Down and dirty in the desert with the Fujifilm X-H2s & XF150-600mm lens

by bryan minear
May 31, 2022

The X-H2s is a videographer’s dream camera, and the lens is a MUST-BUY if you like shooting long, let’s dive in!

This camera has been a LONG time coming, and I don’t think I have the brainpower to really give it the full write up it deserves. This is going to be way lacking in information, but I hope to make up for it with photos and video created. All in, this write-up will be far more about the lens than the camera. I fell absolutely head over heels in love with the XF150-600mm lens from the moment I first touched it. Although there was a bit of a learning curve using a lens that long, but more on that in a bit. This has been SUCH a long wait to release these images. I’ve been chomping at the bit to be able to release new work, and oh do I have a lot to share!

*Disclaimer: First off, I’ll start by what this little write-up will NOT be. It’s not going to be an in-depth checklist of all features. I’m just not into that sort of thing anymore. I’d much rather show you what I created with it, and talk about the features that helped me the most.*

**Disclaimer #2: All images you see are edited JPEGs, at the time of writing Adobe and Capture One have yet to support .RAF files from the new camera.**

X-H2s + XF 150-600mmF/5.6-8 lens
X-H2s + XF150-600mmF5.6-8

The TL;DR is that the X-H2s is great, just like every camera that Fujifilm releases. It is definitely targeting videographer professionals in need of something with a little more. Fujifilm has been LISTENING hard to feedback and it is very apparent with the X-H2s and it’s attention to detail. Just about every wish that I’ve heard video shooters asking for has been granted in this camera. For someone like me that loves to “run ‘n gun” and bounce back and forth creating both photo and video on the fly, it’s a great choice and can handle both things quite easily. It’s a bit of a departure from the X-T lineup and I think that’s a great thing. When the X-H1 released so many years ago I personally felt that it’s purpose wasn’t quite there and the waters between it and the X-T line were pretty muddy. The X-H2s is a statement and the target market for this camera is quite clear. It is for hybrid and video shooters first and foremost. Not that this camera isn’t also a perfectly capable stills camera, but everything down to the button layout on this camera has been fine-tuned for video shooters. Much like the X-Pro3 and it’s hidden LCD was a clear gift to a certain type of shooter, the X-H2s is just that – a clear gift to anyone wanting more video f. As far as performance is concerned, this is by far the fastest focusing, processing, and most functional Fujifilm camera I have ever handled. The overall speed improvements are noticeable in every way. Lastly, the viewfinder is UNBELIEVABLY gorgeous. Every single time I put the camera up to my eye to shoot I was blown away by the crisp and clear details.

I love the new stacked sensor, and though I haven’t been able to play with RAW files yet to get a true sense of dynamic range of the stills, I shot my entire video in FLOG and the new FLOG2 and had such a wonderful experience color grading the footage. I only had the cameras in my hands for about 9 total days (4 pre-trip/ 5 travel days), which isn’t a lot considering the prep needed to familiarize myself with the new features and button layout, and then to set them up based on what I wanted to create in the field. The new PASM dial made a lot of this work easy. I am so used to this from the GFX100S now that it was simple to create custom banks on the 2 cameras I was given. One X-H2s was set up primarily for video and I had several of the custom banks on that camera set up just to change between frame rates, and my second was set up for stills, as well as timelapsing. All in, it was a really flawless way to be able to create in a hybrid capacity in the field. The X-H2s is just so easy to customize exactly how you need to set yourself up for success in the field. And though I ran into a few very normal “preproduction camera running a VERY early beta firmware” issues, I have total faith that the final version of the camera/firmware being released will be a flawless creative tool. 

