Fujifilm's 12.5-megapixel S5 Pro digital SLR combines the extended dynamic range capabilities of Fujifilm's Super CCD SR sensor with a solid body and functions closely related to the Nikon D200.
Fujifilm S5 Pro Review
In terms of its features, the S5 Pro is an entirely different beast from the S3 Pro. Numerous differences separate the two, some of which have been driven by Nikon (unsurprisingly, given the S5’s D200 origins), but many technology-based enhancements come from the Fuji side of the fence
Redeisgned Sensor, New Engine
Perhaps the most fundamental difference is in terms of the light-recording technology, with a redesigned sensor and new processing engine clearly differentiating the new model from the old. No longer described as ‘Super CCD SR II’, the S5 Pro uses the latest 23 x 15.5mm Super CCD SR Pro imaging chip, with 6.17 million ‘S’ pixels and 6.17 million ‘R’ pixels delivering a combined resolution of 12.34mp – or images measuring up to 4256 x 2848 pixels in size.
‘S’ and ‘R’ Pixels Explained
As with previous incarnations of the SR sensor, the larger, octagonal ‘S’ pixels are the primary light-gathering source, and once they have reached their full charge capacity (‘pure white’ in image terms) the smaller ‘R’ pixels act as an ‘overflow’, continuing to record detail in the highlights that would otherwise be lost. In this way the S5 Pro’s dynamic range can be increased by up to two stops (a 100-400% range) with six manually selectable levels available or a camera-based automatic option.
The sensor also has a new low pass filter array that Fuji claims will reduce moiré and noise, and to further combat image noise the S5 Pro houses a new processing engine, dubbed ‘Real Photo (RP) Processor Pro’. One of the key features of the RP Processor Pro is its use of a two-stage noise-reduction process, which is adapted to each colour channel. One stage tackles low-frequency noise and the other targets high-frequency noise to deliver the finest possible results. This has enabled Fuji to boost the S5 Pro’s maximum ISO to 3200.
Nikon D200 Features
However, not all of the S5’s improvements are solely down to Fuji’s R&D department. As the camera is based on the Nikon D200, the S5 inherits a similar set of ‘photographic’ features, including an 11-point AF system (up from a 5-point system on the S3) offering single or group selection of the AF points. The Nikon base also means that – like all Fuji’s previous ‘S’ models – the S5 Pro uses a Nikon F lens mount, with the sub-35mm sensor giving a 1.5x focal length magnification.
As for shooting modes, the S5 Pro is aimed at the more experienced or professional user, so program, aperture priority, shutter priority and manual are on hand, with Raw, JPEG and simultaneous Raw/JPEG capture possible. Helping you achieve the correct exposure – whichever mode or format you’re using – comes down to metering patterns comprising Nikon’s 3D Colour Matrix Metering II, a variable-sized centre-weighted pattern and spot metering, with ±5EV exposure compensation available if the metered exposure doesn’t match your expectations.
The S5 Pro’s white balance system is equally comprehensive, with the expected automatic option joined by nine presets (including five for different types of fluorescent lighting) and a manual colour temperature option that lets you set the white point from 2500-10000K. There’s also the option to fine-tune the white balance.
Further control over the colour comes from a choice of Adobe RGB and sRGB colour spaces, as well as an expanded choice of ‘film simulation’ modes including four subtle ‘F1’ variations for natural, colour negative style skin tones, plus a saturated, Velvia slide film-esque ‘F2’ setting. These are in addition to a ‘standard’ colour mode and all can be further customised in terms of colour, tone and sharpness, rounding off a particularly comprehensive feature set.