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Fuji X-H1 – Your Opinion

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I began my Fuji experience with a GFX-50s but, while the camera can be effectively handheld, it is not ideal, and begs for a tripod.  Enter the X-H1.  While its resolution cannot come close to the GFX, i suspect that as long as I avoid large crops, the IBIS will more than make up for the IQ loss when it comes to street/opportunistic photography.  For landscape and portraiture, however, I will stick with the GFX.  That said, the menus and overall operation are very similar to the GFX, and share many of the same features. So far, it looks like a keeper.

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I really like the X-H1 apart from it's looks. As a camera, it is ideal for me as it had IBIS and that whisper quiet shutter is a delight! I can now use my 90mm with confidence (had many camera shake problems before) and have used it to take sharp pictures down to 1/10th s. The EVF is lovely, big and bright and the camera is not nearly as big and bulky as I had imagined. For low light work it is a dream. Now if they could make an X-Pro3 have the same features (but not looks), I'd buy one immediately,

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I’ve had my X-H1 for a day or so now. All configured they way I like it. I’m very much enjoying this camera. Much better high ISO than my X-T2 (figure a firmware update will make them even again at some point). Grip is MUCH better than X-T2 - that was the only “take down” for me from going from dSLR to Fuji when I bought my X-T1 (large hands). EVF is very detailed and bright. With grip and boost mode there is zero lag/drag in the EVF.

 

And the IBIS is nothing short of excellent. Hand-holding the 16-55 @ 55mm down to 1/8th second is easily doable/repeatable with good camera holding technique.

 

The body feels more rigid/rugged. The grip fitment is more organic, following the lines of the camera much better than the “attached square brick” with the funny vertical “add on” of the X-T2 grip.

 

Shutter button improvement is very nice, indeed. Some complain that it is too soft... but I find it just about perfect. After about one minute using it, finding the half-press, vs the “shoot” press is quite easily dialed in, and makes for very accurate shutter trip w/o inducing camera movement. Shutter is very quiet.

 

I love the e-ink top sub lcd that retains frames remaining, EC settings (or not), and battery status even with the camera off. VERY nice.

 

Some have lamented the loss of the dedicated EC dial. I sure don’t. Setting the EC button to “toggle on and off” (which is remembered even with camera off) makes for very easy EC adjustment with rear command wheel. Since EC setting is visible in EVF, LCD and on sub lcd panel, there’s still obvious indication of EC settings. I like it better and am much less apt to accidentally adjust EC with this set up.

 

The Eterna Film Simulation is really nice, even for stills photos. I’ve not yet ventured into video.

 

I’m very pleased with this machine, it is a worthwhile upgrade to X-T2 based on my own preferences in ergos, the IBIS, the EC implementation, robustness of the body construction, and a lot of other small refinements like the push button (rather than fiddle slide button) for releasing the LCD for vertical tip-out, etc.

 

Rand

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I have been using an XE-1 for the last 5 years. The IBIS sold me on this camera, plus I have a safari trip coming up, and well, it was time to buy a new camera. Pre-ordered mine, got it two days ago and I'm in love. Fast response with the EVF and start up, love the layout of the controls, fits my hands well (I have large hands), like having the ISO control, the joy stick works great, I can hand hold to ridiculously low speeds (I have a tripod, but really am not fond of shooting from a tripod). Do not like the weight, so I'll keep the XE-1 for times when I just grab and go.

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Rand, I find myself in total agreement with you. Although I haven’t used the new Eterna film sim yet! I too worried about the EC dial, but as you say the new EC system is a doddle to use although I’m not a big user of EC. Also I fretted over reports about the shutter button action, but no sweat I like it.

 

The new hand grip is great and fits my hand superbly, obviously it doesn’t but the camera seems to be shrinking as I use it more, oh how soon we forget!

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It looks fantastic to me but I might wait for a version that has a longer-lasting battery (X-H2?).

In playing about, doing a significant amount of menu diving, configuring, and loads of chipmping and zooming in and out of images, I still got 230 frames on a single battery, all in boost mode. I consider that pretty reasonable. Fuji certainly had the opportunity with the X-H1 design to go to a physically larger battery. It is interesting that they didn’t - it isn’t as though they do not realize that battery life is an issue with mirrorless cameras. Perhaps technology is about to take a leap forward in size/performance? That would be nice.