X-H2S + XF70-300mmF4-5.6
X-H2s + XF70-300
X-H2s + XF70-300
My "pair" of preproduction X-H2s cameras. One set up for video, and the other for stills.
I shot most everything for my video in 4K 59.95 with the newly available ProRes422 codec to the CFast card.
Shooting video at IBEX Dunes in Death Valley

So let’s dig in a bit more on the lens. I’ll be really honest it took me about a week of shooting to get used to 600mm. At 900mm of full frame equivalence it is absolutely INSANE and changes everything that you think you know about composition. The fact that it’s handholdable (not a word, but idc) is absolutely crazy. My friends that I was hanging out with on the trip kept remarking about how they thought i was crazy to be shooting with it off a tripod. The truth is that I have become ruined by IBIS. Pre X-T4 I was happy to be on a tripod at all times, but now that my primary body is the insanely capable GFX100S and I can rely on IBIS for handholding shots down to 1/2” I rarely think about pulling a tripod out unless I absolutely have to. In a way, I think I wanted to push the lens to the max to really feel out what was possible with it. The fact that it’s a f/5.6-8 had me a little nervous on how “fast” it would be in lower or tricky light situations, but it blew my expectations out of the water. It’s big, but not cumbersome to carry or shoot with. The foot is really well designed and perfect to grip when you are carrying the camera around or holding on to stabilize your shot.

X-H2s + XF150-600mmF5.6-8
X-H2s + XF150-600mmF5.6-8
X-T4 + XF150-600mmF5.6-8

I was so hyper focused on what I was creating WITH the gear that I really didn’t take many lifestyle shots OF the camera or lens sadly, that’s usually something that I really like to do. So apologies for that. But here is a shot of my fellow Fujifilm Creator Mio Monasch with the camera and lens on the beach in Santa Monica. I was so lucky to finally get to link up with Mio for a couple days to hang out, definitely hope that we get to link up for another project in the future.

@Monascherie with the new camera and lens combo
X-H2s + XF150-600mmF5.6-8 @150mm
X-H2s + XF150-600mmF5.6-8 @600mm

My approach with the new lens was to get really intimate details of light and shadows at Mesquite Dunes in Death Valley. I have always enjoyed creating unique compressed compositions, but the crazy focal length of the 150-600 allows you to really focus in tight and achieve a level of composing that I have never expereinced before.

X-H2s + XF150-600mmF5.6-8
X-H2s + XF150-600mmF5.6-8
X-H2s + XF150-600mmF5.6-8
X-H2s + XF150-600mmF5.6-8
X-H2s + XF150-600mmF5.6-8

Overall, I am super happy to have had the oppportunity to play with this new camera and create some very meaningful images. I set out to try to shift out of my normal comfort zone and try to create smaller more intimate and abstract type scenes, and am very happy with the results. I actually found out that I was going to be a dad again while on location shooting for this trip. So it was a very surreal experience to receive that sort of life-altering news while out in the field.

Next up I would like to share some of my favorite images of the entire trip. These are exactly the types of shots that I envisioned capturing when I started planning for this trip months before.

X-H2s + XF150-600mmF5.6-8
X-H2s + XF150-600mmF5.6-8
X-H2s + XF150-600mmF5.6-8
X-H2s + XF150-600mmF5.6-8
X-H2s + XF150-600mmF5.6-8
X-H2s + XF70-300mmF4-5.6
X-H2s + XF150-600mmF5.6-8

I hope that my images were inspiring for you and this post at least mildly informative.

If you are at all compelled to purchase anything I have talked about, I would very much appreciate you using my affiliate links. But that’s not a demand by any means. I feel truly honored to have been a small part of this camera launch. If you have any questions at all about the camera feel free to drop me a comment below, tweet me @bryanminear, or DM me on instagram. I’d be more than happy to answer your questions.

Thank you so much for reading!

The links below have an affiliate code – if you make a purchase using these links, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.

Here is a total gear list of what I took with me on this trip:

Fujifilm X-H2s

X-H2s Vertical Battery Grip

Fujifilm XF150-600mm lens

Fujifilm X-H2s and Accessories Bundle

Kolari Vision Pro VND Filter

Other Gear I took on my trip:

Shimoda Action X50 Backpack

Sandisk Extreme Pro 2TB SSD

Feisol CT-3472 Elite Carbon Legs

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