Fujifilm XH2S, $2499 body only, pushes boundaries in nearly every aspect. The Fujifilm X-H2S is the first Fuji camera to feature a high-speed Stacked CMSOS sensor. It supports raw photo bursts of 40fps as well as 4K60 ProRes video. The X-H2S also features an upgraded autofocus system with intelligent subject recognition and surpasses peers in video performance. The X-H2S can take the most difficult shots. Despite being among the most affordable Stacked Sensor cameras available, it is still a premium camera over the Canon EOS R7 ($1,499) and our favourite full-frame model the Sony a7IV in price.
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Fujifilm's new Stacked CMOS Chip is used in the X-H2S. They have fast memory and can scan every pixel faster than the BSI CMOS chip in many swappable lenses cameras. The silent electronic shutter mode can freeze motion more effectively. For more detail, read our image sensor explainer.
Cameras with Stacked chips tend to cost more than basic models; the onboard DRAM drives up the cost of production, after all. If you want one with a full-frame imager, the Sony a9 II ($4,499) and Canon EOS R3 ($5,999) are the lowest points of entry. The OM System OM-1 ($2,299) has a Micro Four Thirds sensor and a price more in line with the X-H2S.
Fujifilm knows that the XH2S's market positioning can be a problem for its customers, who are more used to flagships like the X-4 ($1,699). Fujifilm is releasing the XH2, a sibling model that features a 40MP BSI CMOS Sensor, for $1,999. The X-H2 has the same camera body as its autofocus algorithms and can capture Raw at 15fps with its mechanical shutter. Although we haven't had a chance to spend much time with the XH2, there are some initial impressions that can be used by anyone trying to make a decision between them.
There are reasons to opt for the 26MP X-H2S. If you're all about action photography, this model makes it easier to keep track of a bald eagle soaring across the sky or follow on-field sports action because the viewfinder doesn't show any blackout or lag between individual frames. I especially like using the camera to snap photos of birds and critters since the e-shutter is silent and doesn't scare them away.
The X-H2S can record 4K60 video as well as a 6.2K30 video mode. This uses all of the 3:2 sensor area and not a 16/9 or 17/9 widescreen crop. You can also record slow-motion 4K120 clips. The X-H2 has a denser sensor that records 8K30 video and 4K60 video. However, it doesn't have the same frame rates as the X-H2S nor supports open gate 3:2. Both models can support ProRes422 on a card or Raw output over HDMI.
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Fujifilm introduced the X-H1 early in 2018. At the time, it marked a few firsts for the X system—in-body stabilization, the Eterna film simulation profile, and an emphasis on video in general. The 24MP XTrans III CMOS sensor was also removed from the model. Fuji did not make the error of using an old sensor in their flagship model this time. The XH2S and its sister model XH2 each sport new imagers.
The two are identical outside, save for the model badge. We plan to take a closer look at the X-H2 in a future review but, when it comes to body design and handling, the X-H2 and X-H2S are doppelgängers. At 3.7 by 5.4 by 3.3 inches (HWD) and 1.5 pounds, the new body design is a little smaller than the X-H1 (3.8 by 5.5 by 3.4 inches, 1.5 pounds), but still closer in feel to a full-frame camera than an APS-C model.
The XH2S ditches the traditional ISO/shutter dial design in favour of a simpler PASM mode dial. The dial has seven customizable setting slots that can be used to create custom settings. This is a great feature for those who prefer to configure modes. The updated rear display is a great feature for video creators. It features a variangle hinge, which you can turn to face forward. This makes it easier to present the camera to your viewers.
The X-H2S's magnesium alloy chassis is the standard in durability for both pro and enthusiast ILCs. Although Fuji doesn't list an IP rating, the body has a sealed seal to keep dust and splashes out. The camera was fine when I went for a walk in the rain on a wet morning.
If you are planning to use larger lenses, the handgrip here is a little deeper than it was on the XT4. The X-H2S was tested with the XF 16-55mm f2.8 lens and the XF 150-600mm f5.6-8 lens. The X-H2S was easy to hold and I didn't feel that the camera needed to be larger in order for me the handle the 150-600mm Telezoom. For $399 more, you can purchase the VGXH vertical grip.