 

As for me, I think Fuji’s own statement ot 310 frames on a battery is reasonable and probably slightly conservative. With the grip that means somewhere in the vicinity of 1,000 frames before need for battery swap out. With four extra batteries (to do a quick grip tray swap out) I just don’t see it as an issue of any sort at all. I suppose for photographers who shoot events or sports and have a real need to “spray and pray” in their shooting, it could be an issue. But being an old guy, I remember the day when even high capacity film backs for sports cameras only held 250 frames of film - and reloading those babies was not for the faint of heart. I think we’re delightfully spoiled in the digital age! :-)

 

Rand

Edited by Rand47

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I could live with 230 frames per battery. I guess that's what I'm doing now with my X-T1 (and I don't mind walking around with a second battery). The reason why I posted my doubts was because another X-H1 owner said he only could get 100 - 130 frames out of it. Very weird.

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I could live with 230 frames per battery. I guess that's what I'm doing now with my X-T1 (and I don't mind walking around with a second battery). The reason why I posted my doubts was because another X-H1 owner said he only could get 100 - 130 frames out of it. Very weird.

So you’ll condemn the X-H1 because of one persons experience, now that is weird!

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i don't know about the XT-2..but compared to the Leica SL and Leica T...i can get gorgeous night street shots under ISO 400 as low as 1/25th [no people moving] and with people i prefer minimum 1/125th...at ISO 600 [at f1.4 or f2]

the IBIS is quite amazing

the slight noise is quite pleasing..almost looks film like and quite random unlike other cameras that seem to have a more or less fixed noise pattern in low light

slowly getting used to this sensor..usually don't need luma NR, very little chroma NR, barely any sharpening..and all NR/sharpening is OFF in camera...shooting only RAW....so quite a deviation from the usual-night-available-light-street-shot-process



ive found only 2 irritating things but not biggies...the "Q" button keeps getting pressed by mistake when i click the real dial to zoom

and the EVF is nice at night, but in bright sunlight seems to jitter a bit when zoomed in.

the DR setting is very nice

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I handled an X-H1 for a few minutes at the Photo Show on Monday. The thing about it that immediately impressed me was the viewfinder. It's seriously good. I can't afford one though - oh well.

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I have tested the X-H1 for a few minutes, thanks to Fujifilm Belgium's presence at Brussels Photo Days. I can tell you that there is a difference between the impression that the camera leaves you by looking at it and the impression you get when you actually hold it and use it. It was a pleasing experience to use it! Improved ergonomics, especially for pros, especially for video work, especially when using larger lenses. The size and design of the camera were thought having in mind the requests of pros, doing this type of work.

 

And as it seems logical, IBIS is only for the X-H series (at least for now). There is no physical space (and maybe not the real need) to be implemented in the X-Pro and X-T series.

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Fuji has simplicity well covered with their entry-level cameras. This camera is anything BUT entry-level. It is intended to carve out a spot in the ever more important video/stills field. It is a fully pro-level camera and makes no excuses about it. Any commercial videomaker will feel completely at home in the complexity of the video menus.

 

You may have noticed that they also announced the MK lenses in X-mounts. These are lenses designed for commercial use, with all the necessary bells and whistles. At $4kUS, they are not by any stretch of the imagination entry-level or even for enthusiasts. This is in keeping with Fuji's traditional industrial-level clients. At the moment, B&H lists 87 different pro-video Fujinon lenses ranging in price from $4,000 to $233,490.00. During the film era, their large format lenses were considered state-of-the-art and their medium format SLR—GX680—was the envy of Hasselblad users. With the X-cameras, it is somewhat of a new venture for Fuji entering the retail commercial market. 

 

DSLRs will be around for the foreseeable future, but with diminishing sales. Fuji is wisely laying the groundwork for fully pro-level mirrorless cameras with the GFX50S medium-format and the X-H1 in the video field. Working photographers demand fully featured cameras and take the time to learn the complexities. When CaNikon finally builds pro-level mirrorless cameras, Fuji will already be there.

