The Fujifilm XH2s is one of the two X-mount flagships, offering a lower resolution but more speed than the camera without the s in the name. But while delivering some of the best colors from an APS-C camera, the XH2s is still outpaced by some competitors. The latest Fujifilm XH2s firmware updates, however, help the camera slowly inch forward with improved autofocus algorithms, camera-to-cloud functionality, and a game-changing way to customize the controls.
I tested out the Fujifilm XH2s with firmware 5.03 and updated the original review accordingly. Here are the improvements added to the Fujifilm XH2s review:
Ease of Use
Riddle me this: why is the front dial set to control the aperture when Fujifilm lenses have a dedicated aperture dial? Updated firmware brings more customization options for the XH2s controls, and one, in particular, is a very welcome change. Under the default settings, you have to press the ISO button and then use the front command dial to change the ISO. This has always annoyed me as it takes longer and, before I’ve become fully accustomed to the controls, requires pulling my face away from the camera.
The updated firmware, however, allows photographers to bypass the ISO button, go into the custom settings, and set the front command dial to adjust the ISO. As someone who dials in my shutter speed and aperture then leaves a finger on the ISO for the inevitable time the light changes, this is a much better setup than the default. Do I still miss the lovely top dials on the XT5? Sure, but the XH2s is now seamless to adjust. It feels very much like working a DSLR, and a lot of photographers will feel right at home. Because this is a customization option, photographers who prefer the original set-up or shoot with third-party lenses that lack an aperture dial can continue to use the front dial for the aperture and the ISO button shortcut.
Alongside the XH2, the XH2s is one of the first stills cameras to support camera-to-cloud using Adobe’s frame.io software. The feature requires the FT-XH battery grip but allows the camera to send images to the cloud shortly after being taken. This is a really great feature for studio photographers working with a team, but the young technology has some growing up to do before it also becomes a tool for creating on-location cloud back-ups.
Setting up the camera-to-cloud is a bit more complex than the basic Bluetooth connection — most photographers will need the set of instructions to get up and running. The first steps involve heading into the frame.io menu options on the camera itself and dialing in the Wi-Fi network information. Photographers will also need to choose which files to send—RAW or JPEG—as MOV is set by default. The camera also has the option of sending images while powered off or pausing the cloud connection when powered off to conserve battery.
After the in-camera set-up, photographers need to log in to frame.io. (A paid subscription is required). Inside the project to add the images, the C2C Connections tab houses all the necessary settings to start the connection, including typing in the pairing code generated by the camera.
The Wi-Fi-based camera-to-cloud is heavily reliant on the network speed itself. The feature isn’t ideal for slow internet speeds, as everything is uploaded pre-cull. But, with a fast internet connection, the uploads are pretty seamless. The only issue I ran into here is that the camera needs to remain fairly close to the Wi-Fi router, as, on the opposite end of the house, the camera lost connection and stopped uploading, despite the fact that other devices still connect from that room.
The camera-to-cloud feature also has two other connection options: using wired LAN or plugging in a smartphone. I couldn’t get the smartphone connection to work, however, even after troubleshooting with Fujifilm. That, plus the need to stay relatively close to the router, means the camera-to-cloud feature is really only great if you are a studio photographer working with a team. It doesn’t yet have big potential for on-site backups, though I’m hopeful that as the technology grows and improves, that’s exactly what will be possible. For the full details on how the software works, take a look at the full frame.io review.
The XH2s has better autofocus over the higher resolution XH2. But firmware updates bring a few more features and tweaks to the system. Firmware 5.03 improves autofocus under a specific set of conditions, including single-point area mode, a wide-angle lens, and low-contrast or high-frequency subjects. Any improvement is nice to see, but the camera still struggled a bit with subjects running towards the camera.
Earlier firmware updates like version 3.00 added the ability to detect insects while in bird AF and drones while in Airplane AF. That same firmware update also improved dynamic tracking and increased the autofocus speed when using back button focusing. All those updates are nice to see and inch the camera forward. But, it is not forward enough to make it a top choice for sports and wildlife as it still lags behind the fastest competitors.