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Hands on: Fujifilm X-H2S review

With 40fps continuous shooting, Fujifilm's new 5th generation sensor and processor and uncropped 6.2K 30p video, could this be the best X Series camera ever?

(Image: © Hannah Rooke)

Early Verdict

The Fujifilm X-H2S boasts the highest performance for stills and videos in the history of the X Series. With double the processing power of its predecessor it offers a class-leading 40fps continuous shooting with full autofocus functions. The video specs are spectacular at 6.2K 30p uncropped, and with the option of three Apple ProRes codecs. For sports photographers, bird enthusiasts and users who do a lot of on-location work and don't want the size or price of a full-frame sensor, the Fujifilm X-H2S could be a terrifically powerful companion.

Pros

  • +

    Up to 7 stops of stabilization

  • +

    Continuous shooting at 40fps

  • +

    6.2K 30p and 4K 120p video

Cons

  • -

    No eye Control AF

  • -

    Limited recording time without optional cooling fan

The Fujifilm X-Summit is always full of surprises, and the company used its most recent global event to announce the Fujifilm X-H2S. With it was the announcement of a brand-new fifth generation sensor and processor, the X-TransTM CMOS 5 HS and X-Processor 5 respectively. With the X-H2S, Fujifilm looks to have created a camera that high-speed photographers of sports, wildlife and action should love – and be well served by.

We gave the Fujifilm X-H1 (opens in new tab) top marks when it was released more than 4 years ago, and we couldn't help but give the Fujifilm X-T4 (opens in new tab) a five-star review back in 2020. But does the Fujifilm X-H2S do enough to warrant its place as the manufacturer's latest flagship? And, since we're wondering, does it outsmart competitors such as the OM System OM-1?

Without more testing and lab data we can't say that the Fujifilm X-H2S is one of the best professional cameras (opens in new tab) you can buy. However, its continuous shooting speed using the electronic shutter is a staggering 40fps – that's 10 to 20 fps faster than any full-frame stacked sensor camera currently on the market, including the Canon EOS R3 (opens in new tab) the Sony A1 (opens in new tab) and the sports-centric Nikon Z9 (opens in new tab)

Pre-order the Fujifilm X-H2S at B&H Photo (USA) (opens in new tab)
Pre-order the Fujifilm X-H2S at Wex Photo (UK) (opens in new tab)

Thanks to the rumor mill surrounding Fujifilm's May 2022 X-Summit event, we thought we were getting a Fujifilm X-H2 (opens in new tab) but the X-H2S surpasses many of our expectations – especially when it comes to its impressive video specs. We'll delve into these more below, but needless to say that 10bit video at 6.2K 30p and 4K 120p internally, the addition of three Apple ProRes codecs, and an improved sensor readout speed during video recording (to suppress rolling shutter effects) are all things that serious video creators will look for.

Fujifilm is a bit late to the high-speed party, having traditionally aimed its cameras squarely at the lifestyle end of photography – think food, portrait and travel. However, the manufacturer might now have done enough to be considered a serious contender among those who rate speed as a priority when it comes to choosing a camera. And to be honest, speed aside, the the Fujifilm X-H2S is a brilliant camera in its own right – both for stills and video.

Fujifilm X-H2S: Specifications

Sensor: 26.1MP 23.5mm x 15.6mm (APS-C) X-Trans CMOS 5 HS
Image processor: X-Processor 5
Mount: Fujifilm X-mount
ISO range: 80 to 51,200
Shutter: 30sec. to 1/8000sec.
Image stabilization: 5-axis IBIS
Max image size: 6,240 x 4,160
Max video resolution: 6.2K 30p, 4K 120p, 1080 240p
Viewfinder: 5.76-million-dot OLED
Memory card: 2 x CFexpress Type B/SD UHS-II cards
LCD: Vari-angle touchscreen, 1.62m dots
Max burst: 40fps electronic, 15fps mechanical
Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, HDMI, USB-C
Size: 136.3 x 92.9 x 84.6mm
Weight: 579g (body only)

• Preorder the Fujifilm X-H2S at B&H (USA)
• Preorder the Fujfilm X-H2S at Wex Photo (UK)

Fujifilm X-H2S: Key features

Aimed at pro photographers who need high-speed performance for tracking wildlife, sports or action, the Fujifilm X-H2S is designed to pack all the features that a photographer could want or need when shooting at a race track or tucked away in a bird hide. It's also a powerful machine, catering to the diverse needs of the modern content creator as well as hybrid shooters.

