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Categorized | Articles, Gear, Jason DiMichele

Gear — Fuji X-H1 (full review)

Fuji X-H1

Reviewed by Jason DiMichele

There seems to be a never-ending delivery of new products from camera manufacturers. It takes a lot of time keeping up with it all. Some of these new offerings include minor updates and some just add gimmicky features. However, sometimes a new camera brings with it some bold changes making its introduction exciting. The Fuji X-H1 is one of those cameras.

The Fujifilm X-H1 ($2,450 CAD body; $2,800 CAD with vertical power booster kit) is a solid camera in terms of build quality and performance. The X-H1 is comprised of the 24MP X-Trans III APS-C sensor, in-body image stabilization (IBIS), a new shutter mechanism, an enhanced autofocus system with a minimum aperture of f11, a touch-enabled, three-inch tilting articulated LCD screen, a maximum capture of 14 frames per second, up to 1/32,000 electronic shutter speed, the new flicker reduction mode, a beautiful 3.7 million pixel electronic viewfinder and USB3 connectivity. Also bundled is the tiny EF-X8 flash.

That’s quite a bit of camera functionality. For the rest of the technical details, visit the Fujifilm website (www.fujifilm.ca), because now I want to tell you how nice of a camera it is to use.

The X-H1 is a durable camera being both weather resistant and made with magnesium alloy (25 per cent thicker than any previous model). I find the design comfortable and the body grip very nice, even without the optional vertical booster grip.

The X-H1 is a bit bigger and heavier than any previous X Series camera and works great with the larger and heavier lenses. I tested it with the 100-400mm and the new 80mm macro, and it was a total joy using those combinations. The X-H1 has deviated from previous flagship X Series cameras by moving the exposure compensation dial to a button, and introducing a beautiful e-ink LCD screen on the top (similar in design to their GFX50S medium format camera). The screen has amazing clarity and can be configured to show the information that’s important to you.

Fuji X-H1 in the field

 A vertical booster grip can be added to the X-H1. The grip has the usual grip controls, and can hold two additional batteries providing you with the ability to capture approximately 900 images on a charge. The grip has a boost mode that enhances the X-H1’s performance including continuous shooting speed, autofocus and a higher quality electronic viewfinder refresh rate. Although it adds more weight, I found the booster grip very comfortable and it complements the body ergonomics. 

In-body image stabilization (IBIS) has finally arrived on an X Series body! This is a fantastic addition, as it essentially upgrades all non-image stabilized Fujinon lenses to be stabilized. Fujifilm claims 5.5 stops of stabilization with a five-axis compensation mechanism. When testing the X-H1 with a couple of different lenses, it seemed to deliver during my handheld low shutter speed tests. Since image stabilization requires more power, I suggest setting the IBIS menu option to only be active when shooting to conserve battery strength. 

The X-H1 image quality is as expected from the X Series line of cameras. The X-H1 has the same sensor as the X-T2, which has proven itself many times over for exceptional image quality with regard to resolving detail, dynamic range and noise levels. I shoot RAW, but the out-of-camera JPEGs are spectacular, which is no surprise from Fujifilm. 

Fujifilm has stepped up the video offerings of the X-H1 with a larger variety of video resolutions (including the professional digital cinema 4K standard), frame and bit rates to choose from. F-log can be recorded directly to the SD card, and a new video purposed film simulation, Eterna, has been added. For silent recording, the Movie Silent Control mode has been added.

Autofocus performance has been enhanced with better subject tracking and more sensitive phase detection. An additional 1.5 stops of sensitivity has been added to the phase detection system for very low light autofocusing. Now that the minimum autofocus aperture is f11, we can acquire autofocus with Fuji’s 2x teleconverter and 100-400mm/f4.5-5.6 lens combination (a 2x teleconverter paired with the 100-400mm lens provides an effective full frame reach of 300-1200mm on the Fujifilm sensor). 

The speed of autofocus will depend on the amount of light but it’s awesome to be able to autofocus a 1200mm lens with image stabilization! 

The X-H1 shutter mechanism has been revamped for incredibly quiet shooting. It’ll take you a bit of time to get used to how little pressure is required to push it, and how quiet it is, but it’s amazing what Fujifilm has done with this. The top plate of the camera also includes a suspension system designed to absorb any shutter shock. This is one of my favourite X-H1 design features. 

Fujifilm has done a remarkable job with the X-H1. Borrowing some proven technologies from their previous cameras, and adding some excellent and welcome features, the X-H1 is a winner. It can deliver the goods for both still photographers and videographers and is worth a trip to the camera store to see if it’s a good fit for you.

To read more of this not-to-miss issue please pick up the Fall/Winter 2018 issue today online or at your local newsstand. To never miss an issue you can subscribe here

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