I think TTArtisan has a soft spot for “50mm” and they released the 50mm f0.95 not too long ago. And now, TTArtisan had just released its third 50mm lens and it is the most compact 50mm lens TTArtisan ever made but it is the slowest in the lineup yet.
But there is something different about this lens from the other 50mm lenses and that is this lens is designed as a full-frame lens but can also be mounted with various APS-C lens mounts (i.e. X-mount, M-mount, E-mount, RF-mount, Z-mount and M43-mount).
Does that mean the image quality is better because the optical glass is bigger than the APS-C sensor size? Let’s find out.
Before I start, I would like to thank TTArtisan for sending me this lens for review and it is my privilege to do so. But you can rest assured that this review will be based on the lens I received and it is purely on my own opinion.
Design & Build Quality
The design is different from that of 50mm f0.95 and 23mm f1.4. You will not see the zebra-like design in this lens. Having said that, it gives a minimalistic and more modern-look design.
The aperture ring and the manual focus ring are still the same quality as any other TTArtisan lenses. The enjoyable clicky feedback on the aperture ring is one of my favourites among other 3rd party manufacturers while the manual focus ring is giving a satisfying smooth experience.
Speaking about the lens cap, it is also the common screw-in type, similar to most TTArtisan lenses. Love it or hate it. It depends on the individual.
The weight is 189 grams and that is without both front and rear lens caps. For comparison, XF27mm f2.8 WR is only 84 grams.
Another thing to note: the filter thread is 43mm.
In my opinion, the sharpness is decently sharp at wide open. Speaking of shallow depth of field, f2 gives a considerably good separation between subject and background. Of course, it is not as shallow as other faster prime lenses can give. Shooting at f2.8 or smaller apertures gives a better rendering of sharpness and contrast. However, I am pretty satisfied with the image quality at f2.
In my testing, chromatic aberration and vignetting are surprisingly better (based on my past experiences with other TTArtisan lenses). Although they are slightly observed especially when you are shooting wide open. Nonetheless, they can be fixed in post-processing, so this is the last I should worry about.
The sunny star shot is not the sharpest I have seen, but it is okay. Do note the rainbow flare if you want to avoid it.
From MFD to infinity, the focus throw is approximately 160°. In my view, this compact lens gives quite an ample amount of “distance” for more precise focusing.
Like most manual lenses, the result is might not at its sharpest at the infinity marking. Rotate slightly backwards on the focus ring to get a better result.
Minimum Focus Distance (MFD)
At 75mm (in full-frame equivalent), the 50cm MFD is no different from other 50mm lenses. I was expecting that the MFD will be further because of the compactness of the lens but I was wrong. At least this is something I think is quite a remarkable achievement from the TTArtisan engineers.
When shooting at MFD, I do notice a little softness in the image. From my standpoint, I think it is totally acceptable.
At 69 USD, this is one of the most affordable lenses TTArtisan offers. There is another 69 USD lens (at least at this moment in writing this review) from TTArtisan and that is 35mm f1.4.
Who is this for?
For 69 USD, the amount is not that painful to spend. If you are new to photography and also wish to have some hands-on with a full pledge manual lens. If you want to attempt to try some portrait shots, this is also a good lens to try. Besides that, this lens can also be used for other genres like street, documentaries, landscapes, cityscapes and product shots.
There is another group of photographers who should consider this lens too. And they are photographers who are still using the older camera models and can consider getting this lens to spice up some love with the cameras and shoot.
TTArtisan never fails to surprise photographers with their new lenses. They always have something to fill in those “gaps” in their lenses lineup. This makes me think about what is up on their sleeve.
Personally, I love to use this lens simply because of its compactness, nice-looking design and not compromising on the image quality that much. I think this lens is best matched with the X-E series and X-A series for achieving the most compact package.
Meanwhile, I am still hoping TTArtisan will release the first autofocus lens for Fujifilm.
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:
Before all else, I would like to thank Ms Carmen, Marketing Manager of Fujifilm Singapore, for loaning the X-H2S for review. By the time this review is online, the camera unit had returned back to Fujifilm Singapore.
