Old 08-09-2006, 04:05 PM   #1
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Question Canon Powershot S3 IS

I'm asking for a new digital camera for Christmas this year and was looking at the Canon Powershot S3 IS. I know, I know, it's a little early but I thought I would let my parents know incase there happens to be a sale and/or an employee discount comes around (I do work at Staples). I've done some research and have read multiple reviews. It seems like a very solid camera with some great features to it. I'm not looking at getting an XT or anything of the sort just yet. I'm going into my first year of college and paying $1000+ for the camera and all the works would just not work out. With everything being said, is there anybody out here on the forums that uses this camera for rail photography? If so, how does it suit you out in the field? I would also appreciate photos.
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Old 08-09-2006, 07:59 PM   #2
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John Fladung uses the S3, and I think he gets some awesome results with it:

http://www.railpictures.net/showphotos.php?userid=11044

I'm sure he'll chime in here or via PM...
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Old 08-09-2006, 08:05 PM   #3
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Ah yes I love this camera!!!

Check out my peronal website for even more shots taken with it. The majority of the shots on that site were taken with my S3. The video mode is also very nice.

Check out this link for my videos page. Keep in mind quality has been reduced somewhat in compressing the video into a smaller more practical size. (Videos start off at several hundred MB down to 16MB or less on my site before and after I edit and compress just to give you an idea).

If you have any questions please ask and I will do my best to answer them. I've had the camera for about 2 months now.
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Old 08-09-2006, 08:29 PM   #4
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Thanks for responding Ween and John. I actually have a Canon Powershot A80 right now, a little over 2 years old. It's a nice camera but just doesn't have the umph that I want. The zoom is only 3x and doesn't allow me to make the shots I want. The camera is also starting to show signs of use. For example, the interlocking plastic piece that keeps the battery door shut has worn down to practically nothing and stays partially shut. The camera also has a few bumps and bruises. Considering these problems though, the camera still shoots good photos but I think it is time for a change and an upgrade.

This brings me to the S3. I do like the 12x zoom that this camera has, paired with the 6 MP sensor. From your photos John, it looks like it works pretty good and allows to you to shoot from a distance without any loss in quality. The video mode is also nice and besides the compression, seems to put out good quality video clips (for a digital camera).

I'm curious as to what size and type memory card you shoot with and how long do your batteries normally last. Also, do you use the AF or the manual feature for focusing?
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Old 08-09-2006, 08:41 PM   #5
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I use a SanDisk 1GB Ultra II SD card. No problems so far, and I'm happy with it. I have been using the AF feature, I'm sure if I tried to use the MF it would be less frustrating at times but so far I have achieved good results by using the AF.
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Old 08-10-2006, 01:14 AM   #6
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Is S3 cheaper than S2 in the USA ?

In Hong Kong , S3 is just HK$3200 , i.e US$410 .
But S2 still costs HK$3800~3900 , i.e US$500 .

Both can get a free 1GB SD card
and some batt-releated things .
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Old 08-10-2006, 01:39 AM   #7
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Maybe you got your numbers mixed up. It really shouldn't be considering that the S3 has a 6 MP sensor (the S2 has a 5 MP), a wider ISO range, and a few other features. Here in the US, the S3 runs around $450 - $500, where as the S2 runs around $350 - $400.
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Old 08-10-2006, 02:57 AM   #8
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Forgot to answer one part of your question. The battery life is phenomenal, just make sure you are using NiMH type rechargeable batteries and you will be able to shoot hundreds of pictures and many many minutes of video in between charges.
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Old 08-10-2006, 03:05 AM   #9
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Good to hear about the battery life. On my A80, the battery life is very good also. I use nothing but NiMH batteries. They are cost affective considering the huge amount of money you would spend if you were go with disposables.
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Old 08-10-2006, 07:03 PM   #10
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I shoot with an S2 and I am very happy with it. I really like the 12x zoom and find that is has plenty of flexibility for me. I also use NiMH rechargables and count on at least 300 shots between charges. My memory card is a 512 MB 40x model I bought cheap from Newegg. I can't even remember the brand. It handles video and high speed shooting fine. I have never run the batteries all the way down to see how long they would really last. I am sure the S3 is a step above what I have. All my photos on this site were taken with the S2.

