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Canon PowerShot S3 IS
Canon PowerShot S3 IS

Hey! You should know that Canon has released a newer version of this product: the Canon Powershot SX20 IS.

Canon PowerShot S3 IS

We've given the S3 IS a grade of C+.

Editor's Review

This camera is ancient. We recommend that you go with a much newer model like the Canon SX20. Here's what we had to say about the S3 when it was released way back in February 2006:

Canon's extended zoom camera gets a bit of a makeover. An update of the S2IS, the S3IS is a sleek camera with a cool, gun-metal grey paintjob that says this camera is here to do business. The 6 megapixel sensor and 12x optical zoom combine to create tremendously detailed and versatile images, all kept in line by Canon's powerful image stabilization technology. The S3IS also has a strong video mode as well, offering 30 frames-per-second and stereo-sound that Canon claims can rival even standard camcorders. The S3IS is a serious camera with plenty of functionality, perfect for those who want not just long-range photographs but a long-range experience.


  • 6 megapixels
  • 12x optical zoom / 4x digital zoom (conversion lenses optional)
  • auto and manual focus
  • auto and manual exposure
  • JPEG file format
  • ISO 80-800 (High ISO auto)
  • movie mode w/sound
  • 4 AA batteries
  • 2.0 inch LCD
  • SD card storage (16MB included)
  • Part Number: S3IS
  • UPC: 013803063998
  • Release Date: Feb 24, 2006

Shop for S3 IS Accessories

Canon PowerShot S3 IS Reviews

Canon PowerShot S3 IS Reviews by Digital Camera-HQ Users

  • 3.0 out of 5
Black Screen syndrom (sandra — 01/12/2010)

Camera has been good until 'black screen syndrome'...sent it off to Canon for repair, not knowing that this was the problem...was quoted $149 to repair only to learn from another camera user that this is the black screen syndrom which seems to be a manufacturer problem.

  • 3.0 out of 5
Black Screen syndrome (sandra — 01/11/2010)

Camera has been good until 'black screen syndrome'...sent it off to Canon for repair, not knowing that this was the problem...was quoted $149 to repair only to learn from another camera user that this is the black screen syndrom which seems to be a manufacturer problem.

  • 2.0 out of 5
lens error (glenn socia — 08/24/2009)

This camera worked great for about 18 months. Actually, the best camera I ever owned. Then I got the dreaded lens error message and the lens would not retract and the camera became useless. Google "canon 18 lens error" and you see how
widespread the problem is. Usually the problem crops up shortly after the warranty expires. It cost about 150 dollars to fix it. I decided to buy a Panasonic instead. The canon takes great photos and videos but it has a flaw that canon refuses to correct or recognize. Don't buy this camera!

  • 4.0 out of 5
Apart from the noise, great camera (Shairani — 06/24/2009)

The S3 is a good camera. Infact, if you intend to use it primarily during the daytime, and outdoors, its not just good, its great! However, there are issues with the noise handling. Even at low ISOs, the noise is there. Not very good with low light shooting as well. Apart from these shortcomings, a very good gadget to have. The 12X zoom is a blessing.

  • 4.0 out of 5
Photographer in Training..S3 filled all needs.. (Shinay — 04/07/2009)

After using this camera during my photography studies i have come to great satisfaction. it is a durabnle compact model and is a easy to use 'point and shoot' camera with alot of handy manual settings.. Once getting to know professional techniques and putting them to practice on the camera i was producing alot of good quality photographs.
would highly reccomend camera, over 13 months i have had no problems with camera what-so ever (by following care instructions from course) reccomend clean lenses, correct tempratures and a safe dry place for camera to be stored, swap batteries around from time to time and avoid storing batteries inside camera over long periods of time.

over all good camera, pleased with my results. =)

  • 2.0 out of 5
Totally Disappointed (Wendy — 04/06/2009)

I love the camera overall, but in some situations the camera tells me I need a flash, when I use the flash there is too much light and you can't make out what the picture is of. When I don't use the flash in that same situation the picture coms out very grainy. When I went to the store to talkto them about it I was told it was at manufacturer specs and they can't do anything about it. This is completely unacceptable and will take this to higher levels. I did not spend $400 on a camera I can't use in some situations.

  • 4.0 out of 5
S3 IS a solid multimedia Swiss Knife (siddhartha Basu — 03/18/2009)

In Aug 2007, I got S3IS @ Rs.14K when S5IS is lurking at the corner @Rs.19K which was lil bit steep 4 me. Performance in still is good. But what surprised me is its video recording capability with stereo sound. I recorded live programe of "Dohar" - a Bengali band - all low frequencies were perfectly stored in avi format which takes lots of space but worth it .
Like all compact cameras, it is a compromised version. so, pixalation comes automatically at 400 & 800 ASA. so, one sd better try to use taking its limitation into count.

It saved me lot of money and space in my travel kit otherwise I sd take another VDO corder into it.

AA batteries r a boon due to their easy availability - the swiveling LCD panel helps to take shots even at the ground level to add a new fizz to shot.

though now out of production, I recomend it to my friends 4 its all round performance

  • 5.0 out of 5
Nikon user loves Canon camera (Bill S — 12/31/2008)

I admit it was frustrating at first because the menus were so different from Nikon, but I have come to really like this camera (though I'd still be using my D70 if its shutter block hadn't broken - $$$). But I like it so much my daughter got the SX10 for her birthday. I believe overall it's easier to use and navigate the menus, and with the CHDK firmware "hack" I still have RAW capability.

The pseudo-viewfinder took a little getting used to but works pretty well, leaving the delicate screen folded away except for when it's really needed.

Biggest downside is the glass (optics) but what can you expect for the money? It would be nice to have had a remote, but it still does a great job.

