FinePix S5 Pro: Nikon Gets Fuji Brain Transplant

FinePix-S5-Pro-Nikon-Gets-Fuji-Brain-Transplant

FinePix-S5-Pro-Nikon-Gets-Fuji-Brain-Transplant

On Tuesday at Photokina Fuji announced that they would be putting the sensor from their current Nikon N80-based FinePix S3 Pro into a Nikon D200 and selling it as the S5 Pro sometime early next year. Actually, they didn't say it in quite that way, but it's true, and combining Fuji's unique extended-dynamic range technology with the D200's best-of-class camera body is a very good thing.

The S5's sensor, like the one in the current S3 Pro, uniquely employs two separate pixels at each of six million locations on the chip. The standard size S-pixels record a normal brightness scale, while the smaller R-pixels capture highlight information that otherwise would be lost. (In RAW mode, you can save images overexposed by at least three f-stops, something impossible with a conventional camera.)

According to the Fuji rep we spoke with, the S5's latest generation image processing circuitry will enhance shadow detail and potentially make the camera "the most-noise-free in its class." Plus, a new low-pass filter will minimize moiré. Add the Nikon D200's rugged weather-sealed body, superb ergonomics, big viewfinder, and sophisticated AF and metering, and you get quite a package.

The rep said that many of the S5's specs are still uncertain, like whether it will have an integrated vertical grip or an add-on. But he predicted that it'll shoot faster than the S3's 2fps and have a bigger image buffer, a sore point with S3. Also new: RAW+JPEG capture, CompactFlash but no more xD-Picture Card, and Li-Ion rechargeable batteries instead of AAs.

It'll also add a full-color option to the S3's 30-second monochrome live-view LCD mode, as well as an optional wireless file transmitter, possibly provided by Nikon. The neatest wrinkle: automatic "Face Detection" zooming in playback, which shows whether your subject's eyes are open or closed. Seriously!