was extended out to the max, with focusing set manually
at (or near) macro. Fill flash was used with strong backlighting
reflecting off the pond, adding +1 EV to the ambient exposure.
The tightly cropped version is shown here.
© 2002, Jack Neubart, All Rights Reserved
I was standing in Times Square,
the Fuji S2 Pro with 28-105mm f/2.8 lens in my hands, when I chanced to
glance over my shoulder and noticed someone peering at me. The quizzical
expression on my face was greeted by a European tourist giving me the
thumbs up and adding, "Nice camera!" This camera and I still
had a ways to go before I'd be ready to make the same proclamation.
I later took the S2 to a popular Broadway diner, where I photographed
the wait staff, and where this camera again showed itself to have a commanding
presence. I had also used the S2 to photograph a young couple and their
one-week-old baby. When I'd showed up in their home a couple of
days later with a different digicam, they voiced disappointment, after
seeing what the S2 could do.
No doubt what initially impressed people was the size of the fast Tamron
SP AF 28-105mm f/2.8 LD Aspherical (IF) zoom lens. Admittedly, this lens
was well up to the task and proved to be a perfect match for this Nikon-mount
digicam. Autofocusing, under normal light levels, was as fast as it gets.
However, once the lights went down, and despite an AF-assist beam, autofocusing
became somewhat tardy--but this was not a failing of the optics.
for reflections to play their part, I photographed
this window display with tungsten and auto WB.
The tungsten rendition is cooler, in large measure
due to cool daylight filtering in. The reflection
of the shaded building across the street is also
more prominently blue. The auto WB version
resulted in warmer tones. This just goes to prove
that it's prudent to use different WB settings
when in doubt.
With people or around town,
the S2 Pro has proved itself to be a very capable camera. Yes, in a few
instances, it displayed disappointing results and may have proved mildly
cumbersome to operate initially. But, for the most part, this interchangeable
lens digital SLR, with its 6Mp capture, was very impressive indeed. A
1GB IBM Microdrive added to the enjoyable adventure. (This camera would
have made short shrift of even a 128MB SmartMedia card, an alternative
I was at first puzzled by this camera's data displays--both
are backlit, with one on top, the other above the color monitor on the
back of the camera. Then, when it came time to select white balance, picture
quality, and such settings as digital color density, contrast, and sharpness,
it became clear: The panel on back provided a more dynamic, more interactive
approach, as opposed to using the standard menu for such options.
In fact, the S2 Pro takes a lot of stuff out of the menu and puts it where
it belongs--in function buttons and dials, for more immediate, faster
access. This, however, doesn't always work to advantage. Of all
this camera's functions, setting auto-bracketing was initially the
most confusing, involving various combinations of functions. Hint: first
set the camera to sequential drive operation, then proceed from there
to activate bracketing and set increments and number of exposures.
I also wasn't too happy with the placement of the ambient exposure
and flash compensation buttons. Using either required you to take your
finger off the very responsive shutter release. These two buttons should
have been on the left side, so they could be activated in combination
with the thumbwheel, with the index finger remaining in readiness.
the camera's 3D Matrix Metering system together
with fill from the pop-up flash to produce this pleasing
portrait of these proud parents and their one-week-old
baby. While foreground and background lighting is largely
balanced, the flash did leave a trace of a background
There are a few other buttons
worthy of note. To the left of the lens mount you'll find the focus
selector. There was occasion when I shifted into full manual focus, particularly
at the lens' macro setting, with the zoom fully extended. Other
than that, I normally preferred autofocus set for single-shot/single-area
AF, which ensured that the camera would only fire when focus was locked
in on a specified target.
There are actually two command dials (a thumbwheel and one at the front),
which may take a little getting used to at first. Another dial sets metering
(program, shutter priority, aperture priority, manual), ISO, and custom
settings (labeled "CSM"). CSM might not be the first place
you jump to when using the S2, but it's worth a look-see, since
some of these choices may eventually have some effect on the way you use
In A Flash
While the camera is compatible with Nikon (and compatible) dedicated strobes,
it also sports a conventional non-dedicated PC/sync terminal, making this
camera at home with studio lighting as well.
As an integral part of the camera, the pop-up built-in flash was my first
option when an additional light source was needed. Output was fully balanced
when the situation involved the young family backlit by window light.
Perhaps the built-in flash might be seen as excessive, since a background
shadow was cast--a problem that might have been alleviated with a
minus setting in flash compensation (but I was more concerned with facial
detail than with lighting ratios).
My usual inclination is to use cloudy WB (White Balance) when confronted
with subjects in shade or under overcast skies, and when using flash.
be seen here, the S2 Pro is an interchangeable lens SLR.
It features a Nikon mount that accepts a wide range of
Nikon (compatible) lenses. While some functions are obviously
different from a film camera, familiarity with Nikon cameras
should put you on solid footing almost immediately. The
camera is contoured front and back for a firm, ergonomic
The window display, in shade,
was infused with daylight, but most prominently lit with tungsten lights.
So I set WB for auto, cloudy, and tungsten. In this case, I'm not
sure there was a right or wrong, since the effect is more an esthetic
choice instead of purely a technical one.
When it comes to digital SLRs, I usually prefer the more compact, built-in
zoom type with electronic viewfinder. Despite the greater bulk of this
camera-lens combination, I found it equally comfortable to work with.
Moreover, the beauty of the S2 Pro is that it presented practically no
problem to transition from that type of camera to this. In fact, the design
and layout largely lent this camera to immediate use (barring a few of
the more specialized functions and some minor confusion with the displays).
While the Tamron lens was largely responsible for superb optical performance,
the camera itself proved quite capable under a variety of conditions.
Displays, storage media, and digital-specific functionality aside, I felt
as if I were working with a conventional 35mm SLR. And that's a
comfort zone I enjoy.
are the function selection data panel and the color monitor.
At A Glance
· 35mm-type interchangeable
lens digital SLR camera: Nikon body, Nikon mount
· 6Mp capture (6.17 million effective pixels), Super CCD for interpolated
resolution to 4256x2848 (12.1 million interpolated pixels)
· ISO 100-1600
· Supports both dedicated and conventional-sync strobes
· Supports Microdrive and SmartMedia
· Histogram function
· FireWire and USB connectivity
· Supports Exif Print
wide setting, this f/2.8 zoom lens
presents a small footprint. Extend it to the max and it
becomes somewhat imposing. The S2 Pro is shown with pop-up
flash at the ready.
· Very responsive,
with admirable performance, in most situations
· A comfortable fit in your hands, even with a larger-than-average
· Good color balance with auto WB
· Under fluorescent lighting, fluorescent WB proves worthwhile,
but you may have to use each setting to arrive at the optimum result (auto
WB works almost as well and with less fuss)
· Built-in flash delivers a strong-enough burst for balanced fill
and as the main light source
· Transparent (to end user) noise reduction produces noise-free
images with long exposures
· Good battery life
· Cloudy WB
setting results in distorted colors (best to leave auto WB in place)
· Ambient exposure and flash compensation buttons positioned awkwardly
· Auto-bracketing is initially labor-intensive, requiring too many
· Depletion of lithium cells leaves camera inoperative (remove them
and the camera works on AA-cell set, but without built-in flash)
For more information, contact Fuji Photo Film USA, Inc. by calling (800)
755-3854 or by visiting their web site, www.fujifilm.com.