Fujifilm has unveiled its new high-end APS-C camera, the X-H2S. It arrives four years after the X-H1 and it’s not alone, because Fuji plans to announce a X-H2 with 40MP at a later date, which means there will be two flagship models: one that focuses on resolution, and one that is all about speed.
The latter is the one we’re going to talk about in this article, and we’ll do so by analysing how it compares to the product that, until now, was the best the company had to offer: the X-T4.
Ethics statement: the following is based on our personal experience with the X-T4 and official information about the X-H2S. We were not asked to write anything about these products, nor were we provided any compensation of any kind. Within the article, there are affiliate links. If you buy something after clicking one of these links, we will receive a small commission. To know more about our ethics, you can visit our full disclosure page. Thank you!
The X-H2S is larger and heavier than the ‘T’ model, but not by much. Both cameras are built with magnesium alloy plates and are weather sealed, including freeze proofing down to -10˚C. The X-T4 is available in black or silver, whereas the X-H2S comes in black only.
- X-H2S: 136.3 x 92.9 x 84.6mm, 660g
- X-T4: 134.6 x 92.8 x 63.8mm, 607g
The most notable difference in terms of design is the front. Just like its predecessor the XH1, the X-H2S sports a much larger grip to give photographers a more comfortable hold when using large lenses such as the XF 100-400mm, or the new 150-600mm.
The other relevant difference concerns the physical controls. The S model has a more standard design, with a shooting mode dial on top (with 7 custom modes!) and various buttons dedicated to ISO and other key settings. The buttons have been refined to improve their operation, and we can also notice the larger AF Joystick.
Another thing highlighted during the presentation is the newly developed shutter button that incorporates a leaf spring mechanism to give you a longer stroke between a half press and a full press.
The X-T4 comes with the traditional layout Fujifilm is known for, which mimics old SLR film cameras. You have a dedicated dial for the shutter speed and ISO, and sub-dials to control other parameters such as the drive mode, or to switch between stills and video. There is also a focus mode selector at the front.
2. Viewfinder and LCD screens
The two cameras share the same size when it comes to the viewfinder’s electronic panel, but other characteristics such as resolution and magnification are in favour of the S model.
Fujifilm also specified that it has worked a lot on the optical components of the EVF (all aspherical elements) to give the photographer the best quality possible, even when the eye is not exactly positioned at the centre.
The X-H2S has an additional screen on top, like its predecessor. It displays the various settings in use.
As for the rear monitor, it is the same: 3.0-in with 1.62M dots and touch sensitivity.
3. Memory Cards
The X-H2S has two slots that each take a different type of card. Slot #1 is compatible with CFexpress Cards (Type B), which allows the camera to record video with the Apple Prores codec internally. Slot #2 takes SD UHS-II cards.
On the X-T4, you’ll also find two slots but they are both for the same kind: SD cards (UHS-II).
CFexpress cards have superior writing and reading speed, are thicker but are also more expensive.
4. Battery life
The two cameras use the same battery, the NP-W235, but the X-H2S appears to offer better performance, at least according to the official CIPA rating.
The new model can record up to 580 frames, or 700 frames if you activate the economy mode. By comparison, the X-T4 does 500 frames or 600 frames respectively.
There is a battery grip available for both products, and Fujfilm has designed a second one for the new camera, the FT-XH, that features a built-in LAN port for high-speed file transfer while shooting. It can also work with a wirless LAN connection.
Last but not least, both cameras can be charged or powered via the USB port. They have the Type C size, but that of the S model is faster (10gbps vs 5Gbps on the X-T4).
The two cameras share the same format (APS-C) and resolution (26.1MP), but the sensor found inside the X-H2S is an upgraded version. Fujifilm calls it X-Trans CMOS 5 HS to signal the fifth generation (HS stands for High Speed), as opposed to X-Trans CMOS 4 for the older camera.
The most important difference is the design: while both are BSI (back-illuminated), the sensor in the new camera is stacked, and has a 4x faster reading speed in comparison to that of the X-T4.
The stacked sensor, coupled with the new X-Processor 5 engine (twice as fast as the X-Processor 4 found on the X-T model), allows the X-H2S to have superior capabilities when it comes to video, drive speed and more, as you’ll discover further down.
The ISO range remains the same: 160 to 12,800 ISO with the normal range, or 80 to 51,200 with the extended levels.
In addition to JPG and RAW, the X-H2S can also record 10-bit HEIF (HDR) files.
6. Drive Speed
It’s fair to point out from the start that the X-T4 is far from incompetent when it comes to continuous shooting speed: it can go as fast as 15fps with the mechanical shutter, or up to 20fps with the electronic shutter. If you’re happy to accept a 1.25x crop (16MP output), the speed can reach 30fps.
Furthermore, with the electronic shutter, the fast speeds work with live view and no blackouts, which is great for following difficult and unpredictable moving subjects.
The X-H2S boosts the maximum drive speed to 40fps, without any crop. This means that the fastest speed is available with the full area, and therefore the full resolution, of the sensor.
The buffer capabilities of the X-H2S look impressive. According to the official specs, it can record more than 1,000 JPG or RAW up to 20fps.
Note: the data shown above is for Compressed RAW. At 30fps, the X-T4 files are smaller because of the 1.25x crop (16MP).
