The downside is that the S5 is effectively only a 6.17 megapixel camera, since it has 6.17 million ‘S’ sensors and 6.17 million ‘R’ sensors. This may be a total of over 12 million photocells, but there are only 6.17 million cell sites generating image data. Despite this, the S5 produces final JPEG images that are 4256 x 2848 pixels, or 12.12 megapixels, and RAW files that are 3043 x 2036, or 6.98 megapixels, which will inevitably resurrect the old arguments about Fuji’s image interpolation that have been echoing around the forums and letters pages since the Super CCD was first introduced.
The whole point of the Super CCD SR Pro, in fact of the S5 as a camera, is to attempt to replicate the performance of a 35mm film camera in terms of colour reproduction and tonal range, both qualities for which Fuji’s film products are renowned. The S5 is a professional’s camera designed for studio use and specifically for portrait and wedding photography, and the options available in the menu system reflect this, with multiple settings enabling the user to customise the colour processing, with pre-set simulations of six different film types. There are also adjustments for saturation, colour space, tone and dynamic range, as well as a wide range of white balance settings, including dial-in colour temperature. The range of colour adjustments on offer is significantly wider than the D200, in fact wider than any other DSLR I’ve tested recently. The wider dynamic range ability of the Super CCD SR is implemented in the menu system with a selection of extended dynamic range options offering up to two stops of extra shadow or highlight detail. This may not sound like a lot, but if you’ve ever tried to photograph a bride in a white wedding dress standing next to the groom in a black suit you’ll know that every little helps.
All these in-camera colour adjustments are only relevant when shooting in JPEG mode, however most professional photographers will prefer to shoot in RAW mode, which bypasses all the in-camera processing. The supplied FinePix Viewer software doesn’t provide anything like the same level of flexibility that is available using the camera’s menu, so to get the full range of options for RAW conversion you have to fork out an extra £100 for the optional Hyper-Utility 3.0 software, which in my opinion should have been included with the camera. In fact I’m not at all sure why Fuji bothered to include FinePix viewer at all, since any photographer who is likely to buy the S5 Pro will take one look at its brightly coloured newbie-friendly “Hi! Let’s get started…!” interface and immediately uninstall it in favour of Photoshop.