At the heart of the camera is a brand-new X-TransTM CMOS 5 HS sensor. It has a signal readout speed that's roughly four times faster than the Fujifilm X-T4 (opens in new tab) but the same 26.1MP resolution. The sensor has a stacked-layer structure, and this is what enables the photographer to achieve blackout-free continuous shooting up to a sort-of-ridiculous 40 frames per second. By comparison, the flagship Nikon Z9 and Sony A1 both max out at 30fps continuous shooting when using the electronic shutter. You'll actually get over 1,000 frames when setting the high-speed burst shooting mode to 30 frames per second in JPEG, or 20 frames per second in RAW mode.

To keep up with such speed, the camera features dual memory card slots now supporting CFexpress Type B and SD UHS-II cards, as CFexpress Type B can process high-speed data – allowing the H2S’s fast continuous shooting and video performance to reach its full potential. The Fujifilm X-H2S also shoots 10 bit HEIF (High Efficiency File Format) files, which are more efficient than JPGs when it comes to storage space and capturing greater color depth.

In terms of autofocus, Fujifilm says that an "improved prediction algorithm for AF" has led to a big boost in the X-H2S's ability to track a moving subject. The camera uses an Intelligent Hybrid AF system (a mix of through the lens contrast and phase detection). Continuous autofocus is absolutely imperative for sports and wildlife photographers whose subjects often move erratically, and the processor now features subject-detection AF that's been developed with Deep Learning technology to improve tracking in Continuous AF mode. 

This autofocus system can lock onto a myriad of subjects such as faces, animals, birds, bikes, planes, cars and trains. The aim is that the photographer can focus on the creativity of the shot and the composition while the AF system will keep things sharp. It's worth pointing out that with the AI learning, the camera uses information from a massive database and doesn't actually learn from the user, but obviously that's something that Fujifilm has the potential to update over time.

Fujifilm X-H2S

(Image credit: Hannah Rooke)

When it comes to video, the Fujifilm X-H2S represents a potentially massive upgrade for pros. The new sensor/processor combo enables recording of 10bit video at 6.2K 30p, as well as high-speed 4K/120P video which will allow fast-moving subjects – birds, planes, runners – to be captured in slow-motion.

What's more, the Fujifilm X-H2S supports three Apple ProRes codecs; ProRes 422 HQ, ProRes 422, and ProRes 422 LT. If you're not familiar with Apple ProRes and why it's important for many pros, it essentially streamlines the overall workflow from shooting to editing, as it's a more efficient codec. 

F-Log2 capability is another new video feature on the camera, which preserves up to 14+ stops of dynamic range from the camera sensor.

In recent years the phenomenon of mirrorless cameras overheating and limiting video recording (opens in new tab) has been a notorious and even amusing source of contention, so what about maximum recording times? Well the Fujifilm X-H2S has been designed with a built-in heat-dissipating structure which increases the maximum video recording time to 240 minutes of 4K/60P video. This is only the quote for reasonable temperature climates, and to ensure longer video recording in in high-temperature conditions, photographers will probably have to buy and attach Fujifilm's new optional cooling fan (catchily named FAN-001) which extends the video recording further – priced at £169.

Fujifilm X-H2S

(Image credit: Hannah Rooke)

Fujifilm X-H2S: Build and handling

In many ways the X-H2S feels similar to the Fujifilm X-H1 (opens in new tab) when it's in your hand. However it is slightly smaller, even though it uses a bigger battery with a capacity up to 720 frames in economy mode – a full day, in other words. It features a chunky and pleasing grip that works well to give you a secure hold even in smaller hands. Just like its predecessor, it has a monochrome LCD display on the top panel that displays at a glance the key exposure settings and camera modes. 

Fujifilm has taken on board feedback from its users and made some small but welcome changes that enhance handling, refining the modes and dials to improve operability. Some the switches and dials from the X-H1 have been removed entirely, so that you're more reliant on the custom buttons for control, but this leads to a less cluttered design – where everything you need feels accessible and sensibly placed.

For example, the focus select switch has now gone, and a function button is in its place. The actual dials themselves feel more robust and nicer to press, and half-pressing the shutter button is so much smoother. Even the eyelets on the top plate have changed so that you can now fit larger straps on the camera. 

One obvious change is the addition of a dedicated record button on the top of the camera plate next to the shutter. This – alongside the 1.62-million-dot vari-angle LCD touchscreen – could cement the Fujifilm X-H2S as a more than decent hybrid camera.

