New Fujifilm Announcements! X-H2S, XF18-120mm F4 PZ, XF 150-600mm!

Not one, not two, but three new announcements from Fujifilm today! 

The first major announcement is the all new X-H2S, a versatile photo and video camera packed with features. To complement the video aspect of the X-H2S, Fujifilm unveils the new XF18-120mm f/4 power zoom - developed in collaboration with the experts responsible for the design of Fuji’s FUJINON broadcast and cine lenses. Lastly, for the bird and wildlife shooters, Fujifilm announced the brand new XF150-600mm f/5.6-8 OIS WR lens - a superzoom with all internal focusing. We had the chance to test each of these for a short period of time (early production/firmware models), keep reading for our thoughts and sample photos. 

Fujifilm X-H2S

The all new X-H2S features a 26.1MP back-illuminated X-Trans 5 stacked sensor, and the new X-Processor 5 for some fantastic 14-stop dynamic range, and autofocus performance. 

The body is a mashup of the old X-H1 and X-S10. You get all the controls you need quick access to, and a top display like the X-H1. The typical Fuji shutter speed/ISO/Drive dials have been replaced with a single mode dial that gives you 7 custom programmable modes. On the front, the switch for MF/AF-S/AF-C has been replaced with a button to bring up the selection choice on the screen. The back of the camera features a vari-angle touch screen, a grippy joystick, d-pad, and AF-ON button. For storage, the X-H2S features 2 card slots, a CFExpress type B slot, and a SD slot. Using a CFExpress card in this camera means you get an unlimited buffer when shooting photos. Videographers will be pleased to know that the X-H2S comes with a full-size HDMI port, a dedicated mic and headphone jack, and a USB-C port for data transfer and power delivery. Unfortunately on the X-H2S the front and rear dials do not push in like on some other Fujifilm cameras. One other small but noticeable change is the lugs for your camera strap. When using the X-T4 and X-S10, the lug on the right side would constantly dig into my finger, a problem you won’t have with the X-H2S. They are much more streamlined, and the one on the right side is flush with the camera.

Imaging Features

Using the in-body image stabilization paired with certain lenses gives you up to 7 stops of stabilization, compared to 6.5 for the X-T4. If you photograph fast action sports or wildlife, you’ll be pleased to know that the X-H2S can shoot up to 40 frames per second with the electronic shutter, and up to 15fps using the mechanical shutter. Another new feature for the X-H2S is its autofocus. Now capable of working in light levels down to -7EV, the AF performance feels like a day and night difference compared to the X-T4. The camera uses AI to deliver superb autofocus speed and features subject detection autofocus. If Face and Eye detection weren’t enough for you, the X-H2S subject detect can identify and follow cars, planes, trains, motorcycles, birds, dogs, cats, horses, and more! Even the face and eye detection have been improved upon to pick up glasses and face coverings.

Video Features

If videography is more of your style, the X-H2S features some great specs as well. Using the NP-W235 battery, you can get up to 90 minutes of footage - add the grip and you get 2 more battery slots to keep you shooting longer. Resolution on the X-H2S gets a modern update, now allowing for 6.2K/30P recording. If slow motion footage is what you’re seeking, you get 4K/120 and Full HD/240 - with autofocus. Fuji didn’t stop there with video features though. You can record at 10bit 4:2:2 Apple ProRes internally, and externally using Apple ProRes RAW and Blackmagic RAW. The newly created Flog2 encoding gives you greater dynamic range as well. 

Initial Impressions

Having been a fan of the X-H1, the new X-H2S feels like a big leap forward for Fujifilm. The camera is extremely comfortable to handle (even more so with the grip), button placement is well thought out, and the performance is a big jump forwards in both video and photo. Most of the time I would avoid shooting sports of wildlife with the electronic shutter, having had image problems in the past. This is no longer an area of concern as I was able to shoot a lacrosse game and a few birding trips with the electronic shutter, and not one warped image in the bunch. Going back and forth with the X-H2S and X-T4, the autofocus is fantastic. The bird detection mode worked almost flawlessly, even with the early firmware we were using. There were a few instances where the autofocus would try and lock on to a moving leaf or twig, but otherwise it had no issues following birds, even through heavy cover. When photographing a lacrosse game, the focusing system would keep tracking the player I selected, except only in a few cases where there were a lot of players in the frame moving around.

The X-H2S that we tested had pre-production firmware on it, and unfortunately we were unable to dig deeper into video testing due to a few lock-ups of the camera, and some overheating warnings. We were able to test out the autofocus during a lacrosse game, and following a dog chasing a ball, and the performance is just as good as on the imaging side. 

