Fujifilm X-H2 Review
|Full model name:||Fujifilm X-H2|
(23.5mm x 15.6mm)
|Viewfinder:||EVF / LCD|
|Native ISO:||125 - 12,800|
|Extended ISO:||64 - 51,200|
|Shutter:||1/180000 - 3600 sec|
|Max Aperture:||2.8 (kit lens)|
5.4 x 3.7 x 3.3 in.
(136 x 93 x 85 mm)
|Full specs:||Fujifilm X-H2 specifications|
Fujifilm X-H2 Preview
by William Brawley | Posted 09/08/2022
Well, would you look at that? Fujifilm now has not one but two flagship X Series cameras with the debut of the new X-H2. Back in May, Fujifilm unveiled the X-H2S, a long-awaited successor to the Fuji X-H1 that launched all the way back in 2018. But rather than just a single successor model, Fujifilm now offers a pair. The X-H2S, as the "S" naming suggests, is all about speed and features a new stacked X-Trans sensor, but one that keeps the same 26.1-megapixel resolution we've seen in several other Fujifilm X Series cameras.
On the other hand, this new "standard" X-H2 camera uses an entirely different and all-new X-Trans sensor -- the highest resolution X-Trans sensor to date. The new Fuji X-H2 features a 40-megapixel X-Trans CMOS 5 HR image sensor. It's not a stacked sensor, like in the X-H2S, but it is a back-side illuminated design. The Fuji X-H2 uses the same high-speed image processor as its sibling model and, by and large, offers a similar array of features and performance specs. However, there are some differences due to the higher-resolution sensor.
With the unveiling of the Fuji X-H2 model, Fujifilm is offering professionals and advanced enthusiasts a choice, with two models that are more tailor-made for different types of creators. If you're a sports photographer, an action photographer or a motorsports photographer, the Fuji X-H2S, with its ultra-fast performance, is the ideal choice. On the other hand, if detail is what you're after, for landscapes, nature scenes, portraits and perhaps even wildlife, then the 40MP Fuji X-H2 is up for grabs. And with both models utilizing an identical physical design, you get excellent handling and fantastic usability no matter the camera you pick.
So which one will you pick? It depends on what you shoot. High-res or high-speed?
We're aiming to get some hands-on time with the new Fuji X-H2 just after the announcement, so be on the look out for additional hands-on photos, some initial handling notes and hopefully some real-world sample images. (Plus, our Fuji X-H2S review is currently underway!)
Read on below for all the details about Fujifilm's other flagship X-H camera!
Fujifilm X-H2 Key Features & Specs
- Second flagship X Series camera
- Updated SLR-style body like X-H2S with improved ergonomics and controls
- Weather-resistant construction
- Brand new 40MP BSI X-Trans CMOS 5 HR APS-C-sized sensor
- X-Processor 5 imaging processing chip
- ISO range: 125-12,800 native (64-51,200 expanded)
- Up to 15fps with mechanical shutter
- Up to 20fps with electronic shutter (with 1.29x crop)
- 7-stop in-body image stabilization
- New 160MP High-Res "Pixel Shift" composite mode
- 8K 30p, 4K 60p, Full HD 120p video modes
- 0.8x 5.76M-dot EVF with 120fps refresh rate
- 3-inch 1.63M-dot LCD with vari-angle design
- $1999 body-only
Image Quality: Fuji's new 40MP X-Trans CMOS 5 HR sensor crowns the X-H2 as the highest resolution APS-C camera yet
As mentioned, the heart of the new Fuji X-H2 is its all-new high-resolution sensor. At 40 megapixels, the X-H2 has the highest resolution sensor ever offered in a Fujifilm X Series camera. In fact, the X-H2 is now the highest-resolution APS-C camera on the market.
