Fujifilm X-H1 Review: The Reasons of It’s Success in APS-C Cameras

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FUJIFILM X-H1

Introducing the FUJIFILM X-H1

The X-H1 is Fujifilm’s new flagship mirrorless series. The flagship did not become full-frame: the company decided to ignore this market niche, focusing on APS-C and medium format solutions.

Our today’s hero belongs to APS-C cameras. A large test (we tested it 1 week for all features) will help us to understand in detail the capabilities of this new product, find all the subtle points and answer the question: for whom was this powerful modern camera created? But first, a little about the main features of the FUJIFILM X-H1.

The Main Features of FUJIFILM X-H1

Features of FUJIFILM X-H1
Features of FUJIFILM X-H1
  • 24-megapixel sensor without X-Trans CMOS III anti-aliasing filter, 23.6 x 15.6 mm;
  • X-Processor Pro processor;
  • 5-axis stabilization system based on matrix shift with a declared efficiency of 5.5 exposure steps;
  • Continuous shooting up to 14 frames/s with electronic shutter;
  • Video recording 4K UHD and DCI with a frequency of up to 30 frames/s and a bit rate of up to 200 Mbps;
  • Full HD and Slow Motion;
  • The possibility of filming in F-Log;
  • Eterna film modeling (specially for video filming);
  • Updated ergonomics with a powerful handle and large buttons;
  • Dust and moisture protection, body reinforcement for heavy lenses;
  • 3-inch pivoting touchscreen display with 1.04 million pixels;
  • OLED viewfinder with 3.69 million pixels;
  • Status monochrome display on the top panel;
  • Two SD UHS-II memory cards;
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
The Main Features of FUJIFILM X-H1

Just a glance at these characteristics is enough to understand: Fujifilm decided not only to compete with mirrorless cameras, but also to squeeze reportage DSLRs. The camera is addressed to professional photographers and is a demonstration of the company’s capabilities.

Optical Stabilization System

Just look at the 5-axis sensor-shift image stabilizer first introduced with Fujifilm.

5-axis sensor-shift image stabilizer
5-Axis Image Stabilizer – Fujifilm X-H1

If stabilized optics are installed, both stabilizers will work together: in the camera and in the lens. In this case, the in-camera stabilizer will compensate for linear displacements along the X and Y axes, as well as rotation around the optical axis. The stabilizer in the lens will compensate for the usual oblique displacements around the X and Y axes. With un-stabilized optics, the intra-camera stub will take over all five axes. Next, we will show the possibilities of stabilization in real-life shooting.

New Shutter

The camera has completely redesigned the shutter. It has become very quiet and does not create vibrations at all due to the damping system. The feeling that it is heard only by the photographer, the sound resembles a rustling. The shutter has the ability to work with an electronic front curtain.

The mechanical shutter can handle shutter speeds up to 1/8000 s. With faster shutter speeds, the electronic shutter operates. It can be turned on and forced in the menu to make the camera completely silent, and the continuous shooting speed can be accelerated from 8 (11 in the case of using a battery grip) to 14 frames/s. We will also discuss the limitations of the electronic shutter later.

Silent Shutter : Fujifilm XH-1
Silent Shutter : Fujifilm XH-1

Video Capabilities

It’s no secret that video shooting was not given much attention in early Fujifilm X-series models. It seems that with this camera the company has decided to catch up with other manufacturers in one leap, which already position their cameras as bi-directional solutions for photography and video.

Video Capabilities of Fujifilm XH-1
Video Capabilities of Fujifilm XH-1

Better late than never. The FUJIFILM X-H1 brings a whole host of video features at the same time, from 4K and SloMo to timecode and 24-bit audio. The bitrate can now be selected as easily as the frame rate. So, for 4K, bit rates of 50, 100 and 200 Mbps are available. There is a proprietary F-Log gamma profile, a profile with reduced contrast and an extended range of Eterna. The system announced two video lenses. Let’s not forget that Fujifilm is one of the largest manufacturers of professional video optics in the world. However, we will tell you more about all this in our test.

Ergonomics and Interface

Ergonomics and Interface of Fujifilm XH-1
Ergonomics and Interface of Fujifilm XH-1

Housing

Special attention was paid to the ergonomics of the case in this model. It seems that in the last year, all mirrorless manufacturers, as if by agreement, decided to abandon the idea of ​​compactness, having heard the needs of professional photographers.

The massive, thick handle of the FUJIFILM X-H1 allows you to comfortably hold the camera with one hand, carry it for a long time even without a strap, just in the palm of your hand (this is what I did throughout the test). If you don’t have a huge palm, then all the fingers of your right hand have enough space on the handle, the little finger does not hang down. The hand does not slip – the entire grip is rubberized.

