(Pocket-lint) – Fujifilm impressed us earlier this year with the X-H2S, its most powerful hybrid mirrorless camera to date. We were expecting an X-H2 to arrive at some point, given the naming scheme, but when it did, the specs were quite surprising.
Not only does the X-H2 come at a lower price point, but it also shoots at a higher resolution in both photo and video modes.
So, it seems like the X-H2 is the one to buy, right? Well, not so fast, there’s much more to the story here. We’ve done a deep dive into both cameras to find out where they differ, and who will benefit from them the most. Let’s get into it.
- Both: 136.3 x 92.9 x 84.6 mm 660g
- 1.28-inch settings LCD, 3-inch flip-out monitor, OLED EVF
- Full-size HDMI, USB-C, 3.5mm headphone and mic sockets
Both cameras use the exact same body and tip the scales at the exact same weight. The only difference you’ll find is in the name printed on the rear and the presence, or lack, of an “S” badge on the front.
What this means is that they both benefit from the same top-notch weather-resistant build quality and wonderful ergonomic grip and thumb rest. The design is less photography centric than we’re used to seeing from Fuji, there’s no shutter speed or ISO dials. Instead, you get a single mode selection wheel with an extremely generous amount of custom preset options.
The status LCD is present on both models and is very nice to have, it allows you to see your remaining shots, record time and battery life without even having to turn the camera on. The port selection is the same across both models, too, featuring a full-size HDMI port, headphone and mic jacks and USB-C.
- X-H2: X-Trans CMOS sensor – 40MP stills
- X-H2S: Stacked CMOS sensor – 26MP stills
- X-H2: Up to 20fps burst (1.29x crop) / 15fps with mechanical shutter
- X-H2S: Up to 40fps burst shooting / 15fps with mechanical shutter
The main difference between the two models is the sensor. The X-H2S uses a stacked CMOS sensor which allows it to shoot at incredibly fast burst rates, as well as having speedy autofocus tracking. The X-H2 uses a more traditional sensor, which is slower, but much higher resolution. In fact, it’s the highest-resolution sensor we’ve ever seen in an APS-C body.
Interestingly, the X-H2 also increases the maximum electronic shutter speed to a staggering 1/180000 sec (up from 1/32000 on the X-H2S) so there is at least one area where the X-H2 has the speed advantage.
Both cameras use the same hybrid autofocus system with phase detection and contrast detection points. Both benefit from animal, bird, car, bike, plane and train subject detection modes, too. The X-H2 has more PDAF points, thanks to its higher resolution sensor, but the X-H2S should be better at tracking fast-moving subjects.
The X-H2 offers pixel shift multi-shot, whereas the X-H2S does not. This means that you can mount the camera on a tripod and it will physically move the sensor to combine 20 frames into an ultra-high resolution 160MP photo. This feature was previously only offered on the brand’s very expensive GFX medium format cameras.
The main disadvantage of the X-H2, for stills shooting, is that it can only shoot at up to 15fps burst without applying a 1.29x crop, then, even with the crop, it can only handle 20fps. The X-H2S on the other hand can shoot up to 40fps bursts with no crop.
- X-H2: Up to 8K 30fps/ 4K 60fps / 1080p 240fps
- X-H2S: Up to 6.2K 30fps/ 4K 120fps/ 1080p 240fps
- Both: Internal ProRes 422, HQ and LT support
- Both: 7-stop in-body image stabilisation
When it comes to video shooting, the X-H2 offers 8K recording, whereas the X-H2S maxes out at 6.2K. Just as was the case with photos, the lower-resolution X-H2S finds its advantage with its speed. It can shoot at 4K 120fps, whereas the X-H2 only offers 4K at up to 60fps.
You might expect the cheaper X-H2 to skimp on some of the professional video features offered by the X-H2S, but surprisingly, that’s not the case. Both bodies offer in-camera ProRes recording at up to ProRes 422 HQ.
Aside from the lack of 4K 120fps recording, the disadvantage with the X-H2 comes from its rolling-shutter performance. This means that it’s not suited to fast panning shots, and sports shooters will definitely be giving this model a miss. It’s particularly bad during 8K recording, at a mere 1/33 sec.
The X-H2 offers a digital zoom function that can crop in on the 40MP sensor to provide a 2x zoom at 4K resolution with no noticeable loss in quality. This is not achievable with the lower-resolution sensor on the X-H2S.
Both cameras have the same IBIS system and both can utilise the optional fan accessory to prevent overheating at higher settings. Though, in our testing, we haven’t managed to get either camera to overheat so far. This accessory may be more beneficial in warmer climates.
Pricing and verdict
- X-H2: $1999 / £1899
- X-H2S: $2499 / £2499
The X-H2 carries an MSRP that is around $500 lower than the X-H2S, making it a very appealing option, especially when you consider the resolution gains offered in both video and photo shooting. The pixel shift multi-shot could be a big draw for landscape photographers, too.
However, many video makers are likely to value 4K 120fps slow motion over 8K resolution. And, unless you favour locked-off shots more than handheld, the rolling shutter present at 8K will make it much more troublesome to use.
It’s really impossible to say which camera is better, it just depends on what you need to shoot. The X-H2S is superior for event and sport shooting thanks to its extremely high burst rates, whereas the increased resolution of the X-H2 makes it more suitable for portraiture and advertising.
In any case, both bodies are fantastic and offer wonderful construction along with a wealth of useful features and configuration options. If you’re hunting for the best APS-C camera around, these two should be high on your list.
Writing by Luke Baker.