Fuji FinePix S3

Discussion in 'Fuji' started by Alan Browne, Mar 25, 2005.

  1. Alan Browne

    Alan Browne Guest

    Chasseur D'Images (March 03, No. 271) has an in depth article on the
    Fujifilm FinePix S3. The tests they do are far beyond what I can report
    here. 12 pages of images, tests, descriptions, graphs, etc.


    -image quality: great. (really Great!).
    -dynamic range is an E-6 killer
    -better even than Superia 800 (range)
    -very low noise at ISO 800

    Among the photos shown are a model lit by a few candles, nothing else.
    The soft lit model looks great in this light. The candle flames
    themselves are just over the edge of blown out (the blue flame base is
    visible but the top of the flame comes out white, no detail). Per C d'I
    at 40x60cm (about 16x24") @ ISO 800 there is no grain. (To me the
    sample crop in the mag at that blowup looks quite soft).
    Their test photog claims it is easy to capture 10 EV scenes with detail.
    (V about 7 EV for other DSLR's). Further, even the camera gen'd JPG's
    (from the high dynamic mode) are usable directly for very good results.


    -body sucks
    -slow recording (once 2 or 3 images are in the buffer, it goes
    dead slow)
    -0.5 stop EV exposure steps.
    -batteries: don't last long (AA).

    One statement: "The recording time for RAW is so slow that it is cruelly
    embarrassing with a model in front of the camera." (translated as best
    I can).

    Another: "The very best sensor imprisoned in a body form yesteryear."

    Alan Browne, Mar 25, 2005
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  2. Alan Browne

    McLeod Guest

    Having owned one for a couple of months now the only thing I disagree
    with them about is the NiMh AA batteries. I can shoot an all day
    wedding without having to change them (as long as I remembered to
    charge them the day before) and pick up another set at any large store
    for $19.95. In fact, since buying the camera, NiMh battery storage
    has increased to 2500 mah. Since I also used these in my flash and my
    CF to CD portable burner this is a really big plus in my book.
    McLeod, Mar 25, 2005
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  3. Alan Browne

    Alan Browne Guest

    Just reporting what they said. I guess they were pining for Li-ion.

    I do reccomend you get the magazine, it is replete with information
    about the camera. You might disagree with some of it, but in general is
    well presented. Your high school French will help carry you through...

    Alan Browne, Mar 25, 2005
  4. I'm a big fan of cameras using generic batteries; it was a factor in
    my choosing the S2 over the Nikon D100 a few years back. I'm glad to
    see the S3 still works on AAs; even if I'm not able to consider
    David Dyer-Bennet, Mar 25, 2005
  5. Alan Browne

    Siggy Guest

    But, what about dpreview.com's assertion that this camera is about $1000 too
    much, compared with modern 6mp rivals?


    As some of you may know, I am looking for a suitable studio camera to do art
    photography. This camera seems to fit the bill with respect to the colour
    reproduction attributes, but it seems much better suited to wedding and
    modelling for it's softer images. I need as much detail as possible. Am I
    right in thinking this?
    Nor am I sure whether or not it's Super CCD pixel-doubling capabilities are
    merely another incarnation of the foveon sensor X3-type sleight of hand, in
    terms of useful image resolution?
    Siggy, Mar 25, 2005
  6. "> But, what about dpreview.com's assertion that this camera is about $1000
    I have taken files from the S2 and compared them to files from other
    cameras. I found that the tilted array did work...sort of. The S2 was what?
    6 megs and put out a 12 meg file. If you compared it to a 6 meg camera it
    was the best ever. If you compared it to a 12 meg camera it was the worst
    ever. It compared well with cameras half again larger....8 megs. If the S3
    follows that pattern (can one be a pattern) then how does the camera

    Not slight of hand....download some files and see for yourself. For as much
    detail as possible I would suggest a sheet film camera. For as much as is

    I suspect that this camera will be a favorite of art shooters only. The wide
    dynamic range is not missed for most other uses...though they would like to
    have it. Only you can know what is important to you...rent a camera and try
    it out.
    Gene Palmiter, Mar 25, 2005
  7. Alan Browne

    Siggy Guest

    So is the S3.
    But they wouldn't go to the expense of introducing a 'new' model which
    performed either identically or similarly to the outgoing one, shirley?
    'Sleight', as in dexterity; adroitness in using the hands. :p
    Yes, I shall do that, but like an electric current, I am inclined to seeking
    the shortest path to my intended destination. So, I live in hope of making
    the acquaintance here of an existing and knowledgeable convert in digital
    archival of artworks photography. ;-)
    That is what I am seeking to abandon now, in terms of achieving improved
    workflow times and reduced production costs.
    Was there implied emphasis on the 'only' there? In which case, as I am an
    'art shooter', I assume you mean me. ;-)
    Yes, the wide dynamic range, particularly in the highlights which the
    reviewer at dpreview.com so bemoaned, was what actually attracted me greatly
    to this camera. Most of the art I photograph comprises delicate shades of
    pastel colour as contained in watercolour images.