Body - FUJIFILM X-H1
Body – FUJIFILM X-H1

The body is made of magnesium alloy, which, according to the manufacturer, is a quarter thicker than previous models. Plus, it was separately reinforced with stiffening ribs to work with heavy video optics and high-aperture telephoto lenses upcoming for release (for example, XF200F2). It is even outwardly noticeable that the mount has become reinforced. The body is four times stronger, and the new three-layer coating is more durable. So during the long test, we did not find a single scratch, although the camera was not particularly spared.

Physics cannot be fooled: if mirrorless cameras decide to be professional, they will have to “upgrade” to the level of heavy DSLRs. The grip has become larger for the sake of ergonomics, the camera itself is larger. And yet it is a more compact solution compared to DSLRs with similar capabilities.

Body & Design - FUJIFILM X-H1
Body & Design – FUJIFILM X-H1

It is noteworthy that much attention has been paid to removing heat from the case. It uses a huge copper heatsink inside the case by the standards of cameras.

And the camera itself heats up significantly during intensive shooting. Even when it’s -10°C outside, snow melts on the camera, especially if it gets under the tilt screen. Water resistance is ensured by 94 seals in the camera and battery grip. Guaranteed to work down to – 10° C.

Battery Grip VPB-XH1

The VPB-XH1 battery grip has been specially released for this model. It supports duplication of the main controls for vertical grip. It contains two additional batteries (the third battery remains in the camera), which are consumed sequentially, one after the other. Also in the pen (not on the camera) is the headphone output.

Battery Grip VPB-XH1
Battery Grip VPB-XH1

Also, using the handle allows you to increase the speed of the camera (forced mode). What changes in forced mode when using the VPB-XH1?

  • The maximum shooting speed increases from 8 to 11 frames/s.
  • Viewfinder blackout time between shots is reduced to 100ms.
  • The stated shutter lag is reduced from 50 ms to 45 ms.
  • The interval between shots (with time-lapse shooting) is reduced from 0.19 to 0.17 s.

But the knob does not affect the autofocus speed and frame rate in the viewfinder. Here the numbers are the same with and without her:

  • Minimum autofocus time 0.08 s in normal and 0.06 s in forced mode;
  • Maximum frame rate 60 frames/s in normal mode and 100 frames/s in forced mode.

Management Interface

Fujifilm turned out to be true to themselves and traditions: even in the camera addressed to professionals, the developers decided not to deviate from the retro concept in management – it has become the trademark of the manufacturer. A number of characteristics are changed using quasi-mechanical selectors and drums. This concept can be abandoned by using the two control discs under the index and thumb of the right hand. And the controls will be exactly the same as in DSLRs.

Top Panel & Controls - Fujifilm XH-1
Top Panel & Controls – Fujifilm XH-1

The shutter speed can be set both by the drum on the top panel and by the control dial (remember to set the drum to the T position). It is convenient to change the aperture with the ring on the lens. But if you are not used to this, this parameter can be adjusted to one of the control dials, and the ring set to position A. Both the front and rear control dials are multifunctional here: the current function changes after pressing the dial. For example, setting ISO is an alternative function for a disc. But there is a subtlety that is poorly described in the instructions: to reprogram the disk, you will have to look into two different menu items, moving the old selector to the “command” position and assigning a new function to the control disk.

View Finder: Fujifilm XH-1
View Finder: Fujifilm XH-1

With the help of quasi-mechanical selectors, the shutter operating mode is set (the video mode is also turned on here), the type of exposure metering, and the autofocus mode.

The drum of exposure compensation disappeared, and its place was taken by the status monochrome display. Exposure compensation is now entered using the corresponding button and control dial.

Controls - Fujifilm XH-1
Controls – Fujifilm XH-1

A number of secondary parameters are assigned by default to the multifunctional navipad buttons: white balance, film simulation, AF area type, forced mode. But they are all functional, that is, they can be reprogrammed.

Navi Pad & Menu - Fujifilm XH-1
Navi Pad & Menu – Fujifilm XH-1

Burst speed is assigned to a button on the front panel by default. But all these buttons can be easily reprogrammed in the menu.

Navi Pad & Menu - Fujifilm XH-1
Navi Pad & Menu – Fujifilm XH-1

In general, the level of camera customization is very high. Almost any selector, dial or button is programmable. You can even set the direction of rotation of the focusing ring.

And if earlier the photographer had only a non-linear movement of the focusing ring at his disposal, now there is a setting for the linear movement, which brings the electronic autofocus ring as close as possible to the mechanical one.

