VITAL STATISTICS: Fujifilm FinePix S3 Pro
Imaging: New 12.3MP (effective) Super CCD SR sensor captures 12.1MP (4256x2848-pixel) image with 14 bits per color. Also features adjustable resolution and adjustable dynamic range.
Storage: Dual memory slots for CF Type II cards (Microdrive is recommended) and xD-Picture cards. Stores CCD-RAW or JPEG images with two compression levels (fine or normal). Burst mode captures up to six JPEG or three RAW images at 1.5 fps in highest resolution mode.
Lens compatibility: Accepts Nikon F-mount lenses including D/G-type Nikkor and DX Nikkor. 1.5X 35mm lens factor.
AF system: Selectable 5-point AF with single servo and continuous servo (both with focus tracking), plus manual focus. Bright AF assist light.
Shutter/exposure controls: 30-1/4000-sec shutter speeds plus Bulb. Max. 1/180-sec flash sync.
Metering: 10-zone 3D Matrix metering, centerweighted average, or 1.8% spot. Selectable ISO 100-1600. Advanced color space, white-balance, and film-simulation mode settings.
Output: FireWire, Hi-Speed USB 2.0, remote control, and video out.
Power: Includes four rechargeable NiMH AA cells and power adapter.
Size/weight: 5.9x5.3x3.2 in., 1.84 lb without battery or cards.
Street price: $3,000 (estimate).
Info: www.fujifilm.com ; 800-800-3854.
New SUPER CCD SR sensor mimics film!
Click to see diagram
Since the introduction of its first Super CCD-equipped FinePix camera in 2000, Fujifilm's motto has been "all imaging sensors are not created equal." In fact, our lab tests of the FinePix S1 and S2 Pro in 2001 and 2002 confirmed that Super CCD sensors actually deliver higher resolution and overall image quality than similar-megapixel CCD sensors found in competitive SLRs. According to Fujifilm, the new 4th Generation 12.3MP Super CCD SR sensor found in the S3 Pro may take digital image quality even further. Its radical design owes much to color negative film, which uses silver-halide crystals of various sizes and sensitivities to capture details in shadows and highlights. It's this mix of different sizes and layers that gives color negative film such a wide dynamic range. In similar fashion, the Super CCD SR sensor has large S pixels and small R pixels working in close proximity, while CCD and CMOS sensors found in other digital cameras use uniform-sized pixels. The higher-sensitivity S pixels are optimized for recording detail in shadow areas, while the smaller R pixels-which require more light to activate-are optimized for recording detail in highlight areas. Together, Fuji claims the dynamic range of the S3 Pro is increased by 400 percent over the 3rd Generation sensor in the S2 Pro, and even approaches the wide dynamic range of color negative film! Why does this matter? Anyone who's shot a typical, high-contrast outdoor scene with a digital camera (or accidentally over/underexposed an image) should be familiar with blown-out highlights or blocked-up shadows. The S3 Pro's sensor could save the day.