Canon PowerShot S3 IS

February 21, 2006 | Mark Goldstein | Digital Compact Cameras , PMA Show 2006 | Comment |

Canon PowerShot S3 ISPMA 2006: The Canon PowerShot S3 IS is announced today. 6 megapixels, image stabilized 12x zoom lens, ISO 800, 2 inch LCD. The Canon PowerShot S3 IS will be available from early May 2006, priced at £449.00 / €649.99.

Canon UK Press Release

Canon launches new PowerShot S3 IS; improved monster zoom compact

Canon is pleased to announce the launch of the 12x optical zoom PowerShot S3 IS. Successor to the popular PowerShot S2 IS, the latest addition to the PowerShot S-series incorporates a 6.0 Megapixel CCD sensor, Canon’s renowned optical Image Stabiliser technology and video functionality rivalling that of dedicated digital video camcorders. Sporting a striking new finish in gunmetal grey, the compact PowerShot S3 IS answers the demands of advanced photographers with several improvements over its predecessor, including an increased sensitivity range of ISO 80 to ISO 800, a larger 2.0” vari-angle LCD screen, widescreen (16:9) recording, new movie features and an additional Sports mode. The PowerShot S3 IS caters for serious photo enthusiasts seeking extended zooming flexibility and fully featured movie recording in a versatile compact digital stills camera.

The PowerShot S3 IS features:
- 12x optical zoom lens with USM and UD lens element
- Optical Image Stabiliser
- 6.0 Megapixel CCD
- Larger size 2.0” Vari-angle LCD
- 30fps VGA movies with stereo sound and Photo in Movie feature
- DIGIC II, iSAPS and Flexizone AF/AE for fast, precise results and 2.3 fps continuous shooting performance
- 20 shooting modes and My Colors photo effects
- High ISO Auto and ISO 800 for low light flexibility
- Widescreen (16:9) recording

Still the most powerful zoom in a Canon digital compact camera (36 – 432mm f/2.7-f.3.5), the PowerShot S3 IS’ lens incorporates the same leading technologies used in Canon’s professional EF lenses. An Ultra-Sonic Motor (USM) drives rapid and near-silent zoom operation; an Ultra-low Dispersion (UD) lens element significantly reduces chromatic aberration in telephoto shots; Canon’s optical Image Stabiliser (IS) technology counteracts camera shake to reduce image blur when shooting stills or recording video, essential for handheld shots at longer focal lengths. IS allows photographers to shoot at shutter speeds up to 3 stops slower for reliable flash-free photography in low light conditions.

The PowerShot S3 IS’s 12x optical zoom combines with digital zoom to deliver 48x magnification for recording both stills and video. For even wider framing options, optional Wide and Tele converter lenses extend the focal length from wide 27mm to super-tele 648mm (35mm film equivalent) for an impressive 24x optical zoom. A Super Macro mode with 0cm shooting distance and optional Close-Up lens 500D (58mm) allow for detailed macro photography.

Increased ISO speed
In addition to Image Stabilisation, the PowerShot S3 IS features a new High ISO Auto setting and ISO 800 to further extend the camera’s low light shooting capabilities. High ISO Auto automatically sets exposure using the higher range of ISO sensitivities, enabling faster shutter speeds in low light and increased image stability at the telephoto end. A dedicated ISO button allows for easy switching between ISO sensitivities.

Movie functions
Powerful video functions make the PowerShot S3 IS far more than just a high performance digital still camera. A dedicated movie button means users do not need to switch modes to start recording, so spontaneous moments can be instantly captured in full motion. Users can record smooth 30fps VGA quality movies of up to 1GB with stereo sound, or create 60fps QVGA clips for sharp slow motion playback. The Movie mode also allows users to pre-select exposure and white balance, zoom throughout the camera’s focal range and manually adjust focus while shooting. A Photo In Movie feature enables the capture of full resolution digital stills during video recording.