  • 1.0 out of 5
Great until it breaks (Mike — 12/21/2008)

Good camera but the Lens Error problem makes it worthless and Canon refuses to stand by their products. Never another Canon

  • 1.0 out of 5
Black screen (Gerald Rupert — 10/13/2008)

I have not even filled one card and the camera does not display images either with the LED or viewfinder. Even with playback the problem persists. I believe I have tried every combinations of menus and settings. The camera has never been dropped or abused. I also believe a camera of this price shoul last longer than one card or two years.

  • 3.0 out of 5
S3 IS - Disappointed. (richard belfrage — 09/13/2008)

A very nice Camera, which has now let me down with the Black Screen syndrome. The Camera appears to be funtioining and all the modes work including the LCD and playback mode, but the camera only records 'black pictures'. Canon refuse to acknowledge there is a problem, but it is a manufacturing fault and I should not have to pay out £150 repair costs for a product that is just over 2 years old. The camera should be either repaired or replaced.

  • 5.0 out of 5
Love it - hint on the image stabilization (Campbell — 09/10/2008)

Loved it once I learned the quirk on the image stabilization. The image stabilization works much better if you set it up to be active ONLY when taking a picture - not all the time! Found this out from an on-line review of the camera!

  • 1.0 out of 5
horrible, grainy pictures (nikki dean — 05/05/2008)

This is my third Cannon camera....I also have an SLR and a point and shoot digital camera. Any picture taken indoors is grainy. Very disappointed that Canon produced such a product.

  • 2.0 out of 5
Good until it breaks (MJL — 04/10/2008)

Got this camera as a gift, awesome, lots of features great pics, until the 'LENS ERROR restart camera' started happening. I was 4 months over the 1 year warranty and they replaced the optical unit , part # CMI-3384-000 at the nice flat repair rate of $149.99.+ tax. Neddless to say I was pretty pissed, but its either through it out or repair it. they give a 90 day warranty on the repair. NOT HAPPY, don't think I will ever buy a canon product again..

  • 4.0 out of 5
Now discontinued but will do just fine. (Mark — 01/11/2008)

Yea! Target clearance $245! Just in time. I have a Minolta A1 which apparently has a potential imager defect requiring a Class Action solution. I didn't have the problem but just in case, I got the S3 IS as it is close in basic features and resolution. Acceptable image quality and exellent movie mode if you're still shooting in 4:3 SD.
The first thing to get is the filter extender so you can have a more secure lens cap. This advice goes for the S5 too, I believe.
The 12X zoom is fine and it has some cool options I may never use.
Comparing it to the older A1, the S3 would be great if it had a true manual zoom and focus and a remote control port and the ability to plug in an external flash.
Otherwise, it's a Canon and that's enough. At least until I slip into dementia enough to justify spending $1300+ for a DSLR that'll be obsolete before it's paid for.

  • 4.0 out of 5
Decent (Betsy — 10/03/2007)

It's certainly a downgrade from my film SLR but it definitely beats the price of a new digital SLR. I definitely appreciate the manual options but there are limitations- since it is a semi-manual after all. I find the built in flash to be a bit obtrusive at times and without it the slightest movement can blur the image. It's noisy in quiet settings but not overly so compared to my old Nikon. I'm not a fan of the action setting. I'm thinking about buying some other lenses to see if they add any more benefits. Overall a decent camera. Good upgrade for someone wanting to have more manual options but not deal with the price of a SLR.

  • 2.0 out of 5
Grrrrr! (Lori — 09/30/2007)

I'm with John on this. Mine lasted just over a year. It was used very lightly. (How convenient for the manufacturers) It's completely useless. Brand new batteries last 7 minutes.

  • 2.0 out of 5
Quit working!! (John — 09/09/2007)

Well, I loved this camera, but alas it should last longer than 16 Months. I'm going to have it repaired, if the price for repair is less than 200, but somehow I doubt it. When it worked it was great, but it should have lasted longer.

  • 5.0 out of 5
great camera (jerry — 08/18/2007)

this is a very good camera, I am still learning stuff about it. as far as the S5 goes, i would say save your money and get an s3

  • 4.0 out of 5
good camera!!!! (january lucky — 08/11/2007)

this my first camera!!!
try it!!!!

  • 5.0 out of 5
Excellent value - Perfect for the serious amateur (R Tapson — 07/18/2007)

Very well balanced camera - easy to use and has all the functions you need to produce really good results. I have used it for wild life, scenic and portraits with outstanding success. Am looking forward to getting hold of its replacement. The extra 2megapixels will come in handy for my wildlife shots.

  • 5.0 out of 5
Canon S3 (pc — 06/10/2007)

I don't know,..I'm having fun with it. This is my first camera ever and the only bad shots are the ones I screw up. Read the manual and then play around with it. I'm no pro but I am getting better with it every time I use it.
I do find that the lens cap is alittle to loose and some of the menu's are abit to involved, but as I use it I hope to find this goes away. I also find that the high zoom gives the Pic a grainy look,..but then again that just maybe me.

  • 4.0 out of 5
Awesome Camera for the Price (Joey Garza — 06/10/2007)

I upgraded my camera to this one after my old one fritzed out, the only bad thing i have to say is that the pixelation isnt the greatest with sports or zoomed in greatly. But for the amount of money it is a very excellent purchase, a definant upgrade from my old powershot.

  • 5.0 out of 5
Wonderful camera! (SOL-Photography — 06/02/2007)

My husband bought this camera for me in March for our anniversary present and I instantly fell in love with it! It takes amazing photos that are very crisp. It's easy to learn and understand the settings. I love how it has automatic and manual controls; you can do practically anything with this camera! It has great video with sound. You can even take photos while using the video feature. It's not heavy at all. Better then a point and shoot any day! I would recommend this camera to anybody who loves taking photos and being in control (I even convinced my husband's aunt to buy it because of bragging about how great it is!). I want to be a photographer and this is the perfect camera. My favorite by far!!

  • 5.0 out of 5
I love this camera (KK — 05/20/2007)

I am in love. I have only owned Canon cameras but this is the best by far. I have lots of questions about it and I am still learning all the things I can do with this one but the photos I have taken are AWESOME.
I would recommend this camera to everyone.

