Canon Powershot S300 Review

Steve's Digicams

Canon PowerShot S300

First Look posted 3/17/01
Full review posted 3/28/01

Click to take a QuickTime VR tour of the Canon PowerShot S300 Digital ELPH
Click to take a QTVR tour of the S300

The PowerShot S300 Digital ELPH (also known as IXY DIGITAL 300 in Europe) is Canon's second ultra-compact digital camera and at the time of this review it's the world's smallest and lightest 2.1 megapixel camera with a 3x zoom lens. In addition the S300 offers a number of new and improved features including: direct print capabilities with the new Canon Card Photo Printer CP-10; 20 frame-per-second movie clips with audio at selectable resolutions up to 640x480 pixels; shutter speeds from 1 second to 1/1500 second; an adaptive primary color filter for improved color reproduction; a choice of nine image quality modes; automatic exposure sensitivity adjustment; and a high-output light guide flash.

Inside is state of the art image processing hardware with a new high-speed digital signal processing IC with low power consumption and a high performance 0.37-inch CCD imager with 2.11 million pixel resolution. Finished JPEG pictures are captured in 1600 x 1200 resolution or 1024x768 and 640x480 when set in the Middle or Small modes. Sequential shooting mode offers a capture rate of 2 pictures per second in full resolution with the LCD and flash off. The equivalent film sensitivity is fixed at ISO 100 but gains up automatically to ISO 150 in low light.

Canon PowerShot S300 Digital ELPH

When powered down, the lens is safely tucked away inside of the highly durable stainless steel body that measures just 3.7 x 2.5 x 1.2 inches. This is truly a "pocket size" camera that weighs a scant 8.5 ounces. As with all the Canon compacts, the S300 has a light-assisted autofocus that even works in the dark. An advanced TTL AiAF three-point autofocus system permits the camera to automatically select the primary subject even when off-center.

Metering is accomplished using a 64-zone, center-weighted TTL exposure system. Shutter speeds are automatically controlled and range from 1 to 1/1500 sec (1-sec. for Slow-Synchro mode and manual with flash set to off). The built in flash offers Auto, On, Off, Red-Eye Reduction and Slow-Synchro modes. There's a high-speed USB interface for image downloads to the host computer.

Canon PowerShot S300 Digital ELPH

Canon will be offering its own WP-DC100 underwater case for the S300 that's good for depths of up to 30 meters.

Canon PowerShot S300 Digital ELPH

The S300 is only slightly larger than a pack of cigarettes!

Canon PowerShot S300 Digital ELPH

At PMA 2001 Chuck Westfall demonstrated the PowerShot S300's Direct Print mode that enables users to print hard-copy images with Canon's new CP-10 dye-sublimation printer. The CP-10 makes printing from digital files simple and fun by allowing users to control all print settings directly from the camera's LCD monitor. Printer data is then transferred to the CP-10 directly through a dedicated interface cable. The new, ultra-compact printer produces beautiful, 300 x 300 dpi credit card-sized color prints in as little as 56 seconds.

Click here to see our Canon CP-10 Card Printer review for more details.

Canon PowerShot S300 Digital ELPH

Physical Views

Canon PowerShot S300 Digital ELPH

Canon PowerShot S300 Digital ELPH

The bright 1.5" color LCD uses energy-efficient white LEDs for back light illumination and has a non-reflective coating that reduces fingerprint and nose smears. We'll detail the user controls on the next page.

Canon PowerShot S300 Digital ELPH

Canon PowerShot S300 Digital ELPH Canon PowerShot S300 Digital ELPH

Canon PowerShot S300 Digital ELPH

Canon PowerShot S300 Digital ELPH

The Sony DSC-S75 and Canon S300 for size comparison.

