Home :: Canon PowerShot S3 IS

Latest Update: Added Imaging Resource’s review – sounds like they really like it. Can’t say I blame them.

What Is It?

Canon’s current model superzoom camera, the successor to the Powershot S2 IS.


  • Megapixels: 6
  • Optical Zoom: 12x (36-432mm equiv)
  • Size: Large for a ‘compact’ camera.
  • Image Stablizer.

The S3 IS is a fairly chunky superzoom camera. The zoom range and fold-out screen, along with image stablizing and manual controls, make this a very flexible camera. There’s a few compromises, especially size and weight, so make sure you can live with them before spending the money.

My Opinion

I’ve tried the S2, and it was a very nice camera indeed. Canon will certainly have improved it, so it’s hard to see how this could be anything but excellent. The size is the only drawback – it isn’t going to fit in your pocket, but if you’re ok with that, you get a whole lot of zoom and features, in a very nice body.

DCResource’s review mentions that the tripod mount is plastic, which seems like a bit of a crappy way to cut corners on a camera of this price range, but I guess very few people use tripods now anyway.

I don’t think I’d like to lose the pocketability of my little Ixus, but if I wanted a superzoom camera, this would be the one for me.


There’s only a limited number of reviews out so far (well, one, actually) – until actual production models are available, and have been for long enough to try one out well, many sites won’t do a review – bear in mind that the reviews that are here may have been written without actually testing a production model S3 IS…

Overall, I really like the PowerShot S3, and it earns my enthusiastic recommendation. Yes, it has a few flaws, but doesn’t everything? For people wanting a solid and capable ultra zoom camera, this one should be high on your list.


There are cameras out there that offer slightly better image quality (certainly in terms of sharpness), and I’m pretty convinced that the Panasonic image stabilization system is slightly more effective, but taken as a whole there is nothing out there that offers the feature set, handling and sheer fun factor of the S3 IS, and so it still – just – keeps hold of our top rating.


With 6-megapixels of resolution, a high-quality image-stabilized 36-432mm zoom lens, very good image quality and industry-leading support for moving images, the S3 IS offers a compelling combination of quality and versatility. It will please both the beginner and the advanced photographer with its consistently well-exposed and sharp results.

Steve’s Digicams

If you’re looking for a good all-around camera with great features, a long zoom lens, image stabilization, and a really excellent, well-integrated movie mode, all at an affordable price, there really isn’t another model on the market that’ll fill the bill the way the S3 IS does.

Imaging Resource