Fujifilm FinePix S2 Pro Review
Being based around the F80 (N80) the S2 Pro is an all together more capable looking digital SLR than the S1 Pro. Familiarity will be the key here, S1 Pro users will be glad to see that Fujifilm have kept the useful rear display panel and control buttons. Nikon users will be glad to see that the S2 Pro inherits the same control layout as the F80 (N80). Where the F80 body would normally finish there is approximately 35 mm (1.4 in) of extra body, most of which is used for the large 4 AA battery pack.
The sleek clean design of the S2 Pro has curves that fit into your hand, being slightly deeper than the Nikon D100 isn't a disadvantage here, the fact that the grip reaches further down your palm makes holding the camera even easier (although there is no vertical hand grip option). Weight balance is pretty good although the S2 Pro is slightly heavier than the D100. One other thing I noticed was that the S2 Pro's grip is plastic, the only rubber part being the red 'Nikon' stripe on the inner edge of the grip (the D100's grip has a rubber coating from the edge all the way around).
With the above picture the similarities between the S2 Pro and Nikon's D100 become all the more apparent. While there are a few subtle differences the overall look of the bodies is very similar. The D100 is slightly smaller (height) and slightly lighter. Overall there's very little to choose between these two cameras from a design standpoint, I personally liked the S2 Pro's deeper hand grip. The S2 Pro is the heavier of the two at 874 g (1.9 lb) without a lens but with batteries, compared to the D100 at 775 g (1.7 lb).
The S2 Pro has a good, sharp and bright 118,000 pixel 1.8" LCD monitor. This provides image review and menu control display. The screen itself is mounted to the far left of the camera rear below the display panel. There's no anti-reflective coating but even so the screen is fairly easy to see in sunlight. Fujifilm supply the S2 Pro with a protective LCD cover, this clips from the right to the left of the screen. It's not completely transparent and adds a 'cloudy' feel to the displayed image, not as good as the D100's transparent cover.
For those who are new to digital SLR's it's worth noting that they don't provide a live preview image like consumer digital cameras. This is because of the reflex mirror, mechanical shutter and design of the sensor (which can't be used to provide a video feed). The LCD is only "On" if you have image review enabled (after taking the shot), when you're navigating menus or reviewing images in play mode.
Top Display Panel
The S2 Pro's top display panel provides information about the photographic side of the camera, this includes settings such as exposure compensation, AF point, flash mode as well as a readout of exposure (shutter speed / aperture).
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.
Diagram of all possible information available on the top display panel:
Note that the battery status indicator on this panel refers to the status of the two CR123A batteries. Also because sensitivity is set by the digital portion of the camera you'll find that information on the rear display panel (see below).
Rear Display Panel
On the rear of the S2 Pro is the excellent rear display panel. It provides information and control over the major 'digital' settings of the camera. The row of four function buttons below the panel refer to different options / settings depending on the current mode. The FUNC button (to the left of the panel) activates different pages of settings, each button below a setting can be used to change its value or confirm a selection. This panel is illuminated with an orange light at the same time as the top display panel by pressing the backlight button on the top of the camera.
|Record mode default display (diagram below)||Record mode settings 1 (press FUNC once)|
|Record mode settings 2 (press FUNC twice)||Play mode default display|
|Play mode info page 1 (press FUNC once)||Play mode info page 2 (press FUNC twice)|
Diagram of information provided in recording (shooting) mode: