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Panasonic announced the release of the DMC-S3 in January 2011 and it is aimed at those who are buying their first digital camera or have limited photography knowledge. As well as being stylish the camera is designed to be simple to use, with easy to use features while performing to a high standard. As well as the black version reviewed here the DMC-S3 is also available in white, purple, blue and red for £104.99.
As well as a 14.1Mp sensor the DMC-S3 has a 4x optical zoom which is a 35mm equivalent of 28-112mm which can be extended to 8.4x zoom when using Extra Optical Zoom although images are restricted to a maximum of 3Mp. On the rear of the camera is a 2.7in LCD screen with 230,000 dot resolution. With high-angle mode the display is designed to be easy to view from a low angle.
The DMC-S3 can record videos in HD (1,280 x 720 pixels at 30fps). Videos and photos are easily uploaded to YouTube and Facebook.
- MEGA OIS
- iA (Intelligent Auto) mode with Intelligent Scene Selector
- HD movie recording
- 4x optical zoom
- 14.1Mp sensor
- 2.7in 230,000-dot LCD screen
According to Panasonic / CIPA the battery is capable of 250 shots which is good and during testing the camera was certainly capable of this number on one charge.
The camera is quick to focus. From shot to shot the camera takes less than 3 seconds and when in continuous shooting mode it was capable of 1.1fps.
|Wide-angle, ISO100, 1/80, f/9, 5mm (35mm equiv: 28mm)||Full optical zoom, ISO125, 1/125, f/6.5, 20mm (35mm equiv: 112mm)|
|Landscape scene mode, ISO100, 1/640, f/3.1, 5mm (35mm equiv: 28mm)||Macro, ISO250, 1/60, f/3.1, 5mm (35mm equiv: 28mm)|
At ISO100 there is little sign of any noise in the images and it barely gets any worse at ISO200. Noise worsens a touch at ISO400 but it is ISO800 where you start to see a loss of detail with colours beginning to suffer. ISO1600 produces images which are best served for use on the web.
|ISO100, 2/3, f/6.5, 20mm (35mm equiv: 112mm)||ISO200, 1/3, f/6.5, 20mm (35mm equiv: 112mm)||ISO400, 1/6, f/6.5, 20mm (35mm equiv: 112mm)|
|ISO800, 1/13, f/6.5, 20mm (35mm equiv: 112mm)||ISO1600, 1/25, f/6.5, 20mm (35mm equiv: 112mm)|
Using the portrait mode outdoors gives a very pleasing image with excellent skin colours. The indoor shot has used the flash as well as a high ISO of 800. There is some reflection from the model's forehead, but no red-eye which is good to see.
|Outdoor portrait, ISO100, 1/100, f/5.8, 16mm (35mm equiv: 90mm)||Indoor portrait, ISO800, 1/60, f/5, 12mm (35mm equiv: 67mm)|
Shooting into the sun doesn't faze the DMC-S3, in my shot below there is plenty of colour and detail retained in the image although there is a hint of lens flare. In beach mode the camera takes a good snap of the coastline.
|Sun in shot, ISO160, 1/250, f/9, 5mm (35mm equiv: 28mm)||Beach mode, ISO100, 1/160, f/9, 5mm (35mm equiv: 28mm)|
During testing and in our studio tests shots auto white-balance proved itself more than capable. The camera doesn't have a preset for use under fluorescent lights, the incandescent preset produced an almost identical image to that of the AWB under the incandescent lights.
Video ModeThe best quality video the DMC-S3 can record is HD 1280 x 720px at 30fps. If you are short on memory the camera can also shoot VGA videos at 640 x 480 and QVGA videos at 320 x 240, both at 30fps.
Value For MoneyCameras with approximately 14Mp sensors and 4x optical zoom are very popular, with the DMC-S3, at £104.99, being one of the cheapest available. The Pentax Optio RS1000 is now available for £82.99, the Sony Cybershot W530 for £109.00, Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS16 for £119 and the Sony Cybershot W350 for £129.00. If you fancy 5x optical zoom instead, the Nikon Coopix S3100 is available for £111.00 and the Canon Powershot A3300 IS can be bought for £122.00.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-S3: ProsEasy to use
Excellent colour reproduction
Great macro pictures
Excellent auto white-balance
Panasonic Lumix DMC-S3: ConsLimited number of features
Other cameras with more features at this price
|VALUE FOR MONEY|
|Optical zoom||4x optical zoom, 5 - 20.0mm (28-112mm in 35mm equiv.), f/3.1 - 6.5|
|Max image size||4320 x 3240|
|Focusing system||Quick AF|
|ISO sensitivity||ISO100 - 1600 (High Sensitivity mode: ISO 1600-6400)|
|Metering system||Program AE|
|Metering types||Intelligent Multiple|
|Exposure compensation||1/3 EV step, +/-2 EV|
|Shutter speed range||8 - 1/1600 sec|
|Image stabilisation||MEGA OIS|
|Movie mode||[4:3] VGA: 640 x 480 pixels, 30fps (Motion JPEG) QVGA: 320 x 240 pixels, 30 fps (Motion JPEG) / [HD Movie(16:9)] 1280x720 pixels, 30fps (Motion JPEG)|
|Monitor||2.7in TFT Screen LCD Display (230K dots)|
|Media type||SD / SDHC / SDXC|
|Interface||AV Output (PAL), USB2.0 High speed|
|Power||Li-ion Battery Pack (3.6V, Minimum: 660mAh) (Included) (250 pics)|
|Box Contents||Battery Charger, Battery Pack, USB Cable, AC Cable, Hand Strap, CD-ROM|
|Size||98.8 x 58.8 x 20.9mm|
|Weight||Approx. 117g with Battery and SD Memory Card|
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-S3 costs £104.99 and is available from Warehouse Express here:
Panasonic Lumix DMC-S3