what about this canon powershot?

I added this camera to my wishlist on Amazon and I might try and purchase it before Christmas, but I wanted to ask you if you know anything about this Canon PowerShot Pro Series S3 IS 6MP with 12x Image Stabilized Zoom camera.

If you don’t know anything about it or just want to say “seems cool to me”, then don’t bother. No offense. I’m just looking for decent feedback and conversation about this camera.

Some of the features include:

  • 12x optical zoom lens with USM and UD lens element
  • Optical Image Stabilizer
  • 6.0-megapixel CCD
  • Larger size 2.0-inch vari-angle LCD
  • 30-frame-per-second (fps) 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

I don’t even know what all this means, but seems good. I’ve been debating getting something like this instead of a full DSLR. Just seems I can save about $400 and still get about 98% of what I want out of it.

Any thoughts?

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  • Steve

    My wife and I looked very seriously at this camera. We were looking for something powerful, yet not as big and heavey as a DSLR. We opted for the Sony DSC-H5 instead (this Canon was our second choice). The Wasn’t that much more expensive, but offered 7MP and uses Carl Zeiss optics. It also makes use of the anti-shake technology that Sony acquired from Konika-Minolta, when they bought them out. It’s the same technology that is used in the Sony A100. It moves the CCD snesor rather than the lense elements, like everyone else does.

    All that being said, the Canon is still a great choice, and I think, better than other cameras in the class. You could go to http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/canons3is/ for an excellent review including sample photos. They also have a full review of the sony – http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/sonyh5/ . Check it out.

  • Susan

    I would get the sony recommended abouve instead of the Cannon. The Carl Zeiss lens makes a big difference. My camera has a Carl Zeiss lens and is only 5mp and people would swear the images came from a camera with higher MPs. The Cannons tend to give you softer images, not as crisp. If you get a DSLR, do a Nikon.

  • With as much as you are doing photography, why not a DSLR with interchangable lenses?

  • rob

    @Jack : DSLR is something I’ve thought about. But they are about $800 compared to $400 for these. What I’ve tried to weigh is what do I get for an extra $400 and is it worth it for what I want to do. From what I’ve researched, I can’t justify it for myself. Unless someone has a great argument for it to convince me to fork out the extra…

  • rob

    @Steve and Susan : Thanks. I’m going to look into this Sony you speak of! Guess it’s this one?

  • paul

    I’d reccomend a dslr as well, but for the type of shooting I do (fast action sports) a point and shoot is useless. Really it depends on what type of shooting you are going to be doing. If you are doing anything that is going to involve much movement, a dslr is almost a necessity due to a point and shoots shutter lag. (Even the best point and shoot has a certain amount of shutter lag due to lens to viewfinder and back time; dslr you are looking thru the lens, 0 lag)

    That said, my wife uses a Canon PowerShot A630 for her shooting and we have no problems with it and I’d probably recommend it over the S3 if shooting still shots is your main purpose; if you want to do video a lot, then the s3 is probably the way to go.

    Deb uses the A630 for victory lane shots when we are working at a track, and we have easily blown a few of her shots up to 20 x 30 with no problem. The clarity has been outstanding, and if you want to save another $150, I’d say choose the A630 over the S3.

    It all comes down to what your main purpose is going to be with the camera.

    The S3 is a good camera – we looked at it and gave it a test work-out – but for basic still photography, the A630 is our choice.

  • paul

    One other thing I meant to mention is lighting. Will you be doing much shooting in low light situation or where you will want a good flash? If so, a dslr will usually go to at least an iso of 1600 and have a hot shoe for an external flash.

    Some point and shoots also have hot shoes for the external flash. If you are likely to shoot anything further away than 10 feet in low light conditions, you will either want an external flash or the ability to go to at least iso 1600.

    The A630 that Deb uses does not have a hot shoe, that’s one thing I wish it did have, but when she is shooting victory lane she is always within at least 10 feet, so it works out for us.

  • Mike

    Rob you take a lot of good pix. Your Flickr site is great. But with a DSLR you could take outstanding pix. I don’t have one (yet) but thought this was a really good convincing article on why to choose a DSLR camera.

    http://www.thetechlounge.com/article/308/

  • rob

    @Mike : thanks. As for the flickr account, realize many of them on there are from my Treo 650. Therefore there’s not much quality. I have them all tagged though.

    I’ll look at the article. It’s justifying and extra $400 thats tough to do for me.

  • rob

    @Paul : The sony that was recommended above has ISO 1000. I guess here’s my priority list of what I want in a camera:
    # Powerful optical zoom (12x)
    # Good megapixel (6 or more)
    # Quick power-up
    # Short lag between photos
    # Hand stabilizer
    # Good for macro
    # Fast enough shutter for action

  • Mike

    here is the follow-up to last week’s article: why to NOT choose a DSLR… 🙂

    http://www.thetechlounge.com/article/312/10+Reasons+NOT+to+Buy+a+DSLR+Camera/

  • rob

    @Mike : Thanks. And I think that’s why, at least for now, I’m going to settle firmly into the middle ground and get the Sony Cybershot DSC-H5 7.2MP Digital Camera with 12x Optical Image Stabilization Zoom. I played with one this weekend and I liked it…and I just noticed the price dropped!