About Thomas Fitzgerald

Thomas is a professional fine art photographer and writer specialising in photography related instructional books as well as travel writing and street photography. 

Fuji X-H1 Announced - My thoughts

Fuji X-H1 Announced - My thoughts

The much rumoured new top end Fujifilm X-Trans APS-C camera has been announced this morning. The X-H1 comes in a new body design that is similar to the medium format GF-X and the big headline feature is the addition of in-body stabilisation, which is interesting, considering company representatives publicly “claimed” that IBIS degrades picture quality.

First of all, our XF mount is not compatible with IBIS. You may be thinking that our mount size is similar to competitors’ and why Fujifilm cannot do it. The answer is simple: for the sake of image quality.
IBIS has both advantages and disadvantages. IBIS moves the sensor in the mount to stabilize the image. To secure the amount of light at any position, the diameter of mount must cover the wider image circle considering the margin of sensor movement. The diameter of our mount was designed for the image circle without IBIS. It means the amount of light at the corners is reduced when the sensor is shifted. We could correct it digitally, but we don’t want to do it: we don’t want to compromise our image quality.

I guess they figured that out then. (Yeah, I didn’t buy that excuse either)

The sensor in this camera is still the same 24mp X-Trans 3 that has been used since the X-Pro 2 came out. The camera also features a new high-resolution EVF. In terms of pure picture quality, If you’re a still shooter, I’m guessing there’s no real reason to upgrade over an X-T2 unless you want the bigger body or need the better weather sealing. The company claims that the new body is more robust and more durable. (According to one review - it's built like a tank)

In addition to its dust and water-resistant properties and ability to operate in temperatures as low as 14°F  -10°C, the X-H1 also features 25% thicker magnesium alloy than the X-T2. The camera also features a high quality, scratch-resistant coating and a compact, lightweight body that maintains high precision and strong resistance to impact shock torsion and other sources of deformation.

The rear screen is also a touchscreen, and of course, there’s now a top-plate LCD. 

The big focus of this release seems to be aimed at video shooters, however. In addition to the IBIS function, they have added a number of new functions, including DCI 4K, Internal F-Log and a new film simulation mode called “Eterna”.

Based on some of the reviews and hands-on that have been posted today so far (Fuji Rumors has a great roundup of these), it looks like it has a really nice look, and Eterna looks like a nice film simulation. It’s not without a few issues though. For a start, there's no headphone jack unless you use the external grip. Secondly, it can only shoot 15 mins of 4k without the external grip, so basically, if you want this for video, get the grip. There’s also no zebra, which is kind of a pain. Also, according to Cinema5D, 4k video is segmented into roughly 2-minute chunks due to the card format. It seems that the camera is using Fat32 which has been superseded by ExFAT which doesn’t have this limit. I’m curious to know if this is the case across the board though, rather than based on the cards being used. I find it really hard to believe that Fuji wouldn’t be using exFAT at this point, so perhaps that is a pre-production issue. 

Anyway, overall it looks like a nice addition to the lineup, especially for those wanting a more robust body. I’m not sure it’s something that I would be interested in personally. Maybe once I read more about it and get to see it or try it in real life. I do think this confuses the lineup a bit too. I’m not sure why they didn’t just roll these features into an X-T3 rather than have a separate camera, although I suppose people were asking for a more heavy duty model (were they?). It begs the question, what will the X-T3 have when it's released? Will it have IBIS or will that be kept for the X-H Line? There are rumours of the X-T3 being released towards the end of the year with a new 30mp sensor, so if that's the case we’ll have the “flagship” with a lower quality sensor than the model that’s supposedly under it. (Cue X-H1s this time next year). 

I'm sure there will be plenty of people who appreciate the bigger body, especially if you use the larger f/2.8 zooms. I'm sure this will balance better. And I suppose you could argue that you get consistent image quality across the line, leaving the style of body as your choice.

The camera is available for pre-order now from places like B&H Photo and Amazon.

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