This is the first in my series of vintage digital camera reviews. I owned the Fuji Finepix S2 Pro for about two years, purchasing it used in 2009 for $175.00. I sold it after purchasing my next used camera, a Canon Rebel XS. The Fuji S2 Pro is one of my favorite cameras of all time. For sheer image quality, it remains very competitive even by today’s standards.
The Fuji Finepix S2 Pro was a 6-megapixel DSLR made by a company well known for its film products. Of these, Fuji Velvia film was revered by professional landscape photographers. It had over-the-top saturation, color, and contrast that turned landscape photos into sumptuous eye-candy. By comparison, most digital cameras of the time offered more accurate, and by comparison, more boring color rendition. The Fuji Finepix S2 Pro rendered colors that in many ways mimicked their legendary Velvia film. That’s what made it so appealing. Most DSLR camera images required a bit of post-processing to make them ‘pop’. That usually included boosting saturation and enhancing contrast. By default, the default jpeg images coming out of the Finepix S2 were already tweaked in camera to have the colorful “Velvia” look. No adjustments were needed. The color photos in this post were shot with the S2 Pro and an old Tokina lens (I don’t remember the model).
Although the Fuji Finepix S2 used a converted Nikon camera body as its foundation (it also uses the Nikon F lens mount), the look of the images was Fuji’s own. Fuji is a master of color rendition because of its heritage as a film manufacturer and it really shows in this camera. Plus, the Fuji designed 6-megapixel CCD sensor out-resolved all other similar DSLR cameras of its time. This was a camera built with the soul of an artist, not the mind of a technician. It became a cult classic among photographers who yearned for the look of Velvia film in their digital images. It was also loved by wedding photographers for its excellent rendition of skin tones.
The Finepix S2 did have its flaws. The 6-megapixel CCD sensor had a poor reputation for reliability in early production runs. That problem was ironed out in later production. Chances are that if you find a currently working model of the Finepix S2 Pro, it is most likely a later production run model. The problematic cameras died pretty early. Also, it requires two different types of batteries: 4 AA batteries and 2 CR123a Lithium batteries. It is a battery hog. Use rechargeable batteries to keep costs down. As far as I know, only Adobe Lightroom and Raw Therapee (free software) support the raw images produced by the Fuji Finepix S2 Pro.
I would not spend more than $75.00 for a used FinePix S2 Pro body in good condition. I would not buy it as a first camera. However, if you own a Nikon DSLR and want a second camera to play with, check it out! The Finepix S2 Pro uses the Nikon F lens mount and is compatible with many Nikon lenses. If you find a fully working model, you will be pleasantly surprised at how good its images look. For that reason alone, this camera is worth searching out.