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Fujifilm’s X-H2 Flagship Takes 160 Million Pixel Photos

The smartphone camera market is getting good. Really good. Motorola are set to release a smartphone with a 200MP camera, and mobile sensors and lenses are getting smaller and more capable.

So, what does this mean for dedicated shooters? Sony have already called the death of the DLSR by 2024 at the hand of smartphones, so is the market for several thousand-dollar mirrorless cameras and lenses on its way out?

Well, based on what Fujifilm have had cooking, the evidence shows quite the contrary.

Channel News was invited to the Fujifilm House of Photography on Thursday night to get a sneak peek at the highly anticipated X-H2. Released as a joint flagship alongside the recently released X-H2S, the new mirrorless camera is a truly revolutionary piece of gear with a spec list of industry firsts.

Where the X-H2S was designed for high-speed capture, the new X-H2 is all about unrivalled resolution and quality, and “challenging Full Frame.”

The feature of dual flagships mean that the company has ensured that photographers “can now choose the best solution to meet their content creation needs,” according to Shaun Mah, General Manager of Electronic Imaging and Optical Devices of Fujifilm Australia

Fujifilm’s presentation began with X-Photographer Russel Ord, who specializes in surf photography, sharing the fruits of his labours with the X-H2, commending not only it’s high resolution, but it’s ability to take a beating in rough surf.

X-Photographer Russel Ord at the Fujifilm House of Photography

There are two key numbers that the Japanese camera giant is rather excited about. The first is 40.2, referring to the megapixel count of their X-Trans CMOS 5HR sensor that delivers the highest image resolution in the history of the X series.

Credit: Russel Ord

The second is the magic 8k, which marks the company reaching support for 8K/30P Apple Pro Res video recording, the worlds first APS-C camera to do so. As massive as this is, this just scratches the surface of what the X-H2 is capable of.

Revolutionizing ultra-high-res photography, the X-H2 is the first X Series camera to feature Fujifilm’s Pixel Shift Multi-Shot technology, making use of the IBIS (in-body image stabilization) to shift the image sensor with high precision to take 20 photos that are then combined into a single frame using “Pixel Shift Combiner”. The result is images with around “160 million Pixels”, high definition enough to be blown up to abnormally large proportions, as you would require in commercial photography.

The new X-Trans CMOS 5 HR sensor also makes use of an improved image-processing algorithm which enhances image resolution without affecting the signal-to-noise (S/N) ratio. Native base ISO sits at ISO125 thanks to a new and improved pixel structure. The ability to draw in a greater amount of light is ideal for bokeh or day-time outdoor photography.

The new sensor has also allowed Fujifilm to greatly improve the precision and speed of the electronic shutter, bumping shutter speed up from 1/32,000 sec to 1/180,000 sec, making capturing split second movements or eliminating glare from photos simple. It also works brilliantly if you ever have to photograph a lightbulb being shot by a bullet.

Credit: Lei Ling

However, one of the features that seemed to impress everyone in the room more than anything was the new subject-detection AutoFocus (AF) featured with the X-Processor 5. Based on deep learning technology, the new camera is able to track a wide range of subjects including various animals, birds, vehicles such as cars, trains and planes, as well as human faces.

Fujifilm Australia National Training Manager Warwick Williams told us a story where from a distance of approximately 700 meters (a distance he eyeballed of course), the X-H2 was able to identify a bird in a tree that to him, was no more than a white spec in the distance.

Fujifilm Australia National Training Manager Warwick Williams at the Fujifilm House of Photography

The X-H2 also features Manual Focus assist in the form of a focus meter to be used during film recording, allowing videographers to make precise adjustments simply and quickly in real time.

During the presentation, Fujifilm stressed that the X-H2 was no glass cannon, but a rather tough tool designed to be used on the ragged edge in pursuit of the perfect shot.

As does the X-H2S, the new camera sports 79 weather sealed points that keep it safe from water and dust.

During his presentation, Ord displayed photos taken within the shaping bay of a surfboard workshop. He stressed that this is a delicate operation, and one that is very well known to kill cameras, as they get clogged and overwhelmed under a flurry of foam shavings.

The X-H2 is an exception, and in an environment likely to best most high end shooters, the new camera survived.

Operating temperatures are rather large, ranging from -10-degrees Celsius to 40-degrees Celsius, with Williams saying that it had been tested in temperatures even lower than that range.

The X-H2 has been designed to work with CFexpress Type B cards, like the Extreme Pro series from SanDisk.

So back to the question at hand. Will smartphones kill off expensive, dedicated cameras? Not anytime soon from the looks of things. As good as the camera module on the back of your iPhone or Android might be, the key lies in the details, something the X-H2 has no shortage of.

The Fujifilm X-H2 will be available late this September for $3,399.

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