Fujifilm FinePix S5 Pro Digital Camera Review

Read a review of the Fuji FinePix S5 Pro digital SLR camera.

$1,999.00 MSRP
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Testing / Performance

**NOTE: These scores are the first to be garnered using our new equations; overall scores are not directly comparable to cameras' that have been reviewed before it. **

Color* (9.17)* tests color by photographing a standard GretagMacbeth color chart made up of 24 color patches and analyzing the image with Imatest Software, the premiere testing software for camera performance. Imatest compares the color the camera rendered with the ideal value. In the first chart, the outer squares show the color the camera recorded, and the inner square shows ideal color, and the rectangle shows the ideal corrected for luminance. To maintain consistent results, we use the same procedure for every camera, shooting the chart in our lab, using a standardized tungsten lighting setup.


The Fujifilm FinePix S5 Pro did well in our color tests, rendering colors with only slight errors in hue and undersaturation. It had a mean color error of 6.54, which is a good score. The image saturation was excellent – at 98.64 percent it's within 1.5 percent of perfect. The S5’s images are undersaturated, which is a benefit for users who manipulate images – it's much easier to maintain detail while boosting saturation than while reducing it.

Imatest's second chart shows the same information in a more compelling way. The chart's background is a color gamut. The center of the image shows no hue at all – it's where black, white and shades of gray are plotted. The colors get progressively more vivid moving out from the center, and they are arranged around the center in a color wheel. The ideal colors are plotted on the chart with squares. The Fujifilm FinePix S5 Pro's colors are plotted with circles, and the length of the lines between the square and the circle shows how much the S5 deviates from ideal color. If the circle is further from the middle than the square, the color is oversaturated, and if the circle is rotated around the center, relative to the square, then the hue is off. The S5’s chart shows a couple of reds are oversaturated, and some of the blues and greens are off in hue.


White Balance ***(5.56)*

***Auto (4.94)

*The automatic white balance setting performs almost as well as the preset modes across the board. It may be worth the convenience of not having to constantly switch settings when walking into different lighting. The only exception is the tungsten preset, which performs far better than the auto setting under such lighting.


Auto WB - Shade Illumination


Auto WB - Flash Illumination


Auto WB - Fluorescent Illumination


Auto WB - Tungsten Illumination

*Preset (6.18)

*The Fujifilm FinePix S5’s white balance accuracy is mediocre across the board. The auto and preset white balance settings are oddly similar except in the tungsten light preset, which produces far more accurate color.


Shade WB - Shade Illumination


Flash WB - Flash Illumination


Fluorescent WB - Fluorscent Illumination


Tungsten WB - Tungsten Illumination

Still Life Sequences

From the fevered dreams of our Editor-in-Chief, we present our still-life scene, as a means of comparing full-resolution images from the range of cameras we have tested over the years. As you ponder the image, you may think, as many others have, "Well, Dr. Freud would have a thing or two to say about that!"

*Click on any of the thumbnails below to view the full resolution images. *

Still Life Scene
 {{article.attachments['S5-w2DR-peopleSL-ISO100-sm.jpg']}}  {{article.attachments['S5-w2DR-colorSL-ISO100-sm.jpg']}}
 ISO 100  *ISO 100*
 {{article.attachments['S5-w2DR-peopleSL-ISO200-sm.jpg']}}  {{article.attachments['S5-w2DR-colorSL-ISO200-sm.jpg']}}
 *ISO 200*  ISO 200
 {{article.attachments['S5-w2DR-peopleSL-ISO400-sm.jpg']}}  {{article.attachments['S5-w2DR-colorSL-ISO400-sm.jpg']}}
 ISO 400  ISO 400
 {{article.attachments['S5-w2DR-peopleSL-ISO800-sm.jpg']}}  {{article.attachments['S5-w2DR-colorSL-ISO800-sm.jpg']}}
 *ISO 800*  *ISO 800*
 {{article.attachments['S5-w2DR-peopleSL-ISO1600-sm.jpg']}}  {{article.attachments['S5-w2DR-colorSL-ISO1600-sm.jpg']}}
 *ISO 1600*  *ISO 1600*
 {{article.attachments['S5-w2DR-peopleSL-ISO3200-sm.jpg']}}  {{article.attachments['S5-w2DR-colorSL-ISO3200-sm.jpg']}}
 *ISO 3200*  *ISO 3200*


Imatest Software evaluates camera resolution by analyzing a shot of a standard ISO chart. We shoot the chart in our lab, under our trusty tungsten lights. We mount the camera on a heavy tripod to guard against vibration and shoot at a variety of apertures and focal lengths. We set the Fujifilm FinePix S5 Pro to ISO 100, f/ 8.0, and shot at a 55mm focal length. The S5 resolved 1915 line widths per picture height horizontally, with 6.0 percent undersharpening, and 1768 lw/ph vertical, with 11.7 percent undersharpening. Line widths per picture height is a unit of measure that can be standardized across all digital cameras because it is independent of the physical dimensions of the sensor. The advantage is that our results for full-frame, APS, Four-Thirds and compact cameras are all directly comparable.


