The Fujifilm FinePix S3 Pro digital SLR (dSLR) replaces the S2 Pro, which enjoyed some modest success among photographers who prized its image quality. Like its predecessor, the S3 Pro uses Nikon F-mount SLR lenses and a (debatably) 6-megapixel Fujifilm sensor. But the sensor, called a Super CCD SR II, is an all-new design that uses two photodetectors per pixel to deliver the widest dynamic range we've seen in a dSLR. The camera's performance is mediocre, but if you hate blown-out highlights and love rich colours, the S3 Pro is worth a close look.
The Fujifilm FinePix S3 Pro's black, polycarbonate-plastic body is bigger than most entry-level dSLR cameras, but not by much. At about 840g without a lens, its weight is also middle-of-the-road for a dSLR. Both the grip and the camera back are contoured to give you a firm grasp, and the S3 Pro is very secure and comfortable to hold. It feels about as robust as midlevel dSLRs from other manufacturers.
You use thumb and forefinger wheels to control shutter speeds and apertures. They're also used in conjunction with other buttons to change various additional settings, including exposure compensation, bracketing and flash mode. Many important digital settings are controlled by the Func button and four associated buttons that run along the bottom of a small secondary LCD on the camera's back. The particular feature that each of these buttons controls varies as you cycle through the choices with the Func button, and we found the icons and labels that identify the feature settings to be modestly cryptic. Other less important functions are controlled by a standard menu system on the main LCD, which you navigate with a typical four-way thumb pad.