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Fujifilm X-H2S Camera Review

John Riley has been putting the Fujifilm X-H2S through its paces to find out if this next-generation APS-C mirrorless camera can impress.

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Fujifilm H2S Front View | 0.4 sec | f/16.0 | 60.0 mm | ISO 100
 

Quick Verdict

From the moment this fine camera is picked up, feeling it fits the hand perfectly, finding all the controls fall readily to hand, experiencing the fast, smooth operation...we know that this is a serious, high-end device that is intended for quality photography. Add to that a solid video performance and a whole range of quality Fujinon lenses and Fujifilm just may have totally hit the spot and produced a real winner.

+ Pros

  • Beautiful, solid quality manufacture
  • Fast and responsive controls
  • Excellent 5-axis IBIS (up to 7 stops)
  • Quality of Fujinon lenses
  • Weather resistance
  • Film simulation modes
  • High-end video specs
  • Versatile subject detection
  • Fast and accurate AF
  • Superb 5.76M dot OLED EVF
  • ISO range shows low noise throughout
  • Supports CF Express and SD cards

- Cons

  • CF Express cards expensive
 

 

There are a whole new range of superb cameras emerging that combine fine stills photography with an ever-growing video capability, making them truly universal imaging tools. It has been the case for a while that DSLR cameras were being used to shoot even feature films, and certainly to shoot travel footage intended for television consumption. Now the latest breed are taking that to a point way beyond and delivering cameras that can film for almost unlimited time, at quality levels that were beyond our expectations even a couple of years ago. The Fujifilm X-H2S is part of that evolution, perhaps even revolution, so let's see how it handles and performs, using two lenses previously reviewed, the Nano-GI XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR and the Nano-GI XF 50-140mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR.

 

Fujifilm X-H2S Features

Fujifilm H2S With 50 140mm | 0.3 sec | f/16.0 | 53.0 mm | ISO 100
 

The camera body is bigger and chunkier than the X-S10 that we normally use, but it fits the hand and is still not overly heavy at just 660g with a battery and memory card. The important thing is that the grip is excellent and all the controls fall to hand in a very logical way. As always, it's the little things that count. First looking at the camera, the brilliant top plate screen stands out as the figures jump out at us in the brightest light and then darken in more subdued illumination. The on/off switch is found around the shutter release button, so if the camera is carried in one hand it can be switched on or off without changing that grip and can be ready for action by the time it is lifted to the eye. In 0.49 seconds to be precise, which is a satisfyingly fast startup.

Just next to the shutter release is the red video start/stop button, and on the same area of the top plate, we have buttons for ISO, White Balance and an unmarked one that as default switches eye/face detection on and off. Just in front of the shutter release is the front control wheel, defaulting to aperture adjustment when in Av mode. The choice is there, but many users may prefer to use the splendid Fujinon aperture rings on many of the lenses instead, as it falls into hand very comfortably.

 

Fujifilm H2S Rear View | 0.6 sec | f/16.0 | 40.0 mm | ISO 100
 

The 0.5-inch OLED viewfinder has 5.76M dots and is absolutely brilliant. There is a handy and very easy-to-use dioptre adjustment on the side of the “pentaprism” shaped top. To the left, there is a well-engineered mode dial that includes no less than 7 custom settings as well as the usual PASM, Movie and Filter settings. The filter setting is needed to access a range of digital filters which, unlike the film simulation modes, is greyed out in the menus if the mode dial is not turned to this setting.

Dominating the back of the camera is the 3-inch Vari-angle Touch Screen Colour LCD monitor of 1.62M dots. This is crisp and clear. Also on the camera back there is a low-profile joystick that does not get easily nudged, avoiding the pitfall of finding the focus point has shifted from the centre to perhaps a corner, resulting in blurred images. A four-way controller plus the usual Menu, AE Lock, AF and Q menu buttons. The back command dial controls exposure compensation by default in Av mode, which is very handy.

Dust and moisture resistance is built in and the body construction is solid and reassuring. The power supply is the NP-W235 Lithium-ion battery, which, according to CIPA standards, offers 720 frames in economy mode and 580 frames in normal mode. For movies, battery life is around 90 minutes for 6.2K and 70mm for 4K 60p. Full HD offers a battery life of 95 minutes.

 

Fujifilm H2S Showing Card Slots | 1 sec | f/22.0 | 135.0 mm | ISO 100
 

The 23.5mm x 15.6mm APS-C X-Trans CMOS 5 HS sensor offers 26.16 MP, processed using X-Processor 5. There are two card slots, one for CFexpress Type B cards (necessary for some video features) and one for SD/SDHC/SDXC/UHS-I/UHS-II cards. It's useful to maintain compatibility with SD cards, with their lower cost and wider availability.

There are various file formats, including RAW (14 bit), JPEG and now also HEIF (4:2:2 10 bit).

