Summary: The S3 Pro looks overpriced compared to many of the D-SLRs appearing on the market now. But, while this is not a sports photographer’s snapper, it offers uniqueness with its wide dynamic range thanks to the dual pixel layout. This makes it a real social photographer's tool where skin tones and whites are intrinsic to a good shot. It is, in fact, a real belter albeit one for a niche within a niche of the photo market.
Pros: Nice design, improved handling, built-in vertical grip with single battery, new sensor Super CCD SR II.
Cons: Slow, the AF ‘hunts’ on some subjects, batteries don’t last long enough, best of the dynamic range only comes into play using CCD RAW format.
Excerpt: Fujifilm changed just one feature on its FinePix S3 Pro digital SLR of 2004. But that change makes the new, slightly renamed, FinePix S3 Pro UVIR ($1,800, body only) a whole new camera -- with spectacular niche applications in infrared and ultraviolet photography. Simply by removing the IR/UV cutoff filter from in front of the 12.3MP sensor, Fujifilm engineers may have found a way to sell one of these cameras to every crime scene investigator and document forgery expert...
Excerpt: I'm not a forensics photographer, nor do I play one on TV, but I've just gotten through my field investigations of one of the most interesting new cameras on the market. In truth, the Fujifilm FinePix S3 Pro UVIR (street, $1,800, body only) isn't really a new camera at all, but a 2004 camera with one minor tweak. That one minor tweak has a major impact, though.
Excerpt: Q: I'd like to try infrared (IR) black-and-white digital photography. I know that people modify all sorts of digital cameras for IR photography, but is there one that I can use for shooting infrared right out of the box?
Conclusion: There's plenty to like about the S3 Pro, there's a new body design which is comfortable, includes a portrait grip and feels robust. There's the image quality, resolution which for a six megapixel is really fairly impressive (if you can ignore some of SuperCCD artifacts), a color response with real 'pop', low noise (although softer images at high ISO's) and slightly better dynamic range than other D-SLR's.
Pros: Good resolution, better than the average six megapixel, Good color and tonal balance, vibrant 'pleasing' color response, can be toned down, Unique extended dynamic range SuperCCD, although crippled by in-camera algorithms, Low noise throughout the sensitivity range although softer images at higher ISO's, Nice body design, integral vertical grip, soft rubbers, feels robust, Instantly recognizable control system (as it's based on the F80/N80), Rear panel plus soft butto...
Cons: Almost $1,000 more than the competition, SuperCCD artifacts still visible, more so at the 12 mp size (which delivers the best res), Disappointing continuous shooting capability, especially in wide dyn. range mode, Crippled extended dynamic range feature, best results from RAW -> Adobe Camera RAW, Very large RAW files in wide dyn. range mode, not compressed, Half-stop exposure steps, Camera system still in 'two halves' (photo / digital), No mirror lock-up / anti-vibrat...
Conclusion: Fujifilm FinePix S3 Pro camera for the professional photographer Compared with the FinePix S2 Pro Fujifilm improved an awful lot and added some useful functions to the S3 Pro. It is obvious right away that the Fujifilm FinePix S3 Pro is a camera for the professional photographer. Speed is not the strongest side of the camera, to put it mildly. But then, speed is not of great importance to the portrait, wedding and nature photographer.