Fujifilm’s introduced their new flagship X-Series mirrorless digital camera, the X-H2S. Since its release date in early summer, this camera has been catching everyone’s attention and I am pleased to review what many consider to be Fujifilm’s most powerful camera yet. Fujifilm is a company that has been making eloquently crafted photographic film and equipment for almost 100 years and is a household brand name. Their other optic technology is widely used in other industries as well such as medical electronics and biotechnology. Naturally, it’s exciting to see what they have in store for us with their new full frame mirrorless camera.
New Imaging Sensor & Processor
The X-H2S is Fujifilm’s first APS-C camera to use their next generation CMOS imaging sensor, and it is powerful and fast. The 26.16MP X-TransTM CMOS 5 image sensor is a stacked, rear side illuminating sensor that provides you with signal speeds up to 4x over the previous generation X-TransTM CMOS 4 which is quite the leap.
Not only did Fujifilm introduce the X-H2S with a nice powerful upgraded imaging sensor, but they also revitalized their processor from the X-Processor 4 to the X-Processor 5. This upgrade gives twice the processing power versus its predecessor which allows for better image reliability at low ISO and less noise when shooting at a higher ISO sensitivity. Fujifilm’s new X-Processor 5 also has AI integration, and that means this camera’s subject detection AF (Auto Focus) offers blistering fast and accurate tracking and focusing. Couple this with shooting sequences up to 40 fps (frames per second) and you have an especially worthy feature for photography styles like action, wildlife, and sports sequences.
The bolstered new processor allows you to record video in 10-bit 4:2:2. It supports resolutions up to 6.2K/30P with very fast frame rates up to 4K/120P and Full HD/240P. With professionals in mind, the X-H2S is a diverse and universal camera and supports codecs, such as Apple ProRes HQ, ProRes 42, and ProRes LT, opening a world of possibilities during postproduction. Furthermore, you can enjoy recording video for up to 240 minutes because of the better processor and compatible codecs.
X-H2S Feature Enhancements & Specs
Fujifilm went all out with their X-H2S camera, loading it with top shelf features and hardware you only see in the most expensive cameras. The camera’s impressive design is constructed sleek and durable with body and setting customizations making it very user friendly.
- Enhanced Burst Mode – With a faster processor and lightning signal speeds, burst mode can now use the camera’s AF/AE tracking features in blackout-free continuous shooting up to 40fps. Or shoot over 1,000 frames continuously up to 30fps for JPEG and 20fps for RAW.
- The X-H2S triples the number of calculations vs X-T4 by using phase detection pixels individually from image display while in burst mode. This means the camera will focus at a very rapid speed even during fast continuous shooting.
- Improved AutoFocus Performance – The X-H2S’s powerful AI integrated processor can make many calculations per second with increased accuracy and precision. Subject detection AF uses Deep Learning technology to execute advanced prediction algorithms to enhance performance of Zone AF thus improving the camera’s ability to track moving subjects in low contrast. The X-H2S has a ton of subject tracking options you can choose from. Tracking human face and eyes now extend to animals and birds, plus added options for cars, motorcycles, bicycles, airplanes, and trains. This is a powerful tool which helps you concentrate on your frame and any action happening in the moment so you can create your best photographs. Having an AF feature of this caliber is a big deal for a camera at this price point.
- Enhanced Video Recording Performance – As mentioned above, the X-H2S provides exceptional video photography as well as stills. In addition to the internal recording of 4:2:2, with codecs you can get resolutions up to 6.2K/30P and 4:2:2, 10-bit h.265 video in frame rates of 4K/120P and Full HD/240p. You get super-fast readout speeds from the sensor at 1/180 seconds when recording which reduces rolling shutter effects if the camera is moving when handheld, or when the subject is moving. And because we know how recording video drains batteries and overheats the systems, the X-H2S has a heat dissipating design feature keeps the camera cool allowing for 4K/60P nonstop video recording for up to 240 minutes. Fujifilm is awesome for adding this feature into the design as well as offering add on accessory options like an attachable cooling fan.
- Added Dynamic Range of up to 14+ stops for External Recording – For more flexibility, the X-H2S is the first X-Series camera to contain F-Log2, allowing for more stops opening a vast array of creative possibilities during your video recording and while in post-production.
- High Resolution Electronic Viewfinder – X-H2S’s 5.76 million dot panel with a magnification of 0.8x and frame rates of 120fps provides tremendous visibility due to the system’s ability to suppress parallax and distortion while providing precise subject tracking. This can sometimes happen when the eye position becomes displaced and is a strong feature found only in the best cameras.
- New 5 axis in body image stabilization gets up to 7.0 stops of image stabilization which helps when shooting handheld in active settings such as sports or “nightscape” mode for low light environments.
- The X-H2S has a large grip, for perfect balance no matter how large the lenses you’re using are, an LCD display on the top panel so you can be on top of your camera’s settings at any given moment, and an extremely durable body. All of which we are familiar with as the X-H2S inherited popular design aspects from Fujifilm’s previous X-H1 model.
- New shutter button to improve performance when half pressed for optimal manually operated shutter reaction times.
- A new Video Recording button has been added for convenience and enhanced experience with the 1.62 million dot vari-angle LCD display.
- Materials and button layout reimagined with an AF on button and shutter durability which survived 500,000 actuations during quality control and performance testing.
- Dual memory card slots, one for SD cards, and one which supports high speed data processing CFexpress Type B cards.
- Vertical Battery Grip (VG-XH) – Dust and moisture resistant and can function in as low as 14 degrees. The add-on vertical grip button layout is designed to be used efficiently when being used vertically or horizontally.
- File Transmitter (FT-XH) – Wired LAN and high-speed wireless connectivity for in studio workflows and can also double as a vertical grip.
- Supports: FTP transfer and tethered shooting by wired LAN, wireless LAN, and USB tethering. Remote recording function is capable of simultaneously operating up to 4 X-H2S cameras from a browser.
- Cooling Fan – Designed to extend operating the camera during still photography or video recording in high temperatures. The cooling fan accessory fits in the rear of the camera body without cables. This takes away any concern that your camera will shut down due to overheating while also extending battery power.
- Cover Kit (CVR-XH) – Comes with protection covers for Sync terminal, hot shoe, file transfer / vertical grip, cooling fan, and the memory card slots.
Price & Comparison
Fujifilm’s new X-H2S comes with a ton of value being priced under $2,500 with materials, components and features normally found in cameras with much higher price points. Unlike other mirrorless cameras in its price class, the X-H2S can shoot up to 40 fps and has tremendous battery life when recording video.
You will notice a lot of similarities when comparing to similar price points of top brand models, but key differences as well. Comparing the X-H2S vs Sony a17 IV and vs Canon r7 is a great way to see the value of the X-H2S.
The integrated AI X-Processor 5 and 26.16MP X-TransTM CMOS 5 makes the X-H2S a better option vs Sony A7 IV which doesn’t have a stacked sensor, a weaker processor and lower fps. The stabilization of the X-H2S is also better vs Sony a7IV as they both have IBUS but the X-H2S will provide more stops of compensation. On the flip side, you may have a better electric viewfinder on the Sony, but I would rather have the power to create a better finished product as Fujifilm primarily focused on performance over LCD display, which still provides an efficient and beautiful display. The fact that the X-H2S can shoot video up to 240 minutes is amazing and no other camera can do this. If you review feedback for the other two cameras, you will find some concerns regarding the camera overheating when shooting video as well.
The X-H2S’s features, enhanced hardware, and customization, makes this an amazing camera that exceeds its competition and sets the bar higher for future releases from other brands.