After months of waiting and numerous rumours flying over the internet, the X-H2S was finally announced in X-Summit OMIYA 2022, together with XF150-160mm and XF18-120mm. Fujifilm categorised it as a flagship model, which means the best of the best technologies Fujifilm can offer is in this camera body (or maybe together with the upcoming X-H2). If I remember correctly, The “H” in X-H stands for “Heavy-duty”.
If you have watched the X-summit, you will know this flagship model addresses three groups of categories: sports photography, wildlife photography and videography.
While I do not belong to any of the three categories and I do street photography most of the time, my perspective of using this camera will be more on people on the streets and things revolving around the streets.
Also in this hands-on sharing, it is based on a photographer’s point of view as I am not a videographer trained. To test with people on the streets, I have also used various lenses of mine to see how well this camera can perform.
Here is the list of lenses I used:
XF 16mm f1.4
XF 23mm f2
XF 23mm f1.4 WR
XF 27mm f2.8 WR
XF 35mm f1.4
XF 50mm f2
XF 80mm f2.8
XF 18-55mm f2.8 – f4
XF 70-300mm f4 – f5.6
Fujifilm has come thus far when comes to image sensors and processors. Now, Fujifilm has come out with its first-ever Stacked-Back Side Illuminated (BSI) X-Trans CMOS sensor 5 HS and X-Processor 5. With this new processor, Fujifilm has also introduced Nostalgic Negative film simulation to the APS-C camera. Nostalgic Negative was only made available to GFX (first with GFX 100S) series only. I know not many people actually talk about this film simulation but I just want to highlight how much I like this film simulation after I tested out the GFX 50S II.
More on the Image quality and performance below.
Design& Build Quality
When I first saw the camera, it was resemblant very much to the GFX100S/50S II. It is also a totally different design from its predecessor, X-H1. This is a good way to distinguish between models. The new X-H2S can be distinguished easily at a glance too, especially since there is a label “S” on the front of the camera body.
The magnesium build camera is sturdy, durable and solid to hold. Something I am expecting from a flagship camera. The weight of the camera is 660 grams but personally, I do not feel it is heavy to hold and I think that because the weight is well distributed across the camera body.
For a note, it is just 53 grams heavier than X-T4 and 13 grams lighter than X-H1.
X-H2S has an ergonomic handgrip design but some photographers might think it is too large to hold, particularly photographers who have smaller hands. As for me, probably because I have large hands, it is very comfortable to grip. The feeling reminds me much of the good grip I had with my DSLRs back in those days.
Overall buttons are comfortable to press with good tactile feedback. The Focus stick is large and good to navigate focus points and between menus. Nothing to complain about here.
The newly developed shutter button is very sensitive and I have to learn to adapt to it. For most Fuji cameras, I depress half the shutter button for focus and then depress it fully for taking the shots. But then, the shutter button of the X-H2S is probably set it up higher than the other Fuji cameras. I basically snap the shot when I depress “half” the shutter button. It took me a few shots to find the sweet spot. Sometimes I do forget and history repeats itself. It is not something difficult to familiar with, it just takes a while for my muscle memory to familiarise itself.
On a side note, I love the shutter sound. A gentle and very satisfying “tid” sound.
The Viewfinder, The LCD Screen & the Sub-Display
I have to say the viewfinder is really a pleasure to use. The 5.76M dot OLED with a 120fps refresh rate is one of the best improvements Fujifilm has made. It makes the viewing experience so smooth as if I am shooting through an optical viewfinder. (Remember to set to EVF frame rate priority to enjoy the 120fps, otherwise, it is default at 60fps.)
However, the LCD screen keeps the same 1.62M dot resolution as the X-T4 but is still better than my X-T3. The display is indeed sharper and it is a good screen to meet my needs.
The “always-on” sub-display reminds me of the DSLR’s sub-display but better. As a sub-display, it provides all the necessary current settings and information to allow one to have a quick view.
The image quality is great and that is across all ISO ranges that I used in this test. Honest speaking, I cannot find anything to fault it. Personally, I feel that the image quality has some improvement at the high ISO range, especially on the ISO 3200. Not a dramatically huge difference but you can tell. Other than that, it is hard to tell the difference between X-H2s and X-T3.
