Saturday, September 23, 2006

Taking The Plunge

I took the plunge today and bought a Canon S3 IS camera. After all the talk about digital SLRs, I decided to get a camera with an integrated lens instead.

First impressions... the S3 comes in a nice-looking box, and everything is packed well. The box includes the camera, strap, instruction manuals, USB and A/V cables, four cheap batteries, and a 16 MB SD card. There are five (5!) books in total, with French and English versions of the camera user guide, two versions of the software user guide, and a Direct Print user guide.

The neck strap is adjustable, which is nice but means it takes a bit longer to attach. The lens cap comes with a strap to attach to the neck strap. I like that - less chance of losing the cap. The cap itself doesn't seem to "grab" the lens very well and I have the feeling it might pop off by itself. We'll see if that becomes a problem.

The "Before Using the Camera" guide tends to jump around a bit. They tell you to attach the strap and the lens cap, then jump right into setting the time and so forth without mentioning that it might be a good idea to put batteries in. I'm smart enough to figure that out (barely?) but I think a step-by-step guide would be better.

I quickly discovered that if you turn it on with the lens cap on, it knocks the cap off. I like that a lot. I can't count the number of times I've turned my video camera on, then looked through the viewfinder only to see complete darkness. Maybe that's why the lens cap doesn't grab on very hard.

When you first turn the camera on it wants you to set a date and time. This is quickly done and then you're ready to shoot. Of course, it wanted a memory card so I put the 1 GB SD card I purchased in the camera.

More to come!


Anonymous said...


I didn't realise the camera you had at the train show was a new one - congratulations! Our eldest son has an earlier Canon S1 IS, and is quite pleased with it, especially the video capability.

I had my "secondary" camera around my neck when I saw you, a Kodak P850 that is similar to the Canon you bought - 12X IS zoom, 5MP, video. I would have liked to get the Canon like yours, but when I saw the Kodak on sale for $200.00 less, I couldn't resist!

I used it exclusively on our Alaska cruise in June/July, and on our railfan trip to Colorado in August, mostly because I was leery of bringing my Canon DSLR through airport security. And I did not want to put it in my checked baggage!

I had a great time with the camera, and its video capabilites too - check out this scene of a steam double header in Hermosa, Co, on the Durango & Silverton Railroad:
Note YouTube reduces the quality of the video quite a bit to make it smaller. It's like a TV program on my monitor.

I bet you'll abandon your video camera once you get to use the video capability of your new Canon!

Have fun!

Bob Boudreau
Saint John

Canadian Train Geek said...

I definitely love the new camera. I haven't tried the video capability and to be honest I'm scared to. I'm worried I won't ever use my video camera again. :)

Even with the YouTube quality reduction I can see how good your camera's video is.