  • 4.0 out of 5
the best features in it's price (pooyan — 04/29/2007)

i don't know may be fuji s9100 has better image quality or panasonic fz7 has better price or P.fz50 saves images in raw etc.
bat s9100 doesn't have image stabilizer & fz7 doesn't have good image quality especially in higher iso & fz50 is too expensive .
all i know is s3is has the best features for it's price.

  • 4.0 out of 5
a small step but a giant leap to D-SLR (Dr swarupKM,India — 04/02/2007)

it is something like a white magic spell!!
Explore can realize its gravity.

  • 5.0 out of 5
Awesome (Nishank Jain — 03/31/2007)

Hey this is my first dig cam...and I am lovin it...S3 has a superb shutter and flash synchronization and you can take out pictures in complete darkness as clear as in daylight

  • 5.0 out of 5
Mind Blowing.... (Nishank Jain — 03/21/2007)

Hey everybody...This is one of the first camera i own Now ...previously I have used many...but this one is real angel. You can take close shots and bahh that color swapping is superb...I ordered the one from USA and it costed me a lil bit ...but yeah I must tell you This is a real darling. A must Buy

  • 2.0 out of 5
Not impressed (Chris — 03/14/2007)

I was upgrading from an old 3.2 mega pixel point and shoot camera. I read all the reviews and felt like I should move up in cameras with the S3 IS. I have taken several hundred pictures and have yet to capture a picture that is any better than what I was able to get with my old point and shoot. As a matter of a fact, you can not even take a picture with a flash without getting red eye in 80% of each pictures. I am not impressed.

  • 5.0 out of 5
Excellent Camera (Niluksha Dilshan Wickramaarachchi — 03/06/2007)

Cannon S3 IS is am excellent camera. The picture quality is superb.

  • 5.0 out of 5
Best Camera! (JD — 02/23/2007)

I am not a professional photographer, so the ease of use, the ability to take pictures in a point and shoot mode, is important to me, and it is OUTSTANDING! Best sports photo's I've ever taken, stops action with great clarity. Some people thought they were taken by a professional! And now I find out I can add lenses to this camera, and get even more flexabiltiy... no other camera will do as much for the money! I had the S2 IS for a year and a half before it was left out in the rain... don't ask... the S3's new features make purchasing it worthwhile!

  • 4.0 out of 5
good one - some issues on the sports mode (unni — 02/21/2007)

Excellent camera - recomeneded might be i need to read the manua again on the sports mode the pictur gives me a lot of grains

  • 5.0 out of 5
Way better than Nikon S4 (Herb Mann — 02/06/2007)

I have struggled for a year to like my Nikon S4 and finally junked it after researching a lot of other Ultra Zoom cameras. After only 3 days of shooting, this Canon is utterly fantastic...indoors, outdoors, macro, zoom. Everything works exceptionally well. Couldn't be happier.

  • 4.0 out of 5
S3 IS (Nick — 01/29/2007)

I got my Powershot S3 IS for Christmas last month, and it is a great camera. It is a quick, responsive camera, and doesnt feel like a toy, unlike many other digital cameras. The 15 sec. exposure is great for astrophotography. The only downsides I could find were some pretty bad purple fringing when maximum zoom is used in high contrast colors, such as white on black. There is alos alot of noise with this camera.

  • 2.0 out of 5
Very disappointed (Jessie — 01/24/2007)

I spent at least a month agonizing, researching, reading reviews, trying out cameras and finally settled on the S3 IS. I really thought I couldn't go wrong. I have had it for only a week, but I haven't been able to get a truly decent shot. I am wondering if there is something wrong with the camera itself, because *most* other reviews are glowing. The indoor shots, on any setting, auto or manual are terrible. The pictures I took in the snow on snow setting had horrible purple fringing. Most of my pictures are blurry, even with the flash. The flash also seems way too bright. When I used the LCD in indoor lighting, it is very grainy. I am trying to decide whether to return it for the same camera or return it for a completely different camera.

  • 3.0 out of 5
E18 error code (paul beaudette — 01/20/2007)

Be wary of this happening. E18 code means the lens mechanism is jammed. it happens a lot on Canon cameras, look it up on the web. The S2IS was the 11th most common camera in this voluntary survey. Ask about this before putting out a lot of your hard earned cash. The s3 in new and was not listed, but has a short history as well.

  • 2.0 out of 5
Not bad, but a few complaints. (Curtis Reynolds — 01/08/2007)

This is billed (if you read it's features and specs) as sort of a mid level, not quite dSLR, almost prosumer quality camera. But that's a little misleading. In using this camera over the last 30 days, I've taken roughly some 900 or so pictures with it, already, to figure out what light levels, etc are needed for certain kinds of shots. The answers I'm finding are less than I desired.

I'll start with the fact that the 12X optical is the main reason I bought this camera, as well as the manual mode.

I've read all the reviews in here so far, and sort of agree with a lot of them. It's a decent camera with lots of great features and style. It's also got issues. Indoors, it's almost impossible to get a good shot in manual mode: unless you up the ISO to 400 or 800, it is almost always horribly underexposed... and the grain at anything above ISO 200 makes the shots pretty much worhtless. I find the only clean (non-grainy) shots must be taken at ISO 100 or 80. This makes indoor, normal (non-studio) lighting, shots extremely hard to take if not impossible, since the aperture won't open enough, and the shutter speed has to be so slow that both camera shake and subject motion pretty much distroy any shot. A tripod and a wonderfully skilled mime are almost required. The built-in flash when used, I find pretty weak. At more than 2 meters distance to the subject, it almost has to be at full flash power to adequately light the subject. And then it's almost too much flash. 2/3 flash power is just under the level needed at that distance. Beyond 2 meters, forget it at less than full flash power. There is of course an exposure compensation option, but that also ups the grain in the pictures. On the other hand, if you are using some natural light through a window or some sort of studio'ish lighting, it does make a good fill flash to soften shadows.

