While the mirrorless camera world has been seeing a slew of releases in the full-frame space, APS-C hasn’t been getting the same love. Until recently, that is.
Fuji has long focused on APS-C sensors, with the Fujifilm XT-4 being not only a beautiful-looking camera but having impressive video features.
Now, the flagship returns to the market with the announcement of the Fujifilm X-H2S. But does it have enough features to compete in the APS-C sensor space? Let’s find out together.
Top ViewCredit: Fuji
The Fujifilm X-H2S
The previous generation, the XH-1, was a powerful flagship APS-C camera that just barely missed the 10-bit evolution. Released in early 2018, it had some impressive features, such as the 5-axis IBIS, but had an aging processor that left creatives wanting more from its video capabilities.
Especially when the XT-3’s 10-bit video outclassed it just a few months later.
The Fujifilm X-H2S plans on addressing this issue with a new stacked back-illuminated sensor and the X-Processor 5. Fuji states the new processor will double the camera’s power over the previous X-Processor 4.
With more power under the hood, the X-H2S provides 10-bit 4:2:2 video in resolutions up to 6.2K/30P (6240 by 4160). Filmmakers will also have some nice frame rate options with 4K/120P and FHD/240p when in 10-bit H.265. Thanks to a heat-dissipating design, 4K/60P can be continuously recorded for approximately 240 minutes.
The coolest thing of all, however, is that the X-H2S will be the first X-series camera to get F-Log2, and will provide a dynamic range of up to 14+ stops. At least according to Fuji. That's ARRI Classic territory.
But getting those numbers in real-world shooting scenarios is a different story.
Ports and MediaCredit: Fuji
To track all this footage, the X-H2S has an electronic viewfinder with a 5.76-million-dot panel and a frame rate of approximately 120fps. That kind of frame rate is peak e-sports.
If those words all sound like gibberish, just know you’ll have more time to react to action when you’re behind the viewfinder.
Dual Media slots give options for SD, SDHC, SDXC, or CFexpress Type B Card. On the other side, creatives will find USB-C, full-size HDMI, 3.5mm mic, and a 2.5mm remote plug. You can even extend the runtime using USB-C.
We’ll also get some solid pro-level internal codecs such as ProRes 422, HQ, and LT. The new sensor also has a super-fast readout of 1/180 seconds, minimizing the rolling shutter. Much like the other cameras in Fuji’s lineup, ProRes RAW and BRAW will be available via an external recorder.
However, packing this much power into a body weighing only 660g comes with some sacrifices, but we’ll talk about that elephant in a bit.
Tracking, Autofocus, and IBIS
Having all that resolution and power means nothing if it’s all out of focus. So Fuji has updated its tracking, autofocus, and IBIS to support those needs.
With an increased number of autofocus calculations, accuracy is improved over previous models and also allows for subject-detection AF. Developed with what Fuji calls Deep Learning technology, subject-detection AF implements an advanced prediction algorithm to enhance Zone AF, even in low-contrast environments.
While human faces and eyes were the only options in previous camera models, animals, birds, cars, motorcycles, bicycles, airplanes, and trains have been added to the list of subject detection and tracking.
XH-2 w/ 16-18mmCredit: Fuji
For all the photographers among us, burst mode triples the number of calculations in phase detection over the Fujifilm XT-4. So if you’re the type to fill up an SD card in a few minutes, rest assured your photos will be in focus.
Finally, the X-H2S features an all-new 5-axis IBIS mechanism with offers up to 7 stops of stabilization. This is an increase of 2 stops over the XH-1. Fuji also has a robust history of IBIS development from their GFX series, and it’s nice to see the developments trickle down into the APS-C cameras.
There are other accessories too. Two new battery grips will either extend the battery life or provide wired LAN connectivity for in-studio tethered workflows.
But now, we have to talk about…
The Ele-fan-t in the Room
So, here’s the deal. The Fujifilm XH-2 is a tiny camera. While the passively cooled and heat-dissipating body can get you solid recording time in 4K/60P and even 6.2K/30P, there are going to be limitations. Physics isn’t something you can just ignore, and we’re well aware of the hurdles Canon had to overcome with 8K.
Fuji’s answer to all this heat is an external cooling fan accessory that will help maintain performance when recording heavy resolutions or working in high-temp conditions.
The high-tech sounding FAN-001 will pop into the back panel of the camera after you flip out the LCD screen. It’ll connect to dedicated pins and run off the camera's power, much like what RED did with its accessories.
It’s not the sexiest solution, but making the fan external allows for the camera to keep its small footprint when you don’t need the extra horsepower under its hood.
What kind of limitations are to be had remains to be seen. But once the X-H2S is in our hands, we’ll be sure to let you know how heat or the fan affects the performance.
X-H2S w/ FAN-001Credit: Fuji
Should You Get It?
Ready for my hot take? Fuji is the king of APS-C.
Agree with me or not, the XH-1 and XT-4 are rock-solid hybrid cameras that every creative should try. Fuji simulations are amazing tools and have spawned a growing community of JPEG shooters who cook up literal Fuji recipes.
What other camera brand has its own recipes?
However, the Fujifilm X-H2S is fighting an uphill battle in an oversaturated market, and the external fans don’t inspire confidence. We’ve all been hurt before, after all.
What we’re seeing on paper has piqued our interest, but how the camera behaves in the wild will tell us more about how much we can rely on it for our creativity. Until then, we’re cautiously optimistic.