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dustin

Will there be a S3?

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I am ready to make the upgrade from a consumer camera to a dslr (I think). I have been looking at the S2. I found a couple of places online that talk of rumors of some kind of new Fuji camera, likely a S2 replacement, coming out around February. Anybody here know anything?

 

Dustin

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Hi Dustin,

 

There will always be a replacement - it's the nature of the market.

 

With that said, I have scoured the net and found absolutely NO FIRM DETAILS about what the next Fuji DSLR will look like.

 

HTH

James

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Yeah, I know everything gets replaced. I would just hate to buy a camera thats "outdated" a month later.

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Thats one big advantage of SLR over compacts.

 

Even if it is "superseded" (probably more accurate a term than "outdated"), it is still likely to be a high quality camera, with a range of lenses and accessories that will be compatible for a long time to come.

 

You have to ask the question "will this camera provide for all (or most) of my needs and wants". If so, with an SLR, you are likely to be okay....

 

This is particularly the case with the S2Pro, as it is compatible with a wider a range of Nikon compatible accessories than is the Nikon DSLR range.

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I wouldn't be too worried about the S2 becoming outdated. I recently was glancing through ebay and noticed second hand S2s selling for nearly 90% of the cost of a new one. They hold their values extremely well. Even the S1 sells well.

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Thom Hogan thinks the S3 will be announced at PMA and will be based on their full-frame 11 megapixel sensor. Possibly the same N80 body.

 

I would love to see it in a body with a bigger viewfinder and a faster flash-sync speed.

 

Cheers

James

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Of course there will be an S3. I'm going to buy one, I think. Depends on what's new and the price. Well, maybe not. Maybe I'll just stick with the D100.

 

You just have to ask yourself, if I buy the S2 today, will it do the job I need?

 

But I might just wait for PMA. Pricing gets a little squirrelly until the new unit is introduced. The S1 was still selling for well above what the S2 price ended up being.

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Thom Hogan thinks the S3 will be announced at PMA and will be based on their full-frame 11 megapixel sensor. Possibly the same N80 body.

 

I would love to see it in a body with a bigger viewfinder and a faster flash-sync speed.

I would love the faster flash sync speed, but it would be great if they kept the same base body and it just fit right into the current housing :-)

 

M

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Will there be an S3? If we have learned anything from the S2, it is to hope and pray that it will be based on a better camera than the N80. In many respects the S2 is like Stephen Hawking, the renowned British cosmologist who suffers from severe multiple sclerosis. That is the S2 has a brilliant mind (digital capability) encased in a nearly non-functional body. If the only film cameras you have used are non-AF or pre-date the F4 and N90S/F90X, you might find the N80 body OK. But if you have used one of the more recent pro or semi-pro Nikon bodies - F90x, F100, or F5, you cannot help but find the S2's camera functions woefully deficient.

 

The autofocus is grindingly slow and fails totally in lower light levels, especially night diving with lights dim enough not to turn the experience into a localized day dive. I often take a spotting light during day dives just to help the auto-focus if I am in a shaded area. The outer four focus points are especially usless in low light.

 

TTL operation is marred by many deficiencies. Many users report that their TTL system does not function above 400 ISO. My S2 TTL works only at 100 & 200. (My 2 yr old N80 doesn't give the underexposure warning any more at any ISO). And when it does function, the TTL doesn't hold the correct exposure over as long a range of f-stops down from full power as do the F100 or F5.

 

A custom function available on both the F5 and the F100 allows you to apply bracketting to either the ambient light or strobe alone, which is great if you want to shoot two quick fill flash shots at different power while keeping the ambient water color setting constant. Or simple set the camera up to shoot two quick macro shots .3 f-stop apart. Not the N80/S2. Any bracketting is applied to both flash and ambient light which means that your water color changes along with the flash in fill flash situations. What a bummer!

 

I believe that most of the problems people are having with the S2 can be traced to the poor construction quality of the N80. But what can you realistically expect from a $400 camera body, a toy. Would the S2 have been worth $600 more to me if Fuji had based it on the F100. In a minute. And now Nikon has announced a digital camera that will be based on a body "down-market" from the N80. Not on your life!

