Saturday, January 13, 2007

First Fuji S5 Pro Sample Photos Are On-line

Well,the very first sample photos from the FujiFilm FinePix S5 Pro are on-line at the PCHome web site at Apparently, there's been an earthquake in Taiwan,and that has terribly slowed down the performance of the PCHome web servers.

I spent over an hour tediously downloading the roughly 5.3 to 5.6 megabyte JPEG sample photos. How do they look? Well, I'm not that impressed by the number of jaggies I see along strong,high-contrast edges in city scenes; this has been a problem with the S1 Pro I owned, and was a problem with the S2 Pro I still own,and it was a problem with the S3 Pro. The SuperCCD concept is prone to edge jaggies on strong,high-contrast edges. Strong,high-contrast edges or lines often show a noticeable stair-stepping from the 45 degree rotated Bayer array Fuji has used in all its d-slrs, and this problem is real, and it must be said this issue is not merely one of my own, personal prejudices against the Fuji SuperCCD arrangement, as some people have alleged. If you have not gotten jaggies along strong,high-contrast edges,then you've not shot many frames with a Fuji d-slr. Architecture photos are the easiest place to spot this one type of Digital Weirdness. Check my web-reduction photos out at this URL

My Photoshop CS-2 web reductions of the sample photos are done for educational purposes and for the purpose of discussion and analysis and as such represent Fair Use under United States copyright laws. I processed these as I myself would to make 1000-pixel tall or 1200-pixel wide images intended for computer-screen proofing or evaluation, at 200 ppi,and sharpened up using relatively moderate Smart Sharpening or Unsharp Masking.

As for the sensor's resolution abilities--it's difficult to gauge how much rez it offers,since all the sample photos were shot with what might be the Sigma 18-125 DC lens,and the lens used is clearly a CONSUMER-grade performer. The city where the photos were made was also very,very smoggy or foggy,with impaired visibility easily visible in several photos, with things only a few blocks distant showing greatly reduced detail due to the intense urban smog or fog. Most of the shots are at ISO 100 or 200. And again, the LENS these people used is so crappy that the pictures were hampered by the lens's abilities. Most of the PCHome samples were shot January 6,2007,around the 22:00 hour;the woman was photgraphed on January 10. These samples are very narrow in scope and time. I myself own a copy of the Sigma 18-125 DC in Canon EF mount,and it is a mediocre lens indeed. My software could not ascertain the actual lens used, but there have been some other Chinese photos leaked and they WERE made with the Sigma 18-125....perusal of the EXIF reveals shots made from 18 to 125mm,and so I do suspect the guilty lens was the 18-125 Sigma DC.

I can see from the photo of the three red fire hydrants that the S5 Pro has the ability to record small,very bright highlights, and not blow them out,while yielding a very flat,low-contrast JPEG that can easily be bumped up in contrast with just a tweak or two in Photoshop yielding a really NICE,lovely rendition.Kudos to Fuji! I took the liberty of processing a number of the out of camera original files,using my standard post processing approaches,and some Smart Sharpening and some Unsharp Masking makes the images look MUCH better than what they show on the PCHome web site. Overall though,it's a really disappointing set of sample photos,made with a crap lens. It's difficult to see much,except the SuperCCD sensor's typical jaggies along strong edges and in hair...It's a crying shame a really GREAT Nikkor lens like the 17-35 or 85 1.4 AF-D or 105 DC or 300/f.4 AF-S was not used in any of these test photos. I honestly think these samples are only marginally useful for analysis. The tendency to show bad jaggies along strong edges is something Fuji S1,S2,and S3 users have gotten along with, but it looks to me like the tendency toward false color moire problems has been rectified pretty well in the S5 Pro. But let's make one thing clear--the PCHome samples are all shot with a CRAP LENS,so the resolution and acuity the sensor delivers is clearly hampered by the Coke-bottle optic they had mounted.

Conclusion? Well, it's difficult to draw much of a conclusion. A 20-minute stroll around a city block with a borrowed camera and one crap lens,in the hands of some unknown shooter isn't much to go on. However, there are a few bright spots trying to shine through the clouds,and I think that with Nikon's best optics, the S5 Pro will deliver nice pictures with still a few small Digital Weirdness artifacts on some types of subject matter (like architectural subjects for example), but that on people pictures, there will be few issues. I wanna' see an S5 Pro shot by somebody with 1)skill and 2) decent lenses and 3)more than a hour to make the pictures in.


Anonymous said...

I see what you mean with the poor edge handling in high-contrast trasitions. It makes sense this could occur with the layout of the sensor array, but the software should handle this much better. I do wonder how Adobe RAW handles this situation. Regardless, I'm not compelled yet to move from my D200 to an S5.

Derrel said...

I saw a post on dPreview today comparing the output of ACR and SilkyPix 3.0.5 on S5 RAF files--the SIlkyPix converted images showed *substantially* more fine detail than the ACR output. Check out for a FREE 30-day demo of SilkyPix 3.0.5--I got my copy last week.