Pros: Mid-range Nikon-compatible digital SLR camera with innovative and very effective sensor that captures wide tonal range of highlights and shadows.
Cons: Relatively expensive. Won’t capture 12million real image pixels. Fairly slow frame-rate and card-writing when shooting wide range.
Fuji’s FinePix Pro series of digital SLRs has always trodden an independent path, but the new S3 Pro camera is the most radical yet. Its standout feature is the ability to capture an extended dynamic range compared to normal digital SLRs. It holds more shadow tones without the highlights burning out.
In general terms, the FinePix S3 Pro is a well-specified camera based on a modified Nikon F80 mid-range film camera body, with Nikon exposure and autofocus controls linked to Fuji’s own sensor and digital control set.
There’s a good range of features, such as the PC and hotshoe D-TTL compatible flash connectors, dual memory card slots (Compact Flash and xD), FireWire and USB 2.0 ports. It’s very responsive, with a fast start-up, but the maximum frame rate of 2.5fps is a bit slow.
The modified body now includes a second shutter button on the lower corner to help with portrait-orientation shooting. Fuji fits a second LCD icon menu and a row of selector buttons above the main monitor, so you can quickly swap the ‘digital’ settings.
As well as the usual choice of sRGB and Adobe colour models, the S3 Pro can simulate different film stocks – one produces the wide latitude of colour negative while the other gives the punchier colour contrast of transparency.