Panasonic S3

Panasonic Lumix DMC-S3 front
  • 14MP - 1/2.3" Sensor
  • 2.7" Fixed Screen
  • ISO 100 - 6400
  • Optical Image Stabilization
  • 1280 x 720 video
  • 28-112mm (F3.1-5.6) lens
  • 117g - 99 x 59 x 21mm
  • Launched January 2011
  • Read full specs
  • Alternatives
  • Size Comparison
  • FAQ

Panasonic S3 summary

Panasonic S3 is Panasonic's Small Sensor Compact digital camera first introduced on January of 2011. The camera has got a 14MP, CCD 1/2.3" size sensor with a max resolution of 4320 x 3240.

The S3 is ranked #157 out of 261 in Small Sensor Compact cameras & over-all #1073 out of 1465 for digital cameras in our collection. You should try out our Advanced camera search to see camera results based on your customized requirements.

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Here is a chart of different factors used in the rating system.

Panasonic S3 history

The Panasonic S3 is part of a family of products. You can read the full list below.

ModelVisualizeLensResolutionSensor SizeReleased
Panasonic-Lumix-DMC-SZ10 front thumbnailPanasonic SZ10
S3 vs SZ10
Panasonic-Lumix-DMC-SZ8 front thumbnailPanasonic SZ8
S3 vs SZ8
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Panasonic-Lumix-DMC-SZ3 front thumbnailPanasonic SZ3
S3 vs SZ3
Panasonic-Lumix-DMC-SZ5 front thumbnailPanasonic SZ5
S3 vs SZ5
Panasonic-Lumix-DMC-SZ7 front thumbnailPanasonic SZ7
S3 vs SZ7
Panasonic-Lumix-DMC-S2 front thumbnailPanasonic S2
S3 vs S2
Body cameras now worn by bakery staff to deter stealing
Panasonic-Lumix-DMC-SZ1 front thumbnailPanasonic SZ1
S3 vs SZ1
Panasonic-Lumix-DMC-S1 front thumbnailPanasonic S1
S3 vs S1
Panasonic-Lumix-DMC-S3 front thumbnailPanasonic S328-112mm

Panasonic S3 Pros and Cons

Here is a shortlist of advantages and drawbacks of the Panasonic S3 based on aspects that are oftentimes considered useful in a digital camera.

built-in flash
built in image stabilization (Optical)
built in lens has zoom (28-112mm 4.0 x zoom)
decent megapixels (14 megapixels)
lighter than competition (117g)
reasonably wide (28mm)
very good minimum ISO (100)
cannot use external flash
continuous shooting slow (2.0 frames per second)
does not feature selfie friendly screen
fixed lens (fixed lens mount)
focusing manually not possible
lack of manual exposure
lack of shutter priority mode
missing HDMI port
missing headphone port
missing mic port
missing Time Lapse function
no aperture priority mode
no moving screen
no phase detect autofocus
no RAW support
pixelated screen (230 thousand dot)
sluggish at long end (f5.6)
small screen (2.7")
somewhat slow maximum aperture (f3.1)
tiny sensor size (1/2.3")
video quality not great (1280 x 720 pxls)
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Panasonic S3 Sensor features

The Panasonic S3 is powered by the Venus Engine IV chip. The sensor size in the Panasonic S3 is 6.08mm x 4.56mm (1/2.3"). The 28 mm² sensor can capture 4320 x 3240 pixels using aspect ratios of 4:3, 3:2 and 16:9. The camera features Image Stabilization (Optical). In body stabilization is more effective than digital stabilization as the latter might produce cropping.

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The CCD sensor has 14 megapixels and provides a standard ISO range of 100 - 6400. Unfortunately, RAW photos are not saved which means that the user has less margin for error.

The picture below shows the S3's sensor size when compared to other popular sizes. The S3 sensor has a crop factor of 5.9 and is highlighted in green.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-S3 sensor size Japan-exclusive Leica Leitz Phone 3 features big sensor and new modes

To get a sense of various aspect ratios, you can refer to the graphic below.

Camera sensor aspect ratios

Panasonic S3 dimensions

Panasonic S3 has a weight of 0.26 pounds (117 gr / 4.13 ounces) & has outside proportions of 99mm x 59mm x 21mm (3.9" x 2.3" x 0.8"). The weight of typical Small Sensor Compact camera is 174 gr so the Panasonic S3 is less heavy as compared with various rivals.

