Fujifilm X-H2 review: Less speed, more resolution
(Pocket-lint) – When Fujifilm released the X-H2S this summer, we all knew that an X-H2 would be arriving at some point, but few were expecting the specifications that have come along with it.
It has the highest resolution sensor that we’ve ever seen in an APS-C mirrorless camera, along with 8K video recording and it comes at a significantly lower price than its speedy sibling.
Fujifilm’s latest hybrid body is an appealing prospect, indeed, but what’s it like to use in the real world? We’ve been putting it to the test.
The Fujifilm X-H2 is a very compelling hybrid shooter. It has the same excellent robust chassis as the X-H2s, along with a higher-resolution sensor and a lower price tag.
In our testing, we found that the X-H2 didn’t hold us back in photography at all, with 15fps bursts being more than fast enough for our purposes. We also loved having the extra resolution to crop in on our images when our lens wasn’t quite long enough.
For video shooting, however, we really missed the 4K 120fps mode, which is far more useful to us than 8K resolution – especially with its poor rolling-shutter performance.
Whether the camera is right for you all depends on your needs. If you’re likely to shoot a lot of locked-off talking head videos, then the rolling shutter won’t present much of an issue, and the extra resolution allows you to punch in significantly.
In any case, the X-H2 is undoubtedly one of the best APS-C bodies on the market today. If you don’t need the speed of a stacked sensor, you can save a wad of cash and get much of the same experience, along with even more detailed photos.
4.5 stars – Pocket-lint recommended
- The highest-resolution ASP-C sensor on the market
- 8K video capture
- Internal ProRes recording
- 160MP pixel shift multi-shot
- Significantly cheaper than the X-H2S
- Rolling shutter is noticeable at 8K
- No 4K 120fps shooting
- Still expensive for an APS-C body
Design and connectivity
- Dimensions: 136.3 x 92.9 x 84.6mm
- Weight: 660g
- Displays: 1.28-inch settings LCD, 3-inch flip-out monitor, OLED EVF
- Ports: Full-size HDMI, USB-C, 3.5mm headphone and mic sockets
The X-H2 utilises the same great chassis as the X-H2S. Aside from the little white “X-H2” text on the rear, and the lack of an “S” badge on the front, the two cameras are identical. They both come in at the same weight, too, so you can’t really tell them apart in the hand.
This means that it benefits from the same deep hand grip and ergonomic design, and despite being a bit hefty, it manages to be one of the most comfortable camera bodies to hold. The large settings display is still present on the top, and as was the case when we tested the X-H2S, we found it extremely handy. The standout feature was the ability to check our remaining battery life and storage space without even needing to turn the camera on. That’s the kind of thing you really miss when you switch back to your daily shooter.
The displays and connectivity are the same on this camera, too. The flip-out LCD is great and usable in almost all lighting conditions, while the 3.68 million dot OLED EVF is sharp and clear. You get a full-sized HDMI port, along with headphone and microphone sockets and a USB-C port. As with the X-H2S, the USB can be used for charging or data transfer, but it doesn’t allow you to record to a portable SSD.
- X-Trans CMOS sensor – 40.2MP stills
- Up to 20fps burst (1.29x crop) / 15fps with mechanical shutter
- 160MP pixel shift multi-shot
- Maximum electronic shutter speed 1/180000
The biggest advantage offered by the X-H2 is its extremely high-resolution sensor. It’s a traditional back-side illuminated sensor, rather than the stacked sensor found on the X-H2S. This means it can’t offer the same extremely fast burst rates, but instead produces a much more detailed image that’s more suitable for large-format prints or cropping in.
We tested the camera with a combination of the XF 18-120mm, XF 16-55mm and XF 56mm F1.2. Across the board, we were very impressed with the results that we were able to achieve. Images are sharp and detailed, whilst also benefitting from Fujifilm’s renowned colour science.
Film simulation modes are sometimes considered a bit of a gimmick, but we found ourselves using them quite frequently on the X-H2. There are 13 to choose from, including a couple of black-and-white options. These modes essentially apply a LUT in camera, saving you some editing time after the fact. We’re quite keen on the “Nostalgic Negative” preset, which gives images a bit of warmth and a slight shift toward magenta tones.
With high-resolution sensors, noise is often a concern. Thankfully, we found that ISO settings up to around 3200 are extremely clean and noise-free, and results are usable up to around 12800. Very impressive stuff.
As we mentioned, the X-H2 is no match for the X-H2S when it comes to burst rates, however, it offers the same speed when you’re using the mechanical shutter. And 15fps with autofocus is not to be sniffed at. We did think that the autofocus was a little less reliable for fast-moving subjects, but it does a pretty excellent job overall.
Interestingly, there’s one area in which the X-H2 is the fastest, and that’s the maximum electronic shutter speed. It goes all the way up to an astonishing 1/180000 sec. Does anyone need a shutter speed this high? We’re not so sure, but if you’re looking to freeze motion entirely, and have enough light, this could be the camera for the job. It could also be handy if you need to take a photo of the surface of the sun at f/1.2 with no ND filter.
Finally, we have a feature called pixel shift multi-shot, wherein the camera physically moves the sensor and takes 20 images of a scene that can be combined into one gigantic 160MP photo. You need a tripod for this, along with a completely static subject for it to work, which severely limits its usefulness. Nonetheless, it’s a pretty cool feature that was previously exclusive to Fuji’s more expensive GFX lineup of medium-format cameras. The images aren’t combined in the camera, which we found a little disappointing, but it’s easy to do using Fujifilm’s Pixel Shift Combiner software on Windows or Mac.
- Up to 8K 30fps/ 4K 60fps / 1080p 240fps
- Internal ProRes 422, HQ and LT support
- 7-stop in-body image stabilisation
- 2x digital zoom at 4K with little to no loss in resolution
With video shooting, it’s a similar story, the higher-resolution sensor allows you to shoot video at up to 8K resolution, rather than 6.2K on the X-H2S. However, you also give up some speed, losing 4K 120fps recording, which was one of our favourite modes on the X-H2S.
The 1080p 240fps slow motion is still available, but it suffers the exact same issues that we saw on the X-H2S. We’re not sure what makes this mode so grainy and unpleasant, but we’ve still got hope that Fujifilm can clean it up in future firmware.
On this model, you still get all the same internal ProRes recording options as the pricier X-H2S, along with the ability to output up to 12-bit RAW video to a compatible recorder over HDMI.
In our testing, the X-H2 performed quite similarly to the X-H2S in terms of stabilisation, dynamic range, autofocus and colour reproduction. Given that it’s about $500 cheaper, and can also record 8K, that’s a pretty big win.
The X-H2 also has a digital zoom function, that utilises the higher-resolution sensor to allow for up to 2x digital zoom at 4K without any noticeable loss in quality. This can come in handy, especially for wildlife shooting, and is a feature that’s not available in the X-H2S.
However, there’s one area that lets the X-H2 down for video, and that’s its rolling shutter performance. Depending on how you shoot, this could be a potential dealbreaker. In 4K standard mode (which offers up to 60fps) the rolling shutter is roughly on par with the Sony A7 III, which is not bad at all. However, when you bump things up to 4K HQ (oversampled) or 8K recording, the rolling shutter effect gets progressively worse, and it’s very noticeable at 8K.
We think the X-H2 is one of the best APS-C cameras on the market today. If you don’t shoot slow-motion video or high-speed bursts, you can get much of the X-H2S experience at a significantly lower price. Plus, it has advantages of its own, like more detailed images and 8K recording.
Writing by Luke Baker. Editing by Verity Burns.