Fujifilm Intros F31d, Announces S5 Pro DSLR

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Fujifilm has introduced the FinePix F31d ultracompact consumer-oriented digital camera. sure to please consumers with a small footprint, high sensitivity, and face detection technology. And, to keep the pros happy, Fujifilm has unveiled plans for a FinePix S5 digital SLR due in early 2007.

The six megapixel FinePix F31d is the company’s first ultracompact to feature face detection technology, which tries to automatically detect and balance face-like areas in a photo frame and adjust the camera settings appropriately so everybody’s image comes out clear and recognizable. Fuji’s face detection system can pick out up to 10 faces in a frame, and claims to get its job done in as little as one twentieth of a second, so it doesn’t interfere with spontaneous picture-taking.

The F31d also sports an ISO 3200 sensitivity (providing outstanding low-light capabilities), a 580-shot battery life, a 3× optical zoom, Fujifilm’s electronic image stabilization, and a 2.-5 inch LCD viewfinder. The camera also uses Fujifim’s i-Flash system to adjust the power of flash photography in response to ambient lighting conditions, so foreground light doesn’t overwhelm a subject. The camera can also capture VGA-resolution movies at 30 fps, offers 15 scene mores (including beach, snow, and fireworks) and full many aperture and shutter priority. Store images to the roughly 26 MB of internal memory, supplemented by xD Picture Cards (available in capacities from 16 MB to 2 GB). Expect to see the F31d in stores this December for a suggested price of $399.

Fujifilm also took the opportunity to tease its forthcoming FinePix S5 Pro (PDF), an update to its S3 Pro digital single-lens reflex (SLR) camera popular amongst portraitists and wedding photographers. The S5 Pro is actually built off a Nikon D200 body (and uses the Nikon F-mount for Nikon and Nikkor lenses), stores images fo CF cards, and incorporates popular features from its consumer and semi-pro camera lines. According to Fujifilm, the 12.3 megapixel S5 Pro extends the dynamic range of its sensor by using a equal numbers (6.17 million apiece) of high- and low-sensitivity S and R pixels. The higher number of low-sensitivity R pixels should enable the camera to more accurate capture more intense light sources; similarly, the camera has excellent sensitivity, extending its range all the way to ISO 3200 with less noise than comparable cameras. The camera also sports a 2.5-inch LCD and adds three new film simulation modes (for a total of five) for improved capture of natural skin tones. The S5 Pro will also roll in Fujifilm’s face detection technology, a much-improved 11-point autofocus sensor, a top shutter speed of 1/8000th of a second, a "remark" function which lets photographers add comments to an image by way of a bar code reader. Options include a LAN adapter for high-speed data transfer, Hyper Utility software which enables editing of RAW images and PC-based control of the camera. Fujifilm says the S5 pro will be available in early 2007, but no pricing information has been released.

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