Fujifilm FinePix S5 Pro Review
The S5 Pro is supplied with a CD-ROM containing the latest version of Fujifilm's software suite that is the same as is included with any recent FinePix compact. As well as FinePix Viewer (fairly comprehensive browsing, renaming and transfer) you get the 'helper application' FinePix Studio, which offers a selection of fairly basic raw conversion tools (though it must be said it's a huge improvement on the 'Raw Converter LE' that Fujifilm supplied with the S2 Pro - that had no user settings at all).
Also included is a copy of ImageMixer, which automates the process of producing Video CD photo albums. Given it is almost unimaginable that any S5 Pro user would ever use this program (or, to be honest, FinePix Viewer) it's annoying that you cannot customize the installation; it's all or nothing.
An optional extra in most parts of the world, Hyper-Utility is a slightly more advanced raw converter with a built-in file browser (the supplied 'Studio' utility uses FinePix Viewer for browsing). It also adds the ability to control the camera remotely over USB 2.0 ('tethered shooting') - complete with Live View if you wish.
The latest version includes several features not found in the supplied utility; essentially Film Simulation presets (which are almost, but not exactly the same as those in-camera) and more output options (size, file type). It also has a considerably more advanced interface (you can, for example, view two images side by side for comparison), but it still lacks many of the features taken for granted in other raw converters. There are no options for how converted files are named, there is no more control over noise reduction than you get in-camera and the whole process of converting raw files is fiddly. The software itself isn't that speedy either (and if you're an Intel Mac user it's positively sluggish - there is not yet a universal binary).
For faster batch processing without the need to wait for image previews to load you can still use the good old Raw Converter LE - this uses the same raw processing engine and produces the same results as leaving all settings on 'same as camera' in Hyper Utility.
Finally there are three raw conversion options; fast, high quality and super high quality. We found no difference at all between any of these settings at anything other than high ISO (where the 'high quality' options apply more noise reduction). We also found no measurable difference between the output from the supplied FinePix Studio and the optional Hyper-Utility, and therefore concluded that it's the same engine.
As is normal in our digital SLR reviews we like to compare the supplied RAW conversion software and some third party RAW converter. Our preliminary tests showed that all Fujifilm's raw converters (FinePix Studio, Raw Converter LE and Hyper-Utility) use the same development engine (results are pixel identical) - the only difference is the level of control over parameters offered. For most of these tests we used Hyper-Utility unless otherwise noted, as well as the latest version of Adobe Camera Raw (4.1) inside Photoshop CS3.
- JPEG - Large/Fine, Default settings
- Raw Conv LE - Raw Converter LE (no options available)
- Hyper Utility 3 - Default (camera) settings
- Adobe ACR - Adobe Camera RAW 4.1, Default (as shot) settings
Place your mouse over the label below the image to see the color from a GretagMacbeth ColorChecker chart produced using each RAW converter. There is almost no difference between a RAW converted using the Fujifilm utilities and a JPEG straight from the camera, obviously both the RAW conversion engine and camera using the same tone and color mapping. ACR produces a flatter, less saturated output but there are no serious hue differences.
|Fujifilm S5 Pro||Compare to:|
|Std||Film F1||Film F1a||Film F1b|
|Film F1c||Film F2||Adobe RGB|
Sharpness and Detail (at 12MP)
You can look long and hard at these results and you'll struggle to see a significant difference; the default output from the Hyper-Utility conversion is - aside from marginally lower sharpening - pretty much identical to the out-of-camera JPEG. ACR produces a marginally softer result, but the differences really are subtle.
As you can see Fujifilm's RAW conversion engine is delivering no more (or less) resolution than the camera itself, though to be fair I think this is more a measure of how good the in-camera JPEG conversion is than anything else. What's interesting is that ACR 4.1 seems unable to pull any of the resolution advantage offered by Super CCD from the files, producing a result that simply looks like a 6MP file upsized to 12MP. ACR also produced some pretty strong moiré on all diagonals. I've also stuck a crop from the S5 Pro output at 6MP to show that there is a tiny resolution advantage to shooting at full resolution.
|JPEG from camera (12MP)||JPEG from camera (6MP)|
|Hyper Utility v3 (RAW)||Adobe Camera RAW 4.1 (RAW)|
Jul 5, 2007
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