FujiFilm FinePix S1 Pro Review
We used our standard Windows 2000 test PC to perform the following tests / connections. Supplied with the S1 Pro was a CD-ROM with the following applications:
- Adobe Photoshop 5.0 LE
- FujiFilm Camera Shooting Software for FinePix S1 Pro
- FujiFilm USB drivers for Windows 2000, 98 and Mac
- FujiFilm EXIF Viewer
- FujiFilm EXIF Launcher
- FujiFilm DP Editor (DPOF editor)
To setup for normal use you need to install the USB drivers, EXIF viewer & launcher and DP editor (if you intend on doing any DPOF printing). EXIF launcher installs itself as a tray icon application which monitors for connection of the S1 Pro.
S1 Pro USB driver (downloading)
Via the record setup menu you can put the USB connector on the S1 Pro into either Downloading or Shooting mode. Connect the S1 Pro in Downloading mode and (assuming you've installed the USB driver) the storage media in the camera will appear as new drive on your computer. Copying files directly from this new drive we timed transfer rates of about 400 KB/s which was quite a bit slower than my normal USB card reader which manages about 660 KB/s.
Another thing which we found interesting (odd?) was that this new drive was write protected, that is although you can copy images from the card in the camera you cannot copy to it, delete files or format the card. This means a normal download sequence using the S1's built in USB conenctor would be: Connect USB, transfer images, disconnect USB, enter PLAY mode, format card (or erase all images).
FujiFilm EXIF Viewer
If you've installed EXIF Launcher it will detect the connection of the S1 Pro and automatically launch EXIF Viewer opened with a thumbnail view of images on the storage card in the camera:
EXIF Viewer can then be used to browse through images on the card, it supports drag and drop (meaning you can grab a selection of images and drop them onto your hard disk), you can even set bookmarks of folders on your hard disk to jump to quickly. Double-click on a thumbnail and you can view the image in a larger window, zoom in or out, rotate 90 degrees, save to a local file or print. (Note that exposure information is shown in the status bar of all windows).
Clicking on the information button displays more detailed information about the exposure:
This information dialog allows you to also attach comments and copyright information to the image (embedded into the header of the image) here's a list of all information in the detailed information dialog box:
As you can see, a good range of exposure information. Two improvements I'd like to have seen: reporting of Colour and Tone settings (there's sharpness, why not colour and tone?) and being able to list this information in a detailed view of all images rather than having to select an image then click on Information each time...
One thing that will be of interest to certain photographers is the inclusion of GPS information, this isn't mentioned anywhere in the S1 Pro's documentation so I can't assume that this information is specifically for the S1 Pro nor that it doesn't support some kind of GPS extension.
The final feature which may be useful is automatic renaming, this allows you rename a single file or group of files using the date & time stamp (or a user definable rename mask).
It's a shame there's no automatic card transfer feature (like PIE) which combines renaming with a batch copy of images directly from the media card into a specified directory on the local hard disk.
FujiFilm Camera Shooting Software
Main Application Window: previews of images taken are shown in a scrolling frame in the bottom of the window, if you have the full screen review window open a larger size image is displayed in it as you select images (or shoot). You can choose to shoot using the shutter release button on the camera or from the Host. When "Shoot" is in Host mode clicking on the Shoot button will actually take a photograph, if Auto Acquire is selected that image will be transferred and saved automatically to your local hard disk. You can even print or review a histogram of the image.
Shooting Conditions: Setup the camera settings for the next shot, everything from sensitivity to exposure mode, shutter speed, aperture, compensation and white balance can be set here. Clicking on Apply will see these settings transferred to the camera (you'll see them appear on the top LCD of the camera).
Time-Lapse settings: Shoot between 1 and 9999 images at intervals between 15 seconds and 120 minutes, you can select the output folder, image format and output image size. When enabled the computer will wake up the camera for each shot.
What a great application! Why aren't more manufacturers doing things like this?? Transfer of the medium resolution image (the one you can see in the first picture here) takes less than a second.. That means you can click on "Shoot" and see the results almost instantly. If you do a lot of studio or product shooting this has got to be an invaluable piece of software (and it's free!).