Autofocus occurs quickly for the most part, although a few of my shots looked as if the focus hadn't locked before capture. I didn't experience any of the problems that the S2's reviewer did with SuperMacro mode; it worked fine for me, even with the lens almost pressed against the subject. The image stabilization bought me about two stops of shutter latitude, but my hands shake like an octogenarian's--a coffee-drinking octogenarian.
I'm not a big fan of electronic viewfinders (EVFs), and the S3's didn't convince me otherwise; though it's fine for framing, I hate that it freezes when the shutter is pressed. The LCD is certainly viewable in most light, but I prefer an eye-level viewfinder to the unsteady arm's-length approach.
True, a cheap dSLR will provide better performance, and a moderately priced one will deliver better photo quality. But the Canon PowerShot S3 IS's combination of features, performance, and relatively compact design certainly gives megazoomers a compelling alternative.
(Seconds; shorter bars indicate better performance)
|Shutter lag (typical)||Time to first shot||Typical shot-to-shot time|
(Frames per second; longer bars indicate better performance)
|Typical continuous-shooting speed|