|Fujifilm FinePix S5 Pro DSLR review : It seems like ages since the S3 Pro, and it has been 2.5 years since Fujifilm has introduced a new camera: the FinePix S5 Pro. In the world of digital photography that is a long time, indeed. It might even seem longer because the S3 Pro was actually a very progressive camera with a somewhat outdated body, even at that time. This was the S3 Pro's main fault, and it was also a bit too slow for most photographers. But the images were stunning. The Fujifilm S5Pro changes all that, though. Fujifilm now uses the same body and electronics as the Nikon D200. That means it has a solid and weather-resistant body and features such as Nikon's i-TTL and 11-point AF sensor, and just as always that special Super CCD image sensor.
Fujifilm FinePix S5 Pro versus S3 Pro
The new body means Fujifilm does not have to extend the camera with extra parts underneath, like the S3 Pro had. Instead, the camera has become a lot more compact, although the extra LCD on the back has disappeared. It had to make room for the large 2.5 inch screen. For those that liked the extension, because of the hand placement or the vertical shutter release button, can order an extra grip. It is a bit larger, which improves hand placement, and can accommodate an extra battery as well. The Fujifilm FinePix S5Pro uses a rechargeable Lithium Ion battery now instead of the AA batteries. It is also no longer possible to use xD cards, but this need not be a grievance. The Fujifilm S5Pro can accommodate a lot of the Nikon D200 accessories, but not all of them. That's why Fujifilm has developed its own accessories. In the summer of 2007 a device will be released that allows the Fujifilm FinePix S5Pro to send images wirelessly via a WiFi. This technique is slowly becoming well established in the digital photography world.
Fujifilm S5 Pro SLR - Super CCD SR Pro sensor
The image sensor in the Fujifilm S5Pro is naturally a Super CCD. The camera has the newest version, the Super CCD SR Pro and according to its specifications, it has 12 million pixels. Up until now it has always been a problem with this many pixels on the Super CCD. Physically the Super CCD SR Pro actually has 12 million pixels; 6.17 million large S pixels and 6.17 million of the smaller R pixels. The S pixels are engaged especially for bright light and the R pixels for normal light. Together the S and R pixels are combined for one image unit. That means that the resolution is actually the same as a 6 Megapixel camera. It does have a larger dynamic range, so that you actually win two stops. But that does not explain everything yet. The pixels in the Super CCD have a deviant form, as if they were applied diagonally across the surface, so that they need to be reconfigured to the horizontal pattern. Because of this reconfiguration - Fujifilm carefully avoids the term interpolation - the amount of pixels is doubled, so that we are left with 12 million pixels. If this is the actual optical resolution, is dubious. In any case, the Super CCD's construction ensures that even with high ISO rates, you can achieve pictures with low noise. Fujifilm has demonstrated this for years, in the DSLRs as well as the compact cameras.
Fujifilm FinePix S5 Pro - Real Photo Technology
The results are not only due to the image sensor. Fujifilm has a triple entity: the sensor, the lens and the processor. These are the three parts that comprise the Real Photo Technology. For the compact cameras, Fujifilm makes all three elements, but for the SLRs, Fuji does not make its own lenses. But this is not a problem, because Nikon has fantastic lenses which can be used for the Fujifilm cameras. Just like Nikon, the focal length multiplier is a handy 1.5x. The digital images are calculated through the processor. The Fujifilm FinePix S5 Pro has the Real Photo Processor Pro. According to Fujifilm the combination of the processor and sensor should produce low-noise images, even at ISO 3200. That is quite an achievement. Thanks to the new processor, the FinePix DSLR camera is a lot faster than it used to be, which is a very welcome improvement.
Fujifilm FinePix S5 Pro - Face detection
New for the DSLR is the face detection. Fujifilm is the first manufacturer to offer this technique in this class. It only works during the review mode, unlike compact cameras in which it can operate during shooting mode. When you review the images, you can zoom in quickly and control the faces to see if they are in focus. The face is always the most important part of the photo, after all. It wouldn't surprise me if this technique is just the tip of the iceberg. Another special feature is the Live View. Panasonic and Olympus already have it, and Canon is also applying it, but it is still rare for the SLRs. The Fujifilm FinePix S5 Pro, just like the S3 Pro, has a mirror that is flipped up for half a minute, so that the light can fall directly on the sensor and the data are displayed on the 2.5-inch screen.
Fujifilm FinePix S5 Pro digital SLR review
On the inside, the Fujifilm S5 Pro is a real Fuji camera, with all its unique techniques. It is an interesting digital camera and we were very satisfied we could use the Fujifilm FinePix S5 Pro for a while so that we could test it out thoroughly. The results can be read in the next Fujifilm FinePix S5 Pro review.
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"It is clear that Fujifilm have taken their long years of experience with image, both in terms of technology and quality, translated it into a digital version and then used it to create a magnificent semi-professional body. It's a nice stroke of luck that Fujifilm can hitch a lift on the success of the Nikon D200. As far as I'm concerned, the many extras provided by Fujifilm make it interesting enough to be a first choice for photographers in this segment."
Continue to read our Fuji FinePix S5 Pro preview.