Reviews

X-H2 – The best of what APS-C can be (Part II)

4 months later, here comes the second flagship camera from Fujifilm, the X-H2. Every camera manufacturer usually releases one flagship camera to showcase the state-of-the-art technologies that they offer. But this is not the case for Fujifilm, they have a different approach, instead of releasing one flagship camera, they release two flagship cameras.

X-H2

Come to think of this, we have this conception that the flagship camera has to be the one and only one on the top of the lineup. But it is totally common in the mobile phone industry, many manufacturers announced dual, trio or quartet flagship models. Think Apple, Samsung, and Xiaomi. I have nothing against this strategy. Instead, I feel that this is a good move to allow photographers to choose the right option for their needs (speed, resolution, or both) and budgets for their investments.

Fuji X-H2 . XF27mm f2.8 WR @ 27mm . f2.8 . 1/40″ . ISO 160 . Nostalgic Negative

Before I continue with the review, I would like to thank Ms Carmen, Marketing Manager of Fujifilm Singapore, for arranging and loaning the X-H2 for review. By the time this review is online, the camera unit had returned back to Fujifilm Singapore.

Fuji X-H2 . XF35mm f1.4 @ 35mm . f1.4 . 1/2700″ . ISO 125 . Nostalgic Negative

In this hands-on review, I will do the same approach as I did with the X-H2S; to use various lenses to see how the lenses perform with this new 40 megapixels camera.

Here is the list of lenses I used:

1. XF 16mm f1.4
2. XF 18mm f1.4
3. XF 23mm f2
4. XF 23mm f1.4 WR
5. XF 27mm f2.8 WR
6. XF 35mm f1.4
7. XF 50mm f1
8. XF 50mm f2
9. XF 18-55mm f2.8 – f4
10. XF 70-300mm f4 – f5.6
11. TTArtisan 23mm f1.4
12. TTArtisan 50mm f2
13. TTArtisan 50mm f0.95

To note: As I am not a videography expert, I will not highlight any videography-related content in this post.

Design, Build Quality, Handling & The Shutter…

Everything about its design, build quality, handling, shutter, and EVF are exactly the same as the X-H2S. Since it is totally the same experience so I will not repeat them over here. If you are interested, you can read it in my X-H2S post.

Fuji X-H2 . XF23mm f1.4 WR @ 23mm . f1.4 . 1/105″ . ISO 125 . Nostalgic Negative

Sensor and Processor

Over here, Fujifilm uses the X-Trans CMOS sensor 5 HR (not the HS, and since the Resolution is the key thing and hence the “R”). The X-Processor 5 is the same as the one equipped with the X-H2S. Similarly, it has the Nostalgic Negative film simulation too, the second APS-C camera to come with this film simulation. Again, I just want to highlight it because I like this film simulation.

Not everything is exactly identical to the X-H2S. Fujifilm has something up its sleeve with this camera. In fact, there are 2 exciting improvements over the X-H2S (at least in my opinion).

The first exciting improvement is that it has the lowest base ISO since X-T3 was introduced with base ISO 160. It is now at ISO 125, which technically speaking will gives a cleaner and higher quality photo.

The second one is even more attention-grabbing, it has a maximum electronic shutter speed of 1/180,000, an increase of approximately 2.5 stops compared to other X-Series cameras (maximum at 1/32,000). In practical usage, I can shoot wide open without the help of using a Neutral-density filter. But I have no idea when I will need this blazing fast shutter speed but it is always good to have this functionality ready.

Image Quality

When rumours are flying around the internet sharing about 40 megapixels sensors, I am sure everyone who reads it is excited but what worried the most to the majority of the photographers including myself is whether the older lenses cannot resolve the sensor well. I am also sure that I am not the only pessimistic person here.

According to the Fujifilm website, they have listed what lenses at wide open can achieve edge-to-edge, high-resolution performance, allowing the photographers to fully experience the 40 megapixels sensor has to offer. They also highlight that lenses that are not listed will allow photographers to experience improved resolution performance of 40 megapixels.

Extract from  https://fujifilm-x.com/global/products/cameras/x-h2/

Okay… Although the message here seems to be a little bit grey area but it sounds not too bad or so it seems to be. It still makes me wonder how good can the old lenses (and 3rd party manual lenses) resolve this high-resolution megapixels?

