While in Birmingham yesterday I visited Jessops on Cherry Street. A knowledgeable dealer in the store showed me the Fuji S3 Pro and we discussed its potential advantages over the just announced Nikon D200 ("potential" because neither of us had held a D200 yet!)
However, the S3 Pro has a number of advantages that simply suit my ways of doing things. For example:
1. The S3 uses standard AA rechargeable batteries. These cost a lot less to buy than custom Lithiums as in the D200, and ordinary alkaline AAs can be substituted in a push (as in, say, the middle of Africa).
2. The S3 has firewire capability. This wonderful standard is suffering from the "USB 2.0 is everywhere" malaise of mediocrity. That may sound a tad strong as USB 2.0 is fast. But Firewire allows you to control the camera from your PC! That might be useful down the road.
3. The D200 is likely to cost around £200 more, basically the cost of a fast 4 Gbyte flash card.
4. The S3 has a built in flash. While Nikon will have excluded such an extra to maintain "professional purity" (a.k.a. elitish snobbery among the not-so-professional) I believe that the built in flash can be very useful for daytime fill flash (I use it a lot with the Fuji S7000).
5. There have been some reports of Nikon's AF system malfunctioning in various new bodies and if this system is employed in the D200, then it would be a potential deterrent. I understand that this is dangerous hearsay at the moment but if Nikon is reluctant to confess about issues with its cameras, and dealers cannot refute the claims, then the competition should win.
So, the S3 Pro goes onto my wish list and Jessops Birmingham will get the sale when I get round to it!