Canon PowerShot S1 IS vs. Canon PowerShot S3 IS

Comparison

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PowerShot S1 IS image
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PowerShot S3 IS image
Canon PowerShot S1 IS Canon PowerShot S3 IS
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Megapixels
3.20
6.00
Max. image resolution
2048 x 1536
2816 x 2112

Sensor

Sensor type
CCD
CCD
Sensor size
1/2.7" (~ 5.33 x 4 mm)
1/2.5" (~ 5.75 x 4.32 mm)
Sensor resolution
2063 x 1551
2825 x 2124
Diagonal
6.66 mm
7.19 mm
Sensor size comparison
Sensor size is generally a good indicator of the quality of the camera. Sensors can vary greatly in size. As a general rule, the bigger the sensor, the better the image quality.

Bigger sensors are more effective because they have more surface area to capture light. An important factor when comparing digital cameras is also camera generation. Generally, newer sensors will outperform the older.

Learn more about sensor sizes »

Actual sensor size

Note: Actual size is set to screen → change »
vs
1 : 1.17
(ratio)
Canon PowerShot S1 IS Canon PowerShot S3 IS
Surface area:
21.32 mm² vs 24.84 mm²
Difference: 3.52 mm² (17%)
S3 IS sensor is approx. 1.17x bigger than S1 IS sensor.
Note: You are comparing cameras of different generations. There is a 2 year gap between Canon S1 IS (2004) and Canon S3 IS (2006). All things being equal, newer sensor generations generally outperform the older.
Pixel pitch
2.58 µm
2.04 µm
Pixel pitch tells you the distance from the center of one pixel (photosite) to the center of the next. It tells you how close the pixels are to each other.

The bigger the pixel pitch, the further apart they are and the bigger each pixel is. Bigger pixels tend to have better signal to noise ratio and greater dynamic range.
Difference: 0.54 µm (26%)
Pixel pitch of S1 IS is approx. 26% higher than pixel pitch of S3 IS.
Pixel area
6.66 µm²
4.16 µm²
Pixel or photosite area affects how much light per pixel can be gathered. The larger it is the more light can be collected by a single pixel.

Larger pixels have the potential to collect more photons, resulting in greater dynamic range, while smaller pixels provide higher resolutions (more detail) for a given sensor size.
Relative pixel sizes:
vs
Pixel area difference: 2.5 µm² (60%)
A pixel on Canon S1 IS sensor is approx. 60% bigger than a pixel on Canon S3 IS.
Pixel density
14.98 MP/cm²
24.14 MP/cm²
Pixel density tells you how many million pixels fit or would fit in one square cm of the sensor.

Higher pixel density means smaller pixels and lower pixel density means larger pixels.
Difference: 9.16 µm (61%)
Canon S3 IS has approx. 61% higher pixel density than Canon S1 IS.
To learn about the accuracy of these numbers, click here.



Specs

Canon S1 IS
Canon S3 IS
Crop factor
6.5
6.02
Total megapixels
3.30
6.20
Effective megapixels
3.20
6.00
Optical zoom
10x
12x
Digital zoom
Yes
Yes
ISO sensitivity
Auto, 50, 100, 200, 400
Auto, 80 ,100, 200, 400, 800
RAW
Manual focus
Normal focus range
10 cm
50 cm
Macro focus range
10 cm
10 cm
Focal length (35mm equiv.)
38 - 380 mm
36 - 432 mm
Aperture priority
Yes
Yes
Max. aperture
f2.8 - f3.1
f2.7 - f3.5
Max. aperture (35mm equiv.)
f18.2 - f20.2
f16.3 - f21.1
Metering
Centre weighted, Evaluative, Spot
Multi, Center-weighted, Spot
Exposure compensation
±2 EV (in 1/3 EV steps)
±2 EV (in 1/3 EV steps)
Shutter priority
Yes
Yes
Min. shutter speed
15 sec
15 sec
Max. shutter speed
1/2000 sec
1/3200 sec
Built-in flash
External flash
Viewfinder
Electronic
Electronic
White balance presets
7
6
Screen size
1.5"
2"
Screen resolution
114,000 dots
115,000 dots
Video capture
Max. video resolution
Storage types
CompactFlash type I, CompactFlash type II, Microdrive
SD/SDHC/MMC card
USB
USB 1.0
USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
HDMI
Wireless
GPS
Battery
AA (4) batteries (NiMH recommended)
AA (4) batteries (NiMH recommended)
Weight
370 g
510 g
Dimensions
111 x 78 x 66 mm
113 x 78 x 76 mm
Year
2004
2006




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Diagonal

Diagonal is calculated by the use of Pythagorean theorem:
Diagonal =  w² + h²
where w = sensor width and h = sensor height

Canon S1 IS diagonal

The diagonal of S1 IS sensor is not 1/2.7 or 0.37" (9.4 mm) as you might expect, but approximately two thirds of that value - 6.66 mm. If you want to know why, see sensor sizes.

w = 5.33 mm
h = 4.00 mm
Diagonal =  5.33² + 4.00²   = 6.66 mm

Canon S3 IS diagonal

The diagonal of S3 IS sensor is not 1/2.5 or 0.4" (10.2 mm) as you might expect, but approximately two thirds of that value - 7.19 mm. If you want to know why, see sensor sizes.

w = 5.75 mm
h = 4.32 mm
Diagonal =  5.75² + 4.32²   = 7.19 mm


Surface area

Surface area is calculated by multiplying the width and the height of a sensor.

