Fujifilm looks beyond the pixels with the FinePix S20 Pro

PRESS RELEASE: Digital spotlight centres on image quality as Fujifilm launches second Super CCD SR camera. Built to cater for the creatively-minded photographer, the FinePix S20 Pro is the second camera in the FinePix range to offer Fujifilms pioneering Super CCD SR technology, an award-winning development which underlines the importance of image quality as a whole, rather than pixel count alone.

With 6.2 million effective pixels (3.1 million S-pixels + 3.1 million R-pixels*), delivering 6.03 million recorded pixels, the cameras excellence is built on more than just pixel power. The FinePix S20 Pros SR technology revolves around the use of paired photodiodes in place of a solitary pixel. These paired photodiodes combine to capture tonal detail missed by conventional single-pixel CCDs, particularly in low-light and high contrast scenes. The result is a camera that produces outstanding dynamic range, greater sensitivity and class-leading signal to noise ratio.

Furthermore, the FinePix S20 Pros CCD RAW mode offers photographers the chance to save full image data uncompressed, guaranteeing every element of the captured file is ready for careful out-of-camera manipulation. The camera is also supplied with Hyper Utility HS-V2, a new software tool that enables the user to fine-tune aspects of an image such as sharpness, colour balance, and crucially, the full extent of the cameras impressive dynamic range.

Fitted with the acclaimed Super EBC Fujinon 6x optical zoom lens, Firewire and USB 2.0 connectivity, full-resolution sensitivity settings up to ISO 800 (ISO 1600 in 1,280 x 960 pixel mode) and a threaded cable release, the FinePix S20 Pro puts professional functionality into an enthusiast form. In addition, the options for external flash, via hot-shoe or PC sync socket, are a proven benefit for the studio or macro photographer.

While this camera may be uncompromising in its approach to image quality, the range of features and response speed ensure it remains natural to use. The FinePix S20 Pros manual modes enable you to exert creative control over aperture, focusing, shutter speed and flash whilst offering a VGA digital movie mode that records at 30 frames per second (fps), with sound.

FinePix S20 Pro Zoom: features at a glance

* Compact, SLR-style body shape to give you features and performance without bulk
* Fourth Generation Super CCD SR sensor with 6.2 million effective pixels (3.1 million S-pixels + 3.1 million R-pixels*), delivering 6.03 million recorded pixels
* RAW file format - data stored without processing, enabling complete fine-tuning of the image
* Super EBC Fujinon 6x optical zoom lens equivalent to 35 - 210mm on a 35mm camera

* Dual card format: xD-Picture Card and Microdrive, for added storage flexibility
* Full manual control
* External flash option via PC sync socket or hot-shoe, where a more powerful flash is needed
* USB 2.0 and Firewire (IEEE 1394) connections, allowing rapid transfer of images from camera to PC
* VGA movie recording (30 fps) with sound, providing ultra-smooth results
* High sensitivity settings (up to ISO 1600) to allow photography in a wide range of situations, including low light without flash
* Live Video - enables the photographer to view the subject on a monitor without having to rely on the LCD display or Electronic Viewfinder (EVF)
* FinePix Viewer for Professionals - Fujifilm has tailored its FinePix Viewer image management software for professionals, enabling the photographer to change camera settings, and release the shutter, from a computer
* In the ÚK, the FinePix S20 Pro is supplied with Hyper Utility HS-V2 software, allowing image data to be fine-tuned (including sharpness, colour balance, dynamic range)

Adrian Clarke, Fujifilm's Director of Consumer Products, commented, "The S20 Pro is for people who really know their photography. Super CCD SR technology is changing attitudes to digital photography - its no longer a case of just asking how many pixels there are.

Think about how people look at a photograph. They dont concentrate on tiny portions of the photographic image - they look at its colour, its contrast and overall impact. In this respect, the FinePix S20 Pro stands out - its increased dynamic range and lack of noise are certain to make it a winner among enthusiast photographers.

Availability
The FinePix S20 Pro will be available in the UK from leading photographic retailers from April 2004. Box contents may vary by international territory. Pricing will be determined nearer to the date of retail launch.**

FinePix S20 Pro versus FinePix S7000 Zoom
The FinePix S20 Pro has been introduced to sit alongside the FinePix S7000 in Fujifilms high-end digital camera line-up. Which one suits which photographer? The output pixel count produced by the FinePix S7000 Zoom (4,048 x 3,040) lends itself to particularly big print enlargements. However, at print sizes up to A3, the improved dynamic range achieved by the FinePix S20 Pro will offer an edge over the FinePix S7000 Zoom, particularly with images taken in high contrast light conditions. Furthermore, the FinePix S20 Pros PC sync socket will make this camera more attractive to the studio and macro flash user.

Super CCD SR sensor - High Fidelity PhotographyTM
Fujifilms Super CCD SR provides a truer representation of the subject, retaining highlight detail and offering a four-fold increase in dynamic range. By using the innovative layout of paired photodiodes, the technology enables confident shooting in both bright and cloudy conditions, combats the bleached-out effect created by flash photography and increases exposure latitude - a great advantage in difficult lighting conditions.


The technology behind Super CCD SR
On a standard CCD, a single photodiode*** is responsible for capturing the full range of light strengths at a single location on the sensor, whereas with Super CCD SR, two photodiodes capture information on the same area of the image. These are arranged in a double-honeycomb structure comprising a larger, primary photodiode adjusted for high sensitivity, with a secondary photodiode for lower sensitivity. When combined, they offer four times the dynamic range of conventional photodiodes. This advance in technology might be compared to the evolution of the audio speaker: in an attempt to improve performance, the addition of a secondary high sensitivity cone, or tweeter, radically improved range and sound quality.

Schematic of Super CCD SR sensor layout:
The FinePix S20 Pro uses 6.2 million photodiodes, producing an ultra-smooth output image of 6.2 million recorded pixels

Technical information relating to interpolation and Fujifilm Super CCD
Fujifilms Super CCD technology always produces a still image by processing intermediary tone and colour values between the effective pixels, no matter what the size of the output image. For instance, when using the FinePix S20 Pro (a 6mp output camera) on its 3mp setting, the camera reduces the 6 million pixel file to half size, rather than reading exclusively from the effective photodiodes on the CCD. The reason for this is that the chessboard arrangement of photosites on the CCD necessitates intermediary values in order to fill the gaps. For further information on how the Super CCD processor generates intermediary pixel values, please visit:

http://www.superccd.co.uk



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