Bird Photography with X-H Cameras
Mathieu Gasquet has tested the Fujifilm X-H2s and Fujifilm X-H2 for bird photography.
He compares rolling shutter, drive speed and other aspects between X-H2 and X-H2s. So definitely check out their full video above.
For the purpose of this article we will focus on one aspect only: bird autofocus tracking accuracy.
- Green Column: 100% sharp images
- Blue Column: sharp + slightly out of focus images
The Fujifilm X-H2s gives a total of 82% perfectly sharp images, whereas the X-H2 tops at 78%.
Old Firmware Beats New Firmware?
Here comes the “shocking” part.
In his test, the Fujifilm X-H2s with old firmware 1.03 performed better than the X-H2s with the new firmware 3.00.
- 82% accuracy with firmware 1.03
- 77% accuracy with firmware 3.01
But I do respect and trust Mathieu’s work and hence I share it here on FujiRumors.
And I also say to Fujifilm: go back to work and make it better with the next firmware!
Compare to Sony, Canon, Nikon & Co
Old or new firmware, in both cases the results seem tare still not on par with other brands.
Top tier cameras of other brands get well over 90% hit rate:
Sure, those cameras cost much more.
But according to Mathieu’s tests, even the old non-stacked Sony A6600 camera has a better 85% hit rate!
If that sounds a bit strange to you, then you better read the rest of the article.
The Two Problems are…
These results show that Fujifilm still needs to work on improving their firmware.
The main two issues:
- AF tracking can get distracted by the background when other cameras don’t get distracted
- the position of the bird influences accuracy more than on other brands
It’s Better than You Think
So I have said it clearly: Fujifilm must work on the firmware and make more improvements. The X-H2s is advertised as being capable of 40fps, and I want a hit rate of 95+% minimum to be happy to really call it a 40fps camera.
With that out of the way, there is another thing to be said in order to get the full picture.
Looking at the list shared by Mathieu, one could think that the old and cheap Sony A6600 will get you better results than the Fujifilm X-H2s.
But that’s not the case.
Because the Sony A6600 maxes out at 11fps, whereas the Fujifilm X-H2s at 40fps or 20fps for the X-H2.
Apply the percentage of keepers to the actual maximum frame rate*, and you’ll see that you get many more sharp images per second with the X-H2s rather than with the A6600.
That’s why Mathieu has also listed the number of sharp images per second you get, and in that ranking, the Fujifilm X-H2s looks much better.
- OM System OM1: 42 (sharp images per second)
- Canon R6II: 37
- Fujifilm X-H2s: 33
- Sony A1: 28
- Canon R3: 28
- Canon R7: 24
- Nikon Z9: 19
- Sony A9II: 19
- Canon R6: 18
- Fujifilm X-H2: 16
- Sony A6600: 11
- Sony A7IV: 9
* with maximum speed we mean with RAW recording and autofocus plus auto-exposure enabled between each shot. Cameras like the Nikon Z9 can record only JPEG when shooting more than 20fps and the Canon R3 does not make AF or exposure adjustments above 30fps.
The ranking posted by Mathieu includes more cameras and you can check it out here. The only changes I made to his ranking are:
- I added the X-H2 to the ranking based on the accuracy rating of Mathieu
- I removed the Nikon Z9 from the top spot, as it was used at 120 fps, because at that speed the camera shoots JPEG only (as well as reduced to 11MP). Having no RAW available is a major dealbreaker.
And the Winner is…?
If you look to get as many sharp images per second as you possibly can, you have to go for the OM System OM1.
But sadly it’s not that easy.
There are many other factors that play into it.
The OM1 uses a M43 sensor, which will give you less dynamic range than any other camera on the list.
So is the Canon R6II the best pick?
Well, it might get you 37 sharp images per second, but the Canon R6II features a non-BSI and not-stacked sensor. So expect much more rolling shutter than on the X-H2S and, despite being full frame, X-H2s alike dynamic range with electronic shutter, as measured by Photons to Photos here
The decision on the best camera is very personal and it probably comes down to a balance between specs, price, features, ergonomics, lenses and many more aspects.
- Fujifilm X-T5: BHphoto / AmazonUS / Adorama / Moment
- Fujifilm X-H2: BHphoto / AmazonUS / Adorama / Moment
- Fujifilm X-H2S: BHphoto / AmazonUS / Adorama / Moment