Continue on to
Page Two

PowerShot S300 Specifications

Image sensor : Approx. 2.11 million-pixel 1/ 2.7 in. charge-coupled device
(effective pixels: approx. 2.02 million)
Lens : 5.4 (W) - 16.2 (T) mm (35 mm film equivalent: 35- 105 mm)
F2.7 (W) - 4.7 (T)
Digital Zoom : Maximum 2.5x (Maximum 7.5x with optical zoom)
Optical Viewfinder : Primary imaging real-image optical zoom viewfinder
LCD monitor : Approx. 120,000-pixel, 1.5 in. low-temperature polycrystalline silicon TFT LCD
Autofocus : Through the lens (TTL), 3-point artificial intelligence autofocus (AiAF)
Focusing Range :
(from tip of the lens barrel)
Normal : 76 cm (2.5 ft.) - infinity
Macro : 16- 76 cm (6.3 in. - 2.5 ft.) (W)
26- 76 cm (10.2 in. - 2.5 ft.) (T)
Shutter : Mechanical + electronic
Shutter Speed : 1 - 1/1500 sec.
* 1 sec. in manual mode with the flash off or in slow synchro mode
* Noise reduction processing on speeds slower than 1/6 sec.
Sensitivity : ISO 100 equivalent (automatically raised to ISO 150 in low light)
Light Metering Method : Evaluative metering (linked to focusing point)
Exposure Control : Program AE
Exposure Compensation : +-2 EV (1/3 steps)
White Balance : TTL auto/ preset (daylight, cloudy, tungsten, fluorescent)
Flash : Red-eye reduction auto/ auto/ on/ off/ slow-synchro
Flash Range :
Normal Mode : 76 cm -3.5 m (2.5-11.5 ft.) (W)/
76 cm -2.0 m (2.5-6.6 ft.) (T)
Macro Mode : 26-76 cm (10.2 in.-2.5 ft.) (W/ T)
Shooting Modes : Auto/ manual/ stitch assist/ movie
Self-Timer : Shoots after approx. 10 sec.
Continuous Shooting : Approx. 2.5 images/sec. (Large/ Fine mode, LCD monitor off)
PC Connected Shooting : Available (USB connection only. Exclusive software program RemoteCapture is included in the camera kit.)
Recording Media : CompactFlash card (Type I)
File Format : Design rule for Camera File system, DPOF compliant
Image Recording Format :
Stills : JPEG
Movies : AVI (Images: Motion JPEG/ Audio: WAVE (monophonic))
Compression : Superfine/ fine/ normal
Resolutions :
Large : 1600 x 1200 pixels
Medium : 1024 x 768 pixels
Small : 640 x 480 pixels
640 : 640 x 480 pixels (approx. 4 sec.)
320 : 320 x 240 pixels (approx. 10 sec.)
160 : 160 x 120 pixels (approx. 30 sec.)

Approx. 20 frames / sec.,
Figures in brackets ( ) represent max. recording time for one movie clip.

Replay Modes : Single image replay/ index replay (9 thumbnails)/ zoomed view (LCD monitor zooms images up to 2.5 times)/ auto play/ printing with Card Photo Printer CP-10 (print images directly)
Interface : USB (mini-B)
AV OUT (NTSC or PAL switchable, monophonic sound)
Power Source :
  • Battery Pack NB-1L (lithium ion),
    exclusive to the PowerShot S300 DIGITAL ELPH/ DIGITAL IXUS 300 and PowerShot S100 DIGITAL ELPH/ DIGITAL IXUS
  • Compact Power Adapter CA-PS500
    exclusive to the PowerShot S300 DIGITAL ELPH/ DIGITAL IXUS 300 and PowerShot S100 DIGITAL ELPH/ DIGITAL IXUS
Operating Temperatures : 0 - 40 degrees C (32 - 104 degrees F)
Operating Humidity : 10 - 90 %
Dimensions (W x H x D) : 94.8 x 62.5 x 29.9 mm (3.7 x 2.5 x 1.2 in.)
(excluding lens projection)
Weight : Approx. 240 g (8.5 oz.) excluding batteries and CF Card

Package Contents (U.S./N. America)

  • Digital Camera
  • Wrist Strap WS-120
  • Battery Charger CB-2LS
  • Battery Pack NB-1L
  • Case for Battery Pack
  • CompactFlashTM Card FC-8M
  • Case for CompactFlashTM Card
  • AV Cable AVC-DC100
  • USB Interface Cable IFC-300PCU
  • Digital Camera Solution Disk
  • ArcSoft Camera Suite Disk
  • Camera User Guide
  • Software Starter Guide
  • System Map

    • Return To Our
      Reviews Menu

    Visitors of Steves can visit the stores below for real-time pricing and availability. You can also find hot, soon to expire online offers on a variety of cameras and accessories at our very own Camera Deals page.