Creative shooting
The PowerShot S3 IS offers 20 shooting modes including full Manual mode, Aperture Priority and Shutter Speed Priority. Together with 2.3 fps continuous shooting, a new fast-shutter Sports mode with improved auto focus accuracy provides unprecedented capabilities for capturing action sports sequences. Special Scene modes – such as Night Snapshot and Snow – assist with tricky lighting conditions, while Colour Accent and Colour Swap modes enable dramatic colour effects to be applied to both images and movies. Canon’s My Colours photo effects have been enhanced for this model, and can now be applied to images both before and after shooting.

The PowerShot S3 IS features a new Widescreen mode (2816 x 1584 recording pixels) for capturing still images in 16:9 format – perfect for viewing images on widescreen television or printing wide (10 x 20cm) photos with a SELPHY Compact Photo Printer .

Printing and other features
A new, dedicated Print menu simplifies printing of multiple images. Full PictBridge support means users can print directly to any PictBridge compatible printer without the need for a PC. New PictBridge features include the ability to print shooting data and optimise faces in portrait shots when connected to a compatible Canon PIXMA printer. The camera’s ID photo and movie stills features are also available when connected to a SELPHY CP Series Printer. A handy Print/Share button allows one-touch printing and easy uploads to Windows or Mac systems.

The camera’s menu system now features support for Arabic, bringing the total number of supported languages to 23.

Pricing and availability
The PowerShot S3 IS will be available from early May 2006, priced at £449.00 RRP inc. VAT/ €649.99 RRP inc. VAT.

Reader enquiries
UK – 08705 143723 /    
Eire – (01) 2052400 /

The PowerShot S3 IS comes bundled with the following Canon Software:
- ZoomBrowser EX 5.6 (Windows), ImageBrowser 5.6 (Macintosh): For organizing and editing images, movies and slideshows.
- PhotoStitch 3.1: For creating panoramic photos from multiple images (Windows and Macintosh).

Also included is ArcSoft’s photo manipulation software PhotoStudio.

The bundled software supports Windows 98 (SE), Me, 2000 (SP4), XP (SP1/2) and Macintosh OS X v10.2-v10.4. The PowerShot S3 IS supports PTP for driverless transfer to Windows XP and Macintosh OS X.

Purchasers of the camera are eligible for membership of CANON iMAGE GATEWAY , 100MB of online ‘personal gallery’ space for sharing stills and video with family and friends.

A complete range of optional accessories is available to extend the functionality of the PowerShot S3 IS:
- Tele-converter 1.5x lens (TC-DC58B)
- Wide-converter 0.75x lens (WC-DC58A)
- Lens Adapter/Hood Set (LAH-DC20)
- Close-Up Lens 500D (58mm)
- High Power Flash HF-DC1
- Soft Case (DCC-90)
- Compact AC Power Adapter (CA-PS700)
- Battery and Charger Kit (CBK4-300)

The camera is compatible with MMC/SD cards, and comes supplied with a 16MB Canon card.

Technologies Explained

Optical Image Stabiliser
Canon’s lens shift-type optical Image Stabiliser counteracts the camera shake caused by slight hand movements. Vibration sensors detect the angle and speed of movement and send this information to a processor, allowing the camera to compensate. This adds stability to hand-held, telephoto or moving shots and enables shooting at shutter speeds of up to three stops slower with no noticeable increase in image blur.

Canon’s purpose-built DIGIC II (DIGital Imaging Core) image processor links all primary camera functions for maximum efficiency. High-speed processing results in outstanding responsiveness, rapid auto focus and extended continuous shooting ability. Advanced image processing algorithms deliver superb image detail and colour reproduction with accurate white balance and minimal noise. DIGIC II operates efficiently to extend battery life, for longer shooting on a single charge.

iSAPS (Intelligent Scene Analysis based on Photographic Space) automatically optimises key camera settings before every shot. Each scene is analysed and cross-referenced against Photographic Space – a vast in-camera library of photographic data. This enables the camera to make optimal adjustments to auto exposure, auto focus and auto white balance before image capture occurs.

