Pre-PMA 2004: Fujifilm today announced the camera which in my opinion should have been released instead of (or before) the F700. The S20 Pro is essentially an S7000 with the same 3mp + 3mp SuperCCD SR sensor used in the F700, this means all the same manual control and wide feature set of the S7000 but with the promise of extended dynamic range. The S20 Pro also gets a PC Sync flash terminal. Fujifilm has also decided that this sensor which has 3.1 million pixel locations shall be described as having 6.2 million effective pixels, can't say I agree.

Phil: In a risky move Fujifilm has chosen this time to define this SR sensor as having 6.2 million effective pixels (3.1 million S-pixels, 3.1 million R-pixels). However, to me at least, this is both incorrect and misleading. The sensor only has 3.1 million individual pixel locations (microlenses) at the surface, unike Foveon's X3 sensor the extra photo detector below each microlens on the Fujifilm SuperCCD SR sensor does not provide any additional resolution. Additionally I think that the use of the word 'pixel' when defining the two photo detectors is also misleading.

Browse over to our next news article and read about the S3 Pro which also uses a new SuperCCD SR sensor, in that press release the sensor is defined as having 12.3 million effective photodiodes (not pixels), spot the important difference.

Press Release (Fujifilm UK):

Fujifilm looks beyond the pixels with the FinePix S20 Pro

Digital spotlight centres on image quality as Fujifilm launches second Super CCD SR camera

5 February 2004 - Fujifilm today launches the FinePix S20 Pro, a powerful enthusiasts’ camera that raises digital image control to new heights.

Built to cater for the creatively-minded photographer, the FinePix S20 Pro is the second camera in the FinePix range to offer Fujifilm’s pioneering Super CCD SR technology, an award-winning development which underlines the importance of image quality as a whole, rather than pixel count alone.

With 6.2 million effective pixels (3.1 million S-pixels + 3.1 million R-pixels*), delivering 6.03 million recorded pixels, the camera’s excellence is built on more than just pixel power. The FinePix S20 Pro’s SR technology revolves around the use of paired photodiodes in place of a solitary pixel. These paired photodiodes combine to capture tonal detail missed by conventional single-pixel CCDs, particularly in low-light and high contrast scenes. The result is a camera that produces outstanding dynamic range, greater sensitivity and class-leading signal to noise ratio.

Furthermore, the FinePix S20 Pro’s CCD RAW mode offers photographers the chance to save full image data uncompressed, guaranteeing every element of the captured file is ready for careful out-of-camera manipulation. The camera is also supplied with Hyper Utility HS-V2, a new software tool that enables the user to fine-tune aspects of an image such as sharpness, colour balance, and crucially, the full extent of the camera’s impressive dynamic range.

Fitted with the acclaimed Super EBC Fujinon 6x optical zoom lens, Firewire and USB 2.0 connectivity, full-resolution sensitivity settings up to ISO 800 (ISO 1600 in 1,280 x 960 pixel mode) and a threaded cable release, the FinePix S20 Pro puts professional functionality into an enthusiast form. In addition, the options for external flash, via hot-shoe or PC sync socket, are a proven benefit for the studio or macro photographer.

While this camera may be uncompromising in its approach to image quality, the range of features and response speed ensure it remains natural to use. The FinePix S20 Pro’s manual modes enable you to exert creative control over aperture, focusing, shutter speed and flash whilst offering a VGA digital movie mode that records at 30 frames per second (fps), with sound.

FinePix S20 Pro Zoom: features at a glance

  • Compact, SLR-style body shape to give you features and performance without bulk
  • Fourth Generation Super CCD SR sensor with 6.2 million effective pixels (3.1 million S-pixels + 3.1 million R-pixels*), delivering 6.03 million recorded pixels
  • RAW file format – data stored without processing, enabling complete fine-tuning of the image
  • Super EBC Fujinon 6x optical zoom lens equivalent to 35 - 210mm on a 35mm camera
  • Dual card format: xD-Picture Card™ and Microdrive™, for added storage flexibility
  • Full manual control
  • External flash option via PC sync socket or hot-shoe, where a more powerful flash is needed
  • USB 2.0 and Firewire (IEEE 1394) connections, allowing rapid transfer of images from camera to PC
  • VGA movie recording (30 fps) with sound, providing ultra-smooth results
  • High sensitivity settings (up to ISO 1600) to allow photography in a wide range of situations, including low light without flash
  • Live Video – enables the photographer to view the subject on a monitor without having to rely on the LCD display or Electronic Viewfinder (EVF)
  • FinePix Viewer for Professionals – Fujifilm has tailored its FinePix Viewer image management software for professionals, enabling the photographer to change camera settings, and release the shutter, from a computer
  • In the UK, the FinePix S20 Pro is supplied with Hyper Utility HS-V2 software, allowing image data to be fine-tuned (including sharpness, colour balance, dynamic range)

Adrian Clarke, Fujifilm's Director of Consumer Products, commented, "The S20 Pro is for people who really know their photography. Super CCD SR technology is changing attitudes to digital photography – it’s no longer a case of just asking how many pixels there are.

“Think about how people look at a photograph. They don’t concentrate on tiny portions of the photographic image – they look at its colour, its contrast and overall impact. In this respect, the FinePix S20 Pro stands out – its increased dynamic range and lack of noise are certain to make it a winner among enthusiast photographers.”

Availability

The FinePix S20 Pro will be available in the UK from leading photographic retailers from April 2004. Box contents may vary by international territory. Pricing will be determined nearer to the date of retail launch.

* In accordance with CIPA regulations on pixel count.

FinePix S20 Pro versus FinePix S7000 Zoom

The FinePix S20 Pro has been introduced to sit alongside the FinePix S7000 in Fujifilm's high-end digital camera line-up. Which one suits which photographer? The output pixel count produced by the FinePix S7000 Zoom (4,048 x 3,040) lends itself to particularly big print enlargements. However, at print sizes up to A3, the improved dynamic range achieved by the FinePix S20 Pro will offer an edge over the FinePix S7000 Zoom, particularly with images taken in high contrast light conditions. Furthermore, the FinePix S20 Pro's PC sync socket will make this camera more attractive to the studio and macro flash user.

Super CCD SR sensor - High Fidelity Photography

Fujifilm's Super CCD SR provides a truer representation of the subject, retaining highlight detail and offering a four-fold increase in dynamic range. By using the innovative layout of paired photodiodes, the technology enables confident shooting in both bright and cloudy conditions, combats the bleached-out effect created by flash photography and increases exposure latitude - a great advantage in difficult lighting conditions.

The technology behind Super CCD SR

On a standard CCD, a single photodiode** is responsible for capturing the full range of light strengths at a single location on the sensor, whereas with Super CCD SR, two photodiodes capture information on the same area of the image. These are arranged in a double-honeycomb structure comprising a larger, primary photodiode adjusted for high sensitivity, with a secondary photodiode for lower sensitivity. When combined, they offer four times the dynamic range of conventional photodiodes. This advance in technology might be compared to the evolution of the audio speaker: in an attempt to improve performance, the addition of a secondary high sensitivity cone, or 'tweeter', radically improved range and sound quality.

** Photodiode: a single, light-sensing element on a sensor.

Fujifilm FinePix S20 Pro specifications


Body Material Plastic (metal lens barrel)
Sensor 1/1.7" Fujifilm SuperCCD IV SR
Effective pixels • 3.1 million S-pixels (photodiodes)
• 3.1 million R-pixels (photodiodes) *
Image sizes • 2832 x 2128 (6 MP)
• 2016 x 1512 (3 MP)
• 1600 x 1200 (2 MP)
• 1280 x 960 (1 MP)
Image formats • JPEG (EXIF 2.2)
• CCD-RAW
Quality Levels • 6 MP: JPEG Fine, JPEG Normal
• 3 MP: JPEG Normal
• 2 MP: JPEG Normal
• 1 MP: JPEG Normal
Movie clips • 640 x 480, 30 fps with audio, Motion JPEG (AVI), limited only by storage
• 320 x 240, 30 fps with audio, Motion JPEG (AVI), limited only by storage
Sensitivity equiv. • Auto (ISO 160 - 800)
• ISO 200
• ISO 400
• ISO 800 {not CCD-RAW}
• ISO 1600 (at 3, 2 or 1 MP only) {not CCD-RAW}
Lens Fujinon Super EBC 6x zoom
Lens Thread 55 mm (with optional adapter)
Zoom wide (W) 35 mm
Zoom tele (T) 210 mm (6 x)
Lens Aperture F2.8 - F3.1
Digital zoom  • 6 MP - not available
 • 3 MP - up to 1.4x
 • 1 MP - up to 2.2x
 • VGA - up to 4.4x
Auto Focus "Twin AF": Passive External AF sensor & CCD AF (TTL)
Auto Focus types  • Normal AF
 • Area AF (49 selectable AF points - 7x7 grid)
AF Illumination lamp No
Manual Focus Via focus-by-wire ring on lens barrel
Normal focus range • 50 cm - Infinity (35 - 135 mm zoom)
• 90 cm - Infinity (135 - 210 mm zoom)
Macro focus range • Normal macro: 10 cm - 80 cm (3.9 - 31.5 in) (zoom range limited)
• Super macro: 1 cm - 20 cm (0.4 - 7.9 in) (zoom locked at wide angle)
Min shutter • Auto: 1/4 sec
• P/A/S priority: 3 sec
• Manual: 15 sec
Max shutter • Auto: 1/1000 sec
• P/A/S priority: 1/1000 sec
• Manual: 1/10000 sec
Metering

• Multi 64-division
• Center-Weighted Average
• Spot

Exposure adjustment -2EV to +2EV in 1/3EV steps
Auto bracketing • 3 images
• 0.3, 0.7 or 1.0 EV steps
Aperture priority

F2.8 - F11

Shutter priority 3, 2.5, 2, 1.6, 1.3, 1, 1/1.3, 1/1.6, 1/2, 1/2.5, 1/3, 1/4, 1/5, 1/6, 1/8, 1/10, 1/13, 1/15, 1/20, 1/25, 1/30, 1/40, 1/50, 1/60, 1/80, 1/100, 1/125, 1/160, 1/200, 1/250, 1/320, 1/400, 1/500, 1/650, 1/800, 1/1000 sec
Full manual Yes, any combination of aperture and shutter speed above plus the following shutter speeds:
• Slow: 15, 12, 10, 8, 6, 5, 4 sec
• Fast: 1/1300, 1/1600, 1/2000, 1/2500, 1/3000, 1/4000, 1/5000, 1/6000, 1/8000, 1/10000 sec
White Balance • Auto
• Manual preset 1
• Manual preset 2
• Fine
• Shade
• Fluorescent: Daylight bulb
• Fluorescent: Warm White bulb
• Fluorescent: Cool White bulb
• Incandescent
Color modes • Normal
• Chrome
• B&W
Continuous • Top 10: 4.5 fps, 10 frames
• Final 10: 4.5 fps, last 10 frames (up to 25 frames)
• 1 fps, 40 frames (1280 x 960)
Built-in Flash Yes, pop-up
Flash Range

• Wide: 0.3 - 8.5 m (11.8 in - 27.9 ft)
• Tele: 0.9 - 7.9 m (3.0 ft - 32.2 ft)

Flash modes

• Auto
• Red-eye reduction
• Forced Flash
• Suppressed Flash
• Slow Sync
• Slow Sync + Red-eye reduction

External flash • Hot-shoe
• PC Sync flash terminal
Tripod mount Yes, metal
Self-timer Yes, 2 or 10 sec delay
Remote control No
Time-lapse recording No
Video out Yes, selectable NTSC / PAL
Storage media

• Slot 1: xD-Picture Card
• Slot 2: Compact Flash Type I or Type II (IBM Microdrive compatible)
(Does not support FAT32, maximum 2 GB)

Storage included 16 MB xD-Picture Card
Viewfinder TTL EVF, LCD 0.44" (235,000 pixels)
LCD 1.8" TFT (118,000 pixels)
Playback zoom Yes, up to 18x, scrollable
Operating system Proprietary
Connectivity • USB 2.0
• IEEE 1394
• A/V out
• PC Sync flash terminal
Battery • 4 x AA type batteries (NiMH recommended)
• AC power adapter AC-5VHS (option)
Battery charger No
Weight (no battery) 500 g (1.1 lb)
Weight (inc. battery) 597 g (1.3 lb)
Dimensions 121 x 82 x 97 mm (4.8 x 3.2 x 3.8 in)

* Fujifilm would like us to refer to this as 6.2 million effective pixels, we disagree