Concerning the shutter speed, both cameras can go up to 1/8000s, or 1/32000s when using the electronic shutter.
The shutter life cycle is rated at 500,000 actuations on the new camera (200,000 more than the X-T4).
As you might expect, the X-H2S comes with a relevant upgrade in this department too.
The autofocus points remain the same between the two cameras: 117 points (Zone and Tracking) or 425 points (single area mode).
The improvement is found in the software, which has a more advanced algorithm and deep learning technology. The S model can automatically detect a variety of subjects including animals, birds, cars, motorcycles and airplanes, as well as boosting the performance for human subjects (face and eye detection).
Tracking in low light has also been improved, although the official rating remains the same: -7EV (measured with the 50mm F1.0).
Also interesting is what Fujifilm explained during the presentation: the sensor can read 120 frames per second, and this data is used to improve the speed and precision of autofocus and exposure tracking. This means that, when working at 40fps, for each frame captured the camera has analysed two extra frames. Overall, the number of calculations per second are more than triple in comparison to the X-T4.
Fujifilm has put as much effort into the speed as it has into the video department. The X-H2S can record 6.2K 30p in the 3:2 aspect ratio (full sensor area, also known as ‘open gate’), or 4K 120p. It can also record with the Apple Prores codec internally (HQ, 422, LT and proxy). The X-T4 goes up to 4K 60p, with no 6K option.
The X-H2S can record 6.2K or 4K up to 60p with the full width of the sensor. In 4K 120p however, there is a 1.29x crop.
The X-T4 applies a 1.18x crop when recording 4K at 50/60p.
The new camera doesn’t have a limit for continuous recording, so it can continue until the battery runs out, or the cards are full.
Fujifilm also designed an optional cooling fan for the most demanding specs and the warmest locations. Note that the company promises up to 240 minutes of continuous recording in 4K 60p (25˚C of ambient temperature) thanks to the new heat dissipation structure, and before putting on the fan accessory.
In my experience, the X-T4 can overheat and shut down after approximately 60 minutes (two consecutive clips), when recording 4K 25p (ambient temperature was 24˚C).
There is a new Log profile, F-Log2, which promises more dynamic range (14+) in comparison to F-Log (12 stops).
Here is a summary of all the specifications for movie recording.
*Note: 4K 120p, and Full HD 240p are available with the High Speed Rec. function, which means you record without audio, and with a 1.29x sensor crop.
To record RAW video via HDMI with the X-H2S, you’ll need an external recorder such as the Atomos Ninja V or the Blackmagic Design Video Assist.
Concernin the physical connections, they both have a microphone input and headphone output (3.5mm), but the X-H2S has a full sized HDMI port, whereas the X-T4 has a Micro type port.
Finally, Fujifilm has develop an app that allows you to control up to four X-H2S cameras wirelessly. You can control each setting of the camera and synchronise them, and you can even control the new 18-120mm F4 zoom. Note that the optional FT-XH is required (and is rather pricey).
9. Sensor stabilisation
Both cameras have in-body image stabilisation. The X-H2S has a slightly higher rating of 7 stops of compensation, versus 6.5 stops on the X-T4 (measured with the XF 35mm F1.4, rating can change depending on the lens used).
The mechanism on the new camera has been improved and, thanks the powerful new X-Processor 5, the camera can read very low-frequency shakes (a.k.a. slow and long shakes, which are the most difficult to correct). Fujfilm also claims to have eliminated all noise produced by the mechanism.
Like on the X-T4, you can activate electronic stabilisation or the IS Boost mode when recording video. Note that these are not available when recording 6.2K, or with the Prores codec.
The X-H2S is more expensive and starts at $2500, £2500 or €2750.
The X-T4 can be found for $1700, £1550 or €1650. Naturally, prices are even lower if you look at the second-hand market.
Note: prices are as of June 2022, and for the body only.
The price gap between these two cameras is significant, but so are the specifications, especially when it comes to video. It’s clear that Fujifilm wants to make an impression on the filmmaking market, and the X-H2S has a lot to offer and not many competitors in the same price range. Whether advanced video-makers will see in the X-H2S the solution they were looking for remains to be seen, but we can certainly appreciate the effort.
Video is one community Fujifilm is hoping to conquer, but there is another one too: sports and nature photographers, as also proven by the new 150-600mm lens released alongside the camera. Here the key element that will define its success is the autofocus: the X-T4 is a good performer, but nowhere near the “best-in-class” Sony and Canon. If the X-H2S can deliver, it would become the first high-end APS-C camera designed for wildlife and birds enthusiasts.
On this subject though, there is a potential ‘party pooper’: the Canon R7. It doesn’t boost the same impressive speed, nor does it have a remarkable viewfinder, but it costs less and has a growing selection of lenses that is already surpassing that of Fujifilm (not to mention the EF catalogue, with more reliable performance than any third party adapter for the Fuji). The road is steep and not easily travelled, but I’m very curious to see how the X-H2S performs, not only against the R7, but also the OM-1, another camera with stellar speed and a wide community of users.
It goes without saying that if high-end video or nature phootgraphy are not your cup of tea, then there are fewer reasons to spend more for the X-H2S over the X-T4.
Check price of the Fujifilm X-H2S on