The X-H2S has a great handgrip. We also like how the ergonomics of the camera are solid. A pair of control buttons are located on the front plate. Another button is included on the top: White Balance, ISO and Record controls. There's also an OLED information panel. You will find the PASM Mode dial on the left. It has a central lock and post lock. Fuji dropped one feature from the X-H1 here that I miss, though—the first-gen cam had a control dial to swap between continuous drive modes. You can switch between continuous and single-release modes with the XH2S by going to a menu.
The dual control dials are part of the handgrip and jut out of the rear plate. Fuji dropped push-in functions for the dials this time around, another change that requires an adjustment from X-H1 users. Potential switchers from other brands won't notice, as the push-in control dials on the older X-H1 are unique to Fuji.
Rear controls look very typical. The Play, Delete/Drive, and Play buttons can be found in the upper left corner. An eight-way focus control, an AF-ON and rear control wheels are located at the opposite end of the viewfinder. The rear LCD is flanked by four buttons: Q, AE-L and Q. Display/Back can also be found in the column. Those last buttons perform sundry functions—out of the box, they set film simulation modes, shutter type, and power-saving options, but you can reconfigure them. The rear display can be set to detect directional swipes, and you can adjust functions using those gestures.
Each camera manufacturer offers an on-screen display that can be used to complement dial and button functions. Fuji's Q overlay menu takes up most of the rear screen. The interface supports touch and dial control, and is customizable—you can set the number of options that appear, curate separate custom menus for photo and video modes, and opt between a transparent, semi-transparent, or opaque background.
The X-H2S has an eye-level electronic seefinder that is a step above other APS-C sensors cameras. The 0.8x magnification projecting a large image makes it easier to see the details within a scene. Additionally, the OLED panel sharpens at 5.8 millions dots. A zoomed-out, lower magnification option is available too—it window-boxes the live feed and is a good option if you have trouble seeing the corners and edges of the full-size preview.
There are a few different display modes, but the Normal mode, which runs at a refresh rate of 60fps, is good enough for most snapshots. Fuji also includes a few Boost modes to up the EVF performance at the cost of battery life—there are 120fps and 240fps refresh options for action photography and, to my eye, they appear just as sharp as the standard 60fps view. You can also swap to a Resolution Priority mode for more reliable manual focus and macro work, or drop to an Economy mode to conserve battery power.
The 3-inch, 1.6-million-dot rear display can swing out to the side to face forward for vlog-style videos and selfies. It's a bit more useful for video than the one on the X-H1, which had a screen that tilted but couldn't face forward. Fuji has been slower to adopt the front-facing screen style, but it has opted for this style of screen for recent enthusiast models, starting with the X-T4. Brightness is adjustable and, at full power, the display is visible even on sunny days.
It is powered by the same NP-W235 NP-W235 NP-W235 as the X-2S. It should be able to last for approximately 550/580 shots (EVF/LCD), and more than one hour of ProRes422 video. (Even longer if you choose 24fps above 60fps). Take the still's battery rating with a grain of salt—if you set the drive for burst capture, you're certain to get far more images per charge. The X-H2S is a good all-day battery for me. I also like that you can top it up on-the-go with a USB C power bank. In my testing, I did not need extra power, but it is a smart idea to have a backup battery in case of an emergency.
The camera includes two card slots. The primary slot supports CFexpress (Type B) media, which is currently the fastest-writing format on the market. You should opt for these cards if you want to take advantage of the best quality (ProRes) video. The second slot works with UHS-II SDXC cards.
You can connect external strobes to the PC Sync flash socket by placing it on the front. The X-H2S doesn't have an in-body flash. It has an HDMI port that can output 12-bit raw video to select Atomos or Blackmagic recorders. The included microphone and headphone jacks (3.5mm), as well as USB-C are available to charge, transfer files, upload photos, or use the webcam with your computer. You can't directly connect an SSD as an external storage device, however, a downer given how big 4K60 ProRes files are—it doesn't take much to fill up a 512GB CFe card when you use the most demanding video options.
Bluetooth and 802.11ac Wi-Fi are built in as well. The X-H2S works with the Fujifilm Camera Remote app for remote control and smartphone image transfer. If you need stronger connectivity, the FT-XH add-on grip is an option. For $999, it adds a wired Ethernet port and faster (600Mbps) Wi-Fi. Like the basic add-on grip, the FT-XH also has space to hold two additional batteries, though they are not included with the accessory.
