Fujifilm X H2S mirrorless camera video thoughts

Attention shoppers:

Your shiny new Fujifilm X-H2S is almost here.

The mirrorless camera was recently announced by Fuji and by my estimations it’s been impressing the camera cohort.

Now you can pre-order the Fujifilm X-H2S on Amazon. The camera is expected to ship next month, just in time for wedding season no less.

For an APS-C sensor the price might seem steep at first ($2,499 USD). And it is, at least if you compare it to some of its most obvious competitors — not too mention consider the supply chain and pandemic-related issues.

Favorite among YouTubers, wedding shooters and videographers, the Sony a7 III, for instance, retails for about $500 less (at least here Stateside). For that, however, you get a full-frame sensor and what I suspect is a more common E-mount lens mount (vs. X for the Fuji). Or you could opt for another full-frame camera in the Panasonic S5. At only $1,998 it’s also an enticing choice given its price and Panasonic’s rich pedigree in film and video.

Nevertheless, for me at least, the X-H2S is a standout in the field (so long as tests prove out the specs!).

One slick feature is the ability to record externally to Blackmagic BRAW using a Blackmagic Video Assist monitor, or to ProRes RAW using an Atomos Ninja V+ monitor. That flexibility is great. Choose your favorite flavor and off you go. I’d assume many video enthusiasts already own one of those monitors so you’ll be ready to go from the get-go.

Of note in terms of the X-H2S design is Fuji’s decision to do away with its standard photo-centric controls and dials along the top plate. Instead you’ll find something simpler: a mode dial, and various buttons and controls more in keeping with videography. For instance, there’s no ISO wheel. That’s something you simply wouldn’t tweak as often for video as you might for photography — though there is an ISO button so changing it is almost as easy in any case.

As you might expect this new Fuji delivers in terms of specs.

You can shoot video up to 6.2K/30 in open gate 3:2, 4K/120, and for the hardcore slowmo fiends even up to HD/240. It remains to be seen what the quality will look like when the production models ship, but safe to say it’s nice to have the options in hand.

There are a few caveats.

So far as I know there’s no waveform option on the monitor. And the shutter control can not be set to angle (ie. 180-degree filmmaking standard). Instead you’ll need to go with something like 1/48 and change according to your frame rate. The X-H2 manual doesn’t appear available to download on Fujifilm’s web site (yet) so I can’t absolutely confirm these or not as of this writing so keep that in consideration.

Also, I’m not quite sure what the X-H2S offers in terms of focus peaking options. I shoot video manual all the time. 7/24! So that’s an important feature for me. I was eternally thankful RED finally updated its camera firmwares in recent years with focus peaking.

Stark Insider - Arts, Film, Tech & LifestyleStark Insider - Arts, Film, Tech & LifestyleFUJIFILM X-H2S Key Features

FUJIFILM X-H2S mirrorless camera specs video

  • 26.1MP APS-C X-Trans Stacked BSI Sensor
  • 4K 120p, 6.2K 30p, FHD 240p 10-Bit Video
  • Internal ProRes 422 HQ and F-Log 2
  • 7-Stop In-Body Image Stabilization
  • 5.76m-Dot OLED Electronic Viewfinder
  • 3″ 1.62m-Dot Vari-Angle Touchscreen LCD
  • 40 fps E. Shutter, 15 fps Mech. Shutter
  • 425-Pt. Hybrid AF, AI Subject Detection
  • Dual memory card slots: CFexpress Type B, SD UHS-II
  • ProRes & Blackmagic RAW via HDMI
  • Full-size HDMI port
  • USB-C 3.2 Gen 2
  • Film Simulation Modes
  • MSRP: $2,499 USD
  • Availability: July 2022

Above all else, though, the one thing that might put this little Fuji ahead of the likes of Sony, Panasonic and Canon may well be the fabled image its sensor provides. There’s something je ne sais quoi about Fujis. Certainly, when I owned and shot a lot for Stark Insider with the Panasonic GH5 I found that sensor too digital — too clean. So I had to grain it up in post. That’s a personal preference so ymmv. In the case of the X-H2 I’m expecting beautiful colors and a very pleasing organic image. I recommend completely turning off in-camera image processing such as noise reduction, or sharpening.

I think a lot of videographers, filmmakers, wedding and music video shooters, and corporate crews will at least shortlist the X-H2S. The lens mount (X) may well be its Achilles’ heel. Large operations are probably invested in Canon EF (and now RF) and Sony E-mount glass so that might be a financially insurmountable obstacle which is why I believe this one will appeal more to solo operators and smaller production teams.

I’m glad I held off on a Panasonic GH6 purchase. That’s a fine camera no doubt. I absolutely adored its successor in the GH5. However, I’m a sucker for organic imagery and vivid colors (hence, on this latter point why I still think Canon is an excellent option in 2022 and beyond).

Internal ProRes 4:2:2 and the external RAW options (Blackmagic and ProRes) are very compelling features, and I think set this camera apart.

Also, another point in its favor: if you do indeed want to use it as a hybrid and take occasional photos the APS-C sensor will likely be appreciated over the small, cropped Micro Four Thirds one found on the GH5/GH6.

Further if you’ve always lusted after the Fujifilm MKX18-55mm cinema lens note that you can buy a kit which nets you that lens with $1,000 savings. That means you’re still paying about $3,000 USD for it, but that’s 25% off, a not insignificant amount of savings if you’ve had this one on your radar (I have!).

All that to say, the Fujifilm X-H2S is available now for pre-order on Amazon.

Smartphones are still crushing the dedicated camera market. Regardless, I think a niche for these sorts of cameras will continue to exist — and they’ll likely remain expensive to differentiate from the lower cost iPhones of the world.

Happy shooting!