Fuji S2 Pro Camera, Review

Fuji S2 Pro


As a professional photographer, I was at first skeptical about going digital. In my experience, the quality of the images just didn?t cut it. I went to seminars for Leaf digital camera backs costing $25,000 to $30,000 each and there were major problems with moir patterns. I knew I wasn't going to jump in unless the quality improved.

This image was taken using the RAW file setting on the Fuji S2 PRO. The tech info is: 400 ISO, 60th of a second exposure, F4, with a 85mm F1.4 Nikon Lens. The image was processed using Fuji?s RAW File converter EX included with the camera.

With over 17 years experience with photo shoots involving people, skin tone is very important to me. I saw samples of images taken by the Fuji S2 Pro, was pretty impressed by them and decided to give it a try. Right out of the box, it was easy to use. The standard setting in JPEG Fine (12 Mpixels, interpolated) has plenty of DPI for large blowups, holding 229 shots on a 1GB CF card.

100% enlargement for detail... You can see Olivia?s


I was impressed with the quality of the JPEG images and surprised by the detail in the whites and blacks. Having been a darkroom 'specialist' for many years in printing from both color and B&W negatives, I understand the importance of having information on the film, i.e., over-exposure of negatives to impress the silver helide, and under-exposure of slides (positives) in order to get detail. I tried the same approach for digital: under-expose a bit to include the detail, then balance out the highlights, mid-tones and shadows to your liking in post-production (Photoshop).

The more I shot with the Fugi S2 Pro, the more I fell in love with it. I started shooting it in TIFF format for the more demanding jobs ? of course getting fewer shots per 1 GB card. My assistant downloaded each card (I have 4) into the computer between changes. However, when I discovered the third mode, RAW, and used the RAW converter software included with the camera, I knew there was no going back to film. This is the highest quality setting on the camera and the detail and sharpness after conversion is astounding even for the largest image.

The ISO settings are more sensitive, reading approximately two stops faster than the reading on the light meter. This enables you to shoot in fairly low light, using ISO 200 and 400, instead of 800 and 1600, thereby minimizing grain and noise. I find it so convenient that the CF card now completely replaces the film. The sensitivity (ISO) and the color temperature settings can be adjusted depending on the lighting conditions. No more lugging bags of film for low, bright, cold or warm light!

I was disappointed to see the quality of the re-designed Kodak 14n. I had snapped and downloaded some images in the photo store, but they were grainy, glary and not-quite-sharp on the same JPEG setting. At $5000, Kodak can?t hold a candle to the Fuji S2 Pro.

Photographers still complain about a camera?s ability to focus in low light. I have not had problems with the S2 Pro, finding it versatile in all light levels. In very low light, a small flashlight pointed on the subject completely alleviates the problem.

The S2 Pro is the best digital camera I have seen for color accuracy, though I still maintain that skin color should be adjusted in post-production, i.e., in the printing for film and in Photoshop for digital. This philosophy offers the greatest range of realistic, artistic flexibility.

With that said, I do not miss film. My $30,000 state-of-the-art darkroom is a dinosaur overnight.

Features:
  • 2nd Generation, Super CCD, SLR type Professional Body Digital Camera
  • 6.17 million effective pixels  Super CCD
  • Produces 12.1 Million (4256 x 2848) recorded pixels or choice of  (3024 x 2016), (2304 x 1536) and (1440x 960) pixels
  •  Improved ISO sensitivity ratings; 100, 160, 200, 400, 800, 1600
  • Dual Slots for SmartMedia and IBM Microdrive (CFII slot)
  • CCD-RAW, JPEG, TIFF-RGB and TIFF-YC recording modes
  • PC-Sync  Link strobes or other external flash systems
  • Continuous shooting; 2 frames per second, up to 7 frames
  • IEEE1394 Firewire and USB 1.1 Dual interface
  • DIMA award winner

For additional information vist http://www.fujifilm.com/JSP/fuji/epartners/Products.jsp?nav=1&parent=PRODUCT_CATEGORY_507205&product=43020209

Some more sample images taken with the Fuji S2 Pro:

 

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