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Thread: Waiting for the Fuji S5 Pro

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    Senior Member leif e's Avatar
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    Waiting for the Fuji S5 Pro

    Hi!
    Somewhere between the UK and Norway is my new S5 Pro. I bought it from Ffordes at a price i believe to be very nice: GBP 499 VAT included.

    Ive heard a lot about this camera and Im looking very much forward to trying it out.

    Does anyone here have any experience with this camera? Any quirks? Goodies? Thanks!

    leif e
    F2, FM2, D700, 3,5/20 UD, 2/35, 3,5/55, CV 2,5/75 (all ai or aid), 1,8/85 af-d,
    2,8/60 af-d

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    Senior Member helenhill's Avatar
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    Re: Waiting for the Fuji S5 Pro

    Hi There Leif

    One of our regulars here....
    Jorgen Udvang
    shoots on occasion
    with the S3 & S5
    Jorgen's work is Quite FAB.... and he can probably fill you in

    Best to You-Helen

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    Re: Waiting for the Fuji S5 Pro

    Quote Originally Posted by helenhill View Post
    Jorgen's work is Quite FAB.... and he can probably fill you in

    Best to You-Helen
    It isn't just Jorgen's work which is fab . . . Jorgen is FAB too!

    as are ffordes. Good luck with your new camera - I hope it gets through the snow!

    Just this guy you know

  4. #4
    Subscriber Member Jorgen Udvang's Avatar
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    Re: Waiting for the Fuji S5 Pro

    This is an automated response from Jorgen's keyboard's Random Character Generator (RSG): Jorgen has dengue fever (or at least that is what he thinks, until a doctor has proven otherwise), and doesn't feel very fab at the moment. Your enquiry will be answered as soon as the headache, coughing, deep red rash and other interesting side-effects have disappeared.

    ---

    Thank you so much, Helen and Jono. I feel very humble when people write nice things about my photos. I just happen to stumble across some interesting subjects now and then

    ---

    Ten minutes tea break. Chinese Oolong tea, each leaf hand picked, rolled and dried individually by beautiful, young Chinese women... or at least that is how it feels when when I drink this dark, golden liquid.

    ---

    Hi Leif,
    The tea helped... it usually does, so here are a few words about the S5:
    The camera uses the same sensor as the Fuji S3, which in digital terms was introduced in ancient times, around 2004. There are three main differences between the two:

    - While the S3 used a heavily modified F80 body (modifications probably done after a recipe found in a Jules Verne novel) with some really quirky ergonomics, the S5 uses a rather standard D200 body, and that's the way it feels. Ergonomics are very good, as is the viewfinder. Be aware though, that you can only use Fuji batteries, since the voltage is different from Nikon. Buy a few while they are available.

    - The S3 was the slowest camera on earth. Three photos in RAW format, and you could consume a three course lunch (or a buffet dinner), and two cups of oolong tea, before taking another one. The S5 is slower than a D200, but still rather acceptable.

    - The filter in front of the sensor has been changed. This has been discussed ad nauseam in Fuji forums, and the general opinion seems to be that images from the S3 are slightly sharper than those from the S5. This makes many photographers keep both cameras, like I do. I also have a Nikon D80 for whenever I need even more detail and sharpness.

    What has made the Fujis famous is the dynamic range, and it still shines compared to most other DSLRs, although some of the recent, high-end alternatives from Nikon are getting close. I always shoot with maximum DR, since speed isn't the most important thing for me, while DR is a high priority. An important point: If you shoot RAW, you can pull back an amazing amount of detail in areas that look completely blown. I use ACR for that.

    The colours is another reason to use an S5. There's something about them that makes me think: That's how I remember the scene. With other cameras, you can sometimes achieve the same thing during PP, but with the Fuji, you get it straight from the box. In addition, the auto white balance is very good, also under mixed lighting. I don't use a flash if it can be avoided, and I rarely have to adjust the WB in pp.

    Skin tones come out very natural, but be aware that it doesn't handle all skin tones equally well. Darkish, featureless skin, which is common among young people here in Asia, tend to appear dull and lifeless sometimes, particularly when converted to b&w.

