Fujifilm FinePix S5 Pro Review
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Digital SLR camera
Fujifilm FinePix S5 Pro
Published : Monday, January 29th 2007
Written by Dennis Hissink
Introduction
Just before the beginning of Photokina in Cologne, Germany last year, Fujifilm announced the arrival of a new digital SLR camera from the S-series for spring 2007 - the Fujifilm FinePix S5 Pro. This announcement came at the right moment, especially for the faithful group of Fujifilm DSLR photographers who were willing to invest again in a digital SLR camera to bring them back bang up to date technologically. Many other manufacturers were busy expanding their DSLR range at a rapid pace, and everyone expected Fujifilm to also come up with something of the sort. In general, the Fujifilm S5 Pro met a positive reception and the presentation that followed at Photokina 2006 with a working sample was convincing enough to earn Fujifilm a seat again at the table of the top DSLR manufacturers. The new Fujifilm FinePix S5 Pro is the successor to the S3 Pro and has lots of new, innovative features and improvements. The S5 Pro is expected to be out in February and the anticipated selling price in the Netherlands is €1895 (including Dutch VAT) for the body. We had the opportunity to take a closer look at one of the first pre-production samples of the S5 Pro camera and the following Fujifilm FinePix S5 Pro preview gives an exclusive comprehensive first impression.
Fujifilm FinePix S5 Pro Digital SLR Camera
Fujifilm FinePix S5 Pro - Digital SLR Fujifilm FinePix S5 Pro - Memory card
Digital SLR Camera Flash Memory card
Fujifilm FinePix S5 Pro Digital SLR Camera Fujifilm FinePix S5 Pro Flash Memory card
The Fujifilm FinePix S5 Pro is the long awaited successor to the S3 Pro camera. The camera is clearly modelled on the D200 body by Nikon, but for the rest its identity is pure Fujifilm. The Fujifilm S5 Pro has the highly praised Super CCD SR Pro image sensor which makes a whole new generation of Super CCD available. Super CCD technology has already been in development for several years and what began as a very individualistic way of CCD development has grown into a unique formula with which Fujifilm has undeniably succeeded in distinguishing itself form the rest. The unique system consists of 12 million paired photodiodes - 6.17 million 'large' S photo diodes and 6.17 million 'small' R photo diodes. This technology creates a larger dynamic range, improved noise/signal ratio and a high quality colour reproduction. It is with good reason that these Super CCD features are so highly praised by Fujifilm S digital SLR photographers. The camera shows image information on the large 2.5-inch format LCD screen. The extra LCD screen of the Fujifilm S3 Pro has had to make way, but against that the screen has been enlarged from 2 to 2.5 inches.
Fujifilm uses a CompactFlash type I or II (who still uses the II versions?) or a Microdrive with the de S5 Pro for saving pictures. Despite the unstoppable march of the Secure Digital memory card, the CompactFlash card is still the favourite in the semi-pro and pro segment. The development of these cards has not stood still. Recently, during Photokina 2006, SanDisk even introduced a 12 and 16GB Extreme III CF card. At the moment, the Fujifilm FinePix S5 Pro doesn't support such high capacity cards. Officially, the maximum storage capacity supported is 4GB. Maybe a future firmware update will grant access to these memory cards. The Fujifilm S5 Pro's internal buffer has been enlarged and is even larger that that of the S3 Pro with a buffer upgrade! When I was trying out this sample, I immediately noticed that the buffer of approximately 288MB contributes a lot to the speed. At a speed of 3 fps, you can shoot about 20 RAW format pictures (approximately 12.8MB/picture) in a row or about 10 RAW pictures with a dynamic range at 100% (Dynamic STD in the menu).