 

After having the camera since release and using it frequently, this mirrors my thoughts exactly.

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I'm going to add my initial impressions article rather than starting a new thread. Apologies in advance to Mike G and Rand whom have seen these posts in other fora. 

 
I should preface my comments below that I bought my X-H1 specifically for my professional motorsports photojournalism work, so my comments should be considered from that context firmly in mind, specifically with respect to my discussion of the engineering requirements and design embodiment of the X-H1, so lets get down to reasons why Fuji built this camera: 
 
One of the things I've been posting about on various photo-fora is how much more robust the body on the X-H1 has been engineered to accomodate long, heavy, prime telephotos and the new MK-X Cine lenses. Fujifilm did considerable engineering to strengthen and, most importantly, stiffen the frame and lens mount to be able to mount long, heavy, prime telephotos and the new Cine MK zooms. These "devices", as Fuji refers to them, put a considerable tension load on the lens mount, and thus the lens mount needs to be designly sufficiently robustly to support these loads.
 
Here's an example: note how much thicker and "beefier" the "support/stiffening ring" around the lens mount is on the X-H1 compared to the X-T2.
 
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The other thing I noted today is that Fuji moved the button for releasing the lens from the lens mount to further away to make it easier to disconnect larger (and wider in diameter) lenses. This little change is a big win for me, as it was difficult at times to actuate the lens release button on the 50-140 and 100-400.
 
Why was this done? Back in early 2017, when Fujifilm engineers were asked if they were going to develop a 200 mm f/2.0 or f/2.8, replied, "A 200 mm f/2.0 would require an entirely new camera body". The engineering work documented in the white paper from Fujifilm on the development of the frame  fully supports that statement. From the Fujifilm X-H1 development white paper:
 
"Let's examine the X-H1. The product planner requested the developers to make the body more robust so that new devices could be installed and the expected camera performance could be realized. In order to make the body more robust, the frame, which is made of magnesium alloys, needed to be strengthened by adding extra thickness.
The frame is 125% thicker for X-H1, meaning that the frame has almost doubled in volume (1.25 x 1.25 x 1.25 = 1.95). The strength of the frame is almost twice as strong.
 
Portability and lightweight are the charm of the X Series. This should always be taken into account even when considering an exterior design that is more robust. The designer examined the frame closely and learned where the stress is most/least applied and where the extra strength is most/least needed. With the study, the following structure with pillars jointing the exterior part has been realized, which helped minimize the effect on body size."
 
 
"The development continued. There are certain parts of camera body that needed extra consideration. For example, front body important in terms of ergonomics and operability, but the impact on weight is huge if the entire front body were simply 125% thicker. Another extra consideration was given to the mount. In near future there will be lenses that weigh more than 2kg."(that's 4.4 pounds, guys, that a big-assed, heavy lens)
 
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Continuing from the Fujifilm development white paper: "Considerable load would be applied to the mount. The mount needs to withstand the weight of the lens. Photographers move around when they are at work, so additional stress would be applied on top of the lens weight. To withstand the stress, the mount part is reinforced ribs as shown below. The mount itself is thickened (note: per my photograph above) and the ribs gives additional support."
 
The diagram below from the Fujifilm development white paper depicts the reinforcement rib in the camera frame. The bright white lines are steel (not magnesium) reinforcement ribs and pins to provide the requisite stiffness for supporting these tension loads while still maintaining the optical tolerances (which are at the micron level). These are not insignificant engineering challenges and accomplishments. 
 
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More on my practical experience follows  in the subsequents posts.
 

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So, engineering requirements aside, what's the X-H1 like to use in the real world?  Well, personally, I find it to be much like an X-T2, which is truly an excellent camera, but functionally better in every way. 

 
Some data regarding the size: The X-H1 is WHOPPING 5% larger than the X-T2 in 2 of 3 dimensions, and 10% thicker at its minimum depth dimension, the extra thickness necessary to incorporate the IBIS subsystem. Here is a top view photo showing my Graphite Silver next to my X-H1.
 
 
So, while the size difference is "statistically significant", do I find it to be practically significant? No, with the exception that the grip is MUCH better than the X-T2's.
 