Another issue is that the maximum Aperture opening is 2.7 in full wide angle, and 3.5 in full zoom. An extra couple stops up in size would have been nice.

I personally couldn't really care less about the video side of the house.... anyone who is trying to record video with a camera who's dimensions and shape are that of still camera, made for 2 handed support, well.... I won't continue that subject. If you want a video camera, buy a video camera. Since as I understand it, the video from these things isn't "video camera" quality anyways.

Out of the 900+ shot's I've taken, very few have been worth note... mind you this is due largely to the fact that the majority of those shots were taken only altering one setting, by usually 1 value at a time, and going through all the ranges of all the exposure affecting settings. So it stands to reason that most are not that good....

Overall, the shots are not that good if you want good quality, non holiday snapshot looking shots. It is possible to get great shots in any lighting, provided you have all the equipment you need... lighting equipment, reflectors, diffusers, tripod, etc. Fortunately, I do, and I'm still not very happy with the camera.

... if I had it to do all over again, I'd probably have bought something else, and maybe just saved the money and bought a dSLR.

Curtis Reynolds

  • 5.0 out of 5
i like it (Kari jarvio — 01/02/2007)

bought it from while travelling in usa, and also bought 2x2GB memory cards, i love to use its wonderfull movie mode, as it is not compressed can be used directly with pinnacle and to make an dvd, also avi file can be compressed with Jodix to mp4 if needed to share, as avi is quite large file mode, Quiet zoom in movies is excelent, 1005 better than my previous ones ( minolta Z2 )
Picture quality is great, i like its zoom 12x , viewer could be bigger, but hey cant get all good, maybe in few years S4 or S5 ??, wonderful low battery use, Needs on the next model bigger sensor, 6mpix is good but the size is not enough, noice levels are starting to be problem after this, plenty of picture modes, stablizer Good.
I like it.

  • 5.0 out of 5
Replacement Warranty (Phil — 01/02/2007)

I hear this and that about people camera breaking down after a month or two.Then they complain how much it costs to fix.I originally purchased a Canon A610 camera.I worked great and took wonderful pictures.After a month of using the camera died (electrical).I grabbed my replacement warranty and went to best buy to tell them whats wrong.They sent it out and after a week they called me and told me they could'nt fix the problem.They told me to get a new camera at equal value or i could upgrade.I upgraded to the canon S2IS.After a month with that camera the same thing happened.This time i did an even exchange for the canon S3IS.I have had this camera for over a month and it is the best camera i have ever owned.Point is,look how much money i have saved by purchasing a 45 dollar 4 year replacement warranty from Best-Buy.I highly recommend getting a replacement warranty when purchasing video or audio equipment!

  • 5.0 out of 5
S3 IS (Phil — 12/29/2006)

I originally owned the S2IS before I had to send it back because of some sort of electrical problems(Thank god I bought a 4 yr replacement warraty).They told me they couldnt fix it and told me to get a camera of equal value or I could upgrade.I did some research on the internet of all sorts of cameras and after all is said and done, i got the S3IS.This camera is about all a person needs!Great pictures,great zoom,movie mode is awesome,battery life is the best,tons of features and great Macro mode for close ups!This is pretty much my first camera and i couldnt imagine using anything else.Sometimes i just take this thing out front to shoot pictures of the sidewalk or trees just because when i view the pictures back on my pc they are truly amazing,i dont know if you can get much more detailed pictures at this price.Now im sure there are your picky professionals that use this camera and have their gripes about it,but all in all this thing rocks,and i wont use another camera unless canon comes out with a S4 Is or something...LOL..You will not be unhappy with this thing!

  • 5.0 out of 5
big results in small package (Sue Ann — 12/25/2006)

While a bit larger than a grab and shoot camera it is substantially smaller than my Canon Rebel so goes more places. (No camera along no picture). I have had excellant results—very comparable to the Rebel and the tele. is clear as a bell. Caution— you get cocky about the stabilization feature after awhile, keep alert and it is no fail. Enjoy

  • 4.0 out of 5
New S3 Owner and quite pleased... (Chicago Astronomer Joe — 12/19/2006)

Fellow Digital camera researchers,

I recently got a Powershot S3 and quite happy with it overall, but as an astronomer who desires astrophotography with it - it falls a bit short. More on that later.

I researched the digital world extensively, desiring to upgrade from my trusty Kodak DX 3215, as it was quite limited and I needed something more robust. I looked into obtaining a strict DSLR, but the prices are in the high hundreds and low thousands...out of my price range. And I wanted the capability of shooting video. The S3 had everytning I desired...and more. The movie feature is quite nice, even at it's lowest settings.

Baseline prices were averaging around $399.00, with small variations. On-line deals were slightly better, but not much, and...I prefer to pick up my electronics in person to examine the product. I saw an ad from OfficeMax offering the S3 for $369.00 - with an instant $30.00 in-store rebate. They threw in a free 512mb SD card and the option to purchase a $100.00 Canon photo printer for $30.00. I took the offer, but declined the extended warrenty of $79.00 for two years. I could have waited till the prices came down some more, most likely after Christmas, but I liked the deal offered. I am happy with the purchase.

It has plenty of zoom (12x), takes very good images, and the sharpness of the images are quite good. I have plenty of experience with my old 35mm Nikon film camera, and the S3 exceeds it in many areas. I do not miss at all lugging around various lenses and accessories, and this camera has plenty of features to satisfy the photographer.

The 4 AA batteries it takes instead of an odd shaped and expensive battery was a big plus. Although there is no real time battery level indicator, it does show you a low flashing power level indicator. This allows you to squeeze out about 10 more shots before it shuts downs. The batteries last quite awhile, and using rechargables, it costs practically nothing to run. Fits well in the hand and feels like a real camera - not a pocket point and shoot.