9-Point AiAF
Canon’s 9-point AiAF (Artificial Intelligence Auto Focus) automatically scans and selects subjects from a set of nine focusing areas across the scene. This ensures accurately focused images even when subjects are not in the centre of the frame.

FlexiZone AF/AE
FlexiZone AF/AE lets users manually select the focus point from almost any point in the frame by moving the auto focus window in the viewfinder. Exposure is linked to the focus point to ensure that the chosen subject is accurately focused and exposed.

Ultra-low Dispersion (UD) lens technology
No matter how well engineered, conventional optical glass lens elements cause chromatic aberrations which can ‘soften’ images and appear in photographs as fringing around the outside edge of subjects. Canon’s Ultra-low Dispersion (UD) glass has special optical properties to successfully reduce these aberrations. Especially effective in super telephoto lenses, UD glass helps to deliver crisp, sharp, high contrast images.

About Canon (UK) Limited
Canon is a world-leading innovator and provider of imaging and information technology solutions for the home and office environments.

Canon has a global philosophy of Kyosei - living and working together for the common good, which clearly demonstrates commitment to customers, staff and the environment shared by all.

Canon (UK) Ltd is the UK marketing and sales operation for the US$33 billion global company based in Tokyo, Japan.  In the UK Canon employs over 2,000 people in various locations including Ireland and has achieved sales of £522m in 2004.

The main business focus for Canon (UK) Ltd, covers two clearly defined market segments: Business Solutions covering both the office and professional printing environments (including: multifunctional printers, IT consultation and peripherals: photocopiers, printers, fax machines, document management hardware & software, multimedia LCD projectors) and Consumer Imaging (input solutions: film and digital cameras, camcorders, binoculars and scanners; and output solutions: Ink Jet printers, fax machines, desktop multifunctionals and multimedia projectors).

