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Old Mar 31, 2008, 11:52 PM   #1
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I agonized for over a year before I settled on my Canon S3IS. Of course, I wanted a camera that does everything, from photomicrography to extreme telephoto to fast-action to half-hour time exposures. And it had to have flawless optics without a hint of blur or color fringing. and it had to have an articulated LCD screen, and it had to fit in a shirt pocket, and it couldn't cost more than $99. Obviously, no such camera exists or will exist for the foreseeable future, so I made a few compromises. I spent countless hours reading Steve's reviews and closely inspecting the sample photos. (Thank you, thank you, Steve & Co.)

This is an opportunistic shot of a young bald eagle I spotted while driving out of town this morning. It's hand-held at 1/50th second (zoomed to 432mm equivalent!) on a cloudy day, with traffic going by behind my back. (I could have shot it at 1/100th and still had good depth of field, but I wasn't paying attention to the aperture.) I used The Gimp to crop this 790 X 551 portion out of the center of the 2816 X 2112 original, but I haven't sharpened it, tweaked the brightness or color or anything.

Between the day I ordered my S3 and the day it arrived, Canon announced the S5. I don't doubt that the new model is better, probably even in ways that I would notice. But my S3 does OK.
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Old May 8, 2008, 3:23 PM   #2
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Do not be too disappointed, although the S5IS does have some improvements, they are not that great, or at least not if you do not need them. I bought an S3IS after the S5IS had been announced of course at a reduced price. My friend bought the S5IS so I have been able to test them more or less side by side. I would summarise the advantages as follows.

- increased card size - allows use of SDHC cards which allow for up to 32GB

- movie limit increased from 1GB (8 minutes VGA) to 4GB (32 minutes VGA)

- resolution increased from 6 MP to 8MP but same sensor size so limited benefit

- maximum ISO increased form ISO 800 to ISO1600 but ISO 1600 is very noisy

- larger LCD screen size.

There are I am sure other benefits but the main ones are above. After having tried the S5IS, for me the main advantages are increased card size and movie limit. However I am quite happy using 2GB cards and smaller movies so it is no big deal.

It is worth noting that the continuous shooting speed is lower on the S5IS, due to the increased resolution. If this is important to you then you may want to stay with the S3IS. It is certainly a factor for me.
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