It could use a better rubber eyecup for the viewfinder and the camera tripod mount threads are plastic. And it could really use a hotshoe. The add on flash set up Canon offers is quite palty, but there are good independant slave/bracket flash units available. But these are minor observations.

I have experimented with the manual controls and find them exceptional, with real time results. The auto focus gets some getting used to, as it wants to focus on everything. I use the AF only when the shutter is depressed halfway down, and it saves batteries. And as an additional benefit, everybody who has seen it, has complimented me on the purchase...even die hard strict DSLR users. I will look into aftermarket Lens hoods and tele-converters to enhance the performance.


I needed a camera for astrophotography, and I hope this one will serve well, but one nagging observation...

It's remarkable that I have been able to record stars, constellations and nebulae with just the camera lens, but I find it bothersome that I cannot focus stars down to pin points, it just stops short. I don't know if this is inherent to all digital cameras, but maybe it's just mine.

There are examples of my practice begining astrophotography efforts with the Powershot S3 here:

and here

I have yet to attach it to a telescope, but I anticipate the results with this camera.

Other than the difficulties of obtaining pin point stars, I highly recommend this camera.


Chicago Astronomer Joe

  • 4.0 out of 5
A great versitile camera... (Chicago Astronomer Joe — 12/17/2006)

I needed to upgrade from my Kodak DX3215, which was quite limiting, but trusty. After much researching, I finally came upon the Powershot S3. It had all I wanted in a digital...along with a much desired movie feature.

I got a good deal from OfficeMax for $369.00. They threw in a 512 mb SD card and option to purchase a $100.00 photo printer for $30.00

I have had it a week now, and quite pleased with it. It's a dream to use and very versatile. Everything is cool, except one thing.

I'm using it for astrophotography, and finding it perhaps falling a little short. In my 35mm SLR film days, I was taking very good images of stars, nebulas etc... Here I am finding that the S3 does not focus down to pin points when zoomed in all the way on a star. It just...stops a little short. It exposes the stars as a tiny blob, instead of a point.

Perhaps it's just my camera, I'm still waiting for individuals to chime in on this.

Examples of my astrophotography can be found at the Chicago Astronomer here:

Overall, I highly recommend this digital camera.

Chicago Astronomer

  • 5.0 out of 5
It's an excellent Digital Camera (naidu — 12/15/2006)

It's amazing

  • 5.0 out of 5
Verg good camera (Sandrine Pontre — 12/04/2006)

Hi there,
I have owned this camera for only 4 days now,
the best way to learn about it is to play with it.It is an awsome camera with lots of amazing and interesting features which will take time to learn, so I am thinking of enrolling myself in a digital camera training workshop which has only 4 people per class so I can get the best out of this very cool camera.In the mean time ,happy playing.

  • 4.0 out of 5
Good Camera that requires effort to get the best from it (Mitch Sefton — 12/01/2006)

The Canon S3 IS is my first foray into the world of digital cameras after 13 years of sterling service from my Canon EOS 10QD SLR. My initial impressions are that the Canon S3 IS is a good camera and capable of taking some excellent pictures, but, it takes some work and is therefore not ideal as a point and shoot.

For example, if you set the camera to auto mode and let the camera make all the decisions on exposure, ISO settings etc, indoor flash photography results in very noisy photos indeed. Taking control in the creative zones, you can force the camera to use lower ISO settings of 80 or 100 which result in much better pictures. The camera is also fussy about exposure. It is very easy to get underexposed images with indoor flash photography or overexposed and blown highlights when using it outdoors on sunny days using the auto-mode. Put some effort in and take a little control with the Program mode (using flash compensation for indoor flash shots) or even more control with the Shutter or Aperture priority modes for outdoor shots and the results are so much better.

This baby is surprisingly heavy. Though much smaller than a traditional film SLR, it's still quite large and it would be difficult to take a discreet photo with it. The camera does look great so perhaps you wouldn't want to be discreet anyhow.

The other disadvantage of using this as a point and shoot is that you must manually raise the flash every time you (or the camera) want to use the flash. This is, as I see it, a major drawback to this camera.

The movie mode is excellent and has almost completely replaced my 'standard' video camera. However, it too suffers from high noise levels - particularly in indoor settings where my dedicated video camera has no problems - so be clear about what you're going to use the camera for before you take the plunge.

Battery life is simply phenomenal and you can easily expect to shoot hundreds of photos with each set of batteries. I use 2300Mha rechargables which work a treat. This coupled with the excellent 12X telephoto lens makes the S3 an ideal camera for traveling and holidays. Personally, I'd prefer to see the lens offer a little more wide-angle - say 28mm equivalent - at the expense of the extreme telephoto range but overall, and considering how small the lens is, I have no real complaints.

I guess the bottom line is that like all good cameras, this camera rewards the owner with what they put into it. That means if you're going to spend most of your life in the green auto zone, you're likely to end up disappointed. Otherwise, I recommend this camera with confidence.

  • 5.0 out of 5
Loaded with features and easy to use (Muke — 11/29/2006)

Love it, extrmely easy to use and great picture clarity. The image stabalizer is a plus.

  • 4.0 out of 5
Very good digital SLR STARTER (John — 11/26/2006)

For those of you looking to get a little more out of your digital photography, and still have enough left to afford a family, this may be the camera for you. I have used Canon photographic and video products privately and professionally for about 10 years. I've owned a (film) Rebel G for about 10 years and have been shooting with a GL2 for about 5 without a single glitch. Both of these experiences factored into my decision to buy this camera.

Before purchasing the S3, the wife had one request, "please get one with a "STUPID" setting. I don't need to be Ansel Adams, I just want to take pictures of the kids, family and the dog." Well, to make it short, she loves the STUPID mode. However, I really like the array of manual settings and special modes. This makes it a good buy for the whole family.

Warning: At first this camera can seem TOO complicated with enough external, multi-function stud buttons to confuse the most adept button pusher. I've only owned it for 30 days and I'm finding new functions and new ways to use it every time I pick it up. Don't be scared of it! Try the buttons and play with it! It will continue to unfold new features - some of which you'll wonder how you've ever done without.

