The Fujifilm FinePix S5 Pro is scheduled to ship in the first quarter of 2007, and the most obvious change for users of the company’s past DSLR models is going to be the body. Fuji’s S1 Pro was based on a Nikon N60 consumer film SLR, while the followup S2 Pro and S3 Pro models were Nikon N80-based. The S5 Pro takes a significant step forwards with a body that (although the company isn’t officially stating derivations) is clearly based on Nikon’s D200 digital SLR – and that brings with it a lot of benefits. Inside its all-metal body, the Fuji S5 Pro will now include 11-point AF, i-TTL flash metering, a 2.5″ LCD display, Lithium Ion battery, a shutter with a rated lifetime of 100,000 cycles offering speeds from 30 to 1/8000 second, a slightly higher viewfinder magnification, 1/250 second flash sync, and lens aperture control of 1/3, 1/2 or 1 stop – all improvements over the predecessor camera.
The Fuji FinePix S5 Pro retains the same resolution of SuperCCD SR sensor used in 2004’s FinePix S3 Pro, which has a total of 12.34 million effective photodiodes in a dual-element structure aimed at extending dynamic range (as described in our of the development of the SuperCCD SR sensor announced back in 2003). Each couplet of ‘S’ and ‘R’ photodiodes share a single microlens, and hence are unable to separately contribute to resolution in an image, so the S5 Pro has a 6.17 effective megapixel resolution. We’re told the SuperCCD SR Pro sensor isn’t identical to that in the previous camera however, and that there have been tweaks made both to processing techniques and to take advantage of new manufacturing capabilities, plus a newly optimized low pass filter. The result should be improved dark noise reduction, and reduced moire.
The FinePix S5 Pro is also the first Fujifilm DSLR to use a development of the Real Photo Technology which has been pretty much universally lauded in the company’s consumer cameras. Dubbed “Real Photo Processor Pro”, it should yield improved saturation and tonality, and courtesy of two cycles of noise reduction the S5 Pro now offers ISO sensitivity to 3200 (with noise levels reduced across the board at all sensitivities). The S5 Pro also offers three new variations of the original film simulation mode (now five total) tailored to regional preferences for tonality in different markets. Unusually, the S5 Pro has the ability to password lock (in three levels) custom settings to prevent a photographer changing certain settings accidentally, or for pool cameras which are requeired to have certain settings identical across all camera bodies in the pool.
The live preview mode in the S3 Pro returns for the FinePix S5 Pro, but the length has been doubled to 60 seconds in color or black & white. There’s also newly added RAW+JPEG support, and the camera’s buffer has more than doubled from 128MB to 288MB. This latter means that continuous shooting improves to 3 frames per second in the new camera, with a burst depth of 24 RAW or 52 JPEG images in standard dynamic range, and 11 RAW / 40 JPEG in wide dynamic range mode. Given that the S3 Pro was 2.5fps for 12 RAW in standard, 3 RAW / 6 JPEG in wide mode, this is a pretty major improvement!
Alongside the S5 Pro, Fujifilm will offer two accessories for connection to a wireless or wired LAN, with support for Windows Vista’s MPP and MPP over IP protocols (RAW files should also be supported by Vista natively). On top of this, the S5 Pro can be connected using Nikon’s 10-pin serial connector to standard serial barcode readers to scan bar codes before shooting a picture, and store the barcode data in the EXIF header of the image.
The S5 Pro has one other really unusual feature (again building on technology first seen in the company’s consumer digicams) – post capture face detection that can automatically zoom in on a captured image to review up to ten faces in a picture sequentially for pose, focus, exposure, etc. (Note that this is post-exposure only – the S5 Pro doesn’t have any pre-capture face detection functionality like focusing, flash mode, etc. like you’d find in consumer cameras).
The Fujifilm FinePix S5 Pro will ship in spring 2007, at a list price of US$1999.