A separate joystick under the thumb is responsible for the selection of the autofocus area. It is quick and convenient, which is familiar to professional photographers. The joystick is small, with a soft stroke. It takes some getting used to: at first, the AF area seems to move too quickly. But the joystick definitely does not deserve any criticism: it is a convenient and operative tool.

Menu - Fujifilm XH-1
Menu – Fujifilm XH-1

An equally important element of the interface is the touchscreen display of the camera. It allows you not only to set the AF area by touching and release the shutter, but also to control the camera. So, the touch interface works in the quick on-screen menu (called by the Q button; menu items can be preselected in the menu). In addition, the touch display supports swiping while shooting. For example, swiping from top to bottom turns on the electronic level, from bottom to top turns on the histogram. If you are looking through the viewfinder and the display is off, it can still be used to select an AF area: it retains swipe sensitivity.

On-Screen Menu
On-Screen Menu

The advantages of the screen include its unique sloping design. It can be rotated not only up and down, but also to the right: useful for vertical framing and shooting from a low point.

Back Display Panel - Fujifilm XH-1
Back Display Panel – Fujifilm XH-1

The camera menu is quite extensive. The settings are generally grouped logically. But it is still difficult for an unaccustomed photographer to find anything there. Firstly, the menu is multilevel (for example, only one item is responsible for reprogramming all buttons). Secondly, the translation of many points was clearly made not by a photographer, but by a simple translator: the terminology has not been preserved. For example, for a long time I could not understand that “F-Log Recording” implies the F-Log function. And the bracketing settings are hidden in the sub-item “Drive setup” – “Bracket setup”.

The developers have provided any whim of the photographer in the interface of the camera. The flip side of the possibility of such fine tuning of everything and everyone becomes numerous ambiguities: one of the settings can exclude the other, which raises questions during the shooting. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you thoroughly study the camera before responsible shooting and solve all the questions about the settings in advance.

Connectors

The camera itself contains the following connectors: microphone input, USB 3.0, micro HDMI, remote control connector. The camera supports charging the battery from USB, the batteries in the battery grip cannot be charged from USB. Power is not supplied during camera operation. There is no headphone jack and is located on the separately sold battery grip.

Connector Slots: Fujifilm XH-1
Connector Slots: Fujifilm XH-1

On the front panel, a classic sync contact is hidden under the cover.

Memory Card Slot: Fujifilm XH-1
Memory Card Slot: Fujifilm XH-1

There are two slots for memory cards, each of which works with SD cards supporting UHS-II.

Image Quality

Image Quality: Fujifilm XH-1
Image Quality: Fujifilm XH-1

Color

FUJIFILM X-H1 makes you fall in love at first sight with its color. This is one of the few cameras from which you don’t want to “rotate” RAW files in a converter, often JPEG turns out to be excellent. However, proprietary film modeling is supported even in Adobe converters.

Velvia - Fujifilm XH-1
Velvia – Fujifilm XH-1

Many frames of this test were taken with the Velvia profile. It is distinguished by its bright color and high contrast, a slight increase in the magenta hue (the camera automation in general tends to shift the white balance to a slight magenta). This solution is great for landscape photography. The frames are bright and effective.

You may also like to read: Ultra Wide Angle Lenses for Landscape Photography – Fujifilm.

Classic Chrome is also one of my favorites. True, he already often wants to add a little contrast during processing to make the pictures more expressive… And then lighten the shadows a little, tighten overexposures.

Classic Chrome - Fujifilm XH-1
Classic Chrome – Fujifilm XH-1

Well, you get the idea that soon we will touch on the topic of dynamic range.

Dynamic Range Photo By: Fujifilm XH-1
Photo By: Fujifilm XH-1

But before that – a few more portraits. They are also indicative in terms of color rendering.

Color Rendering - Fujifilm XH-1
Color Rendering – Fujifilm XH-1

The FUJIFILM X-H1 is one of those cameras that doesn’t make the photographer spend hours checking skin color. A natural and high-quality result can be obtained not only in RAW, but immediately in JPEG.

Portrait - Fujifilm XH-1
Portrait – Fujifilm XH-1

Detailing

The FUJIFILM X-H1 uses a sensor without an anti-aliasing filter. To avoid moiré, a special arrangement of the matrix pixels is used – the proprietary X-Trans array, where blocks of 36 pixels are repeated (as opposed to the classic Bayer filter with a repeating block of 4 pixels).

This has a positive effect on detail. Pixel sharpness can not be called, but the margin in detail is huge. Such pictures can be safely printed in larger A3 format.

Fujifilm XH-1 : Detailing
Fujifilm XH-1 : Detailing

Traditionally, you can extract more detail from RAW than from JPEG. Note that RAW detail is generally higher. Below 100% crop of the same frame. Of course, a lot depends on the converter used and the sharpening settings. But the initial potential of FUJIFILM X-H1 raw format is very high.