This camera is definitely worth extra few bucks you'll spend in aggravation spent on lesser cameras.

  • 5.0 out of 5
Awesome Camera (David Long — 11/26/2006)

I never thought I would get excited about any digital camera. I was a die-hard SLR photographer, albeit an amateur. I never thought that I would use a digital camera in place of film for any significant photographs, that I would want to save, until now. This thing is amazing, and I don't know everything it will do just yet. And the thing that baffles me the most: I can't figure out how the red eye reduction works. I took close up photographs of my grandchildren, and with any other camera there would be red-eye all over the place. However this camera handles it perfectly, without a pre-light, or pre-flash or any other method I can detect. I can't do that with my SLR's with their pop-up flash's, under any conditions. For now, this is as close to a Digital SLR, as I can afford, and after using this, perhaps I might just drop the idea of ever buying one

  • 4.0 out of 5
great value (legende5 — 11/21/2006)

find it very good purchase for beginner. the only thing i can say against it is there no way to see the power left in batteries. take picture and suddently it shot down after a short warning that batteries are low.

  • 4.0 out of 5
Don't cut corners on the imaging chip! (Mike ONIFFREY — 11/20/2006)

I own DSLRs for jobs, but always carry a point-&-shoot wherever I go. My last P&P was a Canon G3; beautiful. I bought the S3IS mainly for its amazingly long 12x glass. Wish I could combine the wonderfully smooth grain and natural color of the G3 with the S3ISs zoom. S3 images are a bit high on graininess, noise and compression, even at ASA80, compared to the G3; I wonder what internal corners with snipped at by Canon. Otherwise, a good knockabout camera.

  • 5.0 out of 5
photographers' paradise (chayan ray — 11/17/2006)

its too sexy and a great companion for holidays...

  • 5.0 out of 5
Couldn't have made a better choice. (Brendan P — 11/16/2006)

After playing with it for a while, I've learned that this camera is pretty unique in the mid-to high price range, and it's worth it. I'm messing around with creating HDR images, and it really comes in handy with focus bracketing. Simply the best camera I could ask for. I only wish higher capacity cards would come available, as movie mode is EXCELLENT quality, but large file size. 1 hour would eat up about 8GB...

  • 4.0 out of 5
Great Camera / Hate the Controls (Andrew Akers — 11/11/2006)

I love the zoom and I like the focus feature on the viewfinder but I hate where the menu button is . Every time I pick it up to take a photo I hit the menu button . That has to move in the next generation. I also have found the menu rather awkward and cluttered but it is a good camera and it takes good photos. My next unit ( hybrid ) will be the Leica as it seems to be a lot more user friendly.

  • 2.0 out of 5
Memory Card Error (nino — 11/05/2006)

Used the S3 on a work trip out west. Took 50-plus pics then got the Memory Card Error. Totally screwed and ticked off. What to do? Please help. Thanks

  • 4.0 out of 5
good (sanny ong — 11/02/2006)

it is quit good! the picture and the video, But i have problem opening the video format with adobe premier editor.... how can i open it with adobe premier with out changing it's file extension from avi to mpg?

  • 5.0 out of 5
Pentax can bite the dust (Steph — 11/01/2006)

For years I used Pentax, but once I switched over to this little beauty, I haven't had any problems. This camera also makes everything easy to photoshop. I'm proud to carry it with me!

  • 5.0 out of 5
Superb (Proud Owner — 10/26/2006)

I had been starving for a good camera with all the function in this world and S3 Is is one.
it full of functions and even in the hands of a amature photographer it performs very great.

but i feel disappointed with absense direct video recording to my PC.

this is a good digital still camera at ur command.
less sporty(its bulkier)!!!!
good at battery life.
movie recording is also very good.

  • 5.0 out of 5
Very little to complain about! (Matt — 10/24/2006)

I have a very hard time finding things wrong with the Canon S3IS; the operation of the S3 is almost instant, the video mode w/stereo sound is unmatched, S3's battery life is unbelievable, it uses SD memory, the continuous shooting and Macro mode's are awesome! The buttons I actually found to be quite logically placed and the seperate ISO button and the Video Snap button are ingenious and great features for a good camera to have.If you are trying to decide between the Sony H5 and Canon S3. I have owned both and overall the Canon S3IS wins! The only 2 complaints I have is 1: the noise levels at ISO 800, which because there is such good detail retained you can still clean up photos with some Photoshop processing and small prints are still possible. 2: the auto-focusing 'misses' sometimes at full zoom, even in good light; it's not often but it does happen occasionally. But overall you still can't get better than the Canon S3; at least until the S4 comes out or you go DSLR.

  • 4.0 out of 5
good for architects>>>> (anakonda10315 — 10/16/2006)

actually S3IS is a good camera for taking nice pics.but the only problem that makes the owner,a little angry is the "noise"!i advise you to buy "tele converter" and "wide converter" to take better pics.this is also good for architects becuse of its otical zoom.

  • 5.0 out of 5
very happy (David Stricklin — 10/07/2006)

Does everything they said it would do and everything I want it to do.

  • 2.0 out of 5
Not what I expected (Nangaroo — 10/06/2006)

My first Canon was a PowerShot A 75 and I absolutely loved it. Next came two PowerShot A610s (I dropped the first on pavement and that was the end of that). Now I've "upgraded" to the S3IS. I am bothered by several things about this camera, and I've barely even used it yet. For starters, the camera is difficult to use. Apparently you need to press a button on the side if you want to use macro and after one picture, macro turns itself off. Super macro is even more difficult to use, as you have to press and hold the manual focus button while you try to focus on your subject. Several features that were present on the A610 are missing on the S3IS, there is no underwater setting for light balance or in the special scenes—a big disappointment because this setting was fantastic for capturing light and richer colours. The still capture while in video mode is ok, if you don't mind your video stopping/starting every time you click a picture. The video sound, however, is great. I am glad to see that sports scene is back on this model. The LCD is grainy and dark. Overall, I much prefer the A610 and might not keep the S3IS.

