Progressing and improving video: 4:2:2 10bit to 6.2K/30P. FUJIFILM X-H2S

Lab test by Carlos Medina Audiovisual Technology Expert and Advisor

 

The appearance of new technologies in the field of image, either still or in motion, always generates uncertainty among manufacturers, doubts among users and the technical change of the devices used. The breakthrough of smartphones has undoubtedly been one of the factors that has completely changed the market of traditioanl cameras.

The analysis study Digital Camera Market: Growth, Trends, Covid-19 Impact and Forecasts (2022 – 2027) presents a horizon where high-end DSLR and mirrorless cameras will not be replaced by smartphones.

FUJIFILM, a specialist manufacturer in the audiovisual industry, continues to be among the best-regarded manufacturers in the field of professional photography and video. We had the privilege of getting to know first-hand the FUJIFILM X-H2S camera model, a professional photography and video camera with high technical performance together with the FUJINON XF 18-120MM F4 LM PZ WR lens. The result has been high-quality images, with a very realistic color and great detail.

This X-H2S camera is an EVIL (Electronic Viewfinder With Interchangeable Lens) mirrorless camera and therefore, with a different system to DSLR cameras. It is a member of the FUJIFILM X series with APS-C format with interchangeable optics. This camera was introduced in late May 2022.

The magnesium body of the X-H2S camera is sturdy, compact and perfectly sealed so that it can work in nearly all possible situations. Its build, good design on the handle and weight (just over 600 grams including battery and card) make it easy to use, thus enabling a quick, intuitive handling when configuring and shooting/recording.

Let’s go over some of the highlights of this design. First of all, it only features a dial mode (AE, S, A and M program; custom settings – C1 to C7 – Filter and Video mode); an upper LCD monitor where the different settings of the photo shot or video recording are presented; several quick access buttons to activate and/or set parameter values (ISO, WB, AF ON, AEL…); front and rear control dial; separate photo shooting and video recording button; two capture holes for the built-in front microphone; an on/off switch; hot shoe for accessories; and the menu button and navigation arrows that are now so common in this type of photo/video cameras.

 

Secondly, in this very compact body we must praise FUJIFILM’s wise decision on connectivity for the X-H2S: HDMI type A, 3.5mm microphone jack, 3.5mm headphones jack, USB type C.

Thirdly, it features a rear variable-angle folding 1.62 Mpx LCD monitor that also works as a touchscreen and an electronic viewfinder (EVF) of 0.8x magnification and 5.75 Mpx at 120fps that offers great detail and precision when framing.

In addition, this model has some novel features, such as to possibility to choose between two vertical handles (one gives greater VG-XH capacity; and the other also offers better communication – FT-XH file transmitter) or an external fan (FAN001) that allows recording at high temperatures without the system being affected: it is placed in the space that remains when the rear LCD monitor is completely unfolded.

The X-H2S camera is not only good design and construction. The best is inside. It has an impressive stacked, backlit sensor, a 26.16 Mpx X-Trans CMOS 5 HS (5th generation of the X series) sensor and a high-performance processor, the X-Processor 5. These two technical specifications put this model into the spotlight for of all those professionals who need to perform bursts of still images and/or for high-quality, high- speed video recordings.

In still photography, burst mode, you can apply AF / AE tracking on continuous shooting without blackouts up to 40 frames per second, and you can shoot more than 1,000 frames continuously when setting high-speed burst shooting mode to 30 frames per second (JPEG) or 20 frames per second (RAW), when using the electronic shutter.

Seven image stabilization steps are also offered due to its five-axis stabilization system in the camera body and its new AF and subject tracking/detection system which, after the various tests we performed, gives a very stable visual result.

 

A major step forward is the camera’s ability to track a moving subject and precisely focus on area AF or in low contrast conditions thanks to the Deep Learning technology, which automatically detects and tracks not only the human face/eyes, but also animals, birds, cars, motorcycles, bicycles, planes and trains to maintain autofocus.

Being FUJIFILM aware of the importance of the still photo storage format, offers us three possibilities: 14-bit RAW, HEIF -High Efficiency Image File Format- (10-bit 4:2:2, allowing files up to 30% smaller than standard JPEG files,) and JPEG (8-bit 4:2:2).

This camera has plenty of features, but where we see great improvements is in its video recording performance and in the cooling by means of dissipation integrated in the body.  The camera supports 10-bit 4:2:2 video recording at 6.2K/30P; 4K/120P and FHD internally. The sensor’s reading speed during video recording has been improved to 1/180 seconds, thus suppressing the rolling shutter effect.

Compatibility with three Apple ProRes codecs makes this camera model a highly regarded one for the most demanding professional jobs: ProRes 422 HQ, ProRes 422 and ProRes 422 LT. In addition, the HDMI type -A output allows external recordings to 12-bit RAW ProRes with sizes up to 6.2K and frame rates up to 29.97 fps.

But we evaluate this camera for professional video environments in a very positive way because of its new F-Log2 with extended dynamic range up to more than 14 steps, which allows a much smoother tonal expression.

 

This ability to process video data to store them is only possible by updating the X-H2S to a recording medium that makes it possible to maintain these high information flows, which is why it has a slot for CFexpressTM Type-B memory cards; and another slot for SD UHS-2. To provide more details on the performance of these cards, we have used the CF Express ProGrade 325GB card that allows storing 15 minutes in 6.2K 25p quality; 49 minutes in 4K 25p; and 3 hours 14 minutes in FHD 25p.

Finally, the camera settings and menus are perfectly identified: photo shooting, video recording, image quality adjustment, AF/MF, shooting modes, flash, movie adjustment, time code, playback, user settings, sound and screen settings, among others.

X-T3, X-T4, X-Pro3, X-S10 or the X-T30 II, X-H1 are some of FUJIFILM’S best-known models and right now we have to take this manufacturer into account with this X-H2S camera.

FUJIFILM has really done its homework considering its previous models and knowing the solutions offered by other manufacturers. In this case, the FUJIFILM X-H2S camera has been designed to enjoy and facilitate the work of video recordings without fear of making mistakes. It is clear for FUJIFILM: they want to remain in the photography and video sector under a single motto: progress and improve.

 

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