    Is it six or twelve MP? The discussion has been going on since the beginning of time. To me, it's six MP of detail and twelve MP of colour and DR, if that makes any sense. The files can take a lot more beating than most other six MP files though, and I have no problems enlarging to A2 prints.

    The Fujis, particularly the S3, became famous also for the outstanding quality of the jpegs. While I agree to that, I now mostly shoot RAW, to have maximum freedom during PP if needed. If you do shoot jpeg, there are some very interesting film simulation modes. I would also recommend shooting 12MP and reduce to six later. In my experience, that gives you the maximum amount of detail. Again: the in-camera jpeg engine is very good.

    What I do not find particularly impressive, is the way the jpeg engine handles micro-contrast, particularly in hair. Sometimes, it looks "blurry" in a rather nasty way. Be aware though, that what looks like a jpeg problem is sometimes a lens problem. In some cases, the lens and the sensor simply doen't communicate well enough to render all the detail properly.

    You may also see jaggies in diagonals. These can be troublesome, and I've reached the conclusion that the Fujis are not ideal for modern architecture and technical applications. Still, I do use it for a lot of industrial photography, since that is one of the applications where the colour balance really shines.

    The camera is also extremely picky about lenses. Some zooms that work flawlessly on my D80, make the photos "fall apart" with the Fujis. The symptoms are sometimes there with the Nikon as well, but with the S3 or S5, they simply become unacceptable. Primes are ideal, but a good quality zoom like the Tamron 17-50 works well also.

    High ISO is not outstanding after current standards. 1600 is very usable if you get the exposure right, but I try to stay below 800, even at night without a flash.

    The software that handles the Fuji files the best, is Fuji Hyper Utility. Unfortunately, the user interface was developed after a lengthy session at a karaoke bar with unlimited free sake (or so it seems). I open it now and then, only to feel that my brain starts drifting towards the restaurant across the road (best tom yam gung in the world, two course dinner with a large beer for under $5), a cup of tea (oolong, obviously) or other, more pleasant parts of my everyday reality. There are people who use it though. Maybe it's an idea to have a few shots of sake for starters?

    The end result is obviously what matters, and this is where the Fuji really shines. Prints look fantastic, and again: they look like you hoped that they would look. I can't say that for some other cameras.

    Would I buy it again? Obviously, since I have the S3 and the S5. I even wonder if I should buy another S5 (if I can find one in this part of the world now), and just accept that this is the camera for me for the years to come. The challenge is the lenses, since I never know how they will work on the Fuji until I've tried, even if they work flawlessly on a Nikon.

    Shooting with a Fuji S5 is a bit like using film. It's slow sometimes, and I tend to compose the photos with more passion, as if I had to pay for each click. It's also rather addictive. You do see a difference from the Nikons, maybe not to everybody's liking, but very pleasant to most. Would I buy a full frame S6? Undoubtedly, and I'm not even sure that I would ask about the price. If I had the money, and the camera existed, I would buy it. It's that addictive

    If you would like to see a few samples, I've posted some on this thread, all taken with the S5, mainly with Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 and Nikkor 85 f/1.8:

    http://forum.getdpi.com/forum/showthread.php?t=5554

    Thanks for reading. Hopefully, it was useful.


    Best regards,
    Jorgen

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    Senior Member otumay's Avatar
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    Re: Waiting for the Fuji S5 Pro

    What a nice review of a camera that is also very dear to me! Thanks Jorgen, you've made my day...
    Best regards,
    Osman

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    Senior Member leif e's Avatar
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    Re: Waiting for the Fuji S5 Pro

    Jorgen! Thank you so much! If possible, Im even more impatient now after this great read; really keen to test my primes on this camera. I dont like zooms, really. Guess thats a point in my favor then.

    Some years ago i used to teach high school (our equivalent) media students and we had an S1 (this was from 2001 on). To be honest; i hated that camera. Three different batteries and ou just had to keep them coming. Files were not bad though - for the time and day.

    Ive had several D200s and liked them - guess Ill fall into the rythm of the camera rather easily. If I REALLY like it, itll be my first DSLR keeper.