  • 1.0 out of 5
horrible customer service (liesl — 09/28/2006)

I've had this camera for a little over a month when it stopped working - seemed to be electrical. It was too late to send back to the shop I bought it and canon refused to fix or replace this model b/c the model was "too new". After countless conversations, I am out $500. I would strongly discourage purchasing canon products - durability doesn't seem to be a strong suit.

  • 5.0 out of 5
Happy, for the most part (Raphael — 09/28/2006)

I aspire to jump from the level of pretender to the level of decnt photographer, and I think this camera is the right one to do it with. Once you get the hang of the functions, it's very easy to play around with settings. Yet you can also use auto settings, and don't worry about all the technical stuff. I've take a combination of great shots and awful shots, bu the awful ones are my fault, because I'mlearning and screwing up. When the pics are great, they're awsome. I especially love sports mode, a great feature, I find, if you have kids, that love to move around. Movie mode is terriffic, but be sure you have a real big SD card. Shadow, harshness and redeye can show up with flash, and youneed to know how to work the flash in low light conditions, as well as manual zoom. Set the system to manual mode, set the flash to second-curtain, and use a good slave flash for great indoor night shots. Also, use good image software. I use Photoshop, Gimp, and Noiseware (that app is unbelievable).

Hope this helps.

  • 2.0 out of 5
Disappointed in Image Quality (Gary — 09/07/2006)

The images are not as sharp and detailed as my previous camera the Canon G2 (4MP) even when set to ISO 80. Movie mode is fantastic but it does not make up for the so-so image quality of the still shots. I returned it.

  • 5.0 out of 5
As good as a non-SLR can get... (J.M. Dodd — 08/28/2006)

This is a camera that can do it all...Point and shoot, macro, super-zoom, artistic color tricks, and much more. The flash is surprisingly bright for it's size, but I bought Canon's Hi-Power slave flash unit to augment the on-board flash anyway. The only negative I can mention is the focusing system takes longer to zero-in than I had hoped. A fine, fine camera.

  • 5.0 out of 5
Very Pleased With Canon S3iS Camera (Don Bills — 08/21/2006)

This is my first digital camera. I have used a variety of film SLR's and point-and-shoots over the last 55 years. I have barely begun to understand and use all of the little Canon's features. But even so, my results are spectacular, at least to me. Among the hundred pictures I have shot so far, I have some really good pics just using the AUTO setting. Coupled with a new Epson PhotoMate Delux printer that I just bought, I have printed some great pictures that allow me to crop and fix up pictures post-shutter click. Based on my experience so far, I chose the right camera for the kind of amateur photography that I want to do. Between the camera and the printer, it's like having a personal photo lab.

  • 4.0 out of 5
Perfect to start with Digital (Ajay M lad — 08/11/2006)

I brought Canon S3IS three days back and I took more than 50 photographs.I am happy with the performance. This is a good model to start with Digital camera. I want to know whether I can attach the external lens to it and which one.

  • 3.0 out of 5
I`m on the fence S3IS or Sony DSC H2 (anonymous — 07/18/2006)

Well i have been taking on everyones thoughts here and I`ve been to 3 places and tested S3IS with my flash cards and, I get good photos and I get bad ones. Yes I see that S3IS does do soft photos on website previews, but I got some great zoom test shots of myself with good detail, but when doing wide shot at the same distance it becomes soft and my old Canon A40 does a better shot when looking at photos set to 100% on the computer.....So every one said the Sony DSC H2 takes sharp photos... well i did not see it. The sales rep taking the photo said it was difficult to focus with the Sony DSCH2 than the S3IS and it competed with the back ground to focus. In the end they both took great shots zoomed and I could not tell which was the better. I was expecting better shots that my old Canon A40. I did not get to see it. I hanging onto that A40 when I get the the new one...thats IF !!! And I`m still not sure???

  • 4.0 out of 5
Good pics but still have lots to explore... the lcd seems to be dull (anonymous — 07/18/2006)

The LCD seems to be dull, though pretty effective. Have not yet tested it in bright sun light as my shots were taken majorly indoors.

Have a Q , Y is that the auto flash mode is not working, are there any specific settings that i need to change to make sure it happens.. currently i am having to manually open the flash.

Also during Half press of the trigger, the focus on the near by objects seems to be unclear... the focus sometimes moves from expected clarity further and gives slight blur in the frame.

Histogram feature is really good and cant imagine using any other cam without it now ..

All in all i have found it to be good till now.. and am yet to explore it fully.. maybe after that will be able to increase the ratings..

  • 3.0 out of 5
Canon Powershot S3IS Viewpoint (anonymous — 07/18/2006)

It is a camera with very good features and ease of use. The only problem is that at 400ASA & 800 ASA settings there is too much grain in shadow / low light areas. This aspect needs to be addressed to.
Another great lacuna is the inability to attach a separate flash Unit.

  • 5.0 out of 5
Exactly what I wanted! (anonymous — 07/18/2006)

As some others have stated, the LCD is not very useable in bright light and when the camera is turned on, the telescoping lens can hang up on the lens cover (if the cover is looped onto the camera body). But those two items are really fairly insignificant.

I did buy a lens adaptor and a filter to rectify the one situation. As for the LCD being visible in bright light....I shot 2GB+ of video and stills in that situation with little problem. The only time I had a problem seeing either was along the ocean when is was overcast and a bit foggy....the camera had trouble displaying through either the LCD or the eyepiece what was visible. But, in automatic mode I got some really good shots.

In summation: The camera can take some really excellent shots, it is loaded with features and it takes really superb video! I have seen too much griping people that seem to want a $400 camera to be the quality equivalent of a camcorder and mid-price SLR combined! There is no free lunch. Know what you want & what you need.