Accessory-wise, there are a few new add-ons you can get aside from the usual battery grip. For heavy video shooters, there is an optional cooling fan that you can attach to the back panel. The fan features multiple speeds that you can adjust in the menu system. Another unique accessory is the file transmitter grip. It features the usual additional buttons and dual battery slots that the regular battery grip offers, but you also get 802.11ac wireless and 600Mbs wired network connectivity for hi-speed file transfers. 

Pricing for the X-H2S and accessories are:

Body - $2,499.95

Cooling Fan - $199.99

Vertical Grip - $399.99

File Transmitter Grip - $999.99

The X-H2S should start hitting store shelves on 7/7. 

Fujinon XF18-120mm f/4 R LM PZ WR

With all of the video-centric features in the X-H2S, it makes sense that Fuji would release a video-centric lens to go with it. The new XF18-120mm lens features a compact, weather-resistant design and is the perfect tool for the on-the-go videographer or video enthusiast. The lens has all-internal zoom, making it a great fit on a gimbal as the center of gravity doesn’t change. The XF18-120mm features 15 elements in 12 groups, with 3 aspherical and 3 ED elements. 

There are several useful buttons that give filmmakers a lot of control over the lens. You have the usual zoom and focus rings, but also get a zoom/focus control ring, a zoom/focus selection button, and a rocker button. Using the Z/F button, you select the function you want to adjust, then you can slowly/quickly adjust it based on how much you turn the ring (which returns to center when you let go). If you want a slow and steady zoom in or out, simply push the up or down button on the rocker button and the camera slowly zooms in or out until it hits 18mm/120mm. 

For photographers looking for a nice and compact travel lens, don’t overlook the XF18-120mm. The close focusing distance is just under 24 inches, and both the length and weight are less than that of the XF18-135mm, which is a variable aperture lens (f/3.5-5.6). 

The XF18-120mm is priced at $899.95 and is expected to go on sale on 9/15. 

Fujinon XF150-600mm f/5.6-8 R LM OIS WR

Fuji shooters rejoice - the 150-600mm super zoom is finally here! If that isn’t enough for you, the XF150-600mm is also compatible with Fuji’s 1.4X and 2X teleconverters. One of the most noticeable features on this lens (besides the color) is the all internal zoom. Unlike Sigma and Tamron’s 150-600mm wildlife lenses, the XF150-600 doesn’t grow as you zoom out to 600mm. The autofocus, powered by a linear motor, is near-silent and responsive. As with most long zooms, the XF150-600 has Optical Image Stabilization, and in this lens it provides 5 stops of stabilization. On the outside, you get AF-ON/AF-L control buttons, a focus range limiter switch and the usual AF/MC switch. The tripod foot is arca-swiss compatible, a nice bonus.The XF150-600mm features 24 elements in 17 groups, with 4 Super ED and 3 ED elements. 

Initial Impressions

For most birders and wildlife photographers, a crop sensor camera and a 150-600mm lens is a perfect setup if you don’t want to drop serious money on long, fast primes. While the lens may look big, it’s fairly lightweight, and with the all-internal zoom it feels well balanced. Another bonus of the internal zoom is the zoom ring - it is much smoother and easier to turn compared to most 150-600mm lenses (and the XF100-400mm), and a quarter turn of the ring takes you from 150mm all the way to 600mm. One drawback, or limitation of the internal zoom design is that the aperture is a bit slower than comparable lenses. Both Tamron and Sigma’s 150-600mm’s are f/5-6.3. That being said, for most photographers shooting in decent light, it won’t be a big issue unless you add the teleconverters. With the 1.4X TC the aperture decomes f/8-11, and with the 2x it becomes f/11-16, making the choice between the 150-600mm and 100-400mm a bit harder. 

Having had the chance to test out the 150-600mm on both sunny and overcast days, the autofocus is pretty responsive and does a good job of tracking subjects. There was a noticeable slow-down in performance when using it close to sunset, and it would hunt a bit more before locking on. When photographing a dog running towards the camera and slowly zooming out, the autofocus did struggle at times and with the AF-C set to focus priority release on the camera, there were a handful of out of focus shots. For most birders that will be parked at 600mm, this won’t be much of an issue. 

Unfortunately we were unable to test the 150-600mm with the X-H2S, and instead the sample images were taken with a X-T4. 

The XF150-600mm is priced at $1,999.95 and should start hitting store shelves on 7/7. 

Sample Images:

X-H2S w/ XF18-120mm f/4

X-H2S w/ XF100-400mm:

X-T4 w/ XF150-600mm: