Fujifilm FinePix S3 Pro Review
The top of the S3 Pro (and the photographic parts of the camera; shutter box, AF, metering etc.) are based on the Nikon F80 (N80), however the bottom seven eighths of the camera (the main body area) is a custom build specifically made for the camera. The S3 Pro is only slightly taller than the S2 Pro but manages to fit in a vertical hand grip and shutter release button. A large percentage of the front and rear of the body has a new soft rubber coating which not only provides a better grip but also gives a more professional appearance. It's fair to say that the S3 Pro feels considerably better built and more robust than the S2 Pro.
In your hand
As mentioned above the new rubber coating which wraps around the entire hand grip is soft and sticky, it provides a good hold and feels comfortable. Fujifilm has clearly taken some time on the shape of the entire camera but especially those areas which make up the grip areas. Also noteworthy is a more sculpted thumb grip on the rear of the camera. The new vertical hand grip also works well, size wise it's quite similar to the main grip and there's plenty of room for your fingers between the inside of the grip and the lens mount (unlike some other digital SLR's with built-in vertical grips).
Side by side
You can see the S3 Pro with the Canon EOS 20D, Nikon D70 and the camera it replaces, the S2 Pro. The S3 Pro is visibly larger and is indeed one of the largest and heaviest of all current digital SLR's. That said the S3 Pro does include a vertical hand grip, add the BG-E2 to the EOS 20D for example and it will weigh in at almost 1 KG.
|Left to right: Canon EOS 20D, Nikon D70, Fujifilm S3 Pro, Fujifilm S2 Pro|
(W x H x D)
(inc. battery & card)
|Canon EOS 300D||142 x 99 x 72 mm (5.6 x 3.9 x 2.8 in)||649 g (1.4 lb)|
|Konica Minolta 7D||150 x 106 x 78 mm (5.9 x 4.2 x 3.1 in)||649 g (1.4 lb)|
|Pentax *ist D||129 x 95 x 60 mm (5.0 x 3.7 x 2.3 in)||650 g (1.4 lb)|
|Nikon D70||140 x 111 x 78 mm (5.5 x 4.4 x 3.1 in)||679 g (1.5 lb)|
|Canon EOS 20D||144 x 106 x 72 mm (5.6 x 4.2 x 2.8 in)||770 g (1.7 lb)|
|Fujifilm S2 Pro||142 x 131 x 80 mm (5.6 x 5.2 x 3.1 in)||870 g (1.9 lb)|
|Fujifilm S3 Pro||148 x 135 x 80 mm (5.9 x 5.3 x 3.2 in)||935 g (2.1 lb)|
The S3 Pro has a new larger 2.0" LCD monitor which is bright and detailed (235,000 pixels). Just like the S2 Pro it is mounted directly below the rear 'control panel' LCD display. With the advent of the S3 Pro Fujifilm has improved the supplied protective cover which now clips over both the LCD monitor and control panel and is completely transparent in the screen areas.
Top LCD Panel
The S3 Pro's top display panel provides information about the photographic portion of the camera, this includes settings such as exposure compensation, AF point, flash mode as well as a readout of exposure (shutter speed / aperture). It appears to be identical to the one used on the S3 Pro. This panel is illuminated by a green light at the same time as the rear display panel by pressing the small backlight button to the right of this panel.
A breakdown of information displayed on the LCD panel can be found on the diagrams below.
On the rear of the S3 Pro is the now familiar rear 'Control Panel' LCD. This provides both information and control over the majority of digital settings. The row of four function buttons below the panel refer to the different setting sections displayed in the panel (depending on the current mode). The FUNC button to the left of the panel scrolls through each page of information or settings. The panel is illuminated with an orange backlight at the same time as the top LCD panel by pressing the backlight button on top of the camera (or automatically after pressing the FUNC button). A breakdown of each setting and options is available later in this preview.
|Record mode information display||Settings page 1 (WB, Qual, Size, Film sim. mode)|
|Settings page 2 (DR, Color, Tone, Sharpening)||Settings Page 3 (AF mode, Lock, Reset)|
|Play mode options||Play mode information page 1|
|Play mode information page 2|