Truth be told, the images from those lenses turn out to be just fine or slightly better (depending on the individual perspective). They are not as bad as I thought they would be. My personal conclusion is that the old lenses and other manual lenses can resolve newer sensors. But the clarity level might not be as great as the newer lenses or the lenses that Fujifilm listed out there.

Undoubtedly, the number “40” is a new achievement in the APS-C camera category. The previous largest resolution I know is 33 megapixels from Canon. Although getting larger megapixels is always a good thing to have, retaining a decent amount of quality details is more important in my opinion. I’m glad X-H2 delivered it quite well.

There are 2 ways to make full use of the 40 megapixels. The first one is to print out at a whopping 8 meters x 6 meters print but unfortunately, not everyone has the space to hang it. So we talk about the second way and that is having the luxury to crop. While it cannot compare against the GFX cameras that come with 50 megapixels or 100 megapixels, it still has quite a good resolution to crop. Having said that, I am not a person who loves to crop photos. But with this amount of resolution, it does help to do some slight adjustments or creative crop to the photos for me.

Fuji X-H2 . XF23mm f1.4 WR @ 23mm . f5 . 2″ . ISO 125 . Nostalgic Negative
One of my favourite crop ratio – 65:24

Performance

The autofocus performance for this camera is blazing fast with newer lenses. As for older lenses (especially without Linear Motor), the camera is still able to perform faster and snappier than equipping them on my X-T3. So I can say that the X-H2’s AF performance is kind of subject to what lenses you are using but the experience is not too far off.

What about comparing both X-H2S and X-H2? Well, the X-H2S indeed performs faster but just narrowly faster. You can only tell the difference when you test both cameras side by side.

Under decent street light situations, the AF performance is decently fast. That said, it is also depending on what lenses you are using to shoot as some older lenses might affect the AF performance by a little.

The eye-AF performance is sufficiently better than the previous generation processor and image sensor. It is much stickier than before and can detect the eye even if the person is putting on a mask. Similar to X-H2S, if there is more than one person in the frame, you may experience the eye-AF jumping back and forth.

IBIS

Consistent with X-H2S, the X-H2 also achieve up to 7 stops compensation with some lenses up to 5 stops. I test with the legendary XF 35mm f1.4 and with some luck, I can manage to snap 0.7-second exposure handheld. For XF18-55mm, I am able to accomplish a 1/2 second result at a higher success rate with my shaky hands.

Fuji X-H2 . XF18-55mm f2.8-4 @ 19.6mm . f4 . 0.7″ . ISO 125 . Nostalgic Negative
Fuji X-H2 . XF18-55mm f2.8-4 @ 55mm . f4 . 0.5″ . ISO 125 . Nostalgic Negative
Fuji X-H2 . XF35mm f1.4 @ 35mm . f5 . 0.77″ . ISO 125 . Nostalgic Negative

Battery life

For my usage in the past 2 weeks, I took about 700 shots in one of the days and it is left with approximately 25%. So 1 battery can definitely last me for a day. If I going to overseas travelling, I think bringing 2 extra batteries is more than enough. I probably will not even need to change the battery as often as I did with my X-T3 (which I need to change every half day).

To my surprise, according to CIPA standards, the battery life is rated as 680 shots. So I think they might have tested the battery with maximum performance while I using the normal performance.

Feedback

40 Megapixels is a lot and I believe not every photographer wants to have that full resolution, especially in RAW. At least a friend of mine who is a full-time photographer told me that. He explains that the nature of his work does not require such a big resolution as it will take up more of his processing time.

He hopes to see Fujifilm will take into consideration updating the firmware and implement the option to select the RAW size (i.e. M size RAW and S size RAW). The current setting only allows having M size JPEG and S size JPEG while keeping full resolution RAW.

In my own words

After my 2 weeks of testing, I believe the X-H2 will be the popular option among the dual flagships. Putting the price aside, both cameras’ performances are very identical. Given that the X-H2 has more functionalities improvements like lower base ISO, faster electronic shutter speed and 8K video, I do see why it is more popular than the X-H2S.

Fuji X-H2 . XF70-300mm f4-5.6 @ 122.5mm . f5 . 1/450″ . ISO 125 . Nostalgic Negative

Now, what excited me is the X-T5. While no one knows when it will be announced and arrive on our shores, but what X-H2 has internally might shed some light on how X-T5 might have. I hope it will keep most functionalities minus the 8K video and some of the videography functions. Sorry, I wish the X-T5 to be a photographer’s camera again and not a hybrid camera like the X-T4.

Who is this for?

