The iPhone may be celebrating its 15th anniversary, but photography fans will be more nostalgic about the 10th anniversary of Fujifilm’s X-series – and to mark the occasion, the camera giant has revealed the likely launch date of the much-anticipated Fujifilm X-H2.
In a YouTube video released exactly a decade after the arrival of Fujifilm’s first X-series camera, the Fujifilm X-Pro1, the company’s Director of Business & Product Development, Yuji Igarashi, announced that Fuji’s next X-Summit event will take place in May.
The annual X-Summit is Fujifilm’s biggest event for product launches and, while the Fujifilm X-H2 wasn’t announced by name, Yuji Igarashi did add that “in 2022, the 5th generation X-series cameras will be announced”. The reliable Fuji Rumors has concluded that these cameras will likely be the two versions of the Fujifilm X-H2.
The X-H2 took the number two spot in our list of the most exciting cameras of 2022, because it’s expected to be a powerful alternative to the latest full-frame powerhouses from Sony, Canon and Nikon. Fujifilm cameras use smaller APS-C sensors than their full-frame rivals, but the one in the X-H2 is expected to be the company’s first with a so-called ‘stacked’ design.
Stacked sensors have far higher read-out speeds than standard backside-illuminated chips, which means the Fujifilm X-H2 should be a compelling all-rounder for sports and wildlife shooters, particularly if it arrives alongside the XF150-600mm lens that’s also in Fujifilm’s roadmap for 2022.
What isn’t yet clear is how the two rumored versions of the X-H2 will differ, aside from their expected 26MP and 40MP resolutions, or if Fujifilm is planning to announce other new models at the X-Summit in May. Its reference to “X-series cameras” could simply be referring to the X-H2 series, but street shooters will be hoping to see the arrival of a Fujifilm X-Pro4 at the event too. That camera did, after all, mark the start of Fuji’s mirrorless camera journey 10 years ago.
Analysis: an exciting year for Fuji fans
The fact that Fujifilm cameras are still thriving 10 years after the arrival of the X-Pro1 in January 2012 is a testament to their ability to offer something different to their rivals – namely, a retro shooting style that preserves some of the soul of the film era. But the X-series is increasingly being squeezed between smartphones with highly capable cameras and full-frame rivals, so it needs a big launch in 2022 – hence the likely arrival of the Fujifilm X-H2.
Like most recent camera launches, the X-H2 has probably been delayed due to the global chip shortages, as May is an unusual time of year for Fuji’s X-Summit. But after a quiet 2021, Fujifilm has created some early buzz about its plans for this year – and its loyal fans will be looking forward to the announcements.
Would the arrival of two Fujifilm X-H2s be enough to stop some photographers jumping ship to the increasingly attractive full-frame options from the likes of Sony, Canon and Nikon? While it’s true that Fujifilm’s home turf is smaller cameras that pair nicely with its excellent prime lenses, an X-H2 with a stacked sensor would still be a tempting new option for professional shooters.
Fujifilm’s current cameras are already popular with pro street and landscape photographers, due to their relatively small size and weight, once you’ve factored in lenses. The 1.5x ‘crop factor’ of the X-H2’s APS-C sensor should also provide an angle of view that will prove beneficial for wildlife and sports, particularly when paired with the incoming XF150-600mm lens.
One area where Fuji has lagged slightly behind its full-frame mirrorless rivals, though, is autofocus performance, so it’ll be interesting to see how far the X-H2 manages to push AF and other features forwards in order to help tempt pros who might otherwise go for a Sony or Canon powerhouse.