Fujifilm FinePix S5 Pro Review
The S5 Pro offers a healthy range of image parameters, allowing to you to change Color (saturation), Tone (contrast) and Sharpening. You can also choose to output in sRGB or Adobe RGB color space. As with the S3 Pro there are several 'film simulation modes' (increased to five in the S5 Pro), all of which can be fine-tuned (again by setting different Color, Tone and Sharpness settings).
Film Simulation modes
According to the manual the Film Simulation modes are described as follows:
- F1 This mode suppresses flaring in flash highlights when the flash is used and also stresses smooth tonal transitions in the reproduction of skin tones. It is ideal for studio portrait work where the aim is professional-standard negatives.
- F1a Saturation is slightly enhanced in comparison with [F1] mode.
- F1b Reproduces skin tones with smooth transitions. Also provides vibrant reproduction of natural colors such as blue skies and is ideal for daylight portraits.
- F1c Increased sharpness in comparison with the [F1]. Ideal for fashion shooting.
- F2 This mode provides vibrant reproduction of natural colors such as blue skies and is ideal for landscape and nature photography (the so-called 'Velvia mode')
Unlike the D200 there is no 'Auto' setting for Color, Tone or Sharpness, and you cannot change the individual parameters if you've selected anything other than 'STD' in the Film Simulation menu. Note that the Film Simulation modes are also available in the HS-V3 raw converter.
Image parameter adjustments
- Color space: sRGB, Adobe RGB
- Custom image optimizations
- Sharpness: Off, Medium Soft, Standard, Medium Hard, Hard
- Tone: ORG, Medium Soft, Standard, Medium Hard, Hard
- Color mode: B/W, ORG, Medium Low, Standard, Medium High, High
Note that in the above lists 'ORG' means 'the lowest setting'... no idea what it stands for (and it doesn't say anywhere in the manual).
Image parameter presets
Fujifilm makes much of the Film Simulation modes in its SLR cameras, and the S5 Pro has a newly extended selection (basically there are three new variations on the F1 mode), and it is true that they offer a quick and reliable way to get a particular 'look' to a shot without having to play around with lots of parameters or get weighed down in raw conversions. That said I wouldn't get too excited; the difference between the F1a, F1b and F1c variants is subtle, to say the least (and we couldn't really see any sharpness difference), and F2 is probably best avoided as it uses over-the-top colors and such strong contrast that you lose all dynamic range. All the F1 variants are worth experimenting with for portrait work - we found F1 to be the most useful and to produce the most pleasing skin tones.
Here you can see a generated GretagMacbeth ColorChecker chart, place your mouse over any of the labels below it to see the color reproduction in that mode. Select a camera/setting combination from the 'Compared to' drop-down to comparative boxes inside each patch.
If you pick the 'Nikon D200' from the 'Compared to' drop-down you will see that the S5 Pro delivers surprisingly similar color response to its Nikon equivalent if you leave it on its default settings. Selecting Fujifilm S5 Pro (Std) from the drop-down menu allows you to see exactly how the color mapping changes as you switch between the various film simulation modes.
|Fujifilm S5 Pro||Compare to:|
|Std||Film F1||Film F1a||Film F1b|
|Film F1c||Film F2||Adobe RGB|
Film mode samples
Below you will find samples of our standard studio shot take in each of the S5 Pro's preset Film Simulation modes. This demonstrates both the color / tone difference as well as sharpening. The differences between the three F1 settings are fairly subtle (and in a shot like this the differences between the first four are not that visible) - although as noted above F2 is a bit OTT. In all cases it's safer to shoot in RAW+JPEG mode in case you want to change the setting or tweak the effect later. Note that some of these modes are supposed to have stronger sharpening, but the differences are minimal.
Studio Flash portrait comparison
Finally let's look at how the film modes compare in 'the real world'. Below you will find samples of the five film mode options applied to a simple studio portrait. Note that the slightly warm tone to these shots is a result of the S5 Pro's 'Flash' white balance preset, which has been changed by a firmware upgrade that was delivered after we'd completed the tests.
As you can see, when shooting skin tones the various options have a more obvious impact (note that F2 would not normally be used for portraits), and though F1, F1a, F1b and F1c aren't wildly different it is nice to have this kind of subtle variation on skin tones available 'at the touch of a button'.
Fujifilm's Hyper-Utility raw developer also offers film simulation presets, and although they are not exactly the same as those available in camera (why? it makes no sense!) they are similar. Below you will find samples of the five film mode options applied to another simple studio flash portrait. The full-size image is available by clicking on the thumbnail (this was produced directly from HS-V3 using the CCD-RAW to TIFF option then re-saved in Photoshop as high quality sRGB JPEGs for download).
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