Home Buying guide Fujifilm X-H2 initial review

Fujifilm X-H2 initial review

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The Fujifilm X-H2 is a high-end 40MP APS-C mirrorless camera that can shoot both stills and video. Its high-resolution stills as well as 8K video capabilities contrast with the X-high-speed H2S’s shooting and fast readout 4K capabilities. The X-H2 will be available in late September for a suggested retail price of $1,999. The X-H2 is compatible with the VG-XH battery grip, which also takes two batteries and costs $399, as well as the file transfer grip, which costs $999. If you want to record longer periods of high-resolution video, it’s also compatible with the $199 add-on fan unit.

Design

The Fujifilm X-H2 shares the same body as the X-H2S, with the exception of the model name and ‘S’ badge on the front of the high-speed model. It’s one of Fujifilm’s best-sealed bodies, which makes sense for a body designed for landscape photography.

This means it features the same command-dial-led user interface as the X-H2S, GFX 100S, and 50S II, allowing you to work quickly at your fingertips (one that will be familiar to the users of just about every brand). With the exception of M mode, in which you can configure a button to get Exp Comp when using Auto ISO, the front dial controls the primary exposure setting as well as the rear dial controls exposure comp. Even if you use a lens’s aperture ring instead of a command dial, you can’t assign other functions to the dials.

Display

The viewfinder and screens are identical to those found on the X-H2S, with a fully articulating rear 1.62M-dot touchscreen as well as a large 0.8x mag, 5.76M-dot OLED finder. Despite the relatively generous 24mm eyepoint, it’s a large viewfinder, to the point where it can be difficult to see the entire display when wearing glasses.

The body features a large front grip as well as ten customizable buttons (with the option of using four directions of the four-way controller, with four swipe directions on the rear screen). The use of single-function command dials, instead of the clickable ones found on many previous X-Series cameras, gives the cameras a more solid, dependable feel, and eliminates the risk of inadvertently switching modes at a critical moment.

40MP BSI X-Trans CMOS sensor

The X-most H2’s notable new feature is its use of a new 40MP BSI CMOS sensor, the highest-resolution chip of its size seen in a consumer camera. A BSI sensor won’t provide the significant speed benefits of the X-Stacked H2S’s CMOS chip, but it will likely provide slightly lower read noise all while allowing the camera to be less expensive.

It’s an APS-C chip with a front-facing X-Trans colour filter array. By having a less regularly-repeating pattern in its red and blue channels, this filter is created to reduce the risk of moiré appearing especially in comparison to Bayer filters (where it is still a risk even with high-resolution sensors and bright, sharp lenses); however, there is a narrower choice of software that will get the job done.

8K Video

The switch to a 40MP sensor gives the X-H2 sufficient pixels to deliver 8K video from the full width of its sensor, which it does at frame rates of up to 30p. There’s also a 2:1 oversampled ‘HQ’ 4K mode derived from the 8K capture, as well as a subsampled version that can be shot at up to 60p.

If 8K isn’t enough, the camera has a 6.2K mode that appears to be oversampled as well as derived from the 8K output. Interestingly, the 6.2K footage is in the common 16:9 aspect ratio used in video, as opposed to the X-similarly H2S’s named mode, which produces the taller 3:2, photo-shaped output.

Pixel shift high-resolution mode

Fujifilm’s GFX medium format cameras already have a pixel-shift high resolution mode, but this is the first time it has appeared in a camera with an X-Trans colour filter pattern. The camera must take 20 images to achieve a single pixel sensor movement within each one, however the end result is a set of files which can be combined into a 160MP image by using downloadable ‘Pixel Shift Combiner’ software.

Autofocus

The subject recognition autofocus modes on the X-H2 are the same as those on the X-H2S. Because the Fujifilm X-H2 can’t read out its sensor as quickly as the ‘S’ model, AF speed may suffer; however, AF information usually comes from a faster, lower-resolution readout, so this may not be an issue.

The subject recognition modes, like the X-H2S, are completely separate from the camera’s face as well as eye tracking modes, so you’ll have to assign two custom buttons if you require quick access to both. If you turn face/eye or subject detection on and then off, the camera does not return to the previous mode.

Shutter Mechanism

In case the X-high-end H2’s status isn’t obvious, Fujifilm Fujifilm X-H2 emphasises that its shutter mechanism, in addition to being capable of shooting at 1/8000 sec and continuously at up to 15 fps, is also rated to last 500,000 shots. These are the kinds of details we’re used to seeing on high-end professional cameras.

Battery

The NP-W235 battery is shared by the X-H2, X-H2S, X-T4, and some GFX models. It has a decent 16Wh capacity and can power the camera for 680 shots per charge according to the CIPA battery rating. This is a very impressive figure that suggests the camera uses less power than the X-H2S. With a rating this high, only the most demanding of shoots (such as a wedding) are likely to test the battery’s capacity, as it’s common to obtain more than twice the rated number of shots (depending on how you shoot).

The optional VG-XH vertical grip adds capacity for two additional batteries, increasing battery life to 1,600 shots by 2.4 times. If all else fails, you can power the camera directly from a USB-C PD source with sufficient power.

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