 

What I'd really like to see Fuji give (sell) us is a digital back with the same 11Mp 24x26mm CCD everyone talks about, for the F5. Think about it - F5 autofocus, the F5 TTL control, F5 shutter w/250 x-sync, F54 custon functions, AND THE F5 ACTION FINDER! What more could could an underwater photographer want. Leica says they are building a digital back that can be added to their R8/R9 SLR's. Why can't Fuji do the same for the F5? Nikon continues to ram D-TTL down our throats just so they can also sell more flashes, not because it is really necessary. And doesn't share the technmology (presuming it would even work in the "light-eating underwater environment) with underwater strobe manufacturers. The Fuji CCD proves that normal TTL can work very well with a digital sensor.

 

Think of the market. Its already there. There are hundreds of thousands of F5 owners out there, and they are the type of person who is also likely to be interested in high quality digital photography. And manyused F5s available right now at quite reasonable prices. An underwater housing for such a camera should cost no more than any other comperable digital housing, and the makers have the advantage that they have already designed the front half of the housing.

 

Does anyone else out there have the same dream? Where's my Santa Claus?

 

divegypsy

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The S2 is based on the same body as the D100 and offers capabilities competitive with the other cameras in it's class. Are its AF and TTL performance worse than the D100 or the 10D? No. What other dSLR even offers TTL? How often do you use TTL strobe underwater above ISO 100?

 

Many people check their digital exposures after the shot as an alternate to bracketing, so I doubt bracketing is high on the wishlist for many digital underwater shooters.

 

There are dSLR's based on finer bodies but they are all twice the cost of the S2 at least. The E1 is supposed to be a very nice body at a lower price but who knows if there will be a housing for it.

 

There is planty of discussion of what the S3 might be at Thom Hogan's site and at DPreview. Thom says (I believe) that the S3 will likely receive and improved N80 base with a single battery solution from Nikon rather than an upmarket base like the F100. Considering its runoUred 11/22MP FF sensor, it will be very much like a Kodak 14n in its resolving power, perspective, base body, and price. The 14n has quietly gained a devoted following, including Thom himself, and one would expect Fuji to deliver a camera at least as good. Another plus will be that it should be much more housable that the portly 14n.

 

Sure we'd all like better strobe sync speed, state of the art AF electronics, environmental seals, etc and a $2000 price, but the S3 as its currently rumored could quite possibly be the best underwater digital SLR we've ever seen, and current S2 housing manufacturers are likely to be able to house it very quickly.

 

If a full-frame Fuji F5 back is what you want, the rumored F6 should be everything you are looking for provided Fuji makes a back for it. If Nikon delivers the F6, I would expect great interest in housing it. Expect to pay twice as much for the complete body plus housing, though. If the S3 and F6 both come to be, it will be a tough choice.

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"My 2 yr old N80 doesn't give the underexposure warning any more at any ISO"

 

I did not know there was an underexposure warning on the N80 - can you tell me where it is? My life may have just become a tad simpler. thanks

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The little red lightning bolt in the viewfinder screen will flash after taking a shot for several seconds.

 

Also, on the F/N80, since you are asking, a TTL strobe will most likely have either a blinking light and/or an audible warning after doing a full dump in TTL mode.

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Concerning Craig's comments to my "wish" for a digital back for a Nikon F5 I would respond to his comments.

 

C - "The S2 is based on the same body as the D100 and offers capabilities competitive with the other cameras in it's class. Are its AF and TTL performance worse than the D100 or the 10D? No. What other dSLR even offers TTL? How often do you use TTL strobe underwater above ISO 100?"

 

DG - Why should I be satisfied with cameras in that class? Why shouldn't I want something better. And while I may not have ever used TTL at any ISO above 100 yet, why should I not have that option. There will be occasions when nothing other than a higher ISO will do the job.

 

C - "Many people check their digital exposures after the shot as an alternate to bracketing, so I doubt bracketing is high on the wishlist for many digital underwater shooters."

