Studio Scene

Our test scene is designed to simulate a variety of textures, colors and detail types you'll encounter in the real world. It also has two illumination modes to see the effect of different lighting conditions.

We suspect the small difference in apparent sharpness between the X-H2S and the X-T3 and 4 is primarily down to the fractionally darker exposure giving a hint more contrast to proceedings, perhaps with a minute difference in focus. Look at the Raw and the difference essentially disappears.

What's good to see is that there's not too much of a cost to be paid in terms of high ISO performance, in return for the X-H2S' Stacked CMOS speed. The difference becomes apparent at the very highest ISO settings, but in most circumstances it's not significant.

As before, high ISO noise reduction is pretty reasonable, doing a decent job of holding on to detail at high ISOs, and not completely smoothing-over low-contrast detail. There's little change in color rendering compared with the X-T4, though again, the optimal exposure fell between 1/60 and 1/50 second exposures for these two cameras, so the X-T4's image is a touch brighter than perfect, while the X-H2S's is a fraction darker.

Overall, this is a good result: we were impressed with the X-T3 and 4, so maintaining comparable image quality despite the big speed increase is a creditable result.

Dynamic Range

Our dynamic range tests look at the deep shadows of the images, to see whether differences in electronic, read noise are having any impact on the deepest tones the camera can convey.

If we look at a base ISO image, raised up to the level of an ISO 3200 shot with the same exposure, you can see there's a distinct increase in noise. It's more than the X-T4 and the difference widens in the darker tones. This noise level increases a fraction if you use the camera's electronic shutter mode, meaning you're probably better off using a higher ISO, rather than sticking to base, to try to protect highlights.

It's a similar story if we look at base ISO images underexposed and then brightened (as you might when shooting a high-contrast scene). You can see that the X-H2S is noticeably noisier than the X-T4 in the very deepest shadows, and noisier again in E-shutter mode. With less significant pushes, you can see that the X-H2S matches the X-T4 down as far as a +4EV shadow lift, or a +3EV lift in electronic shutter mode.

This essentially matches what we saw with the Nikon Z9's Stacked sensor, compared with the BSI chip in the Z7 II: a very slight increase in read noise as a result of the fast readout being seen as a reduction in usable dynamic range.