Fuji's X-T4 model had an autofocus system similar to the one in use on its X-H2S. The X-H2S uses a refined version of that which was available for previous models. The system distributes phase pixels and contrast detection area across the entire surface of the camera to produce a focused spread that almost covers the whole sensor. The focus acquisition process is quick and easy in almost all situations. There are many areas of interest to pick from. The camera can either choose to focus on a specific area or you can direct it. If you choose to go this route, the rear eight-way control is a great help.
We were pretty amazed at how well the X-T4's autofocus system tracked subjects and locked on to faces and eyes when we reviewed it in 2019, but it lacked some of the then-cutting-edge features, like eye detection for animals. With the X-H2S, Fujifilm has added several specialized subject detection modes for animals, birds, race cars, motorbikes, planes, and trains. Face and eye detection modes for people are available, too, but just not when you select any of the six specialized subject modes.
During field testing, I found that the XH2S was able to lock onto most subjects once it had been set up in the correct mode. The camera was able to see squirrels and other small animals in animal mode. It also found songbirds hidden in trees with bird detection mode, despite the fact that the branches were obscured. The camera was not suitable for trainspotting or motorsports, however the plane mode performed well with small aircraft taking off from local airports. The X-H2 is a great camera for tracking moving targets when combined with tracking focus.
There are a few different modes you can choose if you decide to set the focus point yourself. A flexible spot is the most useful, with a few different sizes available. You can set a pinpoint option to lock onto a precise point, or make the box bigger to more easily move across the frame. You also get a zone option, which, at its largest, covers a little more than half the sensor.
For subjects moving in motion, tracking mode works well. Although it only has one setting, subject recognition is possible. The focus box will jump on a target if it is close enough to it. By default, the camera automatically adjusts tracking sensitivity using a general Multi Purpose setting, but you can fine-tune its stickiness by diving into a menu and selecting from one of five preconfigured focus cases (Multi Purpose; Ignore Obstacles & Continue to Track Subject; For Accelerating/Decelerating Subject; For Suddenly Appearing Subject; and For Erratically Moving & Accelerating/Decelerating Subject).
Even so, the focus system isn't quite as competent as what we've seen from the Canon EOS R7 and Sony a7 IV. Those cameras also boost focus with subject detection, but offer more flexibility when it comes to acquiring a target for tracking. Starting tracking with a smaller focus target may not be a difference-maker for everyone, but wildlife specialists who work to get pictures of the animals in trees or heavy brush are sure to see the benefit of a small focus box.
Fujifilm also played a role in the decision to separate focus modes into multiple discrete modes, particularly considering the unwieldy interface. You can switch between subject detection modes with either the R7 and a7 IV by tapping a button. However, this is not possible for the XH2S. Although you can toggle subject detection off or on, it is still possible to set up a button that will turn the subject type switcher into action. This can be cumbersome, particularly for photographers who may need to quickly switch between bird and animal recognition.
Fujifilm would serve potential X-H2S buyers by straightening out the focus interface a bit. We'd like to see an option to cycle between subject detection more easily and Fuji should put all of the subject modes (including people) in one menu for a less confusing experience. As a workaround, I used custom modes (the camera has a staggering seven C slots on the PASM dial) to swap between subject modes: C1 for animals, C2 for birds, C3 for people, and so on. It's not how I prefer to set up a camera, though. Given how much the X-H2S's tracking system benefits from the subject recognition modes, we'd like to see Fuji make it easier to swap between them.
The XH2S is capable of producing photos at speeds up to 40fps using its silent e shutter or as fast as 15fps when it uses its mechanical focal plane shutter. Although subject tracking and raw capture can be done at the highest rate possible, we experienced some difficulties with focus accuracy when using the 40fps setting. The X-H2S can focus at 30fps or lower but it does so consistently.
For action shots, the buffer of this camera is sufficient. It was able to capture action shots at speeds of 40fps, 15fps, and Lossless raw+FineJPG. I used the fastest memory cards available, a 1,480MBps CFexpress Type B and a 299MBps UHSII SDXC from Sony's Tough Series. The XH2S can manage 150 raw+JPG and 200 raw photos. It also has the ability to capture JPGs as long as the shutter is down.
We got similar results with CFe and SDXC cards, but it takes half as long to fully clear the buffer to card if you go for CFe—a 150-shot full Raw+JPG burst takes about 40 seconds to clear to SDXC, but only 20 seconds for CFe. The X-H2S can keep taking photos as the buffer clears, albeit at a slower rate. For 15fps capture, results are similar, though you can expect more photos in Raw format before the camera slows—about 380 with a CFe card or 200 with SDXC.