Type 1/2.5” CCD
Effective Pixels Approx.6.0M
Colour Filter Type Primary Colour
Type DIGIC II with iSAPS technology
Focal Length 6.0-72.0mm (35mm film equivalent: 36-432mm)
Zoom Optical 12x, digital approx. 4.0x (6), combined approx. 48x
Maximum f/number f/2.7 - f/3.5
Construction 11 elements in 9 groups (1 aspherical element, 1 UD element)
Image Stabilisation Yes (Lens shift-type)
Ultrasonic Motor (USM) Yes, zoom
Type TTL
AF System/ Points 1 point AF (any position is available)
AF Modes Single, Continuous
AF Point Selection Manual selection using FlexiZone AF/AE
AF Lock On/Off Selectable
AF Assist Beam Yes
Manual Focus Yes
Focus Bracketing Yes
Closest Focusing Distance 0cm
Metering modes Evaluative, Centre-weighted average, Spot (centre or linked to focusing frame)
AE Lock Yes
Exposure Compensation +/- 2 EV in 1/3 stop increments
AEB 1/3 - 2 EV in 1/3 stop increments
ISO Speed Equivalent AUTO, High ISO Auto, 80, 100, 200, 400, 800
Speed “15 – 1/3,200 sec
(Slow Shutter speeds of 1.3 sec. and more, available in Manual and Shutter Priority AE modes only. Shutter speeds of 1.3 sec. and more operate with noise reduction. Certain combinations of shutter speed and aperture may not be available.)”
Type TTL
Settings Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Fluorescent H, Flash, Custom
Viewfinder EVF (0.33” type), approx. 115,000 pixels
Monitor Vari-angle 2.0” Low temperature P-Si TFT, approx. 115,000 pixels
Coverage 100%
Brightness Adjustable to one of two levels
Modes Auto, Manual Flash On / Off
Slow Sync Speed Yes
Red-eye Reduction Yes
Flash Exposure Compensation +/- 2 EV in 1/3 stop increments
Flash Exposure Lock Yes
Manual Power Adjustment 3 levels with internal flash
Second Curtain Synchronisation Yes
Built-in Flash Range 50cm-5.2m (W) / 90cm-4.0m (T) (at ISO AUTO equivalent)
External Flash Canon’s High Power Flash HF-DC1
Modes Auto, Program AE, Shutter priority AE, Aperture priority AE, Manual, Custom, Portrait, Landscape, Night Scene, Sports, Stitch Assist, Movie, Special Scene (Foliage, Snow, Beach, Fireworks, Indoor, Night Snapshot, Color Accent, Color Swap).
Photo Effects My Colors (My Colors Off, Vivid, Neutral, Sepia, Black & White, Lighter Skin Tone, Darker Skin Tone, Positive Film, Vivid Blue, Vivid Green, Vivid Red, Custom Color)
Drive modes Single, Continuous, Self-Timer
Continuous Shooting “High Speed at approx. 2.3 fps(1) (until memory card becomes full)(2)
Normal at approx. 1.5 fps(1) (until memory card becomes full)(2)”
Intervalometer Up to 100 shots in 1 – 60 minute increments (2)
Image Size (L)2816 X 2112, (M1) 2272 X 1704, (M2)1600 x 1200, (S)640 x 480, (W)2816 x 1584
Compression Superfine, Fine, Normal
Movies (L)640 x 480, 30/15fps (M)320 x 240, 60/30/15fps
Movie Length Up to 1GB or 60 min (2)
Still Image Type JPEG compression, (Exif 2.2 [Exif Print] compliant) / Design rule for Camera File system, Digital Print Order Format [DPOF] Version 1.1 compliant
Movies AVI [Motion JPEG compression + WAVE (stereo)]
Sound Files WAVE (stereo)
Canon Printers Canon SELPHY Compact Photo Printers and PIXMA Printers supporting PictBridge (ID Photo Print, Movie Print supported on SELPHY CP printers only)
PictBridge Yes
My Camera Start-up image and camera sounds customisation
Sound Memo Up to 60 sec per image
Intelligent Orientation Sensor Yes
Histogram Yes, live histogram
Playback zoom 2x – 10x
Self Timer Approx. 2 or 10 sec. or Custom
Menu Languages English, German, French, Dutch, Danish, Finnish, Italian, Norwegian, Swedish, Spanish, Simplified Chinese, Chinese (traditional), Japanese, Russian, Portuguese, Korean, Greek, Polish, Czech, Hungarian, Turkish, Thai, Arabic
Computer USB 2.0 Hi-Speed (Mini-B, PTP)
Other A/V output (PAL/NTSC)
Type “Secure Digital (SD) Card,  MultiMediaCard (MMC),
16MB Memory Card supplied”
PC Windows 98SE / Me / 2000 SP4 / XP / XP SP1-2
Macintosh OS X v10.2 - 10.4
Browsing & Printing ZoomBrowser EX / ImageBrowser
Other PhotoStitch, RemoteCapture
Drivers TWAIN (Windows 98 / 2000), WIA (Windows Me)
Image Manipulation ArcSoft PhotoStudio
Batteries 4x Size-AA Alkaline or NiMH Batteries(NB4-300) (Alkalines supplied)
Battery life “Approx. 110 shots (4) (with supplied batteries)
Approx. 550 shots (with optional Canon NB4-300 batteries)(4)
Approx. 13 hours playback (with supplied batteries)
Approx.15 hours playback (with Canon NB4-300 batteries)”
A/C Power Supply Optional, Power adapter CA-PS700
Case Soft Case DCC-90
Lenses “Tele-converter 1.5x TC-DC58B
Wide-converter 0.75x WC-DC58A
Lens adapter/Hood set LAH-DC20
Close-up lens 500D (58mm)”
Flash High Power Flash HF-DC1
Power Supply & Battery Chargers Compact AC power adapter CA-PS700, Battery Charger Kit CBK4-300, Ni-MH Batteries NB4-300
Operating Environment 0 – 40 °C, 10 – 90% humidity
Dimensions (WxHxD) 113.4 × 78.0 × 75.5 mm (excluding viewfinder-eyepiece & protrusions)
Weight (body only) Approx. 410g

Canon PowerShot S3 IS