Dynamic Range

From the first minutes of acquaintance with the camera, it became clear that what you see in JPEG is far from the full potential of the FUJIFILM X-H1. The RAW file on this model is very flexible. Both shadows and lights stretch perfectly.

For very contrasting scenes, you can easily spread the Shadows and Highlights sliders in the Adobe converter in different directions. This does not lead to increased noise or other artifacts.

Fujifilm XH-1 : Dynamic Range
Fujifilm XH-1 : Dynamic Range

Shadows, according to my subjective feelings, have a margin of about three exposure stops. With such a correction, you can still stretch out new details, but the noise level remains acceptable, it can be reduced programmatically.

Working with High ISO

The FUJIFILM X-H1 has a sensitivity range of ISO 200 to 12800. Expandable to 100 units at the bottom and up to 51200 units. For this, the drum has L and H values, respectively. However, we traditionally test the real range. And this time we decided to show it by the example of two plots: a lighter and a darker one.

Fujifilm XH-1 : Working with High ISO
Fujifilm XH-1 : Working with High ISO

At the minimum ISO value, the JPEG picture is absolutely smooth, without traces of monochrome noise. Perhaps the small details are slightly overshadowed by the in-camera algorithms: we used the default settings.

Absolutely the same situation with a darker plot. RAW footage is slightly more detailed and has a slight monochrome noise that can be easily suppressed.

Fujifilm XH-1 : Working with High ISO
Fujifilm XH-1 : Working with High ISO

The situation practically does not change either at ISO 400 or at ISO 800. The next level is ISO 1600. Here we see an increase in monochrome noise in JPEG in monotonous areas. And in RAW, colors in the shadows begin to degrade. So far, this is only a trend that does not affect the result too much. Such pictures can be printed in large format without problems.

In JPEG, the ISO 3200 value is characterized by a loss of halftones, even in the medium-brightness areas. Detail is also reduced. There is much more detail in RAW, but when converting it will have to be exchanged for digital noise: there is no way without noise reduction. Surprisingly, in RAW, a dark scene looks even better than a light one. Although in JPEG it loses all the details in the shadows.

ISO 6400 is still suitable for printing in small format (A4 or in some cases A3) from JPEG. There are fewer details, monochrome noise appears on monotonous surfaces. But overall, the picture looks good. In RAW, there is some increase in monochrome noise: it begins to actively eat up small details. So this ISO can be called a threshold. It is worth climbing higher only as a last resort, or when the photographer does not prioritize the technical quality of the image.

ISO 12800 is characterized by a strong reduction in detail and color in JPEGs, especially in shadows. Such pictures can be published on the web without enlargement or printed in a small format, smaller than A4. RAW is not capable of doing miracles here: it also has problems with color and detail in the shadows, and the level of monochrome noise is high.

Fujifilm XH-1 : Working with High ISO
Fujifilm XH-1 : Working with High ISO

However, this result can be called very good for a camera with an APS-C sensor. The working ISO range allows you to shoot in almost any conditions and get quality results suitable for commercial use. In the following parts we will show examples of pictures taken in different, sometimes very difficult conditions.

Operating Speed and Autofocus

FUJIFILM X-H1 specifications claim very high speed characteristics. Separately, the manufacturer notes improvements in the autofocus system. We decided to test all this in practice, testing the camera with different subjects, including spotting – shooting airplanes.

Fujifilm XH-1 - Operating Speed & Autofocus
Fujifilm XH-1 – Operating Speed & Autofocus

Switch-on Time

Unlike top DSLRs, the camera does not turn on instantly. It takes about a second from turning the power lever until the full readiness to take a frame: a picture appears on the screen. It takes a certain amount of time to focus the lens at the same distance it was focused on before turning it off. Therefore, you should not turn off the camera during dynamic shooting.

Professional photographers should consider purchasing the VPB-XH1 Battery Grip right away.

The handle provides the photographer with two additional batteries and comfortable work with vertical orientation of the frame, and also increases the speed of the camera. The most noticeable benefit is the increase in continuous shooting speed with the mechanical shutter from 8 to 11 fps.

Continuous Shooting with Electronic Shutter

So, the camera develops a maximum speed of 14 frames/s only when using an electronic shutter. The speed is the same for operation with and without the battery grip.

On our test plots for measuring the rate of fire, one can see the limitations of working with the electronic shutter: unpleasant artifacts appeared in the light of fluorescent lamps. This is a common situation for an electronic shutter. But its presence gives undeniable advantages when the photographer must shoot in complete silence and remain unnoticed. Here and genre photography, and reportage, and many other areas of photography.