The autofocus performance of the camera is kind of limited by the lenses. Because the performance of this X-H2S is really fast, it does push the limit of the older lenses to work faster. If the lens is on the slower side (for example a lens without Linear Motor), you can feel that it works slightly slower and also missing out on some focus tracking (but it picks up pretty fast). That said, the newer lenses (such as XF 23mm f1.4 WR) are really designed to optimise with X-H2S than the older ones. All in all, the autofocus is really snappy and accurate. The older lenses do feel snappier too than having them on my X-T3.
The focus tracking is a real improvement here. The eye-AF together with the Subject Detection such as “Animal”, “Bird”, “Automobile”, etc does pick up well and is quite sticky to the respective subject, especially a moving one. But if there is more than one subject in the frame, then that is another story altogether.
On paper, it states that it can achieve up to 7 stops of compensation with some lenses can only go up to 5 stops. In the real world, how stable is it with my shaky hands is more matters to me. The results show everything. I have tested with 4 lenses and it turns out that the IBIS is impressive. Whether it is combined with an OIS lens or not, my handheld results are pretty consistent and terrific.
I notice there are some people who commented about the battery life that does not last for the whole day. But in my 2 weeks of testing, it lasts me for the whole day with 35% remaining the least, that is about 500 shots taken.
Based on the CIPA standard, the battery life is rated as 720 shots. And based on my calculation, it is about there. So I think the rating from CIPA is quite consistent with my experience.
Although battery consumption is subjective to individual usage and many other external factors to be considered, all I can say is that this NP-W235 battery is definitely better than the NP-W126S on my X-T3. If your photography consumes more battery power, then just bring another one. If bringing two batteries is insufficient, then make it three.
PASM dial is something I familiar with for a long time, especially since I used DSLR before. I do not hate it nor I am happy to see it. It just reminded me of how I should operate the camera differs from the one with Fuji-style dials.
I do miss the Fuji-style dials with this X-H2S but handling the PASM dial is not a show stopper for me.
The focus mode selector switch has been replaced by the “fn3” button in X-H2S. By default, fn3 is set as the “focus mode selector” function. If you are a person who switches various modes a lot, this might be a little ignoring to you as it takes you to a screen to select the focus mode with your D-pad and the “OK” button to enter instead of instantaneously switching with the switch.
Another thing that I do not mention is the memory card. It comes with 2 slots, one for CFexpress Type B card and another for UHS-II. Because I do not have a CFexpress Type B card which unable to verify the capability of read/write speed of the camera when shooting at 40 fps.
Probably some photographers might notice this. The front dial is now not clickable.
One last interesting thing to share, X-H2S is the first Fuji camera that comes with a variable shutter speed. It calls “Flickerless S.S. Setting”. You have to enable “Flicker Reduction” first before you can set the “Flickerless S.S. Setting” on. This helps to eliminate flickering lighting from indoor LED lighting, bulb and monitor screen, etc. Only Manual and Shutter priority modes can enjoy this functionality.
For the next generation of X-H series, I hope that the position of the Focus stick to be a little lower, probably beside the AEL button will be a better option. Whenever I want to change the focus point, I need to shift my thumb much higher to reach for the Focus stick and by doing so, I have to reorientate my hand placement on the handgrip.
Another thing I hope Fujifilm can do is on the focus mode selector. Instead of the cumbersome control, you may consider making the fn3 button to toggle between the modes. I believe it will be easier for photographers who need to toggle often. Probably it can be added in a firmware update.
Above are some of the little feedback or more like my personal preference.
In my own words
The grip, the sub-display and the overall size of the camera pretty much reminded me of the good old DSLR era. Oftentimes it also reminded me of how far technology has come.
After 2 weeks of use, I believe Fujifilm has delivered the flagship model very well and beyond my expectation of what a flagship camera can be: a hybrid, heavy-duty camera for both worlds.
For Fuji enthusiastic (who like dials, dials and dials) like me, I will not get it for my personal causal shooting. Yes, the stacked BSI sensor is very attractive to me. The focusing speed and the AF tracking are something my current X-T3 cannot do with. What I can hope is that the future X-T5 has most of what X-H2S or X-H2 has to offer together with the X-T3 flip and tilt screen and I will be ready to smash my piggy bank.
Who is this for?
This is a flagship camera and also a workhorse that is designed with professional photographers (and professional videographers) in mind. It has the best performance Fujifilm has to offer to date. But that does not mean non-professional photographers should not get it. If camera size is not a factor, this X-H2S will be a camera you can consider as it is the pinnacle of Fujifilm for years to come.
