Best Canon PowerShot S3 IS SD Memory Card

By Nathaniel Stephan
Last Updated: February 7, 2020
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Best Canon PowerShot Digital Camera Memory Card

The Canon S3 IS can use SD memory cards. The largest capacity SD card that will work in the S3 IS is 32GB. MultiMediaCards (MMC) can also be used.

SD memory cards labeled as SDXC or SDUC are not going to function properly in the S3 IS. These cards will be At least 64GB or larger, so they can easily be avoided.

Want to skip the jargon? Below is my recommendation on the SD memory card to use in your Canon S3 IS:

SanDisk Extreme Pro UHS-I SDHC Memory Card

SanDisk Extreme Pro 32GB SDHC

  • Best value for the money.
  • Read speeds of up to 95MB/s; write speeds of up to 90MB/s.
  • Shock-proof, temperature-proof, waterproof, and x-ray proof.
  • UHS speed Class 3 (U3) and UHS video speed Class 30 (V30).

64GB or larger cards are not compatible with the camera.

Recommended S3 IS SD Cards

The examples below are SD cards that will work correctly with the S3 IS. With any of the cards outlined below, you won't have to worry about slow capabilities or SD memory card data corruption.

SanDisk Extreme Pro UHS-I SDHC Memory Card

SanDisk Extreme Pro 32GB SDHC UHS-I

  • Best value for the money.
  • Read speeds of up to 95MB/s; write speeds of up to 90MB/s.
  • Shock-proof, temperature-proof, waterproof, and x-ray proof.
  • UHS speed Class 3 (U3) and UHS video speed Class 30 (V30).
SanDisk Ultra UHS-I SDHC Memory Card

SanDisk Ultra 32GB SDHC UHS-I

  • Quick transfer read speeds up to 90MB/s.
  • Write speeds are not capable of recording 4k video.
  • Class 10 rating for Full HD video (1080p).
  • Waterproof, temperature proof, X-ray Proof, magnet-Proof, and shockproof.
Lexar 633x 23GB UHS-I SDHC Memory Card

Lexar Professional 633X 32GB SDHC UHS-I

  • High-speed, Class 10 performance.
  • UHS-I technology for a read transfer speed up to 633x (95MB/s).
  • High-speed file transfer from card to computer to dramatically accelerate workflow.

Best SD Cards

Good quality memory cards are made by both SanDisk and Lexar. Avoid getting cards from low-priced no-name brands.

Memory card troubles, like a complete loss of all of your shots caused by data corruption, is more probable to happen with cheap cards. The reduction in the level of quality is not worth the slight cost savings.

Get a smaller capacity memory card should you want to save a little bit of money. They generally are a little cheaper and you will not have to worry about the SD card losing your photographs.

Bear in mind, SD card failures are very uncommon. Just only two cards have become unusable out of the multitude I have owned over many years. Age could have added to the failure, as the SD cards were included with previously owned DSLRs.

Canon S3 IS SD Card Compatibility

four separate specifications of Secure Digital (SD) memory cards are currently being manufactured. The Canon S3 IS is limited to using SD memory cards. The benefit is that there is a boost in the transfer rates and maximum capacity with the release of each new spec.

Secure Digital memory card readers are backward compatible. A card reader built into a digital camera that can use SDXC cards will also be able to use SDHC and SD memory cards.

The Canon S3 IS's card reader can only read the initial two SD card standards. SDXC or SDUC SD cards are not going to operate correctly.

  • Secure Digital (SD) - These memory cards have a maximum capacity of 2GB and are compatible with the S3 IS.
  • Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) - The capacity of these memory cards range from 4GB to 32GB and are also compatible with the S3 IS.
  • Secure Digital eXtended Capacity (SDXC) - The capacity of these memory cards range from 64GB to 2TiB.
  • Secure Digital Ultra Capacity (SDUC) - The capacity of these memory cards range from 4TiB to 128TiB.

Memory Card Full Error

SD card contacts for Canon digital point and shoot camera

Trying to use an SD card that is 64GB or larger in the S3 IS will result in the point and shoot camera to display an error message.

Use a card with a storage capacity of 32GB or smaller to resolve the error.

If you have a memory card that is 32GB or smaller capacity, and the card is not working, try to format the card while it is in the camera.

Speed, Class, & Capacity

SD Card Image Capacity

This is a quick estimate of how many large JPEGs you could expect to store on an SD card.

  • 4GB - 1920 images
  • 8GB - 3840 images
  • 16GB - 7680 images
  • 32GB - 15360 images

Memory Card Speed

Speed ratings for SD cards are established by the sequential read and write speeds. The speed of the SD card is important in cases where many shots need to be written to the SD card.

SD Card Speed Class Rating

Example of where to find SD Card Speed Class
This is a Class 10 SD memory card as shown by the '10' inside of the 'C'

The Class speed rating of an SD memory card is related to the sustained write speed of the SD card. A Class speed rating of 2 means that the SD memory card can sustain a write speed of at minimum 2MB per second.

  • Class 2 - 2MB/s
  • Class 4 - 4MB/s
  • Class 6 - 6MB/s
  • Class 8 - 8MB/s
  • Class 10 - 10MB/s

The maximum rating an SD card can attain is Class 10. There are SD cards that are considerably faster than 10MB/s. Those cards use other technology, such as UHS (Ultra Highspeed Bus), that have a separate rating specification.

Sustained write speeds of 2MB, 4MB, 6MB, or 8MB per second means the card has a speed class of 2, 4, 6, or 8. Cards that have write speeds of 10MB/s or faster are rated as Class 10.

MultiMediaCard Compatibility

The MultiMediaCard standard was unveiled in 1997 by Siemens AG and SanDisk. MMC cards are similar to a thinner SD memory card.

Only the original MMC cards will work correctly in the Canon S3 IS. Second generation cards, including MMCplus, are not going to function correctly in the Canon S3 IS.

Steer clear of ordering an MMC memory card. Suitable MMC cards for the S3 IS are not presently being built. Due to this fact, they are tough to purchase pre-owned to purchase used as well as being unaffordable.


The best SD memory card for the Canon S3 IS is the SanDisk Extreme Pro 32GB SD Memory Card. However, the Lexar Professional 32GB SD Memory Card offers the best value.

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