While the recent X-H2S camera is equipped with Fuji's first stacked X-Trans sensor, the X-H2 uses an X-Trans CMOS chip with a traditional circuitry arrangement, much like the X-H1 and previous-generation X-Trans-equipped Fuji cameras. The sensor is still backside-illuminated, which will help with light-gathering performance for low-light and high ISO shooting. As such, the sensor readout performance of this higher-res chip isn't as fast as that of the stacked sensor in the X-H2S. The X-H2 is designed more for landscape, portrait, wildlife or other somewhat slower-moving subjects. For the pinnacle of performance, the Fuji X-H2S is the way to go.
That being said, I don't want to give the impression that the Fuji X-H2 is at all slow or offers sluggish performance. At least on paper, the new high-res X-H2 offers a healthy dose of high-speed shooting capabilities combined with excellent high-resolution image quality performance. However, if rolling shutter artifacts are a concern for you, such as when photographing fast-moving subjects with the electronic shutter, then the X-H2S has the leg up in this area.
Speaking of the electronic shutter, the Fuji X-H2 has an impressively fast one, offering shutter speeds up to 1/180,000 of a second. Yes, that many zeros! That's faster than the electronic shutter on the X-H2S, which tops out at 1/32,000s. The mechanical shutter, meanwhile, has the usual top speed of a 1/8000s and is rated for an impressive 500,000 shutter actuations.
Paired with the new 40MP sensor is Fuji's latest image processor, X Processor 5, which is the same silicon powering the high-speed X-H2S. This newest-generation processor features a 1GHz main CPU, a sizable clock-speed increase over the 608MHz X Processor 4 chip. The X-H2 also includes a dedicated 600MHz sub-processor just for the camera's new in-body image stabilization unit (more on that in a bit). With the new sensor, the Fuji X-H2 has a slightly different ISO range as its high-speed sibling, at least on the low side, with a native range now starting at ISO 125 and rising up to 12,800. The ISO can be expanded down to a low ISO of 64 and up to an extended high ISO of 51,200.
Thanks to the new sensor and processor, the Fuji X-H2 offers several new shooting features over both the original X-H1 and its sibling X-H2S camera. In addition to the standard 40MP still shooting mode, the X-H2 has a handy built-in "digital teleconverter" option thanks to its higher-resolution sensor. Users can enable a "1.4x" or "2.0x" teleconverter mode, which crops in on the sensor, but allows for some easy additional telephoto reach on your image without adding physical teleconverters to the end of your lens. Now, imagine combining both digital and physical teleconverters together. That's a nice bit of versatility!
If you need more resolution than a "basic" 40-megapixel image can provide, the X-H2 offers an in-camera high-resolution shooting mode that creates a whopping 160-megapixel final image. Thanks to the new high-precision in-body image stabilization system, the X-H2's high-res mode moves the image sensor a total of 20 times due to the X-Tran sensor pattern to create a full 160MP composite image. Unlike the OM-1, for example, which offers a hand-held high-res shooting option, the X-H2's High-Res mode is strictly for tripod-based shooting. The IBIS system here is great -- rated at up to 7-stops of correction for normal shooting -- but it's not that powerful as to keep things tack-sharp and steady during a 20-frame multi-exposure sequence while being handheld. The pixel pitch is 0.37 microns, and the IBIS needs to move the sensor by a fraction of a pixel (0.5 pixels) and 20 times in quick succession. It's an impressive feat of engineering precision nonetheless, but yes, a tripod is required.
The inclusion of a pixel-shift multi-shot high-res mode is a first for an X Series cameras, with the technology first appearing from Fujifilm in their medium-format GFX line, with the GFX 100S and GFX 100 (via a firmware update). This allowed for a whopping 400MP composite high-res shot on these GFX series cameras. These medium format cameras only need to take 16 frames for a composite sequence rather than 20 frames with the X-H2. However, despite the increase in the number of frames, Fujifilm states that the processing time for the X-H2's high-res mode should be much quicker at creating the final 160MP composite image.
Autofocus & Performance: Versatile hybrid AF with higher-precision algorithms and deep-learning-based subject-detection modes
Although the sensor is different, the X-H2 shares the same array of powerful autofocusing features as its high-speed sibling, including the advanced Deep-Learning-based subject detection features we first saw on the X-H2S.
