It's no secret that Fujifilm models its dSLRs on Nikon bodies, but its latest model, called the Fujifilm FinePix S5 Pro, may as well be a clone of the Nikon D200 -- from the outside at least.
Inside, Fujifilm swaps out the Nikon guts for its own array of electronic imaging machinery. Chief among that array is the company's Super CCD SR Pro imaging sensor, which combines two photodetectors per pixel in an attempt to create a wider dynamic range than you'd get from a normal sensor. Fujifilm also offers an 11-point AF system (up from 5 in the S3 Pro), as well as a 64mm LCD and a nifty face-detection system in playback mode, which can come in handy when checking focus on the faces of your subjects.
Considering that the S5 Pro commands a price premium over the D200 and is, in some ways, inferior to that Nikon, you'll have to decide if this Fujifilm's slightly extended dynamic range and array of features not found in the D200 are essential to your shooting style and thus worth the added cash.
Trade out Fujifilm's branding and the face-detection button on the camera's back, and this camera would look exactly like Nikon's D200. Of course, that's a very good thing since the D200 has a really smart body design.
Its well-formed grip is covered in textured rubber, while the back side of the grip has a contoured ridge that gives your thumb a solid yet natural-feeling place to rest. At the same time, the ridge provides ample leverage when trying to manoeuvre the camera, which can come in handy when using larger, pro-level lenses.
If you're not used to Nikon's controls, you may find yourself looking for a shooting mode dial but you won't find one. Instead, hold down the mode button while turning the rear thumbwheel to change shooting modes.
Most standard shooting settings, such as white balance, ISO, metering and AF modes -- and more -- can be controlled by the buttons, dials and wheels on the camera body. That means once you learn the camera's layout, you won't need to delve into the menus much while shooting. You should, however, expect to use two hands while changing settings, since you often have to hold down one button with your left hand while turning the thumbwheel with your right.
Another advantage of Fujifilm using Nikon's body is that the S5 Pro employs the Nikon F-Mount lens mount and can use some Nikon accessories. According to Fujifilm, the camera is compatible with most Nikon CPU lenses (except for IX_Nikkor lenses and a few other exceptions listed in the manual) as well as Nikon's SB-800 and SB-600 i-TTL flash units. It can also trigger those units, as well as the SB-R200, when set to its wireless commander mode -- the S5 includes a remote terminal as well as a sync terminal.
You can't use a Nikon D200 battery in the S5 Pro, though, since Nikon's batteries include a special computer chip to prevent the use of third-party batteries. Nikon's MB-D200 vertical-grip/extra battery pack works with the S5 Pro, but Fujifilm won't guarantee that it'll work properly if you opt for the AA battery holder in the grip -- you're better off sticking with the proprietary batteries if you go for the grip.