Digital Outback Photo
- Photography using Digital SLRs


Fuji S2 Experience Report

A review diary by Uwe Steinmueller

Also photos by Bettina Steinmueller

Part 2
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10/20/2002 Second Opinion

Our friend Greg Governale (expert in large format printing) bought recently a Nikon D1x and a Fuji S2 for his wildlife photography. Here is his personal statement looking at both cameras:

"After spending a good deal of yesterday and today printing images at 20 30 in. and 24 in. by 36 in. I do believe that the S2 images contain more detail and look better than the images from the D1x. At smaller sizes the differences are very small, when printing larger sizes the files from the S2 look better to my eye.

I am not saying that images from the D1x are not good..... I am just saying at the sizes I use most often the S2 prints look a little better!"

We fully understand what Greg is saying here. On the other side many of our best photos are from the D1x. The best camera is the one you use and know best.

9/4/2002 Some Birds
Tonight we used the Fuji with the Nikkor AF-S 300mm f/4 + TC-14E at Los Gatos Creek Park. We shot all photos at ISO 400.

Cormorant (strong crop, handheld)

We are not really experts in photographing birds in flight. But the auto focus of the S2 worked very well and the ISO 400 are quite acceptable. We lightened the shadows with Fred Miranda's SR (Shadow Recovery) action.

Some Ducks (cropped, monopod)


The histogram of the S2 is really hard to read:

  • too small
  • the effect of some small highlight spots cannot be seen using the histogram
  • the histogram indicated nearly underexposure

Otherwise the S2 worked fine (color and sharpness). The evening light was very difficult. We have shot many photos at such a light with the D1 and D1x and had more difficulties getting some nice results.


Today we made some photos at Pebble Beach (North of Sata Cruz). The tide pools there are full of colors and life.

These photos were taken with the all manual PC Micro 85mm lens (we love it). Colors were again very close to reality. Nothing more to report today.

9/01/2002 Some strange Noise & Watch the channel Histograms

Paul Caldwell and Mike Chaney have reported some strange S2 noise pattern. We think we got it too while trying to stitch two photos from the PC Micro 85mm lens:

Sharpened with PowerRetouche

Stitched from two photos

This is an ISO 100 shot (from tripod). We enhanced the brightness quite a bit to show the noise. A 21"x7" print on our Epson 7500 could not really show the noise in the shadows. The same pattern was also present in lighter areas. Also Nik Sharpener amplified the pattern more than PowerRetouche. The photo had some underexposure and a very hard contrast. We had to do all curves and levels in 8bit as the stitching in Photoshop required 8bit photos.


Today we revisited some shots from the S2 which had lost detail in the strong yellow areas. First we thought it was a problem with Qimage as the histogram in the camera looked actually fine (that much you can see with the very small histogram in harsh sunlight).

RGB Histogram

But what we missed was looking at the channel histograms. Now we know that a blown out yellow would show RED=255, GREEN=255 and a low BLUE value. If we analyze this was actually what happened. Also the Photoshop histogram shows even in the RGB histogram the problem.

But the S2 also provides histograms for all three color channels and they clearly indicated the disaster.



First we thought the three channel histograms would be just a luxury and more actions to do. We were wrong and want this feature for every camera now.

Even better would be an indicator in the main histogram which would show clipping in the color channels. The you would only visit the channel histograms if needed.

Also thanks to Mike (Qimage author) to help finding the problem. It was not a fault of Qimage we were not reading the histograms properly.

TIP: Know your S2 histogram(s)!


Today we visited Villa Filoli. At this time of the year we only find a few flowers which are good enough to photograph. We used the D100 and S2. Both cameras performed well but this shot with all the small details is clearly a S2 domain:

Crop of 2670x1780

100% pixels

Conversion was again done with Qimage in linear mode.

Here are two more shots:

Inside a Sunflower


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