*Click on the chart above to view the full resolution version


The Fujifilm FinePix S5 Pro is a 6-megapixel camera, and its lw/ph results are excellent for a camera of that resolution. Undersharpening is not as much of a problem as oversharpening, which can produce visible artifacts in images. Undersharpening actually gives the photographer some leeway to sharpen the image after retouching or color correction.

Noise – Manual ISO*(11.62)*

When referring to an image, noise is an engineering term that refers to stray variations in a picture. A hiss or buzz on a cell phone connection is noise too – stray signals that get in the way of understanding the message the user wants to send. Image noise shows up as a speckling of colors that isn’t part of what the subject actually looks like. Again, we use the GretagMacbeth chart and Imatest in our testing. Noise increases with ISO because digital cameras increase ISO by amplifying the sensor signal, and more or less inevitably, they amplify noise as well.


The Fujifilm FinePix S5 Pro did an excellent job on the test – the noise level never went over 2 percent, though it increased slowly with ISO.

Noise – Auto ISO*(0.0)*

The Fujifilm FinePix S5 Pro does not have a fully auto ISO setting, so this test could not be carried out.

Low Light*(8.85)*

The Fujifilm FinePix S5 Pro kept noise in check during long exposures. We tested the S5 Pro with the camera in standard mode, which applies some noise reduction for long exposures. The S5 has an ORG (original) mode, which does not apply noise reduction. It's designed for astrophotography and its main function is to maintain sharpness. Low light shots with exposures longer than 1 second showed a mild decrease in saturation.  The charts below, at the various light levels, were all captured at ISO 1600.  

  We also test each camera's ability to capture images at ISO 400, with the shutter held open for longer exposures. Below is a graph of the Fujifilm's S5 Pro's noise levels at various extended shutter speeds.


Dynamic Range*(14.4)*

Our dynamic range test measures the ability to render detail in images of subjects with a wide range of light and dark tones. We turn again to Imatest software, this time shooting a Stouffer film test target lit from behind. The target shows more than 14 EV of dynamic range, which is well beyond the capability of any camera we've tested.


We shot the Fujifilm FinePix S5 Pro at three D-Range settings: STD (D-Range is off), W1 (D-Range at its middle setting of 230 percent) and W2 D-Range at its maximum of 400 percent). At each setting, we shot from ISO 100 to 3200 in full EV steps. At each D-Range setting, the score declines as ISO rises, with a significant drop at ISO 3200. STD mode yielded competitive results, and W1 and W2 scored significantly better. Our final score is based on W2 from ISO 100 to 1600 because it appears that 3200 is an extended setting, rather than the standard range of the camera.


Startup to First Shot*(9.6)*

The Fujifilm FinePix S5 Pro came to life and got off a shot in 0.4 seconds, which is not fast for a DSLR. The best take about half that long. It's not likely that the distinction will make a practical difference, though.

Shot-to-Shot (9.7)

In Low burst mode, the Fujifilm FinePix S5 Pro shot 16 JPEGs in 8 seconds, at 0.5 seconds per shot. It took the S5 another 19 seconds to record the images entirely, so the whole process took 27 seconds. D-Range was turned off for this test. The S5 is able to shoot while it's clearing its buffer, so the user could get off more shots shortly after the camera bogged down on the first eight. In High burst mode, the S5 shot 22 frames in 7.5 seconds, at 0.3 seconds per frame. The S5 finished writing the images 18 seconds after the last image was taken. Again, D-Range was off for this test. Shooting with D-Range on, and particularly while recording RAW files slows the S5 down enormously.


Our tests showed that the Fujifilm FinePix S5 Pro got its shots off very quickly. We measured less than 0.1 seconds of delay between the moment the shutter was pressed and the actual shot.

*Processing (8.4)

*We calculated an average processing time of .8 seconds per images with the Fujifilm S5 Pro. The camera took 18 seconds to process 22 consecutive JPEG files using a 2 GB SanDisk Extreme III CompactFlash memory card.

Comparable Products

Before you buy the Fujifilm FinePix S5 Pro, take a look at these other cameras.

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  1. Testing / Performance
  2. Components
  3. Design / Layout
  4. Modes
  5. Control Options
  6. Image Parameters
  7. Connectivity / Extras
  8. Overall Impressions
  9. Conclusion
  10. Sample Photos
  11. Specs / Ratings
  12. Photo Gallery