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Listed below is a visual of the Panasonic S3 besides a soft drink to help you to get a sense of its size.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-S3 dimensions scale

The top view directly below will illustrate the button arrangement on the S3.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-S3 topview buttons dials

Panasonic S3 Lens features

The S3 includes an inbuilt lens having a focal range of 28-112mm giving it a 4.0 x zoom which isn't amazing nevertheless it is going to be helpful in certain cases.

At it's widest 28mm, the lens features an aperture of f3.1 which will be quite sluggish and not the best for low light situations and you will find it difficult to get a shallow depth of field. You will likely also need to boost your ISO leading to noisy shots. On the long end, 112mm comes with f5.6 which is really slow and you would have to set slower shutter speeds.

Photography Glossary

Panasonic S3 Connectivity

The S3 has the following connectivity:

  • USB Yes

Digital cameras with NFC and Bluetooth compatibility can be controlled wirelessly via smartphones. You will be able to copy files and at times alter settings without connecting directly with the camera.

A few apps also allow a Liveview and hit the shutter whenever you are not near the camera. If the camera provides a HDMI port, it can be attached to an external screen. Many cameras will allow you to recharge the battery pack with the USB port.

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Panasonic S3 Video features

The max video quality in the Panasonic S3 is 1280 x 720 and you can record in MPEG-4 file format. 720p is awful for today's standards. You should really shoot for at least FUll HD quality for good video. The body does not have a microphone and headphone jack which means you have got absolutely no control over the sound. It is perhaps best to get an alternative camera in case you need good sound for your videos.

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Panasonic S3 Weather Sealing

Panasonic S3 does not have environment sealing so wet conditions may ruin the camera.

Panasonic S3 Screen and Viewfinder

The Panasonic S3 has got a 2.7 inch fixed screen having a resolution of 230 thousand dots.

Unfortunately the screen isn't a touch screen.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-S3 screen and viewfinder Sora from OpenAI releases its first ever music video

The ViewFinder specs for Panasonic S3 are the following:

  • ViewFinder None

For bright outdoor conditions that make the camera displays washed out and difficult to see, viewfinders can be pretty useful.

Panasonic S3 Shutter features

Panasonic S3 continuous shooting speed is 2.0 frames per second. The maximum shutter speed is 1/1600s.

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Panasonic S3 Flash and Hot shoe features

Panasonic S3 features just inbuilt flash without external flash support.

Panasonic S3 Autofocus features

Panasonic S3 features only Contrast Based AF & doesn't have Phase Detect AF. Phase Detection focusing is a lot more snappier & exact as compared with Contrast Based focusing.

The Sensor has got 11 focus points to select from. Panasonic S3 has no manual focusing. Manual focusing ability is good in low light situations or you want more precise control on depth of field.

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Panasonic S3 Battery life

The battery pack for the Panasonic S3 is made to last for 250 images with respect to the CIPA specifications which is about average when compared to it's rivals. The usual Small Sensor Compact camera battery life is 241. Fujifilm X30 has the maximum (470) battery life in this type of cameras.

Listed below is a list of Small Sensor Compact cameras that come with the strongest battery life:

Panasonic S3 for different forms of photography

The following bar chart shows a summary of the Panasonic S3 for different forms of photography. To view more, have a look at the specific section below.

Panasonic S3 Portrait photography details

The Panasonic S3 receives a rating of 28 which is dreadful, and means the camera is simply not good for portraits. Shooting portrait images favors greatly towards sensor resolution, RAW support along with the capability to work with off-camera flash.

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MP count decent (14 megapixels)
no manual focus
no manual control
cannot use external flash
sensor size is very small (1/2.3")
no RAW files

Panasonic S3 as a Street photography camera

Coming in at a nice rating of 63, the Panasonic S3 is a fine choice for street photography. A good street photography camera gives a good balance of picture quality plus portability.

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has image stabilization (Optical)
lighter than competitors (117g)
screen does not articulate
very small sensor size (1/2.3")
has no RAW support

Panasonic S3 Sports photography info

A dreadful sports photography rating of 35 indicates the Panasonic S3 is simply not good for taking photos of sports. A camera needs fantastic autofocus and shutter speeds for sports photography.