    Unfortunately, the concept of renting out cameras seems not to have reached
    our shores in the UK, AFAICT. :-(
    Siggy, Mar 25, 2005
  8. Ok...yes, both have the same 6 mp...as good as an 8 mp...maybe. So, since
    some people say that the pixel race is pointless after a point then maybe 8
    mp quality is enough...or maybe enough for now and for the money we want to
    spend and something we have to accept if we the expanded D.

    You surely didn't mean to call me Shirley, did you? Performance is more than
    MP. It does have twice the MP but half of them are working for something
    other than resolution. It's hard to compare.

    I shoot art for a regional arts magazine...and I do quite well thanks with a
    4 mp. That is plenty for most types and sizes of printing. I have made
    slides with my files and printed posters. It serves well....but of course I
    want more. I want more for my art shooting...not for my shooting of art. A
    watercolor is not going to have the dynamic range to take advantage of the
    S3. Most art is not hung in bad light. But, to make art you might strive for
    the dynamic...and the S3 might be the only camera for some of these
    situations. Think of a person next to a window in a BW print. Digital
    doesn't do that well yet. Maybe the S3 will do it.

    The shooting rate doesn't seem to the high enough for how current
    photojournalists shoot. But an artist might take more time and fewer shots.
    It would not be my pick for sports. Might be good for weddings and such. As
    far as price....not that high. Lowest price for a full feature Nikon mount
    camera that I can find.

    All that being said in defense of the S3 (which might be my next camera) I
    don't think its the best choice for your stated purpose. It's selling point
    is the D-range that you won't use (for your stated purpose). You are
    shooting art for the purpose of someday printing out copies of that art. You
    won't know how good the printers might be when that day comes so you want
    the best file possible to begin with. You want MP...so maybe the Kodaks
    might be better.
    Gene Palmiter, Mar 25, 2005
  9. Alan Browne

    Alan Browne Guest

    The extra pixels go to the highlights, not resolution. It remains a 6
    MP camera (3024 x 2016). The "4256 x 2848" is interpolated.

    I found the cropped image in the review a bit soft. The review gives it
    a 5/5 for studio work and an overall 4/5.

    Nowhere in the article did the reviewers note that images were soft
    looking. In one area they state that the native genrated JPGs are
    "ready to print" in most cases, particularly wedding shots. They state
    that when matched with pro glass, and with the interpolated output size
    the results are very sharp. (They don't offer anything for comparison
    along this line). For printing 30x45 cm (~11 x 16") they give it a 9/10

    Alan Browne, Mar 25, 2005
  10. Alan Browne

    Siggy Guest

    Right! That was the flippant reference I made to 'sleight of hand' earlier
    on. ;-)
    Well it's odd that dpreview.com did, is it not? Albeit mainly at ISO800 and
    greater in order to suppress noise, as although their grayscale patch was
    clean, the detail of the postage stamp crop was soft and blurry.
    What I can't work out though is whether or not some judicious use of USM,
    either in camera or post-processing, will remedy this.
    I am unfamiliar with this magazine, but do you know of any 'loyalties'
    required of it? Are you sure it wasn't just a 12 page ad? :p
    Siggy, Mar 26, 2005
  11. Alan Browne

    McLeod Guest

    They don't carry it in this part of Ontario. Is it an expensive
    McLeod, Mar 26, 2005
  12. Alan Browne

