Fujifilm X-H2S rumors suggest it could make important leap to catch Sony and Canon

The Fujifilm X-H1 on a dark background
(Image credit: Fujifilm)

The Fujifilm X-H2S rumors are growing ahead of the mirrorless camera's expected arrival later this month – and the latest leaks suggest it could make an important autofocus leap to help it catch its Sony and Canon's rivals.

Fuji Rumors has published some new details about Fuji's new autofocus system, which is expected to debut on the X-H2S. And these include some pretty advanced subject-tracking skills that include the ability to recognize and track birds, animals, cars, trains, planes and bikes.

Naturally, Fuji Rumors says the X-H2S will also track human faces and eyes, though these are already possible on existing Fujifilm cameras. That long list of other subjects, though, suggests that the company has been able to improve its traditional area of weakness.

The autofocus performance of current Fuji cameras like the Fujifilm X-S10 certainly isn't bad, but it has been left behind by the recent advances made by Sony and Canon. As our X-S10 review said, "its AF performance is impressive in most situations, but the subject-tracking isn’t quite 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 work in the real world. A lot of camera autofocus systems can look similar on paper, but their stickiness and accuracy can vary in reality, as they're dependent on both proprietary software algorithms and processing power. 

There are reasons to be optimistic about the X-H2S' autofocus performance, though. It's expected to have a new stacked sensor, which supports speedy read-out speeds for both burst shooting and video. And last year, Fujifilm also talked up its plan to bring computational photography tricks to the X-series. As Senior Manager at Fujifilm Shinichiro Udono told DPReview in an interview "if the sensor speed and processing speed are both very fast, then you can do a lot of things."

Analysis: The proof will be in the hit-rate

The rear screen of the Canon EOS R3 mirrorless camera

Flagship cameras like the Canon EOS R3 (above) have taken autofocus subject-tracking to new heights that the X-H2S will hopefully reach. (Image credit: Future)

Autofocus performance has become an increasingly important battleground for mirrorless cameras because it's a useful tool for both stills and video.

It's been an area of strength for both Sony and Canon, who have both taken autofocus to a new level on cameras like the Sony A1 and Canon EOS R3. The Fujifilm X-series has traditionally been below those cameras in terms of price and performance, but the X-H2S is expected to be a powerful new flagship model – and it'll need the autofocus performance to match.

The list of autofocus-tracked subjects leaked by Fuji Rumors is promising, but we're looking forward to seeing how well they work in practice. Being able to track subjects like cars and bikes is arguably less important for Fujifilm cameras, as they're not 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 expected price tag, which will likely be well over the $1,899 / £1,699 / AU$2,700 commanded by the X-H1 when it landed back in 2018.

It could also bode well for the next generation of Fujifilm cameras, including the rumored Fujifilm X-T5. If Fuji's more affordable cameras can inherit some of the autofocus advances made by the X-H2S, then the X-series could retain its position as a sweet spot for hobbyist photographers who don't want the system size or price tags of their full-frame rivals.

Mark Wilson
Senior news editor

Mark is TechRadar's Senior news editor. Having worked in tech journalism for a ludicrous 17 years, Mark is now attempting to break the world record for the number of camera bags hoarded by one person. He was previously Cameras Editor at both TechRadar and Trusted Reviews, Acting editor on Stuff.tv, as well as Features editor and Reviews editor on Stuff magazine. As a freelancer, he's contributed to titles including The Sunday Times, FourFourTwo and Arena. And in a former life, he also won The Daily Telegraph's Young Sportswriter of the Year. But that was before he discovered the strange joys of getting up at 4am for a photo shoot in London's Square Mile.