Also, Fujifilm also confirmed they will be releasing X-H2 which comes with 40 megapixels in the X-Trans 5 HR. X-H2S focus on speed while X-H2 focus on fine details. Only the photographers themselves will know which camera can meet their demands in photography and the photography genres they are shooting.
Fujifilm just laid out them for you to choose from.
Thank you for reading.
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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. I reserve ownership of these images, if you wish to use my images, please notify me. 4. The camera firmware is 1.01. 5.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.
Today is the official launch event for Fuji X-H2S in Singapore and I am lucky enough to get invited for attending this event. This event comes with some outdoor activities and then a lunch session to end it. I feel that this is a very unique way to launch a product. To keep things simple, I just brought my X100V with me.
I have organized quite a few small groups of photo walk for the past 2 years but this is the first photo walk organized under the name of FujiFanBoys Facebook Group. I am excited because this is my first attempt to organize with Ivan Joshua Loh with such a huge group size together. In case you wonder, this is a whopping 40 pax group size.
Not only that, we have lens support from 5 amazing brands: Fujifilm, Sigma, Tamron, TTArtisan and Voigtländer. Really appreciate their kind support!
This first walk is not an easy one, to begin with, the weather decides to rain heavily in the morning. Instead of starting photo walking at 8:45am, we delay it an hour later. Now come to think of it, the rain actually gives us a good opportunity to mingle around with the group before the walk.
Despite the rainy morning, I am glad that the majority of the FujiFanBoys and FanGirls choose to turn up for the walk! Hope we will arrange another one soon!
Thank you for reading.
If you like my works, please follow me on either one of the 2 Instagram accounts:
X-summit Omiya 2022 has come and gone. It was an announcement of something we have expected and something that we are unexpected.
Thanks to the hints from the previous X-summit and rumors websites, we are pretty much prepared for gears such as X-H2S, XF18-120mm, and XF150-600mm to be announced in this X-summit and truly, they did. Under development XF56mm f1.2 MK II was also finally announced on stage. The statement was sort of confirming what the rumors websites had been suggesting. Of course, I am excited about this piece of the announcement and I can’t wait to get the lens in my hand.
The unexpected announcement, at least to me, is the XF8mm f3.5 and XF30mm f2.8 macro. Fuji hits 2 of my favorites spots; ultra-wide lens and macro lens. I think I will own them some days but I guess I have to prioritize my wishlist first.
*In case you wonder, I am not a G.A.S person and I am not the person who love to buy and sell gears.
Back to the topic, after the price of the X-H2S was announced. A lot of comments flooding the online community. The comments that caught my eyes the most are “X-H2S priced evenly to Canon R6 and Sony A7 IV. Is the price worth it? For this price, I rather go for full-frame.” And many similar statements were made.
Well, if you want to make a comparison, there is no end to comparing this and that. People will always find justification to uphold their judgment. Of course, there is no right or wrong. It is just an individual opinion.
I bring back the comparison on pricing earlier: as Fujifilm indicated that X-H2S is a flagship camera model, so technically we should compare X-H2S with all other flagship models such as Canon R3, Sony A1, Nikon Z9, and OM System OM-1. What is common they all have are stacked BSI sensors. Instead, the comments suggest comparing X-H2S with A7 IV and R6, just because they are in the same price bracket. So is that a fair comparison?
Oftentimes, people might be forgotten to weigh the overall “price” to pay. Because when you are buying a camera, you are buying the ecosystem of that system which includes lenses and accessories. So depending on individual needs, the overall “price” to pay for brand “A” ecosystem might be even more expensive than that of brand “B”. So as a smart consumer/prosumer/professional, I believe one knows how to weigh it. Unless one is too loaded and spending one after another ecosystem means nothing much in his bank, I think you can ignore my statement.
I shall end here and I believe you can understand my point here. Of course, I can further make many comparisons here and there but I cannot find the justification for doing so. Like I mentioned early, there is no end in comparison. My philosophy is simple, buy an ecosystem that can make you go out and enjoy shooting with it.
All in all, I have to highlight that I am not against other camera formats. Rather this is my personal view/opinion on the term “comparision”. Again, is X-H2S priced right?