortion) is not "cheating". Elements has (like the camera) more features than I will probably need and I can "grow into" it.

The S3 does not have a RAW mode, but this does not bother me. I always thought RAW mode was used by professionals or people who have more time than I have.

Using standard memory and batteries was a good thing for me personally, and the Canon has that. Personally I would not consider the Sony because of these two things.

I'd like to spend all my time shooting with the Canon, but I can't. The time I do get to shoot, however, is fun.

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Old Dec 28, 2006, 6:23 PM   #26
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Hi all, Ipurchased my Canon S3is roughly 3 weeks ago from Dell for around $305 (Oh the joys of stackable coupons :G). I initially was looking for a nice camera that was pretty flexible and something I could use as a backup to my primary camera which is a Minolta 5D DSlr.

I needed a good walking around camera, well because as happy I am with my Minolta, I found that in many situations, without a tripod and remote, I could never get into pictures or found that people were too intimidated to use my DSLR. Also it does get to be a pain lugging aroung my DSLR and all the lenses. I just needed something smaller and flexble for parties and get togehers or when I went snowboarding or strolling on a beach or just having fun.

I did some research and settled between a SD800, CANON S3 IS and the A710 IS. In the end, my decision was between size (the smaller SD800 with less zoom,versus bit larger CANON S3IS with larger zoom.) In the end the zoom did me in. I figured the zoom and video capability would work out nicely.

After a few weeks of playing with my CANONS3, I am very very satisfied. The zoom and video work pretty well, and the pictures I take come out pretty nice. I also purchased a Lensmateonline attachment and a Raynox .66x wide angle lens attachment and a Sony 1.7x Teleconvertor for it. The Raynox .66x has no vignetting (although the shadow does show up in flash during zoom, but a minor grip for me). With both attachments and a couple of 4gb SD cards i found on xmas bargain sale shopping, i gotta say this camera is extremely flexible. the Rotating LCD helps alot. I can easily say that it's range surpassesmy DSLR (and I need multiple lens to accomplish the same) but more compact.

As one previous poster pointed out. I like taking videos and photos as reminders of where i've been. the flexiblity of this camera makes it pretty easy to get some decent shots and video without too much hassle. If i really want to take a more serious shot or really start pushing the limit of this camera, I just use my DSLR .

My minor gripes are: Wish there was a waterproof case that didnt cost lhundreds more than the camera, wish the video was compressed. Although I can use a 4gb card, it is kinda sad that thats only about 30 or so minutes of video at full res. I also wish the camera performed better at the higher ISO, but Ive been a bit spoiled by my Minolta 5D's low light performance. no Raw. Be nice if there was a flash hot shoe. Wireless remote?

Benefits I like: Great zoom range for a camera straight out of the box. Image stabilization is great. uses AA batteries which I like. I know some proprietary batteries last longer but I like the fact that I can find AA batteries anywhere. And with rechargables, Its no problem. Swivel LCD is dang useful to me. Dunno how I got by without it. People arent intimidated to use it. I find those put off by the size of my DSLR, dont have a problem using my canons3. Alot of times I have to ask for it back.

Camera is a very good bang for the buck. Im a satisfied buyer. hehe all i need now is a good waterproof case that didnt cost hundreds and I'd take this sucker snorkling.
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