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FUJIFILM X-H2 Review – Are We Looking at the APS-C Mirrorless Camera of the Year?

September 8th, 2022 Jump to Comment Section 23
FUJIFILM X-H2 Review - Are We Looking at the APS-C Mirrorless Camera of the Year?

The FUJIFILM X-H2 camera has just been announced and let me tell you, FUJIFILM did a great job in balancing camera specifications/performance and price. Makes me wonder, are we looking at the APS-C mirrorless camera of the year? Time will tell as we still have four months to go until the end of the year, but all in all, this camera is my current prime candidate for this title as of now. Keep reading to find out why…

Let’s start with a quiz. What looks completely identical to the X-H2S, yet weighs the same despite having a higher resolution? (Joke). Well, today is the day the FUJIFILM X-H2 was announced. Unfortunately, though, I’m not done editing the mini-documentary I shot with the camera, but it will be released soon. In any case, this first-look review is based on my experience working with the camera.

Not sure if you had a chance to take a closer look at our FUJIFILM X-H2S review, but writing that article was not that “easy”. The X-H2S is a great little camera, yet, already knowing what the X-H2 is bringing to the table excited me even more.

X-H2 with the FUJIFILM XC 15-45mm lens
X-H2 with the FUJIFILM XC 15-45mm lens. Credit: CineD

Welcome, FUJIFILM X-H2!

Usually, an “less advanced” product would find it hard to compete with its upper-class sibling. Still, in this particular case, the new X-H2 camera can look right into the “white of the eyes” of the X-H2S without having any inferiority feelings. That being said, the X-H2S is a leading-class product, but in my opinion, the X-H2 is simply better.

FUJIFILM X-H2 vs X-H2S

Let me cut right into it and highlight the advantages of the X-H2S:

  • 6.2K open gate (3:2) option. Great for anamorphic work or reframing your footage on a 16×9 timeline
  • High Frame Rate recording up to 4K/120p
  • FUJIFILM original stacked sensor design for improved “speed performance” which translates into a reduced rolling shutter effect. Find out more about how the X-H2S did in our lab test by taking a close look at our newly announced databases.

So the FUJIFILM X-H2 does not have a stacked sensor BUT, it’s newly developed back-illuminated 40.2MP X-trans CMOS sensor (Generation 5) and capable X-Processor 5, permits the camera to record internally in ProRes up to 8K/30p (HQ/422/LT). One can also record ProRes Proxy files, which is really great. (Make sure not to exceed the 6.2K resolution in order to be able to use this feature).

X-H2S next to X-H2
X-H2S next to X-H2. Spot the external differences Credit: CineD

Ditching the stacked sensor helped FUJIFILM to reduce the price of the X-H2 and set it at $1999. Now, while investing that kind of money in a camera might not be for everyone, I hope that the consensus will be that the value for money this filming tool brings, might make both photographers and filmmakers rather happy.

So next to the reduced sensor speed performance, are there any additional video limitations compared to the X-H2S? Well, yes, but none that will stop me from considering this camera from being a prime candidate for being our “APS-C camera of the year”.

Now, one might ask themselves “why should I even bother with a product that has some limitations?”, and my answer to this will be very clear. It is NOT an inferior product in any way. Yes, it would have been great to have higher frame rate/open gate options and better rolling shutter performance, yet at the end of the day, this newly announced X-H2 camera IS FUJIFILM’s “Swiss Army Knife” product! One that if used well, can easily cover many shooting scenarios.

X-H2 – what there is to like (in no particular order)

Let me highlight just a few of the features I really like:

  • 8K up to 30fps ProRes internal recording (To my knowledge, it is the first APS-C sensor camera to enable 8K/30P Apple ProRes internal recording)
  • 6.2K ProRes internal recording
  • 4K (UHD and DCI) ProRes internal recording in up to 60p (it comes in two flavors – HQ and normal. More on this below)
  • Easier manual focus adjustment with a new “focus meter” assisting function
  • Good IBIS. Surprisingly a much better one than the one found inside the X-H2S
  • Good lowlight performance despite having a high-density pixel sensor
  • Digital Zoom with limited picture quality loss (Can be used in 4K/4KDCI HQ and Full HD modes)
  • Needless to say that F-Log2 and type A HDMI connector are present, too
4KHQ with 8K oversampling
4KHQ with 8K oversampling. Credit: CineD

Technical notes

4K/4K DCI HQ Recording

Just to clarify something about this HQ flavor recording. While choosing this option, the 4K resolution will be oversampled from the 8K sensor resulting in a superior (sharper) 4K resolution image. The normal 4K/4K DCI uses “horizontal line skipping” which might not be sufficient quality-wise for some.

High ISO Recording

One of the things that caught my attention is how well the camera records in lowlight situations despite having a 40.2MP sensor. When diving a bit into it, I found out the following:

The best S/N ratio can be obtained in up to ISO6400 (emphasizing resolution at low S/N). When filming with higher ISO values, one might expect a bit of a softer image.

"Focus meter"- The new focus assist function
“Focus meter”- The new focus assist function. Credit:CineD

X-H2 in the field

I truly had a great time working with this camera! In terms of handling, it has the same exact body as the X-H2S, which you can read about in this review, and applies to this camera, too (the camera grip is too deep for small hands and the”bump” does not help either).

Two small quirks that kept bothering me while working but might be fixed with a firmware update are:

  • The new camera offers a digital zoom option when filming in 4K/Full HD resolution (Up to 2X). This might be useful to explore in some filming situations. Now, with the new FUJINON 18-120mm lens it works great, BUT, when turning the camera “OFF” and then “ON” again, the “Digital Zoom” setting resets itself to “OFF” position. Not a biggy, but it would be nice if the camera remembers the last settings.
  • It seems as if not all lenses are supporting this “Digital Zoom” option. I was not successful with the XC 15-45mm lens. Though on the other hand, the XF 16-55mm worked flawlessly.

The camera heat-dissipating design is similar to the one implemented in the X-H2S (limited recording time with no fan and extended performance with the fan accessory). While filming, I did not encounter any delays simply because of the camera not shutting down on me, BUT this is of course very much dependent on the environment you are working in.

I can’t say much about shooting with IBIS engaged (Boost ON). I filmed so much handheld, and the performance of the IBIS in this camera was so good to have.

My favorite FUJIFILM Camera is the X-H2
My favorite FUJIFILM Camera is the X-H2. Credit: CineD

Conclusion

Personally, the X-H2 is the best camera for video FUJIFILM has ever made! I’m sure it will also cater well to those who need to produce video next to photo content as the 40.2MP sensor is sufficient for such a “dual task”. With so many resolution options (Full HD – 8K), next to a robust internal recording 4:2:2 10- bit codec (ProRes), good IBIS, and good autofocus performance, I predict that this camera will be a hit, especially considering its attractive price ($1999). Add good audio and lowlight capabilities and there you have it – a very versatile working tool! So the bottom line is, after filming with both, the X-H2S and X-H2, the latter is my preferred option. Not because I don’t appreciate Open Gate, High Frame-Rate recording, or fast sensor capability, but I can simply live with those shortcomings and in exchange earn greater recording flexibility and good IBIS performance (which is essential for my documentary work).

What do you think about the X-H2? And more importantly, what would be your preferred option? When it comes to lower camera prices but lower specifications, would you tolerate this? Many questions, I know, but please share with us your thoughts in the comment section below.

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