Continuous Shooting with Electronic Shutter
Continuous Shooting with Electronic Shutter

The absolutely silent electronic shutter helped me a lot when shooting in the temple during the service.

In natural light conditions, the electronic shutter becomes a fully operational tool. To show this, let’s add dynamic scenes with very fast subjects to our shots. Shooting fast-flying aircraft with electronic shutters, we did not experience any problems.

Only in the rarest and most extreme scenes is the appearance of a rolling shutter possible. In our examples, the rolling shutter distorts the propeller of a turboprop aircraft; artifacts-stripes are visible on the propeller blades.

In general, the rolling shutter is noticeable if you move the camera from side to side, but on real scenes when shooting with panning, it does not cause significant problems. So the electronic shutter and the ability to shoot with ultra-short (up to 1/32000 s) shutter speeds are among the absolute advantages of the camera.

The camera, when working with an electronic shutter, shoots absolutely silently, only with some lenses you can hear the sound of autofocus. During photography, almost nothing changes in the viewfinder: there is no blackout as such, the picture looks alive. But there is a drawback to this: it is difficult to control the buffer filling. Whether shooting is in progress at maximum speed or has already slowed down is difficult to understand. Subjectively, it seemed that for 14 frames/s the camera buffer is still too small. And what is it really?

Buffer Size at Maximum Frame Rate

According to our measurements, the maximum buffer size for compressed RAW and an electronic shutter with a rate of fire of 14 fps was 24 frames (the specifications stated a maximum figure of 27 frames). The buffer size for uncompressed RAW was 21 frames. After the buffer is full, the shooting speed decreases, further shooting is possible as the buffer becomes free. If you are using high-speed UHS-II memory cards, you can expect to see approximately 2 fps, with periodic bursts of speed as the buffer becomes free.

Mechanical Shutter Operation

It should be noted that the rate of fire when using a mechanical shutter is highly dependent on the Flicker Reduction function. It first appeared in Fujifilm cameras. The function is used when shooting with artificial pulsating light: fluorescent or LED. The camera itself detects the moment when the scene brightness is at its maximum (and it changes 50 times per second!), And can delay the shutter release for a fraction of a second. At the same time, the shooting speed decreases.

Autofocus - Fujifilm XH-1

If the function is disabled, then the camera boldly goes to the declared 8 frames/s. The batch size strictly corresponds to the stated in the specification – 31 for compressed RAW. Then the speed drops to about 4 fps. Frame speed for uncompressed RAW drops after 26 frames.

But if you install the battery grip, the continuous shooting speed rises to 11 frames/s. The buffer size is reduced to 28/24 frames for compressed/uncompressed RAW, respectively.

11fps Continuous Shooting with AF Tracking

I would also like to note that the mechanical shutter works very softly here. There is no vibration in the camera body. This is facilitated by the damped fastening of the shutter unit to the body, and a very soft release button.

Autofocus - Fujifilm XH-1

The mechanical shutter sound is extremely quiet: I would call it the quietest of all system cameras. It will be appreciated by reporters, street photography lovers and animalists alike.

Autofocus

The FUJIFILM X-H1’s autofocus system is hybrid. Two principles are used simultaneously: contrast and phase. Phase focusing is controlled by the points covering a large square in the central part of the frame. Its area is sufficient to comfortably work with most subjects. Points closer to the edge of the frame work according to the contrast principle, but they can also be safely used: under normal shooting conditions, the difference is small. The total of selectable zones is 91 or 325. This is set in the menu.

The AF area can be manually set using the joystick or touch screen, and the area is manually resized.

Autofocus - Fujifilm XH-1

The camera has received many fine autofocus settings, such as presets for continuous focus or separate adjustment of the autofocus area for vertical or horizontal shots, which are well known to us from reportage DSLRs.

All Autofocus Settings

Compared to the previous model, the AF sensitivity has increased from -0.5 EV to -1 EV. It can work even at f/11 (XF100-400mm F4.5-5.6 lens with TCL2.0x tele-converter). We did not use this lens in our test, but we shot a lot with the XF80mm F/2.8 R LM OIS WR Macro and XF50-140mm F/2.8 R LM OIS WR with a 2x teleconverter. The speed and accuracy of such a combination were sufficient for all our tasks: everyday, reportage and even high-speed shooting.

Autofocus - Fujifilm XH-1

But let’s be objective: false positives and empty autofocus runs are possible, although they are relatively rare.

Tracking Autofocus

It is possible to work over a wide area, when the automation itself determines which points to use. When AF-C is selected, tracking is enabled for the subject that the camera initially focused on.