Regarding weight: The X-T2 with a RRS L-plate mounted is actually 17 grams heavier (I did the data analysis) than X-H1. Do I ever think about how heavy the X-T2 is when I am using it in the real world with its L-plate mounted? Nope, and likewise do I think about the weight X-H1 when I am using it in the real world? No. 
 
The leaf-spring shutter button and 5-spring suspended shutter mech is an absolute joy, the smoothest, silkiest, quietest, best damped focal plane shutter I have ever used, hands down, bar none, from any manufacterer. There is absolutely no "breakover" in actuating the shutter, and it is designed so that no vibration or shock is transferred to the body to interfere with the IBIS system. Incredible and really, really nice. REALLY nice. 
 
The 3.7 million dot EVF is amazing, fast, clear, and gorgeous to look at  but more importantly, the camera has exceptionally accurate matrix metering, on par with the GFX, which is exemplary. See the photo of Putah Creek Pond below to see how accurately the X-H1 meters to render both shadow detail and capture the highlights in the sky without blowing out. This metering accuracy makes it a snap to edit images by just needing to set black/white points. That's it. By contrast, I found my first X-T2 in matrix metering mode seemed to consistently read the scene as darker than it actually was, thereby overexposing by 1/3 or 1/2 a stop. The X-H1 metering system seems to be much more accurate, and the higher resolution and clearer EVR makes it easier to gauge the exposure preview of the scene. 
 
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A lot of folks in the internet "specs geeks" forums have been griping about the removal of the exp comp dial for the submonitor, but in actual use, this has not been a problem for me in any way whatsoever. I have my rear command dial to be able to actuate the exposure comp functionality by a simple press, and then a turn of the dial sets comp quickly and effectively. And the EVF now displays a full ± 5 stops of compensation. And, I don't find that I am inadvertantly bumping the exp comp dial as I often find happens on my X-T2 when I am running around from place to place shooting at the race track. 
 
And, having the submonitor has proven to be much more useful than I originally anticipated. It's really nice to be able to glance down at it with lenses like the 18-55 or 10-24 to see what aperture the lens is set at, as well as a panoply of other useful information. When the camera is switched off, its great to be able to see how many frames are left on the card, the available battery capacity, and the exp. comp setting. Bottom line: the more I use the camera, the more I like it. 
 
The rear touch screen is nice also, and I really like being able to swipe to bring up the auto timer, the RGB histograms, or the roll/pitch gauge on the LCD. The fact that you can configure it to be only active on a specified part of the screen, as well as the increased eye relief of the new EVF, this lets you look through the viewfinder without getting grease from your nose on the LCD, as well as letting you use the LCD touch functions. The next post will show some real world use photographs, including high-speed continuous autofocus. 
Edited by Puma Cat

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Of course, I had to take it to the race track to try it out. It performed very well and is very responsive. In particular, the back button for autofocus is much improved over the X-T2's. The silky shutter makes it easy to take multiple frames without the shutter breakover impacting panning or holding the lens by hand. 
 
Chevrons with Cosworth BDA 2-liter motors are always fast at this track. Fuji X-H1 and 50-140 with 1.4X extender
 
 
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Formula Atlantic with Cosworth twin-cam BDA are very fast at Sonoma Raceway. 
 
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Big Aston Martin used as the pace car
 
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Porsches! 
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So, here's my conclusions to date: a lot of folks are looking at the X-H1 as a line extension to the X-T-series. It's not; its a completely NEW line of camera bodies intended for what I would classify as "hard-core" professionals, specifically those that will be working in tough and demanding environments, and will need to frequently use long, fast, heavy prime telephotos or cinema lenses. This is why it has the number "1" after it.  Its intended for sports, motorsports, combat photojournalists, wildlife photographers, studio photographers, and professional videographers, and in some use-cases, those end-users who need stabilize those lenses. If one was in the Canon system, this set of end-users would comprise the photographers that need a Canon 1D-class body; the X-H1 is the analog in the Fuji X system to a Canon 1D-series camera. 

My experience is that the majority of photographers will or do not need a 1D-series body, but some, like me, for my professional motorsports photojournalism work do: we need a tough, durable, strong and stiff camera body that can safely mount long, heavy, fast prime teles and not break. 