Pre-shot buffer mode can be turned on if you are concerned about your card getting clogged with unusable shots. This special mode is only available with the Continuous High mode e-shutter. It saves the image as it drives focus. However, the memory card doesn't get written to until the shutter goes down. This mode is a great choice, if you do not want to eat valuable storage space. The ability to capture shots of egrets fishing for fish, and scenes where human reactions might hinder you from getting the right moment, is something I love.
The X-H2S can capture burst shots in any format you want. The buffer is more than ample for action shots—even at 40fps, you can record a few seconds of action in Raw format—but I would caution against using 40fps when you don't need it for a specific shot. You will notice some autofocus blurring at the highest capture rate. If you increase the burst rate to 30, you can get better in-focus images, and more moments.
Overall, the X-H2S is a very capable camera for capturing action. Its subject recognition settings require a little extra fiddling to configure, but lock on with acumen and deliver sharply focused pictures. Likewise, the tracking system does a good job of staying on top of moving targets. We would still prefer a few more focus selection modes, however. For action specialists, the Stacked CMOS experience is another benefit; there's no interruption to the view when you use the electronic shutter for bursts, so you can more easily keep the lens on target.
At 26.2MP the XH2S is comparable to fourth-generation Fuji cameras. However, cameras such as the XT4 have a more basic BSI CMOS imaging system, while the XH2S has a quicker-reading Stacked CMOS camera with Fuji's exclusive XTrans color filter array. To see if the faster chip could affect picture quality, I brought the XH2S to the laboratory.
The answer is a resounding no. When capturing ready-to-share JPGs (or 10-bit HEIF) the image processor curbs noise and shows strong detail through ISO 3200. There's a slight loss of contrast and some muddiness around details that are sharp at low sensitivity when pushing into the ISO 6400-12800 range, the highest options available when using Auto ISO. For very low light you can set an extended setting, ISO 25600 or 51200, manually. The JPG output for ISO 25600 isn't terrible; the sensor controls the noise decently well and fine detail still shines through some smudging. Consider ISO 51200 an emergency option, however, because photos at this setting appear very soft.
Raw capture is possible. The X-H2S can capture raw data in uncompressed or lossless formats. I stuck with the lossless option during testing—it provides plenty of flexibility for editing, along with reasonable file sizes (30MB on average). When you are working with raw images, desktop software handles noise reduction. For camera reviews, we use Adobe Lightroom Classic.
In Lightroom, the X-H2S's low sensitivity output (ISO 160-1600) is full of detail and shows very little noise. A fine grain pattern is evident at moderate settings (ISO 3200-12800) and edges remain crisp. Grain is rougher and more prevalent at ISO 25600, but you can still pull a workable image out. We're less happy with the ISO 51200 quality; the noise is very heavy and definitely destroys some information.
The X-H2S still ranks among other APS-C model sensors in high ISO imagery. The X-H2S is superior to the Canon EOS R7's 32.5MP at extremes. However, the R7 offers more detail and noise control at ISO 25600 settings. A full-frame model like the Sony a7IV, our favorite pick for creators, will produce sharper photos at higher sensitivities. It has cleaner photos that the XH2S, starting around ISO 6400.
Fuji also gives you the option to process Raw images in-camera, if you prefer to skip working on a computer or tablet. Its in-camera tools are not as versatile as desktop software—with Lightroom, you see the effects of your edits in real time for easier fine-tuning—but we do like the option to apply any of the in-camera Film Simulation looks after you take a shot. If you use JPG mode, you have to pick a film look before you press the shutter.
For handheld imaging, stabilization can be useful. To compensate for unsteady hands and motion blur, the X-H2S places its sensor on a 5-axis gyro. This is great for handheld photos of up to half a second without any visible blurring and it also steadies the video very well. The Boost IS option is almost as efficient as a tripod when it comes to static shots.
The X-H2S ranks among the top video cameras. The X-H2S is one of the latest cameras that embeds Apple's ProRes compression algorithm into the camera. This eliminates the need for an Atomos Ninja recorder in order to process the 10-bit 4:2 to 2 format. To use ProRes HQ or ProRes LT you will still require CFe cards. Sticking with SDXC cards will give you H.265 (ten-bit) or H.264 (8 bit) compression.