Autofocus - Fujifilm XH-1
Autofocus – Fujifilm XH-1

Tracking is only possible within the area covered by the phase detection AF sensors. Tracking is carried out quite tenaciously, even when the object approaches the border of the area.

Autofocus confidently detects the main subject in the frame, even when shooting offhand.

Another important tool is Eye and Face AF. You can choose focusing on the left and right eyes separately, but you can also leave this to the automation.

Fujifilm XH-1 : Eye and Face AF
Fujifilm XH-1 : Eye and Face AF

The function should be considered as an auxiliary tool for the photographer. When working with a shallow depth of field, it is important to preset the focus area first so that the camera can focus and recognize a face or eye.

After that, fine-tuning the autofocus or keeping the face in focus in AF-C mode is relatively stable and accurate. In a series of shots, even taken in poor lighting conditions, there are almost no misses.

If the shooting is carried out with a medium size, then eye recognition is not so critical. Focusing on the face works out accurately and predictably. However, the face to be sharpened will be chosen by the camera itself.

But as soon as several faces appear in the frame, difficulties arise: the camera can focus on the wrong person at all. It is not possible to save faces in the camera’s memory.

You may also like: Fujifilm Camera Review: A Big Review of The Fujifilm X-T4 Camera.

Experience with FUJIFILM X-H1. Subjective Remarks

Experience with FUJIFILM X-H1
Experience with FUJIFILM X-H1

In this chapter, I would like to collect separately some notes on working with the FUJIFILM X-H1, which relate to my subjective experience of shooting with this camera.

Sighting and Framing

Much attention has been paid to this issue in FUJIFILM X-H1. The main thing that the camera developers have achieved is the almost complete elimination of the negative aspects of using a digital viewfinder and a screen. There is no display lag that could be felt with the eye. In the characteristics, it is declared at the level of 0.005 s. Blackout – the darkening of the viewfinder between shots in a series – is also practically absent. The frame refresh rate is high – up to 100 frames/s in forced mode. However, the difference with the normal mode and 60fps is also not felt. When panning, the picture loses a little in detail, but does not strobe and looks lively. And most importantly, the viewfinder resolution of 3.69 million points is a lot. Individual pixels are not visible at all, but there is a full sense of a live picture, as if looking through an optical viewfinder.

Viewfinder magnification 0.75x at 100% coverage of the frame area. The ocular point is set at 23mm, there is a diopter correction.

Fujifilm XH-1 View Finder
Fujifilm XH-1 View Finder

Perhaps it was the quality of the viewfinder that led to the fact that I spent most of the shooting with it and almost never used the screen. The ergonomics of the FUJIFILM X-H1 are in many ways close to the ergonomics of DSLRs and dictates a similar shooting style: the large AE-L and AF-ON buttons are strictly under the thumb, the convenient AF point selection joystick – these elements are convenient for blind shooting control.

The phrase “this function is finely tuned in the menu” can be safely called the motto of FUJIFILM X-H1. She refers to sighting in full. The available options for displaying information on the screen and in the viewfinder take up as many as four menu pages. Here is the focusing distance scale, the level, and the histogram, and the framing grid…

The brightness of the viewfinder must be mentioned separately. It is very high – 800 cd/m². If you glance at the sunlit snow, then you can safely continue shooting: the brightness of the viewfinder will not force your eyes to waste time getting used to. Naturally, it offers automatic brightness control for low light conditions so that the viewfinder does not blind the photographer.

Switching between the viewfinder and the screen is possible both manually and automatically. On the whole, the eye proximity sensor behaves adequately, responding from about 5 cm. Switching does not occur instantly: it takes about half a second. A very useful feature should also be noted: if you flip the display, the proximity sensor is disabled, and the images from the display will not even accidentally switch to the viewfinder.

Stabilizer

The new stabilization system brings new possibilities for shooting. For example, I used it to get rid of the tripod when shooting at New York metro station. With hands it turned out to make sharp shots with shutter speeds up to about 1/2 s.

It is noteworthy that for wide-angle optics, the potential of the stabilizer is lower than for mid-focus ones. So, for 11 and 35 mm, the workers turned out to be approximately the same maximum exposure – about 1/3 s from the hands.

Image Stabilizer
Image Stabilizer

The developer explains the different stabilization efficiency by the design features of the lenses. For example, the XF 35mm F1.4 R claims to be the most effective because this lens has a large frame area, thus allowing the Matrix Stabilizer to work with greater amplitude.

The work of the stabilizer is clearly visible in the viewfinder even during sighting. It also helps the autofocus system, eliminating unnecessary frame shaking. When mounted on a tripod, the stabilizer does not need to be disabled, allowing you to shoot at long exposures.