Fujifilm X-H2S

(Image credit: Lauren Scott)

Fujifilm X-H2S

(Image credit: Lauren Scott)

Lauren Scott

(Image credit: Lauren Scott)

Fujifilm X-H2S: Performance

The first thing you noticed about the Fujifilm X-H2S is how tactile it is, and how enjoyable the handling. The slightly larger grip allows you to grab onto it comfortably even when using it with very long lenses such as the new Fujifilm XF150-600mmF5.6-8 lens (which was announced at the May 2022 X-Summit at the same time).

Although we didn't get to test the camera performance on the high-speed subjects it has been designed for, nevertheless a quick romp around London's Covent Garden gave some idea as to how effect the autofocus tracking is – and could be.

That said, it's the frankly phenomenal burst speed that wows most of all. Again we'd like to test the camera with a fully-fledged CFExpress card, but even with our standard SD card it fired off frames at magnificent speed – and the shots were sharp and clear.

Although we know that the name of the game with the Fujifilm X-H2S is speed, it also handled portraits well. Fujifilm is well known for its color science and color profiles, and the camera rendered skin tones accurately and smoothly. 

Thanks to the 5-axis in-body image stabilization, we found that we were able to capture sharp handheld shoots indoors and as the weather turned grim, so we'd likely have no qualms about taking the camera on a low-light shoot without a tripod – especially given the ISO capabilities of up to 51,200.

Fujifilm X-H2S: Accessories

The Fujifilm X-H2S has been released with several optional add-on accessories that could definitely enhance the shooting experience – depending on your genre of photography. These include a Vertical battery grip (VG-XH) that fits two high capacity batteries, and File transmitter (FT-XH) due to be released in Sep 2022, which features wired LAN connectivity and high-speed wireless communications capability.

There's also the cooling fan (FAN-001) that we mentioned earlier, which has been designed exclusively for the the Fujifilm X-H2S to allow it to record continuously for longer in high temperatures without shutting down. This small and portable fan clips onto the back of the camera body without cables, and it runs off the camera's battery.

The hefty vertical battery grip extends battery life for long shoots (Image credit: Fujifilm)

An optional cooling fan can be purchased and fitted to the rear of the X-H2S to extend its recording times in hot weather (Image credit: Fujifilm)

Fujifilm X-H2S: Early verdict

While we only had a pre-production sample of the Fujifilm X-H2S to test at its launch, we can already tell that the new flagship will be an excellent choice for pros who are keen to stick with the APS-C format but want a camera that breaks new speed barriers – all without breaking the bank.

Overall handling and performance seems excellent so far, and while video recording isn't unlimited, the option to add an unobtrusive (and fairly inexpensive) cooling fan to extend recording times if you want to should probably please most users.

The price point is around $2499/£2499, which is a touch more than some of the best hybrid cameras (opens in new tab) and the much-loved Fujifilm X-T4 (opens in new tab), one of (in our opinion) the best APS-C hybrid cameras ever made.

If you already shoot with the Fujifilm X-H1 or Fujifilm X-T4, you might not find enough of a reason to upgrade to the H2-S just yet unless your work involves shooting fast subjects (in which case the X-H1 might not be the best choice anyway). 

But if you want to experience the latest and greatest Fujifilm X-series flagship and potentially future-proof yourself with a stills and video camera that will last for many years to come, the Fujifilm X-HS2 looks to be a very good buy indeed. 

The Fujifilm X-H2S will be released in July 2022, but we'll be bringing you a full review very soon, with lab tests, scores and more test shots with a fully-fledged (not pre-production) camera.

Pre-order the Fujifilm X-H2S at B&H Photo (USA) (opens in new tab)
Pre-order the Fujifilm X-H2S at Wex Photo (UK) (opens in new tab)

Read more: 

Fujifilm X-T4 review (opens in new tab)
The best Fujifilm camera (opens in new tab)
(opens in new tab)
The best Fujifilm lenses (opens in new tab)

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Lauren is the Managing Editor of Digital Camera World, having previously served as Editor of Digital Photographer (opens in new tab) magazine, a practical-focused publication that inspires hobbyists and seasoned pros alike to take truly phenomenal shots and get the best results from their kit. 


An experienced photography journalist who has been covering the industry for over eight years, she has also served as technique editor for both PhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine (opens in new tab)PhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine and DCW's sister publication, Digital Camera Magazine (opens in new tab)


In addition to techniques and tutorials that enable you to achieve great results from your cameras, lenses, tripods and other photography equipment, Lauren can regularly be found interviewing some of the biggest names in the industry, sharing tips and guides on subjects like landscape and wildlife photography, and raising awareness for subjects such as mental health and women in photography. 

With contributions from