Reviews

Fujifilm X-H2S initial review: A hybrid speedster

With the release of the X-H2S, Fujifilm has made one thing clear: it’s tired of being overlooked by the video crowd.

The mirrorless camera packs some serious video chops, including the ability to record ProRes 422 internally with no record time limits. At the same time, it maintains powerful photography features, including staggeringly fast burst shooting at up to 40fps.

The question is whether it can compete with the likes of Sony, Canon and Panasonic, whose offerings have long been longstanding favourites of the hybrid-shooting world.

We got the chance to take the X-H2S around the Goodwood Festival of Speed – here are our initial impressions.
The X-H2S is one of Fujifilm’s most impressive cameras to date. Huge strides in the video department make it a compelling option for hybrid shooters – particularly those who shoot a lot of sports.

Unfortunately, the added expense of the stacked CMOS sensor puts the camera up against stiff competition from the likes of the Sony A7 IV, with its full-frame sensor and superior autofocus.

Still, if speed is what you need, the Sony can’t come anywhere close to the burst rate and high-speed video options offered by the X-H2S.

We loved shooting with it and hope to have a chance to further explore its capabilities down the line.
There’s a sizable display on top of the camera that allows you to check your battery life, storage status and key settings. It’s similar to the display on the older X-H1, but, this time, it’s better placed, and the inverted colours make it look much more modern.
It’s been a while since we’ve used a camera with a status LCD like this, and we had almost forgotten how handy it is. It remains visible even with the camera powered down, and lets you quickly check your remaining battery and how many shots you’ve got left without having to turn the camera on. It’s great stuff.

The design is understated, we’d say, but it’s attractive and has a subtle retro charm about it. Of course, it’s not the most crucial thing in the world, but photography is a visual medium, so it’s fair to assume that lot of the target market will appreciate a good-looking tool.

In a departure from its usual offerings, Fujifilm has done away with the vintage shutter speed and ISO dials, instead opting for a mode dial (with an abundance of custom presets) and a dedicated video recording button. We’re sure some photographers will be less than pleased with this decision, but, for a hybrid shooter, this layout makes much more sense.

A CFexpess type B slot has also been added to handle the weighty new codecs (we’re talking 2754Mbps for 6.2K ProRes HQ), but, for less intensive tasks, there’s still an SD card slot. The camera has a USB-C connector, too, which can be used to power the camera, charge the battery or transfer files to a computer. As far as we can tell, you aren’t able to record directly to an external SSD, though.

The day of our testing saw very mixed weather, from dark rain showers to bright sunlight, and both the EVF and monitor performed admirably throughout. Both offer plenty of clarity and allowed us to pull focus and review clips with ease – even in direct sunlight.
Starting with the photo performance, we found ourselves shooting a lot of 15 fps bursts with the mechanical shutter and autofocus. There’s something addictive about rattling off shots with that machine-gun sound, and while we’re typically quite reserved with how many shots we take in a day, we quickly racked up thousands of images.

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Ajmal Solangi is a Tech writer specializing in the intersection of tech and reviews. He likes tech news, mobile unboxing, reviews, gadgets, and more.

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