This is a great, heavy-duty workhorse camera and I highly recommend it to professionals and pro-consumers who can take advantage of the high resolution it has to offer. If you are struggling between the dual flagships, head down to the camera store and try it out and compare both of them. However, if the photographer wants to own both the speed and resolution, buy both and you can have the best of both worlds.

As for me, it is not for me. As I mentioned before, I am still waiting for the X-T5 arrival and I hope it will have the X-T3 flip and tilt screen. My piggy bank is waiting to get smashed.

Fuji X-H2 . XF50mm f1 WR @ 50mm . f1 . 1/750″ . ISO 125 . Nostalgic Negative

Fuji X-H2 . XF50mm f1 WR @ 50mm . f2 . 1/220″ . ISO 125 . Nostalgic Negative
65:24 Cropped

Thank you for reading.

If you like my works, please follows me on either one of the 2 Instagram accounts:

https://www.instagram.com/alwinkok_

https://www.instagram.com/alwin.portraits

Disclaimer:
1. All the shots taken here are shot by me.
2. All of the shots
 are straight out of the camera with some edited via In-Camera Raw Processing.
3. The photos are resized to 30% of the original size except for cropped ones. If you wish to see the original file, contact me and I am happy to share it with you.
4. I reserve ownership of these images, if you wish to use my images, please notify me.
5. The camera firmware is 1.00.
6. The opinions are based on my experience. If there is any mistake, please kindly drop me a message and I will gladly make the amendment.

If you like my content and you want to show some support, you can buy me a coffee here.

Reviews

TTArtisan 50mm f0.95 – The Fastest Lens Again

TTArtisan 50mm f0.95

Before anything else, I would like to thank TTArtisan for sending this lens for my review. I appreciate their support to make this post a reality.

Intro

While I am still waiting for the TTArtisan first-ever autofocus lens available for X-mount, TTArtisan decided to surprise everyone with the first-ever f0.95 extreme fast lens.

Fuji X-T3 . TTArtisan 50mm f0.95 @ 50mm . f2.8 . 1/80″ . ISO 800 . Classic Chrome
Fuji X-T3 . TTArtisan 50mm f0.95 @ 50mm . f2.8 . 1/160″ . ISO 320 . Classic Chrome

I wrote about TTArtisan 50mm f1.2 a few months back and mentioned that it was the fastest lens back then. Not anymore. It has been replaced by another newcomer from the same family and now the f0.95 is the fastest lens ever built. But how does this lens perform and how is the photo usability wide open? Let’s find out.

Fuji X-T3 . TTArtisan 50mm f0.95 @ 50mm . f1.4 . 1/3200″ . ISO 160 . Classic Chrome

Design & Build Quality

First thing you will notice the design element of this lens is adapted from the TTArtisan 23mm f1.4 and the TTArtisan 40mm f2.8 with a little twist. Some do not like the look of it, and some like the design character of it. I am the latter. This zebra-like design helps itself to get distinguished from the rest.

The aperture click is as good as the rest of the TTArtisans lenses I have used before it. The same comfortable and gentle feedback when you change the aperture values. The manual focusing ring is too provides a smooth focusing experience.

Fuji X-T3 . TTArtisan 50mm f0.95 @ 50mm . f2 . 1/80″ . ISO 1000 . Classic Chrome
Fuji X-T3 . TTArtisan 50mm f0.95 @ 50mm . f2 . 1/2900″ . ISO 320 . Classic Chrome

A little disappointment here, this lens does not inherit one thing from the 23mm design and it is the lens cover design. Instead of using the cap-on lens cap, it goes back to the screw-in type. Though it is still a metal one.

At 411 grams, this is probably the heaviest manual lens that I have. This is kind of expected because of the large and heavy glass elements inside the lens. In comparison, XF56mm f1.2 weights 405 grams only. Having said that, the full metal constructed lens is very well built and dense. And I am pretty sure that someone will get injured if I throw it at him.

Image Quality

At a maximum aperture of f0.95, I have a problem nailing the shots because of how shallow the depth of field is. When the focus is a hit, this lens can give a kind of soft and glowing effect which gives us a kind of dreamy feel to the photos. The result is more obvious when shooting under strong light. However, the blur-off transition from in-focus to out of focus is pretty smooth.

