Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Nikon D200 body gives birth to Fujifilm S5 Pro. Cheap D2Xs or how to win 12 megapixels from D200

I have already written about some grimaces of modern Digital SLR market. In my previous posts I told you about marketing pros which have recourse to various tricks for selling us various gadgets and even give birth to the new SLR camera brand: ‘The Great Wall’! Marketing's extremely like some obscure operation factors which have numerous values. Of course the pixel gross is the best value to make it clear for consumers that they are in real need of a new camera.
With the effervescent advent of any new SLR stars as: Canon EOS 400D, PentaxK10D, Sony A100, Nikon D80 and D200, Samsung GT10 and Olympus 'family' E330, E410, E400, E500 it’s hard to surprise anybody with a 10 megapixel sensor. Look at my summary table of the most interesting 10-megapixel DSLR camera specifications. It’s easy to put into a compact camera more, for example 12 pixels, and produce such a thing like Sony DSC-W200. Still in the SLR area such a sensor can be born only in a many-thousand USD Pro cam such as Nikon D2Xs. To create this perfect SLR is so hard! There is no saying that such camera appearance is as the nova birth.
But it’s not a problem for Fuji’s engineers (what clever guys!). They took Nikon’s D200 body (it is a great body) and put into it their new Super CCD SR sensor. What do we have? We have 1,5x FOV crop SLR device with Nikon F lens mount (with AF coupling & AF contacts) and 4256 x 2848 (interpolated) 12.1 million pixels image size. And how do they make it?
Here is the way: 'Using a unique layout of twelve million paired photodiodes (6.17 million larger ‘S’ photodiodes for main image information, combined with 6.17 million smaller ‘R’ photodiodes for bright area information), the S5 Pro will deliver improvements in noise, dynamic range, color and tonality. Further improving the capability of the sensor, a new, improved low-pass filter will ensure that moiré and noise are kept to an absolute minimum. Fujifilm believes improvements in these key areas will be of more true value to professional photographers – the challenge is quality of information, not quantity of information'. Holy shit!
Those guys have 23 x 15,5 mm sensor with 6,3 million effective pixels, Nikon Multi-CAM1000 Autofocus tape and other Nikon’s features. Fujifilm S5Pro Cam is based on Nikon D200 body and they can say that: ‘In a DSLR market that is much more competitive and dynamic than the one its predecessor was launched into, the FinePix S5 Pro will stand apart from the crowd by combining the much sought-after picture quality of Fujifilm’s Super CCD SR sensor with a fully digital and durable professional metal alloy body. With this superior combination of truly professional handling and image quality, Fujifilm expects the FinePix S5 Pro to appeal to an even broader range of professional photographers.’ Applauds!
It may be a magnificent method of attacking a DSLR market if it did not pull the price up so high. I’m sorry for Nikon and say good-bye to all my hopes for holding Sony A100’s body with excellent sensors from Canon or Kodak etc.
To return to the Fujifilm S5pro: there are some problems with rate of operations (and not only with the rate):
- Slow continuous shots (abt. 1 x frames/sec shooting RAW)
- Slow image play back in the LCD screen
- Slow buffer-to-card speed (large files when shot in RAW)
- Burst mode is slow (2 fps) and writing to the card is very slow - Less-than-intuitive LCD menu navigation (Fuji menus are clunky and harder to navigate)
- Relatively loud shutter
- The battery life is a little bit short (abt. 400 pictures), you need to buy extra NP-150 and MB-D200 (for AA)
- Don’t bother trying to stick D200 battery into S5 Pro and expect it to work -- you've got to buy a battery specifically built for this camera
- The files are a little bit too big, it expect to buy some new CF exactly if you shoot in RAW 2GB memory card only gives abt. 80 shots (even more so RAW + JPEG). It is not a problem for those who shoot only in JPEG yet others need for 4, 8 and even 12GB cards.
- Some problems with lenses especially in focusing and adaptation to the electronics of the camera
And there are some preferences:
- Little noise in high ISO shots, better than the D200; ISO 1600 and ISO
3200 are actually usable
- Great image quality (any users think that image quality is better than at
- Autofocus is fast and precise with a fine set up too (thanks for Nikon
- The AWB is very good
- The film simulation mode is very useful
- There is extra DR, even in JPEG
- This SLR camera can use almost all existing Nikon's F-mount lenses!
- It takes D200's MB-D200 grip!
I don’t know what else to say about S5pro but one Fuji fan cries: ‘D200 pros should check this camera out!’ As many photographers there are as many opinions they have.
And one thing is that Fujifilm S5pro must say ‘Thanks to papa’ Nikon D200 for great body, speedy autofocus, handy grip and a lot of excellent lenses.
As far as choosing I’m writing the next post with users opinions, prices etc. about D80, D200 and S5pro. It’s not for Nikon, it’s for consumerism. Shoot!

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