Fujifilm FinePix S3 Pro SLR Review
Features & Controls
Representing the company's pursuit of film photography standards for the digital world, the FinePix S3 Pro introduces Fujifilm's unique Super CCD SR II - dual pixel technology that is technically inspired by the structure of silver halide crystals in color negative film.
The new sensor produces 12.34 million effective pixels in 6.17 locations, combining
6.17 million high-sensitivity S-pixels and the same number of low-sensitivity R-pixels.
Thanks to a newly developed image processor, the S3 Pro achieves exceptional
image quality with a fourfold increase in dynamic range over non-SR Super CCD sensors,
rich color reproduction, high signal to noise ratio (lower noise at higher
sensitivities) and tonality that was previously impossible to generate with digital
Analogy Between Film and SuperCCD SR Sensor
Silver halide film is coated with crystals of various shapes - highly sensitive grains
with large surface areas that respond to small amounts of light, and low sensitivity
grains with small surface area that responds to large amounts of light.
The SuperCCD SR achieves a similar division of labor by mixing low-sensitivity
and high-sensitivity pixels.
The S3 Pro is compatible with about 90% of the F mount Nikkor lenses (including new AF-S and G type) made. You need to use a focal length conversion factor of 1.5x to determine proper focal length coverage compared to the 35mm format.
On the left side of the lens mount is the Depth of Field (DOF) preview button, on the right side is the lens release lock button and the 3-way switch is used to select the desired focusing mode (Manual, Single AF or Continuous AF).
The AF-Assist Illuminator (upper lefthand corner of picture above) operates automatically in low-light conditions when the auto focus system can not find enough subject contrast. It has an effective range of 1.6 - 9.8ft (0.5 - 3 m) and can be used with AF Nikkor lenses from 24 - 200 mm.
There are three focus modes; AF-S (single AF servo), AF-C (continuous
AF servo) and MF (manual focus). In the AF-S and AF-C focus modes
there are two different AF Area mode options; Single-area AF and
Dynamic AF. In Single-area AF the user manually selects the desired AF
point using the 4-way controller. The Dynamic AF mode will
automatically select one of the five AF points depending on the
subject. This is good for tracking fast-moving objects. This mode
also has a sub-option called Closest-subject Priority AF. The focus
point will be selected by the area containing a subject that's closest
to the camera.
The S3 Pro operates the best when using the latest Nikkor type D or G optics with the
built in CPU. Here's the AF-S DX Nikkor 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5G IF-ED, on the
S3 Pro it becomes a 27-105mm zoom.
The S3 Pro has a built-in manual pop-up type flash with a GN: 12 (ISO 100). D-TTL (Automatic Balanced Fill-Flash controlled by five-segment TTL Multi Sensor) with built-in Speedlight and external Speedlights. Coverage for 20mm or longer CPU lenses (with hoods removed) as close as 0.6m.
The accessory shoe on top has dedicated flash contacts for Nikon Speedlights, X-contact only; flash synchronization up to 1/180 sec.
Flash sync modes are: 1) Front-curtain Sync, 2) Red-Eye Reduction,
3) Red-Eye Reduction with Slow Sync, 4) Slow Sync or 5) Rear-curtain Sync.
The Nikon SB-50DX, SB-80DX or the new
SB-600 (shown above) or SB-800
Speedlights feature 3D Multi-Sensor Balanced Fill-Flash (with D or G-type
AF Nikkor lenses) and were designed specifically for digital SLR cameras.
You can easily connect the S3 Pro to external studio flash units via the
front-mounted PC Sync Terminal.
The eyelevel pentaprism finder shows approx. 95% of the captured frame. It has dioptric adjustment and a comfortable eye relief with a fairly wide viewing angle. The focusing screen uses the Vari-Brite Focus Area display system. In bright light the focus brackets are black and in low light they are momentarily illuminated in red. This red illumination may be enabled full-time if desired.
To the right is the AE-L / AF-L (auto exposure / auto focus lock)
button and around that is the metering selector switch with positions
for center-weighted, matrix or spot. (With D- or G-type Nikkor lenses
10-segment 3-D matrix metering is used, factoring in the distance to
subject as well as maximum brightness contrast.)
The S3's viewfinder display - in the center are the 5 focus zones and the center-weighted metering circle. The focus zone that is selected or active will turn red when the shutter is pressed. The horizontal and vertical grid lines are optional and can be enabled or disabled via the menu.
Across the bottom is the digital readout
that shows the autofocus status, focus area, metering mode, multiple exposure/AE-L,
shutter speed, aperture,
exposure mode (P, A, S, M), analog exposure scale, flash compensation, exposure
compensation and the flash status.
On the back is a high quality 2-inch, color TFT LCD with 235,0000 pixel resolution. It allows for instant, in-field review of captured images with thumbnails, onscreen zoom plus optional histogram charts. Exposure data is displayed via the data LCD above it. All of the playback features are detailed on page 5
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