Fujifilm has announced the development of an eagerly updated sequel to its S3 Pro digital SLR. The camera is dubbed the FinePix S5 Pro and will hit stores next February.

Fujifilm has announced the development of an eagerly updated sequel to its S3 Pro digital SLR, which will hit stores next February.

The S5 Pro is being designed to appeal to a broader range of photographers than its predecessor to reflect today?s more competitive SLR market place. The camera will feature an updated version of Fujifilm?s Super CCD SR sensor, dubbed the Super CCD SR Pro, housed within a fully digital professional metal alloy body.

Using a layout of twelve million paired photodiodes, Fuji claims that the S5 Pro will deliver improvements in noise, dynamic range, colour and tonality. To further improve the capability of the sensor, a new, improved low-pass filter has been developed which Fuji claims will ensure that moiré and noise are kept to a minimum.

A new processor, Real Photo Processor Pro, is also to be combined with the CCD to facilitate colour reproduction and reduce noise. A two-stage noise reduction process is promised, in addition to sensitivity up to ISO 3200. A new dark noise reduction process promises to subtract residual or ambient noise on the sensor from exposure, to help the camera produce smoother images after long shutter speeds.

The FinePix S5 Pro will also introduce the ability to record jpeg and RAW files simultaneously. This will enable photographers to view and distribute smaller-sized jpegs, whilst retaining the ability to work on the larger RAW files later on a computer. This dual option is available with a variety of image sizes, giving the option to store either a small file size, or a larger, more detailed jpeg.

The FinePix S5 Pro will be built around a magnesium alloy shell with weatherproof seals. The camera?s shutter mechanism will further this durability, and has been tested to exceed the key benchmark of 100,000 cycles.

The S5 Pro will offer greater control over image parameters. Six stepped dynamic range settings between 100% (normal dynamic range) and 400% (dynamic range expanded by two stops) will enable the photographer to achieve more detailed control over tone, in addition to three distinct settings for the ?negative film? preset option to further enhance the customisable nature of the camera.

Adrian Clarke, Fujifilm?s Director of Photo Products, said: ?The development of the FinePix S5 Pro reflects Fujifilm?s commitment to the professional photographer. We remain determined to develop professional level products with the sort of image quality that made the FinePix S3 Pro a favourite among studio, portrait and wedding photographers. The introduction of the FinePix S5 Pro brings heightened performance, handling and image quality to our DSLR product group and we expect this to attract an increasingly diverse range of professional users. These are exciting times for us.?

Improvements of FinePix S5 Pro over FinePix S3 Pro summary

Real Photo Technology Pro, which combines the Super CCD SR Pro and the RP (Real Photo) Processor Pro

Optimised low-pass filter to reduce noise and minimise moiré

RP Processor Pro with two cycles of noise reduction

ISO 100 ? 3200 sensitivity

Greater flexibility to control colour and dynamic range

For even greater creative control over dynamic range, photographers can choose from up to six preset ranges between 100% and 400%

Three new variations of the original film simulation mode (F1) have been added (five modes in total)

Nikon F-mount compatibility

RAW+ jpeg dual-save mode

Mac and PC supported tethered shooting mode via USB 2.0 port and optional Hyper Utility software

Magnesium-alloy body with moisture- and dust-proof seals

Durable shutter unit stands up to approximately 100,000 cycles

Adoption of i-TTL flash control

11-point AF sensor with faster auto focusing

1/3, 1/2, and 1 stop lens aperture control

Shutter speed 30 sec. to 1/8000 sec, maximum flash sync speed of 1/250 sec.

3 levels of custom function locking with password protection

2.5 inch LCD with 235,000 pixels, gives 100% frame coverage.

Compact Flash Card (Type I/II) and Microdrive compatible

Face Detection Technology for post image verification

Face Detection Technology LSI

The FinePix S5 Pro is scheduled for launch in February 2007. Pricing and stockists will be announced nearer to the date of retail launch.