Left: Fuji X-T3 . TTArtisan 50mm f0.95 @ 50mm . f2 . 1/680″ . ISO 320 . Classic Chrome
Right: Fuji X-T3 . TTArtisan 50mm f0.95 @ 50mm . f0.95 . 1/2000″ . ISO 320 . Classic Chrome

In my testing period, I prefer to shoot at f2 and f2.8 as they give a good render of sharpness and contrast and they suit my own shooting preference. Of course, shooting at a lower aperture such as f5.6 gives better overall image quality which in return does not give a stronger depth of field.

Fuji X-T3 . TTArtisan 50mm f0.95 @ 50mm . f2 . 1/80″ . ISO 320 . Classic Chrome
Fuji X-T3 . TTArtisan 50mm f0.95 @ 50mm . f1.4 . 1/13000″ . ISO 320 . Classic Chrome

Both chromatic aberration and vignetting are pretty obvious especially when you are shooting at wide open. I am expecting such behaviour but nevertheless, they can be fixed in post-processing.

Focusing

Focusing is manual. But what I want to share is the experience of rotating the focus ring. It is smooth but not loose. The focus throw is 180° which gives an ample amount of “distance” for more precise focusing. TTArtsian has been maintaining this experience for their photographers since the first lens and I think this is a good one.

Fuji X-T3 . TTArtisan 50mm f0.95 @ 50mm . f2 . 1/1400″ . ISO 320 . Classic Chrome

Minimum Focus Distance (MFD)

The MFD is 50 cm and very similar to most of the lenses in this focal length. When I shoot wide open at this close, a more dreamy and softer shot as a result. In my opinion, this is even more drastic than any focus distance can achieve.

Fuji X-T3 . TTArtisan 50mm f0.95 @ 50mm . f0.95 . 1/200″ . ISO 320 . Classic Chrome

Price Point

At 218 USD, this lens is pretty close to one of their direct competitors. Is it considered expensive from your perspective? I reckon this is a reasonable price point for a manual, non-electric contact equipped extremely fast lens.

Fuji X-T3 . TTArtisan 50mm f0.95 @ 50mm . f2 . 1/1700″ . ISO 320 . Classic Chrome
Fuji X-T3 . TTArtisan 50mm f0.95 @ 50mm . f2 . 1/420″ . ISO 320 . Classic Chrome

Who is this for?

This lens is not meant for everyone. Also, compared to other TTArtsian compact manual lenses, this lens is a heavy one. It might not be as enjoyable as the others in the long run. On this account, I think it’s targeted a very specific group of photographers who understand the pro and cons of owning this unique lens and knowing what they can achieve from this lens.

If you are a newcomer to the world of manual lenses, I will recommend you try out their other lenses and if you want this focal length, there is an alternative one such as TTArtisan 50mm f1.2.

Side note

This heavy lens does not balance well with any compact X-mount cameras such as X-E series and X-A series photographers. For this reason, I do not recommend any X-E and X-A series photographer to pair with this lens because it makes the overall camera balance lead forward and hence makes your wrist more tired and it is not going to be a fun shooting experience. I will suggest including a hand grip from any sources available if you want to pair it with the lens.

Conclusion

This is my first extreme fast lens and my first ever hands-on with it. The image quality is what I have expected from this lens. While the optic quality is a little disappointing as compared to the TTArtisan 23mm f1.4, I think I can still forgive it because it gives me the thrill of shooting at an ultra-fast aperture experience.

As I mentioned earlier, I prefer the image results from f2 and f2.8, which makes me think if I ever need this lens in my arsenal. I can’t give you the right answer right now but I think it is always good to have one because you never know when you will need it someday.

Fuji X-T3 . TTArtisan 50mm f0.95 @ 50mm . f5.6 . 1/400″ . ISO 320 . Classic Chrome
Fuji X-T3 . TTArtisan 50mm f0.95 @ 50mm . f4 . 1/850″ . ISO 320 . Classic Chrome

Last by not least…

Dear TTArtisan, if you are reading this post, please give us the 32mm f2.8 autofocus lens!

Thank you for reading.

Disclaimer:
1. All the shots taken here are shot by me.
2. Some of the shots 
are slightly edited in Lightroom Classic to my preferences. Otherwise, the shots are straight out of the camera.
3. The opinions are based on my experience. If there is any mistake, please kindly drop me a message and I will gladly make the amendment.
4. I reserve ownership of these images, if you wish to use my images, please notify me.

If you like my works, please follow me on either one of the 2 Instagram accounts:

https://www.instagram.com/alwinkok_

https://www.instagram.com/alwin.portraits

If you like my content and you want to show some support, you can buy me a coffee here.