S1 IS sensor area

Width = 5.33 mm
Height = 4.00 mm

Surface area = 5.33 × 4.00 = 21.32 mm²

S3 IS sensor area

Width = 5.75 mm
Height = 4.32 mm

Surface area = 5.75 × 4.32 = 24.84 mm²


Pixel pitch

Pixel pitch is the distance from the center of one pixel to the center of the next measured in micrometers (µm). It can be calculated with the following formula:
Pixel pitch =   sensor width in mm  × 1000
sensor resolution width in pixels

S1 IS pixel pitch

Sensor width = 5.33 mm
Sensor resolution width = 2063 pixels
Pixel pitch =   5.33  × 1000  = 2.58 µm
2063

S3 IS pixel pitch

Sensor width = 5.75 mm
Sensor resolution width = 2825 pixels
Pixel pitch =   5.75  × 1000  = 2.04 µm
2825


Pixel area

The area of one pixel can be calculated by simply squaring the pixel pitch:
Pixel area = pixel pitch²

You could also divide sensor surface area with effective megapixels:
Pixel area =   sensor surface area in mm²
effective megapixels

S1 IS pixel area

Pixel pitch = 2.58 µm

Pixel area = 2.58² = 6.66 µm²

S3 IS pixel area

Pixel pitch = 2.04 µm

Pixel area = 2.04² = 4.16 µm²


Pixel density

Pixel density can be calculated with the following formula:
Pixel density =  ( sensor resolution width in pixels )² / 1000000
sensor width in cm

One could also use this formula:
Pixel density =   effective megapixels × 1000000  / 10000
sensor surface area in mm²

S1 IS pixel density

Sensor resolution width = 2063 pixels
Sensor width = 0.533 cm

Pixel density = (2063 / 0.533)² / 1000000 = 14.98 MP/cm²

S3 IS pixel density

Sensor resolution width = 2825 pixels
Sensor width = 0.575 cm

Pixel density = (2825 / 0.575)² / 1000000 = 24.14 MP/cm²


Sensor resolution

Sensor resolution is calculated from sensor size and effective megapixels. It's slightly higher than maximum (not interpolated) image resolution which is usually stated on camera specifications. Sensor resolution is used in pixel pitch, pixel area, and pixel density formula. For sake of simplicity, we're going to calculate it in 3 stages.

1. First we need to find the ratio between horizontal and vertical length by dividing the former with the latter (aspect ratio). It's usually 1.33 (4:3) or 1.5 (3:2), but not always.

2. With the ratio (r) known we can calculate the X from the formula below, where X is a vertical number of pixels:
(X × r) × X = effective megapixels × 1000000    →   
X =  effective megapixels × 1000000
r
3. To get sensor resolution we then multiply X with the corresponding ratio:

Resolution horizontal: X × r
Resolution vertical: X

S1 IS sensor resolution

Sensor width = 5.33 mm
Sensor height = 4.00 mm
Effective megapixels = 3.20
r = 5.33/4.00 = 1.33
X =  3.20 × 1000000  = 1551
1.33
Resolution horizontal: X × r = 1551 × 1.33 = 2063
Resolution vertical: X = 1551

Sensor resolution = 2063 x 1551

S3 IS sensor resolution

Sensor width = 5.75 mm
Sensor height = 4.32 mm
Effective megapixels = 6.00
r = 5.75/4.32 = 1.33
X =  6.00 × 1000000  = 2124
1.33
Resolution horizontal: X × r = 2124 × 1.33 = 2825
Resolution vertical: X = 2124

Sensor resolution = 2825 x 2124


Crop factor

Crop factor or focal length multiplier is calculated by dividing the diagonal of 35 mm film (43.27 mm) with the diagonal of the sensor.
Crop factor =   43.27 mm
sensor diagonal in mm


S1 IS crop factor

Sensor diagonal in mm = 6.66 mm
Crop factor =   43.27  = 6.5
6.66

S3 IS crop factor

Sensor diagonal in mm = 7.19 mm
Crop factor =   43.27  = 6.02
7.19

35 mm equivalent aperture

Equivalent aperture (in 135 film terms) is calculated by multiplying lens aperture with crop factor (a.k.a. focal length multiplier).

S1 IS equivalent aperture

Crop factor = 6.5
Aperture = f2.8 - f3.1

35-mm equivalent aperture = (f2.8 - f3.1) × 6.5 = f18.2 - f20.2

S3 IS equivalent aperture

Crop factor = 6.02
Aperture = f2.7 - f3.5

35-mm equivalent aperture = (f2.7 - f3.5) × 6.02 = f16.3 - f21.1

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