 

DG - Your "shoot and look" method works ONLY is the subject sits there and gives you lots of time to shoot & check, or approaches repeatedly. This rules out opportunities like faster moving pelagics and the one-shot behavioral oportunities. Using a TTL system and good technique, you can get far more of these kinds of shots than any other way.

 

AND the dive conditions must allow your"shoot and look" - no strong currents blowing you along, no deep dives where you have only minutes of contact with the subject. A year ago I had a less than five minute contact time with a large molo-mola at 45-50m depth. I shot 28 frames using an F5 setting the ambient light in manual exposure mode and then using the TTL & bracketing to give me two fill flashes .7 f-stop apart. 24 frames were technically usable, though I threw out about half due to position of the mola's fins or other aesthetic reasons. I believe a camera system, whether digital or film, should be consistent and predictable enough in its results that you can just shoot with confidence that you are going to get a technically good picture. And then use the digital screen to check the aesthetic elements of the shot when possible.

 

C - "Sure we'd all like better strobe sync speed, state of the art AF electronics, environmental seals, etc and a $2000 price, but the S3 as its currently rumored could quite possibly be the best underwater digital SLR we've ever seen, and current S2 housing manufacturers are likely to be able to house it very quickly."

 

DG - An S2 or an S3 based on an F100 could be housed just a quickly as one based on the F80, and would be a much better camera. Easily worth the difference in the price between the two base cameras. And I would also have happily paid the same price for a digital back for the F5 with the S2 sensor as I paid for the whole S2 itself. A better tool will let you get better pictures more of the time.

 

C "If a full-frame Fuji F5 back is what you want, the rumored F6 should be everything you are looking for provided Fuji makes a back for it. If Nikon delivers the F6, I would expect great interest in housing it. Expect to pay twice as much for the complete body plus housing, though. If the S3 and F6 both come to be, it will be a tough choice."

 

DG - If Nikon produces an F6 similar to Thom Hogan's predictions - what are the chances that it will come with regular TTL and not D-TTL? So forget TTL with any of the current underwater strobes. And if the S3 is based on the F80, it will still have the basic F80 construction quality, which is mediocre. And Nikon may force Fuji to go over to the D-TTL system in order to have continued access to Nikon's bodies. All things considered, I'd still prefer a good TTL compatible digital back for the F5 to any other option I've heard of.

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I dont agree with your position on bracketing vs. "shoot and look". I feel bracketing is more for static shots than "shoot and look" is. How fast can you shoot three shots of bracketing at full strobe power? Often with fast moving animals there is only one best shot anyway. I get my WA exposure right 2 out of 3 shots, my macro more often than that, and I've never had a problem with "shoot and look" in a current. Sure, if I had super fast cycling strobes, a strong current, and a fast subject bracketing might improve my odds, but I'm still likely to miss the shot if I'm not set up in advance for it. Bracketing doesn't solve that problem.

 

Your original post claimed that the S2 was "nearly non-functional". I merely pointed out that the S2 is as functional (or more so) than the other cameras in the class. If you feel all digital cameras short of the D1x and 1Ds are not suitable for use then you're entitled to that opinion. There's a lot of speculation on the S3 and I hope you're wishlist for it comes true, but Thom feels it will not. I would love for the S3 to be full frame, high res, superb ISO range, pro level body, terrific AF, and TTL strobe. Canon makes that camera today in the 1Ds except for the TTL, and such an S3 would be priced more like the 1Ds than the S2. I will hope along with you that Fuji upgrades more than just the battery in the S3 body.

 

I had not considered TTL with the F6 and you're right. It seems unlikely that Fuji would be able to provide that through the back in a modular concept. The problem with TTL is the reflectivity of the digital sensor compared to film, so it's not just a marketing decision by Canon/Nikon/Fuji to remove it or cripple it. It's not a given that putting a digital back on an F5 would leave TTL functional.

 

There are SLR's that encourage bracketing over "shoot and look", have bodies as good as the F100 or better, support full TTL, superior AF, your choice of ISO AND B&W or color imaging, etc. They are also widely available now. In all seriousness, why don't you use that? The feature set you consider "must-haves" only exists in film today.

