Sometime around 25/3/09 (at 18:13 +0900) Roger D. Williams said:
>I find after searching for "Fuji S5 Pro" linked with "dynamic range"
>that my experience is common. This is that the blinking highlights
>on the preview image can be recovered to a quite astonishing extent
>by the proper RAW development.
This is my experience too; the range is more obvious in the
highlights. This whole DR thing with the S5 Pro is something that can
be hard to nail down in an unmistakeable, absolute way. It is a
little like processor or disk speed; you notice it more when you
don't have it than when you do. :-)
I use the S5 Pro for all my panorama shots, moving up from a D70 not
long after the S5 was first launched. (And before the big price
drops, dangit!) Yes, the RAW file size does take up a little more
room than I expected, but I got myself a couple of 8GB cards and
haven't had problems.
As for shooting speeds, I suppose if I wanted to shoot bracketed
exposures AND work very quickly I would find it a slight problem.
However, my typical scene involves highly active people, so true
bracketing is rarely an option. (Yes, the blurs that can make are
interesting, but I only rarely find them acceptable.) Sometimes I
shoot brackets, but not where there are moving subjects; those two
things are simply mutually incompatible however fast your camera is.
I've had no problems shooting 6 or 8 around plus z & n in dancing
crowds in festivals and clubs, which must class as among the most
movement-filled settings you can get. The camera has an acceptable
memory buffer, so I'm not dealing with the 'write to card' speed
It isn't a sports photographer's camera by any means; I would hate to
rely on it for bursts of shots in key moments in a football game, for
example. But the 'shoot, turn, shoot, turn' process of panorama
shoots is far slower than that no matter what head you use.
Okay, I *have* caught up with the buffer two or three times when
trying to work as fast as possible *and* going around more than once
without stopping. But over time I've found that even in very busy
conditions I don't need to push it to that point.
The only camera I'd move to from here would be a full-frame sensor
model, and it would need to have better resolution too. Really, we're
talking 5D MkII or D3x levels. Which means I'll be sticking with the
S5 Pro for the forseeable future! :-)
Your exposure blending/fusing in that tour is remarkable; I'm sure
the client was absolutely knocked out by the final results. I'm not
convinced that the S5 Pro would have been a serious problem for this,
as the slight difference in bracket capturing speed (assuming fast
cards were used) would be negligible compared to the time gained or
lost during the setup of each pano location. Those glorious sunsets
are quick, but we *are* talking seconds here.
Of course, you clearly made a good decision regardless of whether it
could or couldn't have been done with different kit; the results are
In my experience the S5 Pro is actually an *excellent* camera for
panoramas. The extended dynamic range (most obviously in those
recoverable highlights) and pleasing noise handling (low in the first
place, and looks more like film grain when it starts) are precisely
what's needed when capturing a 360-degree scene with a single fixed
I would rather it was a tiny bit sharper, but I've found this is only
an issue when pixel-peeping rather than using shots in a normal
fashion. And as that's the tradeoff of how the better dynamic range
works, I'll just stay happy and keep using things such as the 'blue
channel sharpening' technique posted here some time ago.