Fujifilm announces S20 Pro digital camera
Michael R. Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, February 5, 2004 - 12:27 EST)
Fuji Photo Film U.S.A. Inc. has today announced an update to its FinePix S7000 digital camera, in the form of the new FinePix S20 Pro.
Sharing almost the same body as the S7000 which was
announced last July
, with a Super EBC Fujinon 6x optical zoom lens equivalent to 35 - 210mm on a 35mm camera and a choice of both xD-Picture Card and Microdrive storage, the S20 Pro has a number of noteable differences from that camera. First, where the S7000 featured a SuperCCD HR sensor with an effective resolution of 6.3 megapixels, the S20 Pro has the same SuperCCD SR sensor used in the FinePix F700, which should offer increased dynamic range and an effective resolution of 3.1 megapixels (although Fujifilm is describing the camera as 6.2 megapixels - see our Editor's Note below the spec table for more on this). Also, the connectivity has been upgraded from USB 1.1 to a choice of both USB 2.0 and IEEE 1394 "FireWire", including the ability to remotely control camera functions and settings including lens zoom using FinePix Viewer over the FireWire connection. Also newly added is a PC Flash Sync terminal, making the camera better suited for use in a studio environment.
The Fujifilm FinePix S20 Pro will be available for purchase in March 2004 at a suggested list price of $999. Given the significant resolution difference between the S7000 and S20 Pro and the different target markets for the two models, we believe the former camera will continue to be sold alongside the new S20 Pro.
Fujifilm FinePix S20 Pro
Number of Effective Pixels
6.2 million (S-pixel: 3.1 million, R-pixel: 3.1 million) pixels
* see Editor's note below
1/1.7-inch Super CCD SR
Number of Total Pixels: 6.7 million (S-pixel: 3.35 million, R-pixel 3.35 million) pixels
* see Editor's note below
Number of Recorded Pixels
2,832 x 2,128 (6.03 million)
Still image: CCD RAW / JPEG (Exif Ver 2.2)
Movie: AVI (Motion JPEG)
(Design rule for Camera File system compliant / DPOF-compatible)
Slot No. 1: xD-Picture Card TM (16MB to 512MB)
Slot No. 2: Microdrive (340MB to 2GB)
Super EBC Fujinon 6x zoom lens, F 2.8 - 3.1
Lens Focal Length
Equivalent to 35-210mm on a 35mm camera
Auto Focus: Area / Center / Multi, Manual Focus
Normal: 50cm / 1.6 ft. to infinity
Macro: Approx. 10cm - 80cm / 3.9 in. - 2.6 ft.
Super Macro: 1cm - 20cm / 0.4 in. - 7.9 in.
AUTO / SP: 1/4 sec. to 1/1000 sec. SP (Night scene mode only): 3 sec. to 1/250 sec.
P/S/A: 3 sec. to 1/1000 sec. M: 30 sec. to 1/10000, Bulb (up to 30 sec.)
F2.8 - F11 (13 levels in 1/3 EV step)
Auto: Equivalent to ISO 160 - 800
Manual: Equivalent to ISO 200/400/800/1600 (resolution is set at 1M for shots taken at ISO 1600)
Fujifilm is describing the S20 Pro digital camera as having a resolution of 6.2 megapixels. Technically, this adheres to the JCIA definition of "effective pixels" (described in an
earlier news item
covering Foveon's announcement of the X3 Pro 10M sensor), but we strongly feel that this is a misleading usage.While it is true that the proprietary SuperCCD SR image sensor does have 6.2 million photodiodes on its surface, this does not tell the whole story. The dual-element structure of the photodiodes in the SuperCCD SR are not aimed at increasing resolution, but rather at extending dynamic range (as
described in our coverage
of the development of the SuperCCD SR sensor a year ago). Each couplet of 'S' and 'R' photodiodes share a single microlens, and hence are unable to separately contribute to resolution in an image. That being the case, we feel that consumers are very likely to be misled by Fujifilm's description of the S20 Pro's sensor as having 6.2 megapixels - its true resolution will be essentially the same as a 3.1 megapixel standard (or 'HR') SuperCCD sensor.
Fujifilm is obviously in a difficult situation, in that the average digicam buyer tends to see resolution and megapixel ratings as one of the key differentiating factors between digital cameras, when in reality both resolution and dynamic range are just small pieces of the overall puzzle that is image quality. The current system of megapixel ratings became popular when most everybody was using similar sensor technologies, but is now utterly inadequate for describing and comparing current sensor technologies (Bayer-filtered sensors, SuperCCD SR, Foveon X3, etc.).