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I will hope along with you that Fuji upgrades more than just the battery in the S3 body

 

The only thing I want to see is that they eliminate the CR-123's and pop-up flash and keep the AA's. Most of us run the camera without them. I carry enough AA's for 4 system changes, strobes camera and all, and have a grand total of $100 invested, including chargers.

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Thom said that Nikon was working with Fuji to improve the S2 battery situation. I'm wondering if that means the D100 battery. I like AA's, too, but the D100 battery is good.

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In further response to Craig and Scotty B.

 

Scotty - if you want to get rid of the CR123's for your S2 its very easy if your housing has a bit of spare room, as does my heavily modified Ikelite housing. I cut several woden dowel sticks to the same length as the 123's including a screw head on one end. Then ran wires from dowel sticks to a second set of 4 AA's held on handgrip side of camera inside housing. Combined with a small notch cut in plastic next to regular AA holder and trimming the AA holder a bit I can now change both sets of AA's without removing camera from housing at all. I recently saw a friend's Sea & Sea housing and there was plenty of room for four extra AA in the back half of the housing. I saw both the Subal and Seacam housings at DEMA and I don't believe there was enough room to spare in them. But at least the Seacam housing had been designed to allow you to remove the regular AA tray without removing the camera.

 

Also - I have seen where other S2 users have complained that Ikelite dowsn't make a port for the Nikon 70-180 micro and doesn't make an 8" dome. Ike will make a custom port for the 70-180. I have one. And any minimally equipped machine shop can easily can easily make an adapter to mount an older screw-thread dome onto the Ikelite housing. I've had it done and had another made that allows me to mount any of the Seacam ports I bought with my Seacam F5 housings. The only Seacam port I'm leary about using on the Ikelite is the very heavy 9" superdome. I'm just not confident that thetwo Ikelite port latches are strong enough to handle the port in the air as the camera is being carried in and out of the water, which is why I use the older, much lighter Aquatica dome. And when using it I have to add a little extra lead to the housing. Don't let the fact that a particular manufacturer doesn't make exactly what you want stop you. Make it yourself with the help of a good machinist.

 

Craig - using the F5 with Hartenberger 625 strobes I can knock off a three set bracket of shots in about three seconds - and less if the strobe output is less than full power, which is often the case with these strobes. Or less if I'm using the H250's. However two shots, rather than three, is what I consider a normal bracket sett as the third "over" shot is almost never of interest. In macro the brackets are typically separated by .3 f-stop (0.0 & -.3 or -.3 & -.7 depending on the subject) and for blue water fill the brackets are usually .7 or 1.0 f-stop apart (-2.0 and either -2.7 or -3.0. When shooting sand tiger sharks in Australia a few months ago I typically could shoot two bracket sets, each of two shots, on each pass of the shark. Each pair of shots was completed in about one second. With the bracketing set to do this the only technical aspect I have to monitor is the manually set ambient light setting which is based primarily on the water color rendition I want - which is usually between 0 and -.7 on the analogue ambient light scale.

 

Again, this is more difficult to do with the S2 because when you have the flash compensation displayed you lose the ambient light scale. And the reverse. And bracketing cannnot be applied to the flash alone. By the way with any of the Nikon film cameras since F90x, incluidng the S2, you can fire the camera when the compensation button is depressed. I have modified all my housings so that I can depress the comp button and leave it depressed for a full set of pictures. This allows me to shoot a set of pictures with a constant ambient light setting and different flash outputs quickly. While the comp button is depressed you cannot change shutter speed or aperture. In almost all macro shots this isn't important as you typically set something like f16 or f22 and expect your strobe to provide all the light and as long as you don't get the underexposure warning signal. In this way you can shoot various TTL macro exposures almost as fast as you strobe recycles. In fill situations I typically set one water color ambient light setting and then "lock" the comp button again allowing me to shoot different fill levels rapidly. The external lever on the comp button control has been extended on my housings so that it can be "engaged or disengaged" while my left hand is still on the hand grips of the housing.