http://www.railpictures.net/showphotos.php?userid=8608

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Old 08-10-2006, 08:20 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quiksmith10
I'm asking for a new digital camera for Christmas this year and was looking at the Canon Powershot S3 IS. I know, I know, it's a little early but I thought I would let my parents know incase there happens to be a sale and/or an employee discount comes around (I do work at Staples). I've done some research and have read multiple reviews. It seems like a very solid camera with some great features to it. I'm not looking at getting an XT or anything of the sort just yet. I'm going into my first year of college and paying $1000+ for the camera and all the works would just not work out. With everything being said, is there anybody out here on the forums that uses this camera for rail photography? If so, how does it suit you out in the field? I would also appreciate photos.
The XT is a lot cheaper than it used to be. I bought mine at bhphotovideo.com (reputable joint with good service) for US 649.95. (You're probably paying $800+ at a store like Staples.)

I'm very happy with my purchase, and love the flexibility of the camera. (2.5 frames per second shooting, 8mp, full manual controls, interchangeable lenses, ISO 100-1600, et cetra.) I would avoid the kit lens, though.

I'm not pressuring you to buy it, it's just that I have nothing but good things to say about it.

Here are some of my photos taken with an XT. (Out of the camera, image quality is much, much better.)

Image © Frederick W.
PhotoID: 153114
Photograph © Frederick W.


Image © Frederick W.
PhotoID: 152942
Photograph © Frederick W.


Image © Frederick W.
PhotoID: 151588
Photograph © Frederick W.


Image © Frederick W.
PhotoID: 151554
Photograph © Frederick W.


Image © Frederick W.
PhotoID: 149328
Photograph © Frederick W.


Image © Frederick W.
PhotoID: 145749
Photograph © Frederick W.


Image ©
PhotoID:
Photograph ©


Image © Frederick W.
PhotoID: 142025
Photograph © Frederick W.


Image © Frederick W.
PhotoID: 141984
Photograph © Frederick W.
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Old 08-10-2006, 08:30 PM   #12
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That too. If you're going to ask and it's in the ballpark, I'd try for a dSLR. Check out the Olympus Evolt E-500 at B&H:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...goryNavigation

For $699 you get the 8.0 MP body and 2 (two!) lenses (14-45mm and 40-150mm). It also got a 'Highly Recommended' at dpreview as well:

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/olympuse500/

For what you get, $700 bucks is a steal!
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Old 08-10-2006, 08:33 PM   #13
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A Rebel XT would be good, but it sounds like he's in the same boat as I am (being a student). When you are a student, a couple hundred extra dollars makes a big difference!

I say go for the S3. (No offense to Frederick or Ween. )
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Old 08-10-2006, 08:34 PM   #14
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Yeah, but when you're asking the 'rents for a camera as a Christmas present, just see how high they're willing to go! It never hurts to ask!
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Old 08-10-2006, 08:36 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ween
Yeah, but when you're asking the 'rents for a camera as a Christmas present, just see how high they're willing to go! It never hurts to ask!


That is true.
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Old 08-10-2006, 08:42 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Fladung


That is true.
It doesn't always work though. When I was 16, I asked for a '77 black Trans Am but I got an '86 Old Cutlass Ciera!! That car rocked though!
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Old 08-11-2006, 05:24 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frederick
The XT is a lot cheaper than it used to be. I bought mine at bhphotovideo.com (reputable joint with good service) for US 649.95. (You're probably paying $800+ at a store like Staples.)

I'm very happy with my purchase, and love the flexibility of the camera. (2.5 frames per second shooting, 8mp, full manual controls, interchangeable lenses, ISO 100-1600, et cetra.) I would avoid the kit lens, though.

I'm not pressuring you to buy it, it's just that I have nothing but good things to say about it.

