Fujifilm X-H2S review: The most powerful APS-C camera yet

introduction

Four years after the release of the X-H1, Fujifilm has finally followed up with not just one, but two models. One of them is the highest-resolution APS-C camera to date, the 40-megapixel X-H2. The other we’re looking at today, the high-speed X-H2S, designed for sports, wildlife photography and more.

The biggest feature of the X-H2S is a new stacked, back-illuminated 26.2-megapixel sensor. Its high speed enables continuous shooting at up to 40 fps, faster autofocus and reduced rolling shutter. It also promises improved image quality and features in-body stabilization, a high-resolution viewfinder, dual card slots and more.

advantages

  • Very fast burst speeds
  • Best in class EVF
  • Excellent video capabilities
  • Great picture quality

Disadvantages

  • Stabilization not good for video
  • AF still behind Canon and Sony
  • Expensive for its class
  • It lacks Fujifilm’s retro charm

However, these improvements and features do not come cheap. At $2,500, the X-H2S is now one of the most expensive APS-C cameras on the market, priced the same as comparable full-frame models like Canon’s EOS R6 and Sony A7 IV. Is it worth it for a smaller one? sensor to pay?

body and handling

The X-H2S is not a typical Fujifilm camera. Larger and heavier than the X-T4 at 660 grams, but slightly lighter than the X-H1. It also has a much larger grip that gives a sense of stability, ideal when attaching large lenses for sports or wildlife photography.

As mentioned, the layout is more akin to competing mirrorless cameras from Canon and Sony than other Fuji models. Instead of dials showing shutter speed, exposure compensation and ISO like the X-T4, it has traditional front and rear dials. The only thing on top is a mode selector, and on the back you have joystick and d-pad controls. It has no fewer than 12 buttons, most of which can be reprogrammed for different functions. As with the X-H1, it has a top LCD that shows the basic settings.

As it’s designed for sports and wildlife shots where settings need to be changed on the fly while keeping an eye on the subject, the layout makes sense. However, I know that many Fujifilm fans prefer the traditional dials – although you can at least see the settings on the top LCD display when shooting from the hip. The only control I didn’t care for was the record button, as it’s tiny and awkwardly positioned. The X-H2S uses the same logical menu system as the X-T4, making settings relatively easy to find.

Gallery: Fujifilm X-H2S review | 21 photos


Also good for action photographers is the Electronic Viewfinder (EVF), which offers continuous shooting without blackout and higher resolution (5.76M dots) than the Sony A7 IV or Canon EOS R6 (3.68M dots each). It also includes a high-resolution, fully articulated touch display that lets you control focus, the quick menu, and other features.

For I/O, you get a high-speed, powered USB-C port, plus WiFi and Bluetooth for camera controls or transfers. Unfortunately, Fujifilm’s camera app is relatively primitive for Live View shooting or image imports (the low Play Store rating of 1.7 is an indication) and doesn’t display things like exposure and audio levels for videos or allow for burst photo capture.

Video users get both microphone and headphone connections, as well as a nice full-size HDMI socket for external recorders. To handle the extra speed and video capabilities, it has two card slots, both UHS-II and high-speed CFexpress. Finally, the battery (same type as the X-T4 but updated) allows for up to 720 shots on a charge and well over two hours of 4K 30p video recording.

perfomance

Fujifilm X-H2S in review

Steve Dent/Engadget

With up to 40fps burst capture speeds at full resolution, the X-H2S is faster than any other APS-C camera, but there are some limitations. It only hits those top speeds when it’s triggering and not in focus-priority mode (which means it’ll take the shot even when it’s out of focus). That means a lot of your photos will be blurry, so it’s not a realistic mode for action shots. However, when I dial down to 30fps I have many more shots in focus and the hit rate was near perfect at 20fps

Shooting with the mechanical shutter I saw 15fps burst speeds, very respectable and a match for Canon’s EOS R7. Additionally, the mechanical shutter is very quiet (and sounds sweet), especially compared to the EOS R7’s rickety shutter. In this mode, or the 20fps silent mode, I was able to capture more than 300 shots simultaneously on a fast CFexpress card – over 10 seconds of recording time. That’s spot on for sports-focused cameras like Canon’s EOS R3.

The X-H2S is Fujifilm’s first bird and animal tracking camera and can also track cars, motorcycles, bicycles, planes and trains. It worked fairly well for a first iteration, although it would lose track depending on the shooting angle and other factors.

Fujifilm X-H2S review: The most powerful APS-C camera yet

Steve Dent/Engadget

However, face and eye tracking is the best I’ve seen on a Fujifilm camera. It tracks smoothly and persistently, giving you more in-focus shots. It also did a good job of bringing a subject’s eye into focus rather than their eyelashes or nose. Overall, the X-H2S’s autofocus is much improved compared to before, but it doesn’t quite live up to Sony and Canon standards.

However, it beats all of its competitors when it comes to shooting discreetly. The high speed of the stacked sensor means it has minimal rolling shutter in silent mode, so you can confidently use it for capturing birds, wildlife, sports and other fast-moving subjects.

The in-body stabilization, which promises seven stops with supported lenses, has also worked well for photos, allowing me to get sharp shots at relatively fast shutter speeds. However, it doesn’t work that well for videos, as I’ll explain shortly.

picture quality

Gallery: Fujifilm X-H2S test sample images | 29 photos


With a similar 26.2MP sensor to the X-T4 (with added stacking technology), the X-H2S is among the best APS-C cameras for color reproduction. Everything looks natural, whether you’re shooting landscapes, animals or people. JPEGs look good straight out of the camera, with a slightly better balance between noise and sharpness than before thanks to optimized color science.

Like the X-T4, it uses a dual-gain sensor with the sweet spots at ISO 800 and 3200. The high ISO performance is almost on par with the X-T4, with noise being reasonably well controlled and retained in detail up to around ISO 6400 It also offers usable shots, but the exposure has to be correct or you’ll have excessive noise if you boost blacks.

With a few exceptions, the 14-bit RAW files offer a lot of room for adjustment. Because of the dual gain sensor, it’s better to shoot at higher ISOs than try to shoot at the base ISO of 800 and then boost the blacks because the noise level is higher. Nevertheless, you can easily increase black by several f-stops in high-contrast shots. It doesn’t fare quite as well as the X-T4 in this regard, likely due to the stacked tech that can increase the noise floor.

https://www.engadget.com/fujifilm-x-h2s-mirrorless-camera-review-123049866.html?src=rss Fujifilm X-H2S review: The most powerful APS-C camera yet

Russell Falcon

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