 

I believe that the most frequently used controls ought to be easily operated with both hands on the hadgrips while the housing is held to your eye. If, for example, you have to lower a housing from your eye to change between the different focus points, the chances are any moving subject will have moved on before you can take the housing from your eye, push the appropriate buttor, and then raise the housing to eyelevel again and recompose the subject. Beyond the basic aperture and shutter control, I believe the compensation control is one of the most important on any TTL enabled camera/housing combination.

 

DG

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Your strobe choice makes sense. I don't think very many here are familiar with how powerful and fast the Hartenberger 625's are. Many strobes can't do what you describe but those certainly can.

 

I'm not aware of those S2 limitations since I don't have one. I've not heard of anyone bracketing wide angle fill shots in that manner before. I see the value in it but wonder how consistent the TTL performs.

 

Do you see value in bracketing TTL strobe with macro and digital? I understand your thinking for film. Perhaps it allows you to get a little closer to full exposure without worrying about blowout.

 

Nexus makes a control that allows exposure compensation to remain depressed. It doesn't matter in this context, but I appreciate the added convenience of that design.

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Getting back to the original S3 post,

 

Today I noticed that Fuji has a new 20.68 megapixel (41 MP interpolated) 52 x 37 mm sensor fom their medium format camera. If you down sized this to 24 x 36 mm full frame 35mm size you have a 15 MP sensor (30 MP interpolated).

 

Who knows what Fuji is really up to.

 

Doug

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Fuji makes an 11mp fullframe 35mm back also. So you were close Scubag, but only off by 4 million pixels...:-)

 

This is the sensor that Thom thinks Fuji will use in the S3. I hope so too!

 

Cheers

James

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If you down sized this to 24 x 36 mm full frame 35mm size you have a 15 MP sensor (30 MP interpolated).

 

Not by my math. The full frame is less than half the area of the MF back. I figured it at 9mp. I wonder what size the photosites are.

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Do you see value in bracketing TTL strobe with macro and digital? I understand your thinking for film. Perhaps it allows you to get a little closer to full exposure without worrying about blowout.

I have very little experience shooting film underwater. But my buddy uses an F5 in Subal housing, and I'm impressed by the accuracy of his exposures. I had basically convinced myself that we don't need TTL with our dSLRs, but it sure would be nice to be able to concentrate on composition first. I can see why someone with film experience would see this as a huge drawback.

 

I feel that most of my exposures are close (or close enough to correct in software_ on the first try, but setting up each shot certainly takes more time than with TTL. And shooting swimming fish is MUCH more difficult because the strobe-subject distance is constantly changing. Finally, a reliable TTL system (and there is debate whether the S2 TTL is reliable) might allow me to shoot in less forgiving modes - JPEG or TIF, thus dramatically reducing my post processing time.

 

I believe that the convenience of digital outweighs all of its drawbacks, but unless we clamor for these improvements they will never come. The camera manufacturers have focused on one thing to sell their cameras - Megapixels. Hopefully as this war draws to a close, the importance of camera features (and I don't mean MPEG record) will emerge as the differentiating factor.

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If you down sized this to 24 x 36 mm full frame 35mm size you have a 15 MP sensor (30 MP interpolated).

 

Not by my math. The full frame is less than half the area of the MF back. I figured it at 9mp. I wonder what size the photosites are.

Assuming the pixels cells are square on the Fuji sensor, I also get 9MP and a cell width of 9.65 microns. Note that this sensor is 4:3, not 3:2.

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One advantage if the S3 was made on the same F80 chassis as the S2 is that it might fit in existing S2 housings?

Just for fun, what would people prefer? A camera that meant they wouldn't have to fork out for a new housing? Or a camera with better AF, viewfinder and batteries?

 

Interesting conundrum. Not that we get to choose.

 

Alex

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That's a great question Alex. That's why I'm hoping that the theoretical 1D replacement from Canon maintains the same body. That way, there's at least 1 or 2 housings that could take it right away if I got the body and if I decided to house it. That's a slightly different problem than with the S2 though, as it sounds like the 1D / 1Ds body is more full featured than the S2.

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