At up to 4K60, you can choose 16:9 UHD and 17:9 DCI. If you need to film in anamorphic lenses or have some space to frame for 16:9, 9:16 or 19:9 outputs, 6.2K30 has a 3:2 aspect ratio. The Fuji X-H2 is a good choice if you need to record vertically. It supports 8K30 recording and has the same ProRes features.
We have some concerns about using the X-H2 for video of fast-moving subjects, though—it does not control rolling shutter as well as the faster-reading X-H2S. The XH2S scans the sensor in 1/180 seconds, while the XH2S takes five times as long (1/33 second) for the 8K mode. While we're still testing the XH2 in full, I noticed that there were no rolling shutter artifacts on the XH2S when it recorded traffic moving across the frame.
You should buy a large CFe Card if you want to capture the highest quality video. A 128GB card can only hold eight minutes of ProRes HQ at 40K60. Profiles can be applied to any video using the built-in Film Simulation, or you can choose to use either flat F-Log2 or F-Log2 profiles for a color-correcting file. The X-H2S allows you to send raw video to either an Atomos Ninja V+ recorder or BlackMagic Video Assist recorder for more editing flexibility.
Slow-motion video can also be captured by the X-H2S. The X-H2S supports H.265 4K120 with a 10-bit image and a 1.29x crop. Slow-motion video grade well, supports F-Log and F-Log2, film look profiles and is silent. It can also render slow-motion footage in-camera. Slow-motion autofocus is just as effective as normal video. All of the X-H2 subject detection modes can be used for stills and moving images.
If you are working in hot environments or on-site, heat can cause problems. The X-H2S can run for approximately 25 minutes at 4K60 ProRes in a normal room environment before it shuts down because of heat. An accessory fan can be purchased if you want to run the video for longer. To cool the camera, the $199 accessory fan screws in the back. However, you will need to move the screen to one side to install the fan. To install the fan, you will need to remove a small plastic nub from the body of the camera. If you do lose this piece, your X-H2S won't be weather sealed.
Even so, the overall video toolkit here is very strong. The X-H2S doesn't offer quite as many video features as the Panasonic GH6, a competitor that also has ProRes and includes a built-in fan. Fuji doesn't offer video-friendly waveform monitors like the GH6, just as one example. Video-first creators have many good reasons to pick a GH6, but I'll give the nod to the X-H2S for hybrid photo-video work. The GH6 has some real-world limitations for stills, especially for those who like to edit Raw images.
Fujifilm went above and beyond for its X-H2S. This is the first major update of the X-H1. The Stacked CMOS image sensor is a real treat for action photos—it's easier to keep the lens centered on a moving subject when you never lose sight of your frame, and built-in ProRes recording is a must-have for cinema and serious video work. In the last few years, it has been the standard format of choice for professionals.
We're used to high prices in full-frame cameras with similar feature sets. To call one out, the Nikon Z 9 is similarly capable and comes in at around $5,500. The X-H2S is a bargain by comparison, but it does swap a full-frame imager for a smaller APS-C chip with fewer pixels to get there. The only other crop-sensor camera with Stacked CMOS tech is the OM System OM-1 ($2,200).
However, stacked cameras can be more expensive than basic CMOS or BSI CMOS sensors models. The Canon EOS R7 is our Editors' Choice for this category at $1,500. It can produce great action shots. If you are serious about portraiture, landscape, and candid shots, the full-frame Sony a7IV may be a better choice for your $2,499 price tag than the XH2S.
If you don't care a bit about stills work, the Panasonic GH6 ($2,200) is a compelling alternative for video. It supports 5.7K ProRes and is nearly purpose-built for moviemaking. The X-H2S isn't that far behind for video, though, and works much better for stills and in tough autofocus scenarios than the GH6. Simply put, the X-H2S is a better tool for hybrid creators and the GH6 is a stronger option for video specialists.
The XH2S may not be the best option for some creators, but we are confident that they will choose the XH2S over its 40MP counterpart. Although we only got to experience the 40MP/8K model briefly, it was sufficient to show us that the X-2 is as fast as the X-2 to focus. However, we need to continue testing the camera to determine if it can get the most out of the 40MP-rich imager.
There's no question that the X-H2S is an entirely capable camera, one that pulls ahead of competitors in many respects. It's the only model in its price range to include a Stacked CMOS chip, phase detection focus, and ProRes, after all. It just faces stiff competition and comes in at a higher price than others.