If you have kids, grandkids or are involved in sporting activities this is an excellent camera. My wife was really thrilled with the video I took of her dressage riding and my son-in-law and I were both amazed at the video/still quality of shots I took of his son playing T-ball. From 20 feet away, I could capture the ball frozen in the air as it came off his bat or I could zoom into the plate from behind the centerfield fence. A really neat and versatile camera for the individual who wants occasional video with excellent quality, great stills and a ton of features!

  • 4.0 out of 5
Fantastic Prosumer Camera (anonymous — 07/18/2006)

I'll be taking my new S3 IS to Santa Barbara to do extensive shooting so I've been pouring over the manuals and taking test shots. (Both basic and advanced manuals are included.) Though I was initially disappointed in the lack of a RAW/non-compressed image option the quality of the images blows me away and far exceeds my prior camera! Default settings are for Fine/Large images. I reset the default to Super Fine/Large images for even less JPEG artifacts.

Re: "Memory Card Error" - Though I was successful in using a card from my prior camera, your experience reinforced the need to follow the directions prescribed in the manual. Perform a Low Level Format of the card BEFORE using. (Advanced manual p. 35)

Re: "Disappointed in LCD brightness" - Can't argue about LCD brightness in bright light. I've seen the dim display. Although, depending on position of the shooter in relation to the sun the display is visible in many daylight settings. When outdoors is too bright, the viewfinder amazingly displays the same information as LCD and has a diopter adjustment. Just press the DISP. button to turn off the LCD and the viewfinder becomes activated. Brightness of the LCD and viewfinder can be adjusted separately. (pp. 16, 31)

I'm not much of a photographer but I have been a photo retoucher for many years. Every image I take is usually Photoshop bound (re-cropping, softening pixels, enhancing color). I anticipated the same with this camera but was surprised that no adjustments were required on my initial test shots. I know this will not be the case with everything I shoot but it was an impressive introduction nonetheless. If you are unhappy with the color use the FUNC. menu to adjust My Colors (third icon down on left). The Positive Film option may punch it just enough if you are shooting outdoors. (p. 80) You can also use one of the custom settings on the Mode Dial. (p. 46) If focus is a problem, I might recommend is using continuous (p. 43) or bracketed (p. 68) shooting. If lighting is a problem consider the FE lock. (p. 72) Also, remember to turn off image stabilization when using a tripod. (p. 39)

Re: "Disappointed" - I don't believe the audience for the S3 is S2 owners. This camera simply builds on prior success with a few additional features to keep it competitive with other brands as summed up below.

* New sensor (6MP versus 5MP)
* Higher maximum sensitivity (ISO 800)
* Bigger LCD screen (2.0-inch versus 1.8-inch)
* New Sports mode
* Record Histogram
* Widescreen shooting mode (stills)
* Fractionally larger and heavier
* Dark gunmetal (black) as opposed to silver body

If you don't use the histogram or widescreen settings then I can't see being too to impressed as a S2 user. Though the S3 was nearly a hundred more than the S2 I opted for the newest model. since I REALLY upgraded from a Minolta Dimage G500 (5MP/3x optical zoom).

Overall, out of the box images are spectacular. If you spend a bit of time with the manual and customize settings to your liking, there is little not to like about the S3. (When I get back from Santa Barbara, this camera may gain another star.)

  • 5.0 out of 5
A Real Benchmark (anonymous — 07/18/2006)

The S3IS takes fantastic pictures, is easy to use & packed with features. The movie mode is incredible, the separate sports shooting mode is a big plus & the ISO & shortcut buttons very handy. Above all it is quick to the draw & photo quality is excellent. My previous cameras include S1IS, Canon Pro 1 & Panasonic FZ30 but, for me, the S3IS is the winner & sets a real benchmark for extended zoom cameras. A little honey.

  • 4.0 out of 5
Impressive Performance (anonymous — 07/18/2006)

I never owned the S2 so I was truly going on the features advertised. Approximately 200 photos later, I'm still impressed. The shots are clear and the movie clarity really surprised me. Don't fall for the different vendor who offer the ultra fast SD cards - they do NOT effect the camera performance. You will see a slight performance increase when coping the photos to your computer, but it will not the speed of taking pictures. I'm using the Kingston 1GB card - cost $30.

  • 3.0 out of 5
Memory Card Error (anonymous — 07/18/2006)

Bought my S3IS yesterday, Clicked around 50 odd still pictures and around 2-3 video clips of around 30 second each, write protected one image and viola and 2-3 images later [after write protecting] got the message 'memory card error' am using sandisk 1 GB Card, Thought something is wrong with the card but what little I'hv gathered from various comments Cannon seems to be plagued with these errors. Had to reformat and lose all the pictures. Would welcome comments/suggestions.

  • 2.0 out of 5
Disappointed in LCD brightness (anonymous — 07/18/2006)

I am vey disappointed in the view on the LCD screen.
Even under moderate daylight (cloudy sky) I am unable to view the screen to make camera adjustment. Yes, the brightness is set to bright but this shows little improvement. Batteries are fully charged.
I bought this camera for outdoor shots because of the 12x optical zoom and feel that my 3 year-old HP Photosmart 615 (3x zoom)produces sharper images.
The work I have to do in PhotoShop is much greater than with my old camera.
Yes I studied the manual.
Anyone disagree?

  • 3.0 out of 5
Disappointed! (anonymous — 07/18/2006)

To be honest, I can't see there has been any significant improvement on the previous model to justify the upgrade that I just mistakenly made. If anything the picture quality is slightly worse than on the S2 probably because the sensor isn't optimized for 6MP. Why did Canon bother when there was very little to improve on the S2 which was a great camera in its own right?

  • 5.0 out of 5
its jus Amazing (anonymous — 07/18/2006)

it has everything that is needed nd tha quality is jus perfect amazing technology nd movie function is jus gr8

  • 5.0 out of 5
Fantastic (anonymous — 07/18/2006)

Very nice partner in fantastic life moments