Energy Consumption

This point needs to be given special attention. The fact is that the stabilization system, the increased resolution of the viewfinder and its high refresh rate, improved autofocus algorithms, 4K video recording and other innovations cannot go unnoticed in terms of power consumption. The more perfect the camera, the more energy it needs. FUJIFILM X-H1 proves this once again. It would be extremely reckless to use this camera with one battery.

Fujifilm XH-1 with Battery Grip
Fujifilm XH-1 with Battery Grip

I didn’t set out to find out the exact resource of one battery, but I can say for sure: you will hardly have enough for the day of shooting. The battery grip with three rechargeable batteries was the kit that allowed me to shoot all day, whether it was a reportage or a stroll through the resort town. I used to put the camera in Boost mode a lot. Perhaps this is the reason.

In extreme situations, when I still forgot my pen and spare batteries at home, the ability to charge from USB helped.

But the rate of consumption of batteries, in my opinion, depends little on the ambient temperature. Both in frosty Chicago and sunny Florida, the camera was distinguished by approximately the same gluttony.

Fujifilm X Raw Studio

At the very end of 2017, Fujifilm released an interesting software product – Fujifilm X Raw Studio. This is the simplest RAW converter that allows you to use all the in-camera conversion possibilities using… the camera itself.

We connect the camera via USB to the computer and launch the program. The developers promise that X Raw Studio is over twenty times faster than the SilkyPix-based converter. The fact is that the image processing falls entirely on the camera’s processor. However, with the same Adobe Lightroom, the difference is not so great, but only in the case of using a powerful computer.

Fujifilm XH-1 RAW Studio
Fujifilm XH-1 RAW Studio

The application is really handy for quickly converting RAW with minimal correction (editing white balance, exposure, film simulation and other basic settings). No masks, gradients, or even non-linear adjustments. The most annoying thing is that the application does not allow you to delete unwanted pictures: this would greatly speed up the selection of material.

Wi-Fi and Bluetooth

The Wi-Fi and Bluetooth functions of the FUJIFILM X-H1 are extremely well implemented. We put the Fujifilm Camera Remote application on the smartphone and connect the devices via Bluetooth. It uses Bluetooth Ver 4.0 (Bluetooth low energy), so the connection does not affect the power consumption of the camera and smartphone.

Further, to establish a connection between the smartphone and the camera, you do not need to perform any actions with the camera. And it’s convenient. The connection is established only on the side of the smartphone.

Using the Fujifilm Camera Remote app, you can remotely control the camera in photo and video mode, transfer pictures and videos (!) To the smartphone’s memory, and share the smartphone’s location.

Remote Control - Fujifilm XH-1
Remote Control – Fujifilm XH-1

Unfortunately, the location is not transmitted very accurately: the coordinates of the place where the connection between the smartphone and the camera was established are linked to several images.

As for the function of transferring pictures to a smartphone, we have used it more than once during our test to post frames to Instagram directly from the point of shooting.

Filming with FUJIFILM X-H1

Filming with Fujifilm’s first X-series cameras received little attention. However, the rapid rise in interest in video shooting in recent years has forced Tokyo developers to reconsider their views on this camera function. If in previous models we saw the evolutionary growth of video capabilities up to a certain average level, then in FUJIFILM X-H1 the long-awaited breakthrough finally occurred: the camera acquired a set of functions for video shooting, which surpasses the results of many competitors.

The most relevant today is 4K video filming. It is available with an aspect ratio of 17:9 (4096×2160) at 24/23.98 fps and 16:9 (3840×2160) at 29.97/25/24/23.98 fps. The maximum bit rate is 200 Mbps, but can be reduced to 100 and 50 Mbps.

Without the battery grip, the maximum continuous 4K recording time is limited to 15 minutes. With a battery grip, it rises to about 30 minutes. Video shooting in 4K is possible only with a crop factor of 1.17x relative to the original frame width.

Full HD video recording takes place without a crop factor with a maximum bit rate of up to 100 Mbps (it can be reduced to 50 Mbps). Frame rate up to 60 frames/s. The maximum clip length is 20 minutes without the battery grip and up to about 30 minutes with it.

It also provides a slow motion mode up to 5 times (120 frames/s) for video recording in Full HD. The recording goes without sound, the bit rate is 200 Mbps.

Sound recording from the built-in microphone of the FUJIFILM X-H1 takes place in high resolution 24 bit/48 kHz. Other important features include timecode support, pure signal output to HDMI (4K/30P 4:2:2 8-bit).

The FUJIFILM X-H1 supports the proprietary F-Log gamma profile when recording to a memory card. The corresponding LUT profile for F-Log can be downloaded from the official website .