    Siggy Guest

    he he, no. It was a tongue in cheek, comic substitution for the word
    'surely', as used so entertainingly by Steve Martin(?) in 'Airplane', the
    movie. ;-)
    I am not entirely sure I know what you mean by Dynamic Range. Are you
    referring to the ability to distinguish between very close shades of the
    same colour throughout the 0-255 RGB range, or the ability to pick out
    different shades of black? Or something else? What I want, even at the sake
    of overkill in terms of camera's ability, is the ability to locate and
    correctly register as many (ideally all) pigment based colours identifiable
    by the human eye. All this whilst coping with the light which has passed
    through a polarising resin filter positioned over tungsten floods. (This to
    ensure reflection-free images are obtained from paintings encapsulated
    behind framed glass).
    Not least because of the reduced FOV inherent in partial-frame sensors of
    semi-pro DSLR's, I have already been looking at the Kodak full frame DSLR's
    to ultimately complete my transition from analogue to digital. However, by
    way of a stop gap and interim experience gathering measure, I may simply
    have to purchase a camera which can deal with some of my work, and keep the
    film-camera handy for the remainder.
    Siggy, Mar 26, 2005
  13. Alan Browne

    Frank ess Guest

    Steve Martin, Leslie Nielsen. Same-o, same-o.
    Frank ess, Mar 26, 2005
  14. Dynamic range...how many stops it can record. I don't recall the exact
    numbers but the world has a far greater range of "brightness" than cameras
    can capture. We can see into shadows and adjust to all but specular
    highlights. Cameras cannot. Great pains were taken with BW films to compress
    all the values in the real world into the range that the film could
    capture...the Zone System. And...the full range of the film could not be

    The modern equivalent with digital cameras is where our shadows are all
    blocked up and our highlights are burned out. I think I have read where a
    sensor might have 6 stops difference between the two extremes between dark
    detail and bright detail. Shooting raw will give a bit more. The S3 was
    designed so that the smaller sensors preserve data when the highlights blow
    out the large sensors.

    All this is nice to know...but what is important to you for your purpose is
    that art work cannot display even as much as any digital camera can capture.
    (Unless its shiny and unevenly lit or ....well...the exceptions are all
    unlikely) Suffice it to say that for the stated purpose the best features of
    the S3 are useless.
    Gene Palmiter, Mar 26, 2005
  15. Alan Browne

    Siggy Guest

    Ah yes. Thanks for the heads-up. ;-)
    Siggy, Mar 26, 2005
  16. Alan Browne

    Siggy Guest

    Thanks Gene, you have taken much trouble to try and educate an ignorant soul
    here, and it is much appreciated. I can't say I have understood too much of
    the technical ins & outs, except that I am clearly being advised not to
    consider this camera as an especially appropriate one for my needs. For
    that, I am most grateful.

    Gene Palmiter wrote:
    Siggy, Mar 26, 2005
  17. Alan Browne

    andrew29 Guest

    You can't get this with any conventional digital camera, because
    digital cameras are not colorimetrically accurate (and aren't intended
    to be). There's an article at
    which explains why this is, and gives some suggestions about how to
    overcome te problems.

    [There's also

    andrew29, Mar 26, 2005
  18. Right...this camera is not especially appropriate for your "stated" needs.
    But, who knows what else a camera might be asked to do? More importantly,
    any digital camera can do what you are needing. None will have perfect
    color. These are not the deciding factors.

    These are...

    Lens....framed art has square corners. Cameras have a hard time with these.

    Pixels...If saved for the future you might want as many as you can afford.

    Cost...how much can you spend?

    Upgrades...if you have lenses...will it fit on your new camera. Will the
    lenses you buy from now on fit other cameras that you might buy in the

    Should I win the lottery I would buy the Mamiya ZD. 22MP would allow me to
    make prints that will capture anything the artist put on the paper.
    Gene Palmiter, Mar 26, 2005
  19. Alan Browne

    Alan Browne Guest

    C d'I are like their english counterparts. They take in a lot of
    advertising. OTOH they have made signficant captital investments in
    test equipment, technique and reporting format. It is not a 12 page ad.
    While quick to sing the laurels of a camera or lens, they are also quick
    to enumerate warts.
    Alan Browne, Mar 26, 2005
  20. Alan Browne

    Alan Browne Guest

    Probably. Newsstand price is $8.25 pretax. It's big, thick heavy, high
    quality paper. It does carry a lot of equipment reports and lens tests
    in a consistent, month to month format. (You can order lens tests going
    back for about 20 years).

    It also has a lot of photography and technique for the mundane to the
    exotic. A lot of 'mail in your photos' photography as well (some dozen
    to 2 dozen a month).

    It carries advertising too. ;-|

    You can certainly find it in Ottawa and prob'y downtown Tarana.

    Alan Browne, Mar 26, 2005
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