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3 36893 10/13/2012
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  • 12.34-megapixel SuperCCD SR II makes files as large as 4,256 x 2,848 pixels (6.45 million "S" pixels and 6.45 million "R" pixels)
  • New Dynamic Range adjustment for better tonal control in harsh lighting
  • "Live" mode turns LCD monitor into a monochrome viewfinder - a new feature for digital SLRs
  • Superb resolution
  • Accepts most Nikon F mount lenses

Fuji's original S1 Pro did well partly due to its beautiful color rendering, and partly due to a price that was thousands of dollars less than other D-SLRs at the time of its introduction. The following S2 model genuinely amazed me with its resolution and how delicately it rendered fine detail. I really liked its user interface design, with the small rear-panel data readout and "soft buttons" below it, and was very impressed overall with the camera's capabilities. The S2 offered very nice color rendering as well.

Now comes the S3 Pro, a camera that takes a somewhat different path, trading off image resolution to achieve dramatically greater dynamic range. Its body size and design will prompt many to compare it with lower-end (and much cheaper) "prosumer" d-SLRs, but that's not really a fair comparison, given its amazing imaging capabilities. When it comes to preserving difficult highlights without disturbing the tonality or color rendition of the rest of the image, the Fujifilm S3 Pro is unquestionably without equal anywhere in the digital camera market. If you're a wedding photographer, perpetually challenged by the need to capture white-on-white detail under difficult lighting conditions, you shouldn't even think twice. -- This is the camera you need, it'll save you thousands of dollars in lost shots and missed opportunities, most likely in the first few jobs alone. Portrait and commercial photographers should find a lot of benefit in the S3 Pro's exceptional dynamic range as well, as it could help relax lighting requirements (and therefore setup times) quite a bit. The one minor negative note about the S3 Pro's amazing dynamic range performance is that you really need to work in RAW mode and process its files through Adobe's Camera Raw 2 Photoshop(tm) plugin to get the absolute most out of it. (That said though, JPEGs straight from the camera do noticeably better with difficult highlights than even images processed from RAW files from competing d-SLRs.)

Other camera parameters are fairly middle-of the road, with less than spectacular shot to shot speeds, and mediocre battery life. It's easy to forgive these minor shortcomings though, in exchange for the incredible dynamic range the S3 offers.

Bottom line, Fujifilm appears to have achieved exactly what they set out to do with the S3 Pro, delivering a camera with dynamic range that equals or exceeds that of film, with excellent color and tonal rendition in the bargain. Highly recommended, especially if your work involves a lot of tricky highlight detail. (An easy Dave's Pick.)

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Keywords: Fujifilm SLR CF xD APS-C 2x6MP


Registered: October 2012
Posts: 52
Fujifilm FinePix S3 Pro review by dugong5pm
Review Date: 10/13/2012 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $390.00| Rating: 8 

Pros: DR, simple, IQ, F-mount, AA batteries
Cons: Slow!! very large RAW files

These Fuji DSLRs shine in the IQ department. Its sensor technology was ahead of their time. I bought this in 2009 for less than $400, and it's still kicking now. I use it mostly for landscapes, which I don't need the speed. Camera interface is so simple, it is based on the Nikon's F80 body, and thankfully the F-lens mount which can take any nikon F-lenses from the 1957s to date.

Somehow, Fuji has got their "magic" in their images. Auto WB just works, Dynamic range & skintone are always stunning. This is something that makes me keep using it until now. (IMHO, my D300 won't match this camera's Image quality.. that's why I gave up my D300 and this S3pro is still kicking right now)

Registered: May 2007
Posts: 1
Fujifilm FinePix S3 Pro review by Jamespix
Review Date: 5/25/2007 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $1,250.00| Rating: 9 

Pros: colour, skintones, cheap AA batteries, fab jpegs
Cons: slow buffer and fps,

Ive had this camera over a year and in this time the D70 has only been used to make sure it works.

Also in this time i have bought quality glass, and improved my technique.

skintones and colour are just wonderfull the best IQ for the money.

Registered: September 2006
Posts: 26
Fujifilm FinePix S3 Pro review by trentdp
Review Date: 1/5/2007 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $1,300.00| Rating: 8 

Pros: Great dynamic range, sharp pictures
Cons: Large and somewhat akward to use

I originally purchased this camera based on good reviews and it's physical similarity to the Nikon D2X. I found the camera fairly easy to use after reading the manual several times. If you are interested in a more professional opinion on this camera I suggest you visit Thom Hogan's website for his assessment. Also, Imaging Resources, and DP Review provide very comprehensive reviews of the S3.
The main problem I encountered was that there were simply too many choices on how to shoot various scenes with this camera. Any differences from my D70 were just too minute to see with my eyes. I was not particularly pleased with the metering as it is not as good as my D70. In comparison to my D70, the pictures were not any better, since both actually shoot in native 6MP, and it was difficult to actually see the dynamic range which this camera is touted to possess. Also, I like to shoot in RAW so I can fix my field errors but the RAW file sizes for the Fuji are enormous (24MP) as it interpolates the file to twice the size of the two photodiode sites. It was difficult to shoot several RAW photos in sequence due to delay in writting files to the storage card even using high speed XD cards. Even though it was fun using this unusual camera, I eventually returned the camera and purchased a D70S Kit to complement my existing D70 and am very happy with both cameras.
I believe the Fuji S3 is a good camera but requires a lot of attention to get the best results from it. I recommed it to anyone who shoots portraits for a living as it does have very good range, though suttle, for people pictures.
I mainly shoot landscape and just decided the camera was a little too bulky to carry around in the back country. You may find that it suits your needs just fine, but for me I prefer the Nikon.

P. S. I took many shots with the S3 using Nikon 18-200 Vr, Nikon 55-200, Nikon 18-135, and Nikon 18-70 so I believe my findings are not too compromised by short coming of lenses other than the inherent characteristics of each of these. I am really curious about the forthcoming S5 but may be turned off by the price in comparison with the Nikon D200 once it is released next month.


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