We've applauded Fujifilm for working to increase the dynamic range of their sensors, but we cannot say the same for their description of this sensor as having 6.2 megapixels. We're not alone in calling attention to this fact, and with many different sensor types that are difficult to directly compare we believe the community at large would like to see manufacturers find a way to better educate the public rather than continuing to cling to megapixels as some kind of "universal goodness quotient" (a phrase often used by our Publisher, Dave Etchells, to describe the rather unrealistic way in which the public tends to latch onto a single figure such as a megapixel rating for a digital camera, horsepower rating for a car, etc. as the way to decide which product is most "desirable", ignoring the many other complex attributes of the product in question).
In the meantime though, since Fujifilm's SR technology doesn't contribute to increased resolution, we believe Fujifilm should reconsider its decision and describe the S20 Pro as a 3.1 megapixel camera, so as not to mislead potential customers. Their current usage of the 6.2 megapixel figure is bound to result in ill feeling towards Fujifilm, and disappointment from customers who will find that images from their S20 don't show nearly the resolution as do those from competing cameras having a true 6.2 megapixels' worth of resolution.
Original Source Press Release:
FujiFilm Unveils a Professional Digital Camera Wrapped in a Compact Package
VALHALLA, NY, February 5, 2004 - Fuji Photo Film U.S.A., Inc., the total imaging solutions provider for the professional photographer, today introduces the Fujifilm FinePix S20 Pro, a compact SLR-type digital camera for professional photographers. Its small form factor makes it the ideal image capture choice for many applications, and the FinePix S20 Pro can serve as the premier component in an imaging system that meets the needs of specialty segments, such as medical, dental and scientific. In addition, the latest Super CCD SR technology within the FinePix S20 Pro provides exceptional quality for portrait photography such as school portraits and social photography.
"Fujifilm is continually striving to promote new technology to meet specific market needs and the FinePix S20 Pro follows in this tradition as it's designed to benefit a new set of professionals," said Jennifer Davalos, Product Manager, Photo Imaging Division, Fuji Photo Film U.S.A., Inc., "With many pro-level features, advanced imaging and workflow technologies, the FinePix S20 Pro is likely to become an essential business tool to an expanding roster of professionals who rely on high quality, professional grade digital images to run their businesses."
Fujifilm's FinePix S20 Pro Professional-Grade Features:
Fujifilm's proprietary 6.2 megapixel (S-pixel: 3.1 million, R-pixel: 3.1 million) Super CCD SR (Super Dynamic Range) sensor technology for near-film quality pictures with 2,832 x 2,128 (6.03 million) recorded pixels and dramatically increased dynamic range. Fujinon is one of the industry's premier lens manufacturers. The FinePix S20 Pro has an ultra-sharp Super EBC Fujinon 6x optical zoom lens for the clearest close-ups. A 2.2x digital zoom enhances magnification.
PC-Sync - Link strobes or other external flash systems to the FinePix S20 Pro through its PC-Sync port. The camera's high-speed flash sync fires at up to 1/1000 a second.
High-Speed Image Transfer - Take your pick, the FinePix S20 Pro offers two of the fastest image transfer protocols: IEEE 1394 (FireWire) and USB 2.0. The transfer of high-resolution images has never been easier.
Live Video - See exactly what the camera's seeing from across the room. The FinePix S20 Pro's live video function enables the photographer to view the subject on a monitor without having to rely on the LCD display or Electronic viewfinder.
ISO equivalent of 200-1600 - The ability to change the ISO setting when shooting under varying lighting conditions allows photographer to still create sharp and vivid images.
FinePixViewer for Professionals - Fujifilm has tailored its bundled FinePixViewer image management software for professionals, giving the photographer the power to change camera settings -- even release the shutter -- from a computer.
Software Development Kit - Fujifilm is prepared to provide software assistance to qualified integration accounts for special applications with the FinePix S20 Pro.
The FinePix S20 Pro comes bundled with a 16MB xD-Picture Card, four AA alkaline batteries, shoulder strap, USB cable, AV cable, FinePixViewer, and ImageMixer VCD for FinePix. The camera will be available for purchase in March 2004 at the suggested list price of $999.
Fuji Photo Film U.S.A., Inc. is a subsidiary of Fuji Photo Film Co., Ltd. and delivers technology solutions to meet the imaging and information needs of retailers, consumers, professionals and business customers. As a global leader in digital imaging, Fujifilm pioneered the development of digital X-ray systems, and today is the leader in digital minilab systems. The company was ranked in the top ten for U.S. patents granted during the last decade, employs 72,500 people worldwide and in the year ending March 31, 2003, had global revenues of more than $20 billion.
In the U.S., Fujifilm employs over 10,000 people. The company is a leader in delivering high quality, easy-to-use imaging and information solutions in the following categories: Digital Imaging Systems, Recording/Storage Media, Film and Imaging Systems, Motion Picture Film, Graphic Arts and Printing Systems and Medical Imaging and Diagnostics Systems. Fujifilm is committed to being an environmentally friendly, humane enterprise and an exemplary corporate citizen.
For more information on Fujifilm products, consumers can call 800-800-FUJI or access the Fujifilm USA Web site at www.fujifilm.com.