In addition, a special Eterna film simulation mode has appeared, created for video recording of contrasting scenes.

Fujifilm Eterna
Fujifilm Eterna

When shooting video, autofocus and stabilizer work. If you need to focus manually, focus peaking will help. But there are no zebra and other exposure controls besides the histogram.

The video recording control is very interesting. In fact, the video mode has its own, parallel set of settings that does not overlap with the photo essence of this camera. The same film simulation mode, white balance and other functions are set separately for both modes.

In addition, when shooting video, it is not at all necessary to use quasi-mechanical drums and control dials, because this will inevitably cause camera shake. You can turn on the silent mode for controlling shooting parameters using the touch screen. It is not very quick to work, but it allows you to work quietly and not create vibrations. A good compromise solution for shooting video with a camera whose ergonomics are adapted to the needs of the photographer.

Video Lenses for Fujifilm XH-1
Video Lenses for Fujifilm XH-1

By the way, the first two video lenses in the Fujifilm X system were presented along with this camera: FUJINON MKX18-55mm T2.9 and FUJINON MKX50-135mm T2.9.

Conclusion

FUJIFILM X-H1 can rightfully be called a flagship: the camera is powerful and functional. It uses all the advanced technologies that are on the market today: from phase detection autofocus on the matrix and electronic shutter to 4K video recording with support for proprietary F-Log. In addition, the developers have done some serious work with the control interface. On the one hand, there is no “piano” made of buttons, everything is very laconic. On the other hand, most of the necessary functions can be accessed very quickly. The phrase “this function can be fine-tuned” is the real motto of FUJIFILM X-H1.

The XH-1 camera easily copes with most photographic tasks: from travel to non-extreme reportage shooting. The operating speed is high even when using a mechanical shutter – up to 8 fps without the battery grip and up to 11 with it. However, for serious professional reporting (protocol shooting at the highest level, sport of high achievements), the camera lacks a more capacious buffer (now it can hold up to 31 RAW) and even more confident autofocus. Also, the high speed of operation significantly affects the power consumption: the VPB-XH1 battery grip is the #1 camera accessory.

The Hybrid AF system performs predictably and well. Tracking mode, face detection and eye focus are supported. There is a direct selection of the AF point using a joystick or touch screen.

Separately, I would like to note the high-quality sighting system: an excellent electronic viewfinder with a resolution of 3.69 million points has a lag of 0.005 s, which is not noticeable in practice, and high brightness.

The image quality is also high. The camera gives an excellent picture already in JPEG. More than half of the frames from our test were not processed in any way. ISOs up to 6400 are practically applicable without serious restrictions – excellent result for an APS-C sensor. The dynamic range is wide, the detail is high.

First introduced in Fujifilm cameras, the sensor-shift stabilizer works with confidence, allowing you to create smoother videos and shoot handheld at slower shutter speeds. It just falls short of the declared gain of 5.5 stops of exposure (the result can be obtained only in individual frames of the series), but it gives a stable advantage of 3-4 stops.

The video capabilities of this model are at a high level for cameras. The camera can be used as a professional video production tool. For this, many necessary tools are implemented in it: 4K shooting, working with F-Log, effective stabilizer, good color and dynamic range, slow motion, high-quality system video optics.

FUJIFILM X-H1 is a reason to take a fresh look at the X System. The camera is addressed not only to X-mount adherents, but also to owners of cameras of other brands. It is one of the best APS-C mirrorless solutions available for creative or commercial photography today.

Pros:

  • High overall image quality;
  • Wide dynamic range;
  • Working ISO up to 6400 units;
  • Image stabilizer based on sensor shift;
  • High speed of work;
  • Electronic shutter up to 1 / 32,000 s;
  • Very quiet mechanical shutter;
  • Excellent viewfinder;
  • Touch screen;
  • Developed management;
  • Fine tuning for all functions;
  • Two memory cards with support for UHS-II;
  • 4K video filming;
  • F-Log support;
  • Dust and moisture protection, work at subzero temperatures;
  • USB charging;
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

Cons:

  • A small buffer for such a rate of fire up to 31 RAW;
  • Limited applicability of the electronic shutter;
  • Many settings complicate menu navigation;
  • There is an incorrect translation in the menu;
  • High power consumption and low autonomy;
  • Maximum performance only available with battery grip;
  • No possibility of power supply from USB when the camera is on.
FUJIFILM X-H1

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FUJIFILM X-H1 Rating

  • Editorial Rating – 7.7 (Out of 10)
  • Capabilities – 8 (Out of 10)
  • Convenience – 8 (Out of 10)
  • Validity of the Price – 7 (Out of 10)