Rumors of the Fujifilm X-H2S are mounting ahead of the mirrorless camera’s expected arrival later this month – and the latest leaks suggest it could take a big leap in autofocus for the help catch up with rivals Sony and Canon.
Fuji Rumors has released new details about Fuji’s new autofocus system, which is set to debut on the X-H2S. And these include quite advanced subject tracking skills which include the ability to recognize and track birds, animals, cars, trains, planes, and bicycles.
Naturally, Fuji Rumors says the X-H2S will also track human faces and eyes, although this is already possible on existing Fujifilm cameras. This long list of other topics, however, suggests that the company has been able to improve on its traditional area of weakness.
The autofocus performance of current Fuji cameras like the Fujifilm X-S10 is certainly not bad, but it has been overtaken by recent advances from Sony and Canon. As our review of the X-S10 said, “its AF performance is impressive in most situations, but subject tracking isn’t as advanced as the Sony system seen on cameras like the Sony A6600.”
What remains to be seen is exactly how well these new AF tracking modes perform in the real world. Many camera autofocus systems may look similar on paper, but their adherence and accuracy may vary in reality, as they depend on both proprietary software algorithms and processing power.
There are, however, reasons to be optimistic about the X-H2S’ autofocus performance. It is expected to have a new stacked sensor, which supports fast read speeds for both burst shooting and video. And last year, Fujifilm also announced plans to bring computational photography tricks to the X series. As Shinichiro Udono, Senior Manager at Fujifilm, told DPReview in an interview “if sensor speed and the processing speed are both very fast, so you can do a lot of things”.
Analysis: The proof will be in the hit-rate
Autofocus performance has become an increasingly important battleground for mirrorless cameras, as it’s a useful tool for both stills and video.
This has been an area of strength for Sony and Canon, both of which have taken autofocus to a new level in cameras like the Sony A1 and Canon EOS R3. The Fujifilm X series has traditionally fallen short of these cameras in price and performance, but the X-H2S is expected to be a powerful new flagship – and it’ll need the autofocus performance to match.
The list of autofocus tracking topics leaked by Fuji Rumors is promising, but we can’t wait to see how well they work in practice. Being able to track subjects like cars and bikes is arguably less important for Fujifilm cameras, as they aren’t traditionally used by professional sports photographers. But a big improvement in face and animal autofocus is a must if the X-H2S is to justify its projected price, which will likely be well above the $1,899 / £1,699 / AU$2,700 commanding by the X-H1 when it landed backwards. 2018.
It could also bode well for the next generation of Fujifilm cameras, including the rumored Fujifilm X-T5. While Fuji’s more affordable cameras can inherit some of the autofocus advancements made by the X-H2S, the X-series could retain its prime position for amateur photographers who don’t want the system size or price tags of their full-frame rivals.