Fuji S3 Pro - Good Value Used Camera.
The S3 Pro, is an excellent piece of kit and second hand represents good value for money.
I was looking for a spare Nikon body, but only had a limited budget.
Therefore I spent alot of time reviewing my options and narrowed it down to either a Nikon D2x or the Fuji S3Pro. Both were 12 mp cameras with professional features.
The professional functionality and 12.3 m gives the ideal opportunity to produce A1 size prints. The technology to emulate Fuji Reala and Velvia, the old film favorites, gives it the creative edge.
The controls take a bit of getting used to, however once you understand all the functions, it makes logical sense. Read the manual and work through it systematically, and it all makes sense!
The big advantage is the compatibility with Nikon lenses. This matches the rest of my kit, especially as I was actually looking for a D2X, however the S3 offers 12m at 30% price and fitted into my budget of £275.
One thing to check is flash compatibility. Most Nikon flashguns should work as Nikon offer forward and back compatibility, but double check your model first.
If buying look at the general condition. Alot of these are ex-pro wedding and portrait cameras, so look as if they've been hammered. I picked up a low use one, which was virtually as new.
I would recommend that you get a spare battery holder. One of the benefits is that it takes 4AA Nimh batteries, which if you get stuck, can be temporily replaced with LR6/AA standards bought anywhere. This was a key factor in my decision to invest in the S3Pro.
From a user point of view, this is a professional camera, so you need to take your time composing and assessing the light. That is why it is preferred as a studio or landscape camera. If you want high speed in this price bracket, you need to look at a Nikon D80 or D90.
I've field tested mine using the Nikon 50mm f1.8DAF and the Nikon 70 - 300 f4-5.6D ED.AF. They both produce cracking sharp results at A1 print size.
I mainly do street photography, however for my testing I shot flora and fauna at my local Wildlife Trust site, which can be a tough environment for any camera.
The writing speed appears slow as it uses CF and XD cards, however the quality of the images far outweighs this disadvantage.
The other big advantage is the double shutter release, which allows you to shoot in either landscape or portrait format.
There is a trend by Camera marketing, to brainwash the public into thinking that you need shedloads of mp to generate great images. In my opinion this is totally factually incorrect. I know that a correctly exposed 12mp image will go to A1 print size with no problem.
In short, I would recommend the S3 pro. Be prepared to look carefully at the condition and the accessories within the package. The going rate on Ebay for a good clean hardly used body only, is around £250 - £325. To me it is a functional tool at the right price.
For a detailed review, go to http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/fujifilms3pro
10 of 10 people found this review helpful.
Great sensor, so-so camera
| Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
The S3 is essentially a fantastic sensor - only six megapixels, but with excellent dynamic range - married to a so-so camera. It's based on an old Nikon F80 film body, and physically it feels a bit flimy and cheap, with exposed screws and a hollow feeling throughout. In its day (2005) it was aimed and priced at professionals, particularly wedding photographers, who shunned it in droves and abandoned it entirely when the Nikon D200 came out. The built-in portrait grip feels a bit tacked-on (the grip doesn't have any command dials or AF/AE buttons) although it's nice to have one.
On the other hand the sensor is excellent. Its big draw was expanded dynamic range. Shooting RAW, the camera captures something like four extra stops of information in the highlights, which means that you will very rarely blow anything out. This is extremely useful for landscapes, because you essentially have a strong built-in ND grad filter that you can use to retain texture in clouds (for example). My 5D MkII has a tendency to blow out skies, particularly on a dull day, whereas the S3 trounces it in this respect. You do need to shoot RAW, however, and play with the files to get the most out of them. There was some controversy about the camera's resolution when it was new; it has a six megapixel sensor that produces twelve megapixel output, with files that have slightly more than six megapixels' worth of detail. Doesn't really matter nowadays.
The RAW files are huge, though - about 25mb each - and take ages to write to the card. With the histogram preview turned on, the camera will take two shots in succession and then force you to pause for several seconds to take the next shot. Although you can shoot continuously at a measured pace, you have to wait until every shot has written to the card before you can review anything on the monitor, which seems to take forever. It's better if you shoot without the extra dynamic range, although the camera is a bit pointless without it. The extra dynamic range is used for in-camera JPG files, and its colours in particular are pleasing although auto white balance tends to make everything a bit green. Alas, the JPG engine doesn't correct CA or vignetting.
High-ISO performance was on a par with the competition at the time - it maxes out at ISO 1600. At that level you get a lot of shadow noise, although it tends to be grainy rather than blotchy, and correctly-exposed pictures can be saved with noise reduction.
Handy feature: The camera is powered by four AA batteries, which last for hundreds of shots, so you don't have to mess around with proprietary lithiums. It takes Compact Flash cards, and has no problem with cards larger than 2gb, unlike some older cameras. There's also an xD card slot. Flash sync 180th; built-in flash; compatible with Nikon's contemporary D-TTL flash system (e.g. the SB-28DX); has a PC sync socket.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
Fuji FinePix S3 Pro Digital Camera
We love this camera, it will do everything we need a camera to do. We have two other ones so know them very well.It does what all the higher priced ones do, could always have more bells and whistles but takes great portraits which is our business. You can't get a better camera for the money that can take Nikon lens etc. ,so for our use and value the Fuji S3 pro will do it all. The Fuji S5 is the newer model of course with new upgrades which are very nice but it's twice the money yet of the S3.
I love the feel of the grip, the weight gives it subility,it has vertical shutter release, over all we like it solid construction, not the light plastic feel of the new more well known makes.
I think for the money this Fuji S3 is the most bang for the average or pro shooters.
Still one of the best DSLR cameras you can buy!
If you are thinking of buying a 'prosumer' DSLR Camera there are many things to take in consideration.
Firstly, what are you going to use it for? If your answer is holidays, party's, kids first steps etc then go for a compact. If you are going to indulge in a hobby or career then I would go for a Fuji S3 Pro.
These are incredible. Easy to use, image quality is still outstanding AND beats today's cameras who's prices are triple the price. You can get a decent S3 Pro for around £250 and for this you get the best CCD around. It has such range and compared to the newer CCD's of today beats them hands down, with the added bonus of using all Nikon Lens's which lets be honest are the best!
All over the world there are pro photographers that are ditching their $3k cameras for the unbeatable superb dynamic range the S3 can provide. Even at low light there is half the noise of other cameras at the same ISO rating.
All in all if you want the best camera at the best price I would go for a used S3 Pro. I have owned all the Fuji's in the range including the S5 and the S3 is the better camera (the body on the S5 is better admittedly)
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
Fuji Finepix S3 Pro -Excellent for retaining highlights
The S2 is a fantastic camera, but the S3 is excellent. I owned the S2 for a couple of years and was very pleased with the results it produced. However I purchased a Sigma lens 17-70 prior and found that my images were coming out overexposed. I know this is not the camera's fault and I could have compensated by manually underexposing, but an artical I had read stated that the S3 had a greatly improved sensor, giving the highlights and shadows a greater dynamic range, so I purchased one. What a difference! You can really pull back the highlights and shadows more so than the S2 using Photoshop's built-in RAW facility.
I always use the RAW mode, and let Photoshop do all the processing work!!
9 of 9 people found this review helpful.