DigitalCameraReview.com
Canon Powershot S3 IS Press Release
by Ben Stafford -  2/21/2006

The family-oriented Canon PowerShot S3 IS is a feature-packed six-megapixel hybrid digital camera that is equally at home with photo enthusiasts and digital diehards as it is in the hands of the point-and-shoot "where do I press?" set. Remarkably, whether engaged in VGA quality videography at 30 frames-per-second (fps) with stereo sound recording, high-resolution still photography, or capturing both at the same time, this affordable and adaptable camera remains the ultimate example of "easy to use."

The successor to the five megapixel PowerShot S2 IS digital camera, the PowerShot S3 IS enhancements begin with Canon's newly designed six-megapixel image sensor that together with Canon's proprietary DIGIC II image processor dramatically reduces "noise" for better image quality and achieves ISO equivalent speed ratings ranging from 80 to 800. This increased sensitivity allows the use of faster shutter speeds, thereby reducing the effects of camera shake and subject blur during hand-held photography in low light.

Adding to that unshakeable quality is the PowerShot S3 IS digital camera's shift-type optical image stabilization system. Unlike electronic image stabilizer systems that typically cause degradation of image quality, Canon based its Lens Shift type of Image Stabilizer system on the advancements in the development and refinement of Canon's EF and video lenses.

This Image Stabilizer provides up to three stops of camera shake correction in shutter speed equivalent. It is essential when engaging the camera's retractable 12x optical zoom lens because the extension of a long lens magnifies camera shake in direct proportion with the amount of lens magnification employed. (For those seeking still greater optical capabilities, Canon offers an optional 1.5x Tele Converter, a 0.75x Wide Converter and a high-quality dual element Close-up Lens).

The PowerShot S3 IS digital camera's 12x zoom lens has an equivalent film focal length of 36-432 mm (f/2.7 at wide angle and f/3.5 at telephoto). Despite the extraordinary range of the zoom lens, it retracts securely into the camera when it is powered down. The optical zoom can be augmented by the camera's 4x digital zoom raising the maximum (35mm equivalent) focal length to that of a 1728mm lens. What's more, this UD lens features a high-speed silent zoom function powered by a micro motor USM drive, increasing ease of quiet, non-intrusive image capture. For extreme close-ups, the camera's macro and super macro mode permit shooting a subject as close as 0-inches from the end of the lens barrel.

Movie Mode

In addition to recording in high-quality VGA (640 x 480 pixels) movie mode at 30 fps, the user can increase the frame speed to 60 fps in QVGA (320 x 240) movie mode. Similarly, the camera also features a QVGA 320 x 240-pixel setting with a choice of 30 or 15 fps. Continuous movie recording is possible up to a maximum file size of 1GB or 60 minutes, whichever comes first, (depending on the capacity of the user's memory card and its data write speed). What's more, regardless of the mode dial position or even whether the camera is in capture or playback mode, the PowerShot S3 IS camera automatically starts and stops recording movies with the simple press of a button on the camera back.

MovieSnap

Newly enhanced for the PowerShot S3 IS digital camera thanks to the model's new six megapixel image sensor, MovieSnap enables the user to capture high-resolution six megapixel still images while recording movies, ensuring that memories of milestones are preserved for video view as well as for picture frames, photo albums and email sharing.

True to its hybrid nature, the PowerShot S3 IS camera's larger 2.0 inch Vari-Angle LCD screen swings out (as is common on video cameras) permitting the user to compose shots including self-portraits without having to twist and maneuver into uncomfortable positions.

DIGIC II Image Processing Technology- Hi-Speed USB 2.0

True to the PowerShot tradition, the PowerShot S3 IS digital camera has many of the latest advances in Canon technology including the proprietary DIGIC II imaging processor. The processor enhances picture definition, vibrancy, and quality, while helping increase the speed of the cameras' startup, autofocus, shutter response, playback, and image processing speed while reducing power consumption by 35 percent compared to the original DIGIC chip. Consumers benefit from accelerated image transfer speed (when used with a USB 2.0 compatible computer, printer, or other peripheral), thanks to the inclusion of a Hi-Speed USB 2.0 port. The USB 2.0 port is backwards compatible (at no increased speed) with computers featuring standard USB 1.1 connections.

New Features and Special Effects

Canon's PowerShot S3 IS camera features a Sports Mode that allows users to select high shutter speeds and the camera automatically selects the appropriate aperture for capturing beautiful action shots. The camera also includes a new widescreen 16:9 ratio resolution setting that facilitates creating panoramic-style prints.

Additionally, the new model supports 23 languages (now including Thai and Arabic). The S3 IS camera has an improved direct printing function that permits greater flexibility in print settings, including a face brightener setting for backlit photos.

Canon also enhanced the 'My Colors' mode found in the new PowerShot line. Where previously, users could only enable 'My Colors' while shooting, the current iteration permits captured images to be retouched as well, without the need for special software applications or tools. Available My Color playback modes include Vivid Blue, Vivid Green, and Vivid Red; lighter and darker skin tones, as well as options for creating black & white, sepia, neutral and positive film effects. A color accent setting turns all colors but the one selected by the user to monochrome and the color swap mode enables users to alter specific colors in an image by sampling another color from the same image or any other image on the camera's memory card. So, 'My Colors' provides PowerShot users with an incredible range of creative photo effects that can be accessed directly in the camera with no need for post-processing in a computer.

Direct Print

Like all PowerShot digital cameras, the PowerShot S3 IS digital camera works seamlessly with Canon's petite SELPHY Compact Photo Printers - an essential PowerShot accessory. Consumers simply connect their S3 IS digital camera to a SELPHY printer - such as the SELPHY CP510 and CP710 models. Press the lighted Print/Share button, and within seconds(1), images emerge. Presto! It is that simple. Canon's SELPHY Compact Photo Printers are PictBridge compatible. They work with PictBridge enabled digital cameras and offer excellent image quality and ease-of-use, especially when paired with a Canon digital camera. At 28 cents-per-print(2), printing photos directly from a digital camera is both easy and affordable.

Pricing and Availability

Canon's new PowerShot S3 IS digital camera will be available in May for an estimated selling price of $499.99(3).

Canon will debut the new PowerShot S3 IS digital camera in its booth (#3509) during the Photo Marketing Association (PMA) exhibit in Orlando, Fla., from February 26th - March 1st, 2006.