I set out on the weekend to take the X-H2 and the X-H2s through a series of shots that used the same focal length/lenses, the same exposure settings, and the same composition. Here’s the first shot. My dog was on the patio, chewing one of her favorite bones. First things first, before we look at the resolution, the context here is that the cameras were sitting side by side, one with the 56mm and one with the 16-55, zoomed to 55mm. I had autofocus on, animal eye autofocus, to be precise, and trigger both shots at the exact same moment using the touchscreen shutter function. This is anecdotal, but, I notice that from the tap of my finger to the shutter sound, the X-H2s was faster every time. I took several images and these are the best ones to compare. First, let’s look at the resolution.
It’s probably difficult to tell the difference in resolution, so I’ve cropped both images to take a closer look. Now, remember that the focal point was the eye and Daisy’s open mouth is actually in the same focal plane as her eye, so the bone in her mouth and her tongue should be the sharpest points of focus.
My conclusion is that, not surprisingly, the XH2 has more and sharper detail at the focal point. It’s also possible, as I’ve heard it argued that the focal plane – meaning the range of what’s in focus – on the X-H2 is smaller, for the same aperture.
However, this shot was a gift that kept on giving because I noticed the overblown areas, or the overexposed areas, on the dogs bedding. So, this provided a great opportunity to see how the X-H2 and the X-H2s fared with highlight recovery compared to each other.
In this case, although it’s fairly subtle, the XH-2 shows more texture in the highlights area when highlights are reduced to -100, so it has a little bit better highlight recovery. It’s important to note that the lenses are not the same so belaboring this comparison too much more won’t really pay off. So, let’s turn to another shot, this time, taken with the same lens on the Fuji X-H2 and the X-H2s.
And, let’s see those cropped in for a better look.
Again, it’s a very subtle improvement, but when you zoom in two or three times more you can see that the XH-2 has more saturation and detail noticeable, particularly in the sides of the carts on the ferris wheel. Unfortunately, I can’t say that this is a significant amount of detail, and I’d probably argue that it’s not significantly better. However, let’s take one more look. This time, another stationary subject: my Jeep.
Ok, so, with the subject backlit, and the shadows so dark, who can tell the difference? Here are the photos, with the shadows lifted to +100 in Capture One. This also gives us an opportunity to compare the cameras in terms of shadow recovery.
Let’s take a closer look.
Again, very, very difficult to discern any difference. Actually, here I say there is no discernible difference in detail and resolution. However, in terms of shadow recovery, there is a small but noticeable improvement in the gradation from dark to light. The X-H2s is more likely to look clipped than the X-H2. So, those extra pixels do pay off.
The verdict? Yes, the X-H2 is better in terms of detail, color and the gradation of light to dark, but minimally, very minimally. It would be hard to argue that there’s a significant difference. In fact, there’s probably not. So….what’s the verdict. So, the X-H2, being cheaper, is actually a good deal for someone who just wants the resolution and detail of a high-performing APS-C camera. It doesn’t have the exact autofocus performance of the X-H2s, so there is a difference. And there is the 8k video, but that is a whole other element, and not one that someone who is a photographer may truly care about.
The ultimate question is who are you – a photographer who wants that extra detail and tiny extra, probably undiscernible, oomph and punch from the extra resolution? Or someone who needs the autofocus performance of the X-H2s?