S5 Pro Fuji Review
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Published : Monday, January 29th 2007
Written by Dennis Hissink
Fujifilm 11-point auto focus Fujifilm AF assistance illuminator
11-point auto focus AF assistance illuminator
Fujifilm FinePix S5 Pro 11-point auto focus Fujifilm FinePix S5 Pro AF assistance illuminator
The number of auto focus fields in the Fujifilm S5 Pro is a big improvement on its predecessor. The S3 Pro had to manage with five fields, but the Fujifilm FinePix S5 Pro has a whole new 11-point auto focus system. Working with this number of AF fields is a breath of fresh air that will be greatly appreciated by practically every photographer. The extensive AF system allows you to select individual focus areas from 11 fields and 7 wide field AF for Single Area AF, Dynamic area AF (gives precise Continuous servo AF mode operation for moving subjects), Group Dynamic AF and Dynamic area AF with priority on the nearest subject. The wide choice of AF field settings will give photographers a great deal of freedom of personal choice. You will, however, have to refer to the manual in the beginning and go through the settings one by one. You can select the different focus areas via the select switch to the right of the LCD screen, the number of AF fields are selected via the camera's Set-up menu. You can find an in-built AF-assistance illuminator between the handgrip and the lens. Actually, this feature has several functions and also acts as indicator for the self-timer and to reduce red-eye, but I'll stick for now to the AF-assistance illuminator function. The AF assistance illuminator helps the Fujifilm S5 Pro digital SLR camera to focus in situations where there is not much surrounding light. The camera must be set in sharp focus setting S (single servo AF) and you must have a compatible AF lens fitted. It is also necessary that the centre focus area, focus area group or closest subject priority setting is activated in order to let the AF assistance illuminator do its work. By keeping the release shutter half pressed in, the subject is lit by the bright LED, giving the FinePix S5 Pro a chance to focus. When pictures are taken in rapid succession, there is a risk that the AF assistance illuminator will be turned off for a short while to prevent damage to the lamp.
S5 Pro Viewfinder S5 Pro Dioptre S5 Pro Image quality
Viewfinder Dioptre Image quality
Fujifilm S5 Viewfinder Fujifilm S5 Pro High-quality viewfinder Fujifilm S5 Image quality
An optical viewfinder on a digital compact camera is often replaced by a large format LCD monitor, which is a fine alternative. This is not the case with a digital reflex camera. The optical viewfinder plays a very important role and must be as clear as possible and have the largest possible coverage. The Fujifilm S5 Pro has a great viewfinder. It's ideal for photographers who wear glasses and has an enlargement factor of 0.94 xs and image coverage of approx 95%. These specifications are enough to give anyone plenty of scope and that is what the S5 Pro does. As well letting you see clearly, the viewfinder shows information like battery level and the number of pictures that will still fit in the buffer. The Fujifilm S5 Pro digital SLR camera supports various picture image quality settings. As well as the three different resolutions, the camera has three different compression factors. It is also possible to shoot a combination of RAW and JPEG in both the Fine and Standard settings. You can adjust the dynamic range in steps via the Set-up menu and this also influences the picture quality. The resolution setting consists of 4256 x 2848, 3024 x 2016 and 2304 x1536 pixels.
You can also adjust this high-quality viewfinder to your own eyes. To get a clear view, it is necessary to ensure that the display in the viewfinder is adjusted to the strength of your eyes. If there is a difference, you can adjust the dioptre with the small dial to the right of the viewfinder until the focus frames are clear and sharp when you focus using the shutter release. This small dial offers enough resistance to prevent you from changing the setting by mistake. It's a small detail, but nothing is as irritating as a wrongly adjusted optical viewfinder!
Depth of field Film simulation 3200 ISO
Depth of field Fujifilm Film simulation ISO Settings
Fujifilm FinePix S5 Depth of field Fujifilm FinePix S5 Film simulation Fujifilm FinePix S5 ISO Settings
There is a button for controlling the depth of field to the left of the lens when viewed the front. Pressing the button stops the lens at the aperture value selected by the camera (settings P and S) or the value chosen by the user (settings A and M), to show the depth of field in advance in the viewfinder. Some photographers consider this feature indispensable, while others hardly ever use it. The depth of field button creates, as it were, a preview of the effects of the selected aperture. The Fujifilm FinePix S5 Pro digital SLR camera has extended the ISO series to 3200 ISO whereby the in-between ISO values with smaller steps can be set accurately. The quality of the 3200 ISO pictures is particularly good and extremely rich in detail. In comparison to the S3 Pro there is no sign of the wiped out effect of detail, but its details (e.g. letters) can be clearly seen. The noise present is not disturbed by dominant colour noise, but is very like the grain of a film.
The film simulation mode now has five settings. F1 gives priority to pastel tints, dynamic range +1, and contrast to ORG, F1a gives a bit more colour saturation, F1b even more colour saturation and contrast, pus a larger dynamic range (portraits in bright sunlight). F1c goes a step further, with a heightened contrast and focus specially for fashion photography. The last, the F2 Velvia simulation gives the most powerful picture, especially for special effects or photography in misty/cloudy weather. Film simulation now also works in the Adobe RGB mode.
Refined metering compensation Fujifilm FinePix S5 - MB-D200 grip
Refined metering compensation MB-D200 grip
Fujifilm FinePix S5 Refined metering compensation Fujifilm FinePix S5 MB-D200 grip
Another special feature is the possibility of compensating the standard matrix, centre and spot metering accurately with 1EV - +1EV in 1/6EV. Actually, this is something that photographers often did when exposing their slides. Such details once more confirm the way in which Fujifilm has launched its S5 Pro DSLR on the market. Of course, there's technology, but the emphasis is on picture quality and the chance to make precise adjustments to the camera. This approach will definitely appeal to nature, portrait, studio and wedding photographers. You have to realise that the camera remembers the refined adjustments, so that the compensation remains active when the camera is turned on and off! You can give the Fujifilm S5 Pro digital reflex camera a bit more volume and battery capacity by attaching a Nikon MB-D200 under the body. The battery grip conceals two Li-Ion batteries, in this case 2x NP-150 battery or AA format batteries. The grip also has a second shutter release and a command dial to give better functionality when photographing vertically. The optional MB-D200 hand grip is a valuable accessory to the FinePix S5 Pro. Personally, I thought it was very handy, but on the other hand, it makes the camera larger and heavier to carry around with you. It is easy and quick to detach, so you can remove the grip afterwards and get down to work with a more compact camera.
Fujifilm FinePix S5 Pro Preview
Fujifilm FinePix S5 Pro Editor's Comment:
"The first time you see the Fujifilm FinePix S5 Pro, you should experience a high degree of recognition, at least if you are a Nikon D200 photographer. On the outside, the camera may look the same, but the inside is pure Fujifilm. The construction and lay out of the menu, and in particular, the refined setting possibilities in the area of picture quality are what makes the difference. 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. The body has already proven itself in practice and won't let you down. The Fujifilm FinePix S5 Pro is a total package, which has made a conscious decision to approach image in a totally different way. I'm impressed!"
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