"Recommended with Reservations"3.5 starson by cdr_computers
Pros: High Quality Images (Color, Sharpness, Contrast)
Cons: Major Wavy Line Problem at Telephoto End of Lens
Summary: I purchased this unit approximately three months ago to replace the Canon S2 IS which I gave to my daughter. The subtle upgrades (not major by any standards - realistically) are welcomed, but I’m not so sure that the price differential for the new unit is worth the extra cost. (see review at http://www.dpreview.com/) The picture quality is definitely outstanding when outside in well-lit areas, but there are some problems with indoor shots. I have adjusted various settings and read the manual extensively, but still the problem persists with indoor low-lighting shots. The other major issue in my opinion stems from the fact that the straight edges of objects at the telephoto end of the spectrum tend to be wavy in pictures. This is not an issue with the S2 IS based on experimentation with both units. At full zoom, I took shots of a vehicle license plate, and the edges of the plate were very wavy (almost distorted in appearance) on the S3 IS version but perfectly straight on the S2 IS version. Similarly, I took a zoomed shot of a street sign and the same issue was pronounced when considering the S3 IS unit. I contacted Canon regarding this issue. The representative asked me to turn of the IS and take the shots again using a tripod which I did for both the license plate and the street sign. The same wavy-line anomaly manifested in the S3 IS pictures. I called Canon to discuss this issue, and I was told that there would probably be a firmware upgrade to deal with this issue. As of the date of this writing (08-18-2006), no firmware upgrade has been announced. If anyone reading this review doubts the validity of the information shared in this review, I implore you to conduct your own tests to confirm the problem with the S3 IS. Irrespective of this unfortunate glitch with the unit at the telephoto end of the lens, the S3 IS produces excellent pictures in well-lit areas. So, if you’re using the unit outside and in well-lit areas for the most part and not really using the zoom capability, then you’ll love this camera. On the contrary, if you’re going to be taking many zoom or low-light shots, then you’re going to be a bit disappointed. Regardless of these issues (which will hopefully be addressed in a firmware upgrade by Canon), I would have to recommended the camera for purchase based on my own experiences with getting high-quality images. The colors are on the mark, the sharpness of the images are on the mark, and there are no noticeable problems with fringing or softness on the edges of images. In closing, I would like to state that I do not feel this unit is worth the extra cost given that the S2 IS produces equivalent images on all points aforementioned. Best of luck to all in your search for a good camera, and I hope that this review proves beneficial in your decision-making process regarding the Canon S3 IS.