The standard ISO range is from 160-12800. This can be extended to 80-51200. The shutter choice is mechanical or electronic. The range available depends upon the mode chosen. The mechanical shutter offers 4s – 1/8000s (P mode), 30s – 1/8000s (A mode), 15m – 1/8000s in S or M modes and finally up to 60 minutes in bulb. The electronic shutter offers 4s to 1/32000s in P mode, 30s to 1/8000s in A mode. 15m – 1/32000s in S or M mode and 1s fixed in bulb. Movie shutter speeds are 1/24s – 1/8000s (6.2K), 1/4s – 1/8000s (DCI 4K/4K) and 1/4s – 1/8000s (FHD). Continuous shooting is possible up to 40fps with the electronic shutter and 15fps with the mechanical shutter.

Fujifilm H2S Showing Connections | 0.3 sec | f/16.0 | 78.0 mm | ISO 100
 

AF functions down to -4 EV with contrast detection and -7 EV with phase detection. Both are quoted using the XF 50mm f/1 lens. Face/eye detection becomes ever more sophisticated, and now offers subject options of animal/bird/automobile/motorcycle and bike/plane and train, and the efficiency with which it works is astonishing.

There is a wide range of connectivity, including WiFi, Bluetooth Ver. 4.2 (Low Energy) and various terminals: USB Type-C, HDMI Type A, 3.5mm stereo mini connector (microphone), 3.5mm stereo mini connector (headphone), 2.5mm remote release connector, Hot Shoe and synchronised terminal.  

 

Key Features

  • 26.16MP APS-C X-Tran CMOS 5
  • Media: CFExpress (Type B) and SD/SDHC/SDXC/UHS-II
  • Shutter speeds 15 minutes to 1/8000s (Mechanical shutter)
  • Shutter speeds 15 minutes to 1/64000s (Electronic shutter)
  • ISO 160- 12800 (80-51200 extended)
  • Image Stabiliser: up to 7 stops
  • 15fps mechanical shutter
  • 40fps electronic shutter
  • Eye Detection AF for People, animals, birds, automobiles, motorcycles and bikes, planes and trains.
  • Movie File Formats:MOV, Apple ProRes 4:2:2, HEVC/H.265, MPEG-4 AVC/H.264, MP4, MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 AAC
  • Movie file sizes: 6.2K, DCI4K, 4K, Full HD
  • OLED 0.5 inch EVF with 5.76 million dots
  • Vari-angle touch screen 3 inch LCD with 1.62 million dots
  • Bluetooth
  • WiFi
  • 579g incl battery and card
  • Battery capacity 720 shots, economy mode
  • Battery capacity 580 shots, normal mode
  • Film simulation modes: PROVIA/Standard, Velvia/Vivid, ASTIA/Soft, Classic Neg Hi, PRO Neg Std, Classic Neg, Nostalgic Neg, ETERNA/Cinema, ETERNA/Bleach Bypass, ACROS, Monochrome, Sepia
  • Filter settings: Toy Camera, Miniature, Pop Colour, High-Key, Low-Key, Dynamic Tone, Soft Focus, Partial Colour (red), Partial Colour (orange), Partial Colour (yellow), Partial Colour (green), Partial Colour (blue), Partial colour (purple)

 

Fujifilm X-H2S Handling

Fujifilm H2S Front View 2 | 0.3 sec | f/16.0 | 88.0 mm | ISO 100
 

The ergonomics of a camera is absolutely vital as to whether we totally gel with it or not. Some hit the spot, others do not. There is very little, if anything, in the X-H2S that falls short of being precisely on the button. The handling and feel of the camera is superb, although of course this is a subjective assessment and other photographers may or may not agree. This is why handling a camera before purchase can be so beneficial, although it is also true that we can sometimes learn to like something with a bit of practice. The X-H2S has excellent balance, works very slickly and reliably and offers a high-quality experience throughout.

For stills, notably the thumb of the right hand (if the camera should be carried one-handed) does not accidentally impinge on the joystick, so we avoid finding the focus point has been changed. With some cameras, especially smaller ones, the focus point can become shifted and if not noticed can cause focusing errors.

 

Fujifilm H2S Showing Top Plate | 0.5 sec | f/16.0 | 135.0 mm | ISO 100
 

There are plenty of switches and dials for all the various functions, so the need to delve into the menus is reduced significantly. One of the advantages of a slightly larger camera is that there is plenty of room for controls. The front control wheel can of course be used for changing the aperture, but many Fujinon lenses have rather impressive aperture rings and using them can be very efficient. This assumes that the camera would be held with the left hand under the lens and the right in position on the camera. Unfortunately, there are no left-handed cameras.

The IS system also seems very effective, and well up to the claims made. This really does free us from having to use a tripod in many situations.

 


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