 

What I've found that has been a big added plus are the vastly improved shutter mech, the significantly better EVF, the improved continuous high-speed AF system using parallel processing, the increased matrix metering accuracy, and  improvements in operational efficiency from the addition of the sub-monitor and touchscreen LCD.

Edited by Puma Cat

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more importantly, the camera has exceptionally accurate matrix metering, on par with the GFX, which is exemplary. See the photo of Putah Creek Pond below to see how accurately the X-H1 meters to render both shadow detail and capture the highlights in the sky without blowing out. This metering accuracy makes it a snap to edit images by just needing to set black/white points. (...) The X-H1 metering system seems to be much more accurate, and the higher resolution and clearer EVR makes it easier to gauge the exposure preview of the scene.

 

That is interesting: What metering mode do you recommend? Multi or average? Is your compensation always on +/- 0? I have been adjusting comp wheel to minus values for the last 10+ years, accirding to the contrast in the scene: the more contrast, the lower I used to adjust the comp. Mostly between -1/3 to -1 2/3... I'd be pleased to find a more reliable way that requires less constant exposure compensation.

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Got my X-h1 for about 1 and half month. Totally been loving it

I havent used it for professional until recently and it has been performing stunningly good.

 

The focus is fast and accurate 99% of the time. I might miss focus 1 shot out of 100 shots. Continuous focus is very accurate also. I am shooting kids and family photos and the focus point sticks with the kids most of the time. Sometimes it does hunt a little bit, i thought i got blur photos but when i check the photos on computer, it's dead-locked on and looks like a properly focused photo shooting with still subject.

 

Some people complain about battery life but with my style of shooting, I have been shooting 1100 shots from 10 am to 4pm with only 2 batteries. I use Eye Sensor Mode which means it doesnt use back LCD, and the EVF turns off when the camera is far away from my eye. That helps me save a lot of battery life. With a battery grip, I believe it can easily shoot up to 1500-1600 shots.( Fujifilm claims to be only 900 with the grip)

 

Handling is great. With deeper grip, I feel very comfortable, especially for someone who moves from Canon DSLR like me.

 

The only thing that I sometime miss back when I was using my DSLR was the Depth of Field. Theoretically, if i shoot with my 56mm 1.2 I, should be able to get an equivalent DOF to 85mm 1.8 on Fullframe. But in reality and from what I see, the photos still do not have that shallow DOF of Full-frame. But i don't really like those photos which you can't see any background behind the subject so this is not really a problem for me.

 

The best thing about Fujifilm camera is the joy of using it. Despite bulkier look, The X-h1 is so much lighter than traditional DSLR and that allows me to carry it with me everywhere. The dials, the evf, the menu ergonomic, everything in this camera is such a joy to use. 

 

After all, I think which camera helps you to take more photos is the most suitable camera for you. I have been using my X-h1 as a everyday hobby camera and it also serves me well when I need it to be a professional camera.

 

Sorry for my bad English, it's not my first language but I hope to help someone to make their decision to get this camera or not. It's definitely Fuifilm's current best camera in my opinion

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That is interesting: What metering mode do you recommend? Multi or average? Is your compensation always on +/- 0? I have been adjusting comp wheel to minus values for the last 10+ years, accirding to the contrast in the scene: the more contrast, the lower I used to adjust the comp. Mostly between -1/3 to -1 2/3... I'd be pleased to find a more reliable way that requires less constant exposure compensation.

 

I usually use Matrix mode, but sometimes center-weighted, occasionally spot. I always refer to the histogram in the display as a check. 

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Stephen - great review.  Miss you on the audio site; but what a pleasure to read your in-depth, well thought out comments on Fuji here.  Should I get one? 

  Don't need the extra horsepower of the X-H1 (Currently have X-T2 & X-E3) - but at my age IBIS would be a real plus just for travel and general photography.

 

Julian

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Too late Stephen . . . . I went out and bought one (an X-H1) today . . . I remember that you led me to buy my first Fuji (an X-E1) several years ago . . . and I bought the X-H1 even without your go-ahead, but based on your review.

 

Thanks

 

Julian

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