February 21, 2006 – A replacement was announced today for last year’s image-stabilized Canon PowerShot S2 IS, the aptly named S3 IS. The new hybrid digital camera improves upon its predecessor with one more megapixel and a larger LCD screen, as well as a few other added features. The Canon S3 IS keeps the long 12x optical zoom lens and the image stabilization system that headlines the series. The Canon PowerShot S3 IS will sell for $499 in May.
The S2 and S3 both have the same DIGIC II image processor, but the new S3 IS has a 6 megapixel image sensor. The new sensor is optimized to reduce noise, even on shots taken with higher ISO ratings. The Canon S3 IS has ISO 80-800 settings, making low light photography look less shaky.
The hybrid Canon S3 IS has the same body as its predecessor, but in a black color. Its 12x optical zoom lens measures an equivalent 36-432 mm and is compatible with conversion lenses. The lens also has wide maximum apertures of f/2.7 in wide and f/3.5 in telephoto. The camera body also has a 2-inch LCD monitor that folds out and rotates. The style is the same as the S2’s, but the older model had only a 1.8-inch screen.
Living up to its hybrid nature, the PowerShot S3 IS has a MovieSnap function that allows users to take full-resolution images while recording video. The concept is the same as the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-M2’s hybrid mode that records several seconds of video, then snaps a shot and finishes with a few more seconds of video recording. The execution is different though. Users can record still and video simultaneously on the Canon S3 IS. The new S3 also has a standard 640 x 480 pixel movie mode as well as Canon’s new Fast Frame Rate mode that records 60 frames per second at 320 x 240 pixels. The movie modes also record stereo audio.
As with other 2006 Canon PowerShot releases, the S3 IS has an improved My Colors function that can be used in both recording and playback modes. In previous models, this could only be used while recording. Additionally, a Sports mode has been added to the scene selection and a 16:9 formatted image size has been added for panoramic shots.