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has image stabilization (Optical)
MP count decent (14MP)
max frames per second very slow (2.0 frames per second)
lack of shutter priority mode
sensor is very small (1/2.3")
lack of phase detect autofocus

Panasonic S3 Travel photography info

Portability is really critical in selecting a travel camera. Over-all, the Panasonic S3 gets a above average 68 for a travelling camera which makes it a good pick for your vacations.

Photography Glossary
lighter than average (117 grams)
MP count decent (14 megapixels)
flash built-in
pretty wide (28mm)
no Timelapse mode
screen isn't selfie friendly
somewhat slow max aperture (f3.1)

Panasonic S3 as a Landscape photography camera

For anybody planning to buy a camera for landscape photographs, the most essential aspect is going to be image quality. The Panasonic S3 and it's dreadful score of 38 for a landscape camera is simply not good in the current market.

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quite wide (28mm)
built in image stabilization (Optical)
megapixel count good (14 megapixels)
manual focus not available
cannot swap lens (fixed lens mount)
sluggish max aperture (f3.1)
tiny screen (2.7")
no manual mode
sensor size is very small (1/2.3")
doesn't have RAW files
missing Timelapse mode

Vlogging with Panasonic S3

A vlogging camera preferably should come with a moving screen, mic port and ideally IBIS. Considering every thing, the Panasonic S3 is simply not good as a vlog camera as it comes to a dreadful rating of 31.

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really wide (28mm)
built in image stabilization (Optical)
lighter than competition in class (117g)
slow max aperture (f3.1)
screen is not selfie friendly
video resolution low (1280 x 720 resolution)
lack of microphone jack

Panasonic S3 Alternatives

If you are looking for replacements to the S3, here is a collection of the top ranked cameras that fall under the category of Small Sensor Compact.

The chart underneath will give you an overview of the S3 versus it's highest scoring rivals listed above.

Here are a handful of other cameras you may take into account as alternate options. To check out a extensive comparison, just click on the "compare" link.

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General Information
Model type
Panasonic Lumix DMC-S3
Small Sensor Compact
Body design
Sensor Information
Sensor type
Venus Engine IV
Sensor size
Sensor dimensions
6.08 x 4.56mm
Sensor surface area
Sensor resolution
14 megapixels
Anti alias filter
Aspect ratio
4:3, 3:2 and 16:9
Highest Possible resolution
4320 x 3240
RAW photos
Maximum native ISO
Min native ISO
Focus manually
Touch focus
Autofocus continuous
Single autofocus
Tracking autofocus
Autofocus selectice
Autofocus center weighted
Multi area autofocus
Live view autofocus
Face detection focus
Contract detection focus
Phase detection focus
Total focus points
Lens mount type
fixed lens
Lens zoom range
28-112mm (4.0x)
Highest aperture
Macro focusing distance
Crop factor
Screen type
Fixed Type
Screen size
Resolution of screen
230 thousand dot
Selfie friendly
Touch capability
Screen technology
Viewfinder Information
DXO scores
DXO Overall rating
not tested
DXO Color Depth rating
not tested
DXO Dynamic range rating
not tested
DXO Low light rating
not tested
Min shutter speed
8 secs
Max shutter speed
1/1600 secs
Continuous shutter speed
2.0 frames per second
Shutter priority
Aperture priority
Manually set exposure
Set white balance
Image stabilization
Inbuilt flash
Flash distance
3.30 m
Flash modes
Auto, On, Off, Red-Eye reduction
Hot shoe
AE bracketing
White balance bracketing
Multisegment metering
Average metering
Spot metering
Partial metering
AF area metering
Center weighted metering
Video features
Video resolutions
1280 x 720 (30fps), 640 x 480 (30 fps), 320 x 240 (30 fps)
Maximum video resolution
Video file format
Mic jack
Headphone jack
USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
Environment seal
Water proofing
Dust proofing
Shock proofing
Crush proofing
Freeze proofing
117 grams (0.26 lbs)
Physical dimensions
99 x 59 x 21mm (3.9" x 2.3" x 0.8")
Battery life
250 pictures
Type of battery
Battery Pack
Self timer
Yes (2 or 10 sec)
Time lapse feature
Type of storage
SD/SDHC/SDXC, Internal
Storage slots
Pricing at release