A Digital Workhorse Through And Through

Fujifilm X-H1

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Fujifilm X-H1

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Fujifilm’s X-series line- up seems to be quite well defined now, with the X-Pro and X-E cameras being rangefinder-style options for professionals and enthusiasts, and the X-T series being more typical SLR-style options. Of course, there were the large-sensor compact camera options in the X70 and the X100F, as well as the entry level X-A series which doesn’t use an X-Trans sensor. 

Then came the medium format GFX-50S, and we thought the X-series was truly complete, but now we’ve got yet another series in the family – the X-H series. “H” stands for “High Performance”, and you could say it’s Fujifilm’s attempt to maximize their APS-C sized sensor as far as it can go for both stills and video. 

The video portion is particularly important, as that’s one aspect that Fujifilm has admitted to lagging behind the competition in. The X-H1 gets separate menu options for video mode, as well as a new Eterna Film simulation, which simulates cinematic film with rich shadow tones and understated colors so your grading process will be kept down to a minimum. The X-H1 is slightly larger than the X-T2, with a more pronounced grip and a slightly thicker body overall. The extra girth allows for a top display panel and a much deeper hand grip for better balance with larger lenses. This makes the camera feel more solid overall, while making for better handling when longer lenses are mounted. 

As with the GFX50X, there’s now a top display panel so you can get a clear indication of your camera settings with just a glance. It works well in bright light, and reverses from white-on-dark to a dark-on-white display for better viewing in dim light. 

Meanwhile, the rear LCD follows that found on the X-T2, with three-way tilt capabilities. Touch is also introduced to the Q menu for the very first time, so you can more easily change settings without having to reach for the buttons or dials. Having the option of touch also means settings can be changed during video recording without the risk of shifting the camera in the process, or dial sounds being picked up. 

A new Movie Silent Control actually disables the aperture ring, shutter speed dial, and ISO dial, so all controls are via the rear. The X-H1 also provides shutter speeds equivalent to the shutter angles for 24, 30 and 60p video capture, so you can select options like 1/24th, 1/48th, 1/96th, and 1/240th. 

The X-H1 also comes with a new feather-touch shutter button which is highly damped so to further reduce camera shake when you trigger the shutter. This new shutter button is very nicely damped, so you hardly feel the shutter being triggered. Suffi  ce to say, it’s very easy to fire off a burst of shots in continuous shooting mode, as just a touch will set the camera off. 

Perhaps to accommodate for the new touch features on the rear LCD panel, the EVF on the X-H1 has been moved back 3mm so your nose won’t come in contact with the screen. This has a higher resolution than the one we saw on the X-T2 (3.69 million dots compared to 2.36 million), and is brighter too (800cd/m2 to 500cd/m2). The refresh rate also certainly seems fast enough, as we didn’t experience viewfinder blackout throughout our testing. We’d say that while it’s not as good as the one found on the Sony A9, it’s close, and that’s saying a lot. 

Chief in the improvements for both videos and stills capture is undoubtedly the introduction of Fujifilm’s first in-body image stabilization (IBIS) system for an X-series camera. And this uses three axial accelerators, three axial gyro sensors, and a dual processor for calculations. It works with all XC and XF lenses, with both mechanical and electronic shutter mode, and actually intelligently splits the stabilization over both body and lens to achieve the best effect. 

As tends to be the case with cameras from Fujifilm, images straight-out-of camera have nice vibrant colors, and the camera’s exposure system is quite accurate too, giving you true to life exposures. Matched with Fuji’s excellent lenses, the combination is well capable of giving you usable out-of-camera JPEGs. Autofocus is definitely faster than the X-T2 (based on firmware version 3.0), and it proved quite a performer with birds and insects. 

The new feather-touch shutter button means the camera can respond to you almost instantaneously. Paired with the electronic shutter on the X-H1, we really were able to get much closer to our subjects without startling them. 

That said, it does seem like images from the X-H1 have a bit more noise than what we experienced with the X-T2. 

Our studio tests seem to confirm this, as images taken at ISO 12,800 show significant evidence of detail loss due to noise reduction, so this is the limit we’d recommend sticking to. 

All in, the X-H1 performs much like the X-T2 on stills - which is to say very well - while giving more options with better handling with videos.

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The speed of the X-H1 means you can even capture the flick of a dragonfly’s eyeball. 

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At ISO 12800, the writing on the bottle is clearly smudged. 

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An impressive camera for both stills and video.