Fujifilm X-H2S Review: A Superb Hybrid Shooter

Back in early 2019 we reviewed the Fujifilm X-H1, the company’s flagship mirrorless camera at the time, dubbing it the DSLR killer.

While DSLRs are still around, mirrorless cameras have become the standard as far as newly released cameras go, with Fujifilm’s X-Series featuring one of the best lineups in terms of the breadth of options.

With three years between reviews, we are now looking at another flagship offering from Fujifilm in the form of the X-H2S. This is a camera that landed on our shores earlier this year, featuring new fifth generation sensors and processors to power the performance.

Much of the talk surrounding this device is its great video capabilities, so we spent the past two weeks putting both that, and its photography functionality to the test, to see whether it is indeed a great video camera that snaps solid images too.

This is what we learned.

Large, but still compact

The first thing we need to note is that this is not a full frame option. If you’re wanting something like that from the Fujifilm stable, you may want top look at the GFX100S.

Still the X-H2S is not short changed in any department. The sensor on offer here is a back-illuminated 26.16MP X-Trans CMOS 5 HS. That is quite a mouthful, but for good reason, as Fujifilm says it can read signals four times faster than its predecessor. Added to this is a X-Processor 5 with doubled the speed of the previous iteration.

This means that object detection is enhanced, which when coupled with the improved autofocus and accuracy that Fujifilm has added to the mix, this camera is particularly good at capturing subject matter that has a tendency to move around a lot.

It was a hallmark of the X-H1, which made it a great option for sports or wildlife photographers, and here the X-H2S can boast the some sort of credentials.

To further aid its application in sports and wildlife photography, this camera features an impressive 40fps burst shooting function. It is one of those things you need to experience to fully grasp, as hearing the rapid shutter going off is unlike anything we have experienced on another mirrorless camera to date.

Let’s switch to the body for a moment though and Fujifilm has once again stuck with the slight retro aesthetic its X-Series is now famed for on this new model. While there is indeed a massive amount of digital wizardry at work here, the X-H2S still retains a distinct analogue feel.

It is also fairly compact too, offering a nice hand grip and button orientation too, allowing for one-handed use on the odd occasion. We do need to note that this camera is quite dense despite its relatively compact design, with the body tipping the scales at 660g (including memory card and battery).

At the very least this aforementioned denseness provides a satisfyingly robust feel to the camera, and if the odd knock does occur, it seems capable of handling the blow. That said, at R39 900 (RRP) for the body, it is always best to handle with care.

We should also note that for our review, we tested out the X-H2S out with a Fujinon XF-18-55mmF2.8-4 R LM OIS. This is not the far longer Fujinon XF150-600mmF5.6-8 R LM OIS WR that launched alongside the X-H2S locally, as it was simply not fit for purpose, with the 18-55mm option yielding a better all-around performance for our review needs.

That said, at a local launch event for the X-H2S these longer lenses were setup, so they care easily capable of being used for such photography.

Best of both

Now we need to talk about the video capabilities.

This is where the X-H2S is said to shine brightest and here we tend to agree. The new sensor and processor onboard now yield video recording of up to 4:2:2 10bit video at 6.2K/30P. There is support for 4K/120P video recording, which is of particular importance for those who wish to do slow-motion shots.

Fujifilm is talking up the support of three Apple ProRescodecs too – ProRes 422 HQ, ProRes 422, and ProRes 422 LT.

Added to this is proxy recording, which is a boon for those wanting to start editing work quickly after it has been recorded. This is not necessarily a must-have for solo content creators, but for professionals working in a team or paid shoot, the time savings can prove invaluable.

And here is where we need to point out that the X-H2S is very much made with professionals in mind. Even for our purposes, while delivering great footage, it might be a little overpowered for our purposes. As such, we don’t expect to see many people going full Neistat and running around with this as a premium vlogging camera.

Instead, it will serve as the primary shooter for events and projects, with something else smaller perhaps for running and gunning.

Shifting back to design and some of the finer elements, the button layout in general is solid. Toggling through different modes on the top dial is easy enough, with a lock mechanism available should you need it. Cycling through menu options and settings is also relatively good.

One thing we weren’t a fan of, however, is the rubber cover around the viewfinder, which prove a little difficult to look though for extended periods.

We are nitpicking here though, as the 3″ LCD monitor on the rear proved a more than adequate substitute, allowing for framing of shots with ease. It was also quite good while working in bright sunlight and not needing a hand to cast a shadow in order to improve visibility.

Final verdict

At R39 900 (RRP) the Fujifilm X-H2S is on the pricey side of things.

It is the best mirrorless camera for shooting video? It’s up there. Is it the best mirrorless camera for all-around photography? Not quite. Does it do both well? Without question, which makes it a great find in the current world of flagship mirrorless cameras at the moment.

Where the Sony Alpha series sets the standard in the segment, the X-H2S is still a viable alternative for those who simply cannot afford some of the pricier Japanese brands. That said, you are not getting a poor facsimile, as the Fujifilm X-H2S can do it all.

If you play around with some of the T-branded X-Series options and you’re looking to upgrade, the X-H2S is where you should be looking first.


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