While we don't yet know specifics about the number of AF points or firm details about AF performance improvements compared to the X-H1, Fujifilm did specify that the X-H2S offers three times the performance of the X-T4 in terms of its autofocusing system. With the two X-H2-series cameras sharing the same image processor, the AF performance is likely somewhat similar. However, the faster, stacked sensor of the "S" model should give that camera the edge in terms of sheer speed and continuous AF performance.
That being said, the X-H2 should be no slouch in the AF department, either. The camera includes new AF algorithms, which should result in better autofocus prediction, accuracy, and tracking. Zone AF subject detection and low-contrast autofocus performance are said to be particularly better.
As mentioned, the X-H2 also includes sophisticated subject-detection AF features based on deep-learning technology. It can automatically detect humans (face and eye), animals (including the eyes), birds, automobiles, motorcycles and bicycles, as well as airplanes and trains. (Animals and Birds are separate options.)
In terms of burst-shooting performance, the X-H2, as expected, isn't as fast as the X-H2S, at least when shooting with the electronic shutter. If you opt for mechanical shutter mode, the X-H2 is the same as the high-speed model, with up to 15 frames per second at full resolution and with full AE/AF -- which is still pretty fast overall, and especially so for such a high-res camera. However, when using the electronic shutter, the X-H2 is capable of up to 20fps with full AE/AF rather than the whopping 40fps that the X-H2S offers. Further, the 20fps burst mode on the X-H2 uses a slight crop of 1.29x.
Video: Packed for professionals - 8K 30p, Apple ProRes, 12-bit 8K RAW, F-Log2 and more
Despite the high-res sensor seemingly geared more towards high-res stills photography, the Fuji X-H2 is quite well-appointed for high-quality video, too. Due to the 40MP sensor, the X-H2 can offer higher-resolution video than the X-H2S, featuring video at 8K resolution at up to 30p rather than 6.2K. Additionally, the camera, of course, includes an array of 4K settings, with frame rates up to 60p, as well as Full HD video at up to 120fps. Like the X-H2S, the X-H2 also offers high-quality internal Apple ProRes video recording, and in the case of the X-H2, ProRes with 8K/30p video.
The X-H2 also includes F-Log2 support, just like the X-H2S. However, the dynamic range here is slightly less than that of its lower-res sibling with "just" 13+ stops of dynamic range with F-Log2 rather than the 14+ stops offered on the S model. The X-H2 also includes an in-camera digital zoom mode, which allows you to smoothly extend the zoom range of Fuji's "power zoom" lenses for even more versatility.
Much like the X-H2S, the X-H2 also supports the add-on cooling fan accessory. This attached fan unit screws in behind the rear LCD panel (after first removing a small rear covering). The addition of the cooling fan will allow for even more extended video recording time as it dissipates more heat away from the camera than the body does on its own. Although we don't yet have specifics on the video recording limits of the X-H2, the X-H2S, for example, allows for about 50 minutes of continuous 4K/60p recording in 40° Celsius ambient temperatures (104° Fahrenheit) with the add-on cooling fan accessory. Without the fan, the X-H2S will overheat after 20 minutes.
Design & Handling: Same as the X-H2S - Rugged and weather-sealed, SLR-shaped contouring, modern operability and controls
The Fuji X-H2 shares an identical body design to the X-H2S. So, picking a flagship Fuji camera essentially comes down to if you want speed or resolution; the ergonomics and usability of either camera are the same.
Like its X-H1 predecessor, the X-H2 offers a similar SLR-styled body design with a deep, full handgrip and many physical buttons and dials. However, the new X-H2 and X-H2S offer a slight departure in terms of control configuration compared to what Fujifilm historically does with their X Series cameras. Most Fujifilm X Series cameras have offered a fairly unique set of mechanical dials to change exposure settings. Most had a dedicated shutter speed dial and ISO speed dial, while aperture can be controlled via the lens's aperture ring. Configuring these dials not only gave you control over exposure parameters, but they were also how you switched between the major exposure modes: Program Auto, Shutter Speed Priority, Aperture Priority, and of course, full Manual Exposure mode.
