Born in Sapporo, Hokkaido in 1982 and raised in Yamagata Prefecture. He currently lives and works in Kamifurano Town, Hokkaido. After serving in the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force, he became a nature photographer in 2019. Utilizing the sniper skills he developed during his time in the Self-Defense Forces, he specializes in a unique style of photography in which he assimilates into nature to search for wild animals. His works have been published in many children’s books, magazines, and calendars by Shogakukan, Child Honsha, Fure-berukan, and others. He is an instructor at Fujifilm Academy X.
X-H2S Opens Up New Possibilities in Wildlife Photography
When photographing wildlife, my expectation for the gear is very serious.
I investigate how animals behave and find out their personalities. Then, I go to snowy mountains or fields by skiing not to be found by them. That’s my style of shooting.
I have long been waiting for a camera that could express the heartbeats and even the breathing of wild animals.
Finally, I was able to find the “X-H2S,” a camera that can express the very real life of a wildlife photographer.
Fox shot at close range with X-H2S The X-H2S even makes the blood vessels run through the eyes.
Subject Detection AF to “Track the Unpredictable Movements” of Wild Animals
Subject detection AF, which has become a standard feature of mirrorless cameras in recent years, is finally available in the X-H2S.
Since last year, we have been conducting AF verification tests in cooperation with FUJIFILM under various conditions that could actually occur in the field.
During the test shooting, we observed small birds such as the agile zebra finch, falcons flying at high speed, Ezo squirrels moving erratically, Ezo snow bunnies running at speeds of approximately 80 km/h, and even Ezo hares gliding at approximately 16 meters/second.
We followed a wide variety of wild animals, including falcons flying at high speed, Ezo squirrels moving erratically, Ezo snow hares running at speeds of about 80 km/h, and even Ezo flying monkeys gliding at about 16 meters per second.
We also evaluated its performance many times under severe shooting conditions, such as snowfall and branch cover, as well as in situations where the subject and shooting distance varied irregularly, such as when various wild animals were moving straight ahead, sideways, or at an angle.
Finally, we perfected the subject-detection AF equipped in the X-H2S.
Even under severe weather conditions such as heavy snowfall, the camera did not lose focus on the snow and kept sharply capturing the white-tailed eagle soaring through the snow.
By using the subject detection AF, it is now possible to concentrate on the composition of the shot, even in a scene where the Steller’s sea eagle is closing in on its prey.
The X-H2S’s motion prediction algorithm provides users with advantages even in agile and erratic scenes where the Ezo squirrels are running and approaching.
The power of 40 frames per second: “Capture the ideal moment without fail
I used to use X-T4 and it was capable of 15 fps with a mechanical shutter (20fps with an electronic shutter).
Naturally, wild animals rarely stay still, and even when they are standing still, they blink and shake their heads, so there are surprisingly few times when you can take a picture with the composition you had in mind.
With 15 frames per second, it was very difficult to capture the scene I wanted.
40fps by X-H2S solved this problem.
Here is an example. The 40fps burst shooting will ensure the moment I look for.
This is a composite photo taken at 40fps of a snow hare running at approximately 80 km/h. The snow hare moves erratically at a speed of only 1 second. The camera’s overwhelming tracking performance and motion prediction enabled it to maintain focus throughout the entire shot, even with the subject moving so erratically in just one second.
All that remained was to select my ideal shots. The X-H2S performs all the difficult tasks. All you need to do is to keep pressing the shutter release button while paying attention to the framing.
In a heavy snow scene where the eyes of the deer were covered with snow, I had no hesitation in selecting 40 frames per second. After composing the scene, I simply took a continuous shot for about 1-2 seconds and everything was fine.
When you check a photograph of snowfall taken at 40 frames per second, you can see that the snow is falling by millimeters. When photographing the precious bear hawk and snow, it is a one-shot game where mistakes are not allowed due to snow covering of the eyes, etc. By selecting 40 frames per second, it is easy to avoid mistakes by taking a series of shots in just a few seconds.
7 Custom Memorable Command Dial for “Instant Response” to Irregular Movements of Wild Animals
With the conventional X-T4, there were many nodes leading up to the shooting of wildlife movements such as “moving,” “flying,” and “stopping,” and it sometimes happens to miss a shutter chance.
However, the command dial of the X-H2S can memorize up to seven different camera settings at will.
This greatly reduced the time required to start releasing the shutter in response to an animal’s erratic movements.
While the camera was in standby mode with the camera set to the motion-focused setting, an Ezo flying squirrel suddenly emerged from its burrow. At this moment, I promptly changed the command dial to the still subject setting and took the picture.
A white-tailed eagle entering from the front at high speed, is an important scene that tests the evolution of the X-H2S’s motion prediction performance.
The camera is switched from the normal motion settings to the more powerful motion settings. I really appreciate the ability to change settings with a single operation while shooting wildlife.
Non-stress high-speed processing realized by CFexpress
Since there are many scenes in wildlife photography that require continuous shooting, the X-H2S has adopted a double slot for CFexpress Type B and SD cards, which allows for almost unlimited continuous shooting, depending on the setting, for the capacity of the recording media.
The CFexpress also greatly reduces the amount of time required to import large amounts of photo data to a computer after shooting, allowing the user to start image processing with nonstress.
When photographing agile small animals such as Hokkaido squirrels, a huge amount of photographic data will accumulate. The use of CFexpress, combined with the 40-frame-per-second continuous shooting of the X-H2S, is very significant.
The long-awaited “XF150-600mmF5.6-8 R LM OIS WR” captures a different dimension of imaging power
I have great faith in Fujinon lenses. The expressions of wild animals through the lens are colored with rich “memory colors” and rendered sharply and beautifully in every detail.
The newest addition to the lineup is the XF150-600mmF5.6-8 R LM OIS WR. My first impression upon using the lens was that it was compact and lightweight despite being a super-telephoto lens.
To my further surprise, the image of a wild animal at a long-distance taken at the telephoto end was rendered very sharp and it was clear even when magnified. The result was simply amazing.
Ezo sika deer standing still at a long-distance shot at the telephoto end.
Even at this distance, I was overwhelmed by its beautifully sharp and otherworldly rendering power.
Don’t worry about the F5.6-8 aperture. The deep depth of field gives a smooth perspective in situations where you are shooting multiple wildlife.
The eyes of two Steller’s sea eagles are stopped down and focused at the same time. The dark lens requires less correction for aperture deviation than the bright lens. Fewer corrections mean you can shoot faster.
This is a powerful advantage when photographing wildlife, where you can’t afford to miss a moment.
The supreme equipment suitable for the 10th year of the X Mount
I realized through shooting that the X-H2S and the XF150-600mmF5.6-8 R LM OIS WR are the most balanced and ideal combination for wildlife photography.
I am very happy that Fujifilm has created this wonderful equipment this year, which marks the 10the year anniversary of the X Mount system.
The era has dawned in which anyone can easily take sharp, beautiful, and vivid wildlife photographs.