Here are some of my photos taken with an XT. (Out of the camera, image quality is much, much better.)
Believe me, I would love to get an XT and plan to get one like itwhen I'm able. I planned on getting it possibly at B&H Photo (as I've heard some good things about them and their prices). Even though I work at Staples, their prices are inflated from other online places so that they can make a profit. It's really not the best way to go except if it's on sale and you have an employees discount .

The problem with getting and XT now is that I just couldn't go with the camera. A bag, extra battery, and a large memory card (due to the RAW format) is a must. I would also like to get another lense with it, although I could just shoot with the standard "kit" lense that comes with some packages. These features would push my price way out of range, not making it an ideal gift.

The S3 is perfect to get me through my college years because of the features included in it that you would only typically find on a SLR. The Image Stabilization feature is awesome for a high end point-and-shoot and is almost needed for the 400mm + lense. The lense is also another selling point. It lets you essentially get the same photos that a SLR would be able to get with a larger lense, without the price. Now, of course the camera doesn't have a 8 MP sensor and might not give you as clear as a photo that SLR would give you but it works just fine for me. The S3 will let me shoot what I want to without any problems.
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Old 08-11-2006, 11:33 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quiksmith10
The problem with getting and XT now is that I just couldn't go with the camera. A bag, extra battery, and a large memory card (due to the RAW format) is a must. I would also like to get another lense with it, although I could just shoot with the standard "kit" lense that comes with some packages. These features would push my price way out of range, not making it an ideal gift.
Yes it's all those other little bit's and peaces you need for that SLR that really add up when your on a budget.

Quote:
Originally Posted by quiksmith10
The Image Stabilization feature is awesome
"Never under estimate the power of IS" My father purchased a Panasonic FZ20 twelve months ago that is equipped with IS and it totally blow me away with the results that you could get hand held at full zoom 432mm (135mm camera equivalent) so much so when I upgraded my film camera setup to Digital I purchased all IS equipped lenses for it. Even though the cost was very high I think it was well worth it. So if you factor in the cost of two IS lens' for that XT to cover the zoom range of the S3 it makes the XT very expensive. I should know because that's what I purchased.

Have you looked at the Panasonic FZ30 ? I don't know what the price difference is but going on the results of my fathers FZ20 I think you should at least consider it.

Cheers,

Christine.
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Old 08-11-2006, 03:30 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Switched out
Have you looked at the Panasonic FZ30 ? I don't know what the price difference is but going on the results of my fathers FZ20 I think you should at least consider it.
It's funny that you mention that because in the process of checking out review of the S3, I looked into some other similar cameras, with the FZ30 being one of them. The price looks to be about $100 more, which, if it comes down in time for Christmas (or a sale), I might take a look at getting instead. The features are better than the S3 for a few reasons. It has the ability to shoot in RAW format, which brings about it's own cost though. I would have to get a copy of Photoshop in order to process the RAW copies and bring out their full extent. The camera also does have an 8.1 MP sensor and a true manual focus. The only downside I can see, besides the higher cost, is that it takes it's own kind of rechargable battery. I'm not sure of the cost of an extra battery but I'm sure it is over $50. As of right now though, the S3 would be the best choice for me unless the price for the FZ30 happens to drop in the future.
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Old 08-12-2006, 03:05 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quiksmith10
It's funny that you mention that because in the process of checking out review of the S3, I looked into some other similar cameras, with the FZ30 being one of them. The price looks to be about $100 more, which, if it comes down in time for Christmas (or a sale)
I would imagine the price will drop by Christmas as Panasonic have announced the FZ50 (why not FZ40 we will never know) a 10.1 Mega-pixel version with more features.

For those disbelievers of Hyper-zoom point and shoot cameras have a look at some of the work by Christian Schürmann (FZ20) and Pavel Dokoupil (FZ30) his latest photo is a classic, check the uniform the driver is wearing

Image © Pavel Dokoupil
PhotoID: 154687
Photograph © Pavel Dokoupil




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Old 08-12-2006, 03:21 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Switched out
check the uniform the driver is wearing

Image © Pavel Dokoupil
PhotoID: 154687
Photograph © Pavel Dokoupil
HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!
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