The X-H2, and X-H2S, opt instead for a more conventional control layout, much like we see from other major camera manufacturers. Gone are these unique mechanical exposure control dials, and instead, the X-H2 features a large PASM mode dial off to the left of the EVF, including an impressive set of seven custom mode preset slots. Off to the right of the EVF, we have a large E-Ink display panel, similar to that of the GFX 100/100s cameras. In fact, the X-H2 takes a lot of design cues from these GFX-series cameras. The E-ink display offers a quick view of primary exposure settings and other important shooting info. There are also dedicated ISO and White Balance buttons, as well as a customizable button right on top of the camera. The X-H2 features front and rear control dials, allowing for fast and easy adjustments to shooting parameters, all without having to take your eye away from the camera to fiddle with mechanical dials.
Overall, the design philosophy for the X-H2 (and X-H2S) is to make the camera easy to use and familiar to a broader array of customers. For those moving to Fuji from other camera systems or also simply using a Fuji camera alongside other brands, the X-H2 is designed to offer a more familiar user experience and faster operability.
Looking at the rear of the camera, the X-H2 is fairly simple, but all the major controls and buttons are there. The camera has a multi-directional joystick control toward the top near the EVF, while at the same time maintaining the handy 4-way directional buttons that surround the Menu/OK button. A few other recent Fujifilm cameras, including the GFX 100S, have done away with this 4-way directional button cluster. However, we're fond of these controls as they make menu navigation easier and be customized with various functions while shooting, as we're glad they're still around on the X-H2 and X-H2S cameras.
Lastly, we have to mention the EVF and the rear LCD screen. The viewfinder is all-new, with a 5.76M dot display. The X-H1's EVF has 3.69M dots. The X-H2's EVF also has a 0.8x magnification factor, up from 0.75x on the X-H1, a 24mm eye point and a refresh rate up to 120fps (when using Boost mode). The rear display, meanwhile, is now a vari-angle display, making it more friendly for video applications. The 3-inch display has 1.62M dots, up from 1.02M dots on the X-H1.
Battery, Ports & Connectivity
When it comes to ports and connectivity, the X-H2 includes a full-size HDMI Type-A port, headphone jack, mic jack, 2.5mm remote release, Ethernet and a USB-C (USB 3.0) connection. The camera has dual card slots, as one might expect from this class of camera -- a CFexpress Type B slot and a UHS-II SD card slot.
In addition to built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless connectivity, the X-H2 offers several network-based features. The X-H2 can be used as a webcam and a live-streaming camera with video quality up to 4K resolution. There's also FTP server support and wired tethered shooting via the built-in 600Mbps Ethernet port. You can also control multiple cameras for multi-cam recording through a web browser. Wi-Fi connectivity is faster than the previous model, and you can tether your 5G smartphone for true wireless connectivity.
When it comes to battery, the X-H2 is powered by the same NP-W235 lithium-ion battery as the X-T4, GFX 50S II and GFX 100S. We don't yet have specifics on battery life ratings for the X-H2, but with the X-H2S using the same battery and image processor, we are likely to see similar overall battery life performance. In "Economy" mode, the X-H2S can shoot at up 720 frames (LCD) or 610 (EVF). When used in "Normal" mode, the number drops to 580 and 550, respectively. Lastly, when using "Boost" mode, which gives you the option of the 120fps refresh rate for the EVF, the camera promises 530 shots (LCD) and 390 shots (EVF). NOTE: We will update this section once we have full product specifications.
Pricing & Availability
The Fujifilm X-H2 is set to go on sale at the end of September 2022 with a body-only retail price of $1999, which is $500 less expensive than the high-speed Fuji X-H2S model.