Fujifilm Auto ISO Fujifilm S5 Pro Speed Fujifilm S5 Body
Fujifilm FinePix S5 Pro Auto ISO Fujifilm FinePix S5 Pro Speed Fujifilm FinePix S5 Pro Body
Fujifilm S5 Pro Auto ISO Fujifilm S5 Pro Quick Review Fujifilm FinePix S5 Pro Body
The Auto ISO function that can be activated via the FinePix S5 Pro's menu is very handy indeed. You can use this function to set a lower limit in regard to shutter speed and an upper limit in regard to the ISO. With this personal preference, you can as it were, make up your own 'Program' mode. The Set-up button beside the LCD screen gives access to the camera's menus, in which you can set the AUTO ISO preference under the first tab in the Exposure setting. The ISO series consists of 200, 400, 800 and 1600 ISO. The camera normally has an ISO series of 100 - 3200 ISO. During reproduction including Exif information, the ISO is shown in red if the Auto ISO was active during the recording. The Fujifilm FinePix S5 Pro's body is like that of the Nikon D200. It is also a magnesium centre with water tight seals. The finishing details are perfect and it's a nice compact camera to carry around with you. Weighing in at 830 grams, it's only 5 grams lighter than its predecessor, the S3 Pro, and feels comfortable to hold. If you want more body, you can buy the Nikon MB-200 grip and attach it under the Fujifilm S5 Pro. I saw a prototype grip from Fujifilm at Photokina, but I prefer the Nikon MB-200. The combination grip and Fujifilm S5 Pro doesn't allow you to use the Nikon EN-EL3e batteries, so the Fujifilm NP-150 battery is a must!
As well as enlarging the buffer, several other functions and components of the Fujifilm FinePix S5 Pro have been made faster. It is now possible to get a reproduction of a picture more or less immediately via the Quick Review setting and there is practically no pause between pressing in the Play button and seeing the picture. The possibility of deleting this picture directly in the preview mode is also very handy. One new feature is the face detection button which gives you a 100% zoom reproduction of the picture immediately. This part is incredibly handy and helps quickly when making portraits or photos that include people. The detection system works quickly and faultlessly and can detect a maximum of ten different faces!
Fujifilm FinePix S5 command dial Fujifilm NP-150 battery
Fujifilm FinePix S5 command dial Fujifilm NP-150 battery
Fujifilm FinePix S5 Pro Command dial Fujifilm FinePix S5 Pro NP-150 battery
To the left of the viewfinder on top of the camera, there is a large button, underneath which is a dial that can be turned when a smaller button is pressed. This command dial gives you direct access to single or continual Low (1-2 fps) and High Speed (max. 3 fps) pictures, a self-timer and enables you to fold the mirror upwards. The latter is a handy aid to prevent unintentional camera movement with long shutter times. It is also possible to extend the shutter release by 0.4 seconds to prevent camera movement when making long exposure shots (Set-up menu). The Fujifilm FinePix S5 Pro digital SLR camera comes with a battery charger and a NP-150 battery. The 7.4 1500mAh Lithium Ion battery is charged with the accompanying BC-150 charger. This takes about 2 hours and 15 minutes. According to CIPA (Camera & Imaging Products Association), a full battery is good for approximately 400 pictures, but only if the LCD monitor is turned off. The Fujifilm FinePix S5 Pro can give 30 seconds Live View, in colour or black and white, and the energy used will depend on whether or not this option is used.
Fujifilm FinePix S5 Pro Review
Fujifilm FinePix S5 Pro Review Editor's Comment:
"It's true that Fujifilm is dependent on third parties like the Nikon D200 case, but the technology and everything else about this camera gives you that Fujifilm feeling. The Fujifilm feeling can best be described as the way in which Fujifilm approaches imaging. On one hand, there's the technology of the hardware, and the way in which the image is formed internally within the camera, on the other hand there's the feeling that they have looked at the picture in more depth. You can notice that technology and innovation from various divisions have come together to be included in the Fujifilm S5 Pro DSLR. Take the face detection or the way in which the character of the picture has been handled. Techniques and methods from the film, industry translated into a digital version. Techniques from a Fujifilm Frontier digital minilab integrated in a digital camera, etc. The small details reveal the conceptual depth that the FinePix S5 Pro stands for."
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