    Thanks again!

    leif e
    btw: that name of yours sounds awfully Norwegian!?
    Last edited by leif e; 27th March 2009 at 00:57. Reason: the btw
    F2, FM2, D700, 3,5/20 UD, 2/35, 3,5/55, CV 2,5/75 (all ai or aid), 1,8/85 af-d,
    2,8/60 af-d

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    Subscriber Member Jorgen Udvang's Avatar
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    Re: Waiting for the Fuji S5 Pro

    Quote Originally Posted by leif e View Post
    btw: that name of yours sounds awfully Norwegian!?
    My pleasure

    Norwegian? There's a bell ringing somewhere... cold, expensive place up north, right? Yes, I seem to remember having spent the majority of my life in a place like that. Family who visits me here sometimes actually claim that they still live there. Is that possible? Isn't there an awful lot of snow there?

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    Subscriber Member Jorgen Udvang's Avatar
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    Re: Waiting for the Fuji S5 Pro

    Quote Originally Posted by otumay View Post
    What a nice review of a camera that is also very dear to me! Thanks Jorgen, you've made my day...
    Best regards,
    Osman
    Thanks, Osman. It was fun writing it as well

  9. #9
    Senior Member leif e's Avatar
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    Re: Waiting for the Fuji S5 Pro

    Quote Originally Posted by Jorgen Udvang View Post
    My pleasure

    Norwegian? There's a bell ringing somewhere... cold, expensive place up north, right? Yes, I seem to remember having spent the majority of my life in a place like that. Family who visits me here sometimes actually claim that they still live there. Is that possible? Isn't there an awful lot of snow there?
    HeHe! We had quite a bit, but slowly melting - got a fresh load of 30 cm today. I bet you miss it just a little bit!

    And; the S5 arrived today. Battery loading ...
    leif e
    Last edited by leif e; 27th March 2009 at 10:50. Reason: the btw
    F2, FM2, D700, 3,5/20 UD, 2/35, 3,5/55, CV 2,5/75 (all ai or aid), 1,8/85 af-d,
    2,8/60 af-d

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    Subscriber Member Jorgen Udvang's Avatar
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    Re: Waiting for the Fuji S5 Pro

    Congratulations with the S5, Leif. I saw your two "snowy" photos in the... I think it was the Leica section. Very nice and very Norwegian. If winters were always like that, it would be rather acceptable. I love extreme weather.

    I do miss the snow sometimes actually, particularly the skiing part. Sailing too. On the other hand, life isn't half bad here either

  11. #11
    Senior Member leif e's Avatar
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    Re: Waiting for the Fuji S5 Pro

    Jorgen; right now even I (winter lover) have had enough. Last week it was springish with klister under the skis (you know what Im talking about ). And now, back to shoveling again. Doesnt feel right.
    First thing this morning - just had to take a test shot. Found my poor (over-photographed) daughter rehearsing her song. Old AId Nikkor 1,5/55 at 2,8. Aperture, Silver Effex.
    Last edited by leif e; 17th November 2009 at 06:07.
    F2, FM2, D700, 3,5/20 UD, 2/35, 3,5/55, CV 2,5/75 (all ai or aid), 1,8/85 af-d,
    2,8/60 af-d

  12. #12
    Subscriber Member Jorgen Udvang's Avatar
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    Re: Waiting for the Fuji S5 Pro

    That's a good start, Leif. Nice b&w conversion.

  13. #13
    Senior Member leif e's Avatar
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    Re: Waiting for the Fuji S5 Pro

    Thanks; actually the colours seem to be as good as people say :-) I think I need a KatzEye focussing screen, though. Another good thing (which has more to do with Nikon/D200, I guess; its fairly easy to shoot hand-held! I can like that!
    leif e
    F2, FM2, D700, 3,5/20 UD, 2/35, 3,5/55, CV 2,5/75 (all ai or aid), 1,8/85 af-d,
    2,8/60 af-d

  14. #14
    Subscriber Member Jorgen Udvang's Avatar
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    Re: Waiting for the Fuji S5 Pro

    The KatzEye is probably a good idea. I've been considering one myself.

    I've been surprised how long shutter speeds I can hand-hold with the S5. That's probably due to a combination of factors, including steady hands, but camera ergonomics, particularly a smooth shutter release, help as well I guess.

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