p pol The Adventures of Carboman: Canon Powershot S3 IS

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Canon Powershot S3 IS

My Fuji FinePix F401 has gone to the dogs. Even though the picture quality of the 2MP camera is good, I'm very disappointed with the build quality of the product. I bought the Japan-made camera for RM1,499 in 2003 and it's been only 3 short years, so it has given me a very bad ROI. Not only did I spend on extra filmsy Multi cards, I also bought replacement rechargeable batteries (pricey) and chargers (pricey too).
First to go was the slider LEDs. LEDs are supposed to be long-lasting but not in this case. The blue LEDs were supposed to light up when the slider is opened to turn the camera on.
Next it was the CCD - Charge Coupled Device. All images shot were extremely distorted like purple ghostly apparitions. Since it had passed the warranty period then, I had to fork out some money (can't remember how much) to get it repaired.
Then the charger failed. Then the batteries died which forced me to get replacement OEMs as the originals are way too expensive. The final straw was the CCD yet again during last week's trip to Penang.
I spent the night scouring the many Internet digicam review websites for recommended brands and models. It wasn't too difficult as I've basically narrowed down my options to 3 ie Nikon, Canon and Sony. Since my requirements include having a brand that doesn't run on proprietory accessories, the well-built Sony is pretty much ruled out. I don't want to be constraint by the expensive Memory Stick media. The Sony images are also too soft, requiring some post-production touch-ups. I need images that can go direct to printing.
Then my attention was directed at Nikon. I've shots some photos using the D50, D100 and D200 and my favourite was and still is the D100. It's no longer produced but the price is too much for me. Besides carrying a D-SLR has an impact to mobility and my needs don't need such a feature-packed camera. I simply have no time to experiment, learn to use the dang thing and go on field trips. Most Nikon compacts also suffer a bit from inconsistencies.
Finally it was down to Canon. Their Ixus range are well-constructed and well-designed stuff but there are some models that are quite problematic, so I don't want to risk getting one that turns out to be such. I was checking out the Powershot A-Series range which has some updated models when I remembered that one of my colleagues just bought their S3 IS (IS being Image Stabilizer). It seems that most mid to high end compacts have this feature these days. It has the looks and feel of a mini SLR, more features than the average compacts but less than the imposing D-SLRs. The price of RM1,700 is slightly more than my budget but this cam seems future proof with enough features to get it to the top of the heap in its class. With its glass UD lens, 2.5fps and 12x optical (48x combined optical and digital) zoom (highest in class) capability, I will definitely try it out at the races. It runs on AA batts which frees me from having to carry a charger on my travels, and has a focal length of 36 (Wide) to 432 (Telephoto) mm, so I can zoom in on a particular subject without them realizing that they're walking instead of running. The movie recording is superb - stereo sound, so I can record the sounds of the grunting runners as they pia towards the finish line!
Looking for a camera? For a brochure, click here. For reviews, head on to the sites below. If you want a good deal, I can refer you to a shop. Just drop me a comment.


  • sifu, excellent buy and welcome to the Canon club. my g3 has served me well for 4+ years. dropped it twice on concrete, got wet in the rain numerous times, still survive. i'll drop by your place to check the video.

    By Anonymous , at 2:20 PM  

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