FUJIFILM X-H1 Review
|Full model name:||Fujifilm X-H1|
(23.6mm x 15.6mm)
|Viewfinder:||EVF / LCD|
|Native ISO:||200 - 12,800|
|Extended ISO:||100 - 51,200|
|Shutter:||1/32000 - 900 seconds|
5.5 x 3.8 x 3.4 in.
(140 x 97 x 86 mm)
|Full specs:||FUJIFILM X-H1 specifications|
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Fuji X-H1 Review -- Hands-On Preview
by Jeremy Gray
Preview posted: 02/15/2018
Fujifilm X-H1 Hands-On -- Deep dive into the new features
We had the chance to learn more about the X-H1 at an exclusive Fujifilm event in Los Angeles
by Jeremy Gray | Posted 02/22/2018
Last week I headed west to Los Angeles for a Fujifilm event centered around their new X-H1 camera. You can read our preview below for the full list of new features and specifications. This section will be focused on the nitty-gritty details and offer some additional insight into the camera's design and what separates it from Fujifilm's other X Series cameras, with the X-T2 in particular.
The event kicked off with a meeting with Jun Watanabe, who is part of Fujifilm's Optical Device and Electronic Imaging Products department. Watanabe was the product planner for the X-H1, so there is no better source for the inside scoop on the new flagship camera. Speaking of "flagship," the presentation was started by conveying that the "H" in the X-H1 model name stands for "high performance" and that the camera is aimed at professional still and video shooters.
The first section of the presentation was focused on the new camera body, which has been designed to be more reliable and durable. The camera has a 25% thicker magnesium alloy than the X-T2, and Watanabe pointed out that the camera is twice as strong as the X-T2. Further, the X-H1 is handmade in Japan, something which is becoming rarer as companies work to keep manufacturing costs down. Regarding weather sealing, the body itself has 68 points of weather sealing, and the optional power grip has 26 itself.
We previously knew that the X-H1 has a stronger lens mount, but we learned that it has reinforced ribs around the mount and that this is due in large part to the upcoming XF 200mm f/2 lens, which will be heavier than previous Fujinon X Series lenses. In addition to the stronger mount, the camera is coated with a more durable material too. In terms of hardness, the X-H1 has an 8H rating, while the X-T2 is a 5H (a car's clear coat is typically around 4H). The X-H1 should certainly be more scratch resistant than other Fujifilm X Series cameras. The coating has larger particles, which is not only readily apparent when looking at the camera but it also feels different, much more like the GFX 50S than the X-T2. It wasn't as simple as just changing the paint during the manufacturing process, however, the larger particles for the coating required different painting methods in order to achieve an even coating on the X-H1.
The similarities between the medium-format GFX and the X-H1 don't end there. The X-H1 has the same style of top display as the GFX, although users can now select between light and dark backgrounds on the customizable display. Further, the X-H1 has a much larger grip than the X-T2 and has a shape not unlike the GFX. When looking at the X-H1 and GFX side by side, they have many similarities in shape and styling, including a wide thumb grip and relocated Q button. If you've read my Field Tests for the GFX, you'd know that I am a huge fan of how that camera feels in the hands, so any borrowing of ergonomic design on the part of the X-H1 is a big win in my book.
While I was unable, due to the nature of the event, to test out the X-H1's imaging performance, I was able to hold it and shoot with it a bit. (If you want image samples, don't worry, we will be receiving the camera at our lab shortly). The new shutter release features a leaf spring switch that was described by Watanabe as "more delicate." He hit the nail on the head there, it's certainly delicate. Too delicate, in my opinion. The travel distance from focusing to shooting is very short and while this allows for slightly faster shooting, it also leads to accidental shooting when you're trying to acquire focus. This issue can be alleviated by utilizing the new AF-ON button on the rear of the camera for back button focus.
Speaking of the rear of the camera, the AE-L and AF-ON buttons are both to the left of the rear command dial. On the X-T2, the command dial is situated between two buttons. By putting the two buttons next to each other, they can be pressed simultaneously. This is a nice design change and good attention to detail. Attention to detail is prevalent throughout the design of the camera and its overall functionality. The buttons are larger and more convex, and there's a dedicated menu system now just for video shooting.
Further, the top dials have been made larger and have a different shape than the X-T2's dials. The dials feel good, by the way. The new higher-resolution electronic viewfinder now sits 3 millimeters further back too, which means your nose is less likely to inadvertently press against the rear touchscreen. The eye sensor now automatically disables when you tilt the rear LCD, eliminating one of the biggest frustrations I have with cameras with tilting displays and eye sensors. The corners of the camera body have been rounded off to allow for more comfortable handholding. Even one of the strap holes has been moved to allow for a more enjoyable shooting experience. Now that's getting into the nitty gritty of camera design!
Looking closer at the new EVF, the eye sensor's reaction time has been reduced from 0.4 seconds on the X-T2 to 0.15 seconds on the X-H1. That's not a huge difference in absolute terms, but it's a relatively large improvement and does matter in real-world use. The new EVF is also 300 cd/m brighter and with the included wide eyecup, you should have no issues getting a good, bright look through the viewfinder.
Another big upgrade is in-body image stabilization, a first for a Fujifilm X Series camera. The 5-axis IBIS works with every Fujinon lens, including ones with OIS built-in. Depending on the OIS lens, the camera uses different axes of its in-body stabilization, ranging from 1 to 4. Currently, only the new XF 80mm Macro lens handles four axes of stabilization via the lens itself. The maximum number of stops of shake correction provided by the X-H1 is 5.5, which is achieved with the XF 35mm f/1.4 R lens. What particularly interested me about Watanabe's section on the IBIS system is that Fujifilm had to concentrate heavily on manufacturing precision. In fact, the sensor mounted surface and the IBIS system need to be parallel within the order of a micron. Every unit is tested for this flatness during manufacturing, and it's an incredibly precise process.
Relying upon the same X-Processor Pro as the X-T2 and other recent Fujifilm cameras, the new in-body image stabilization has some interesting impacts on the camera's overall performance. You may have noticed that the X-H1 has a smaller buffer depth than the X-T2, for example, and Watanabe stated this is due to the processing demands of the IBIS, which makes 10,000 calculations per second. The IBIS system has a pair of dedicated processors, but it still places demands on the rest of the camera's available computing power. The memory map in the X-H1 has been redesigned and this impacts performance. Likely a worthwhile trade-off for most.
In other respects, performance has been improved. Considering autofocus in particular, the X-H1 has a new algorithm and has improved low-light and continuous AF. There are four times as many areas surrounding each autofocus point on the X-H1 than the X-T2, and the camera simultaneously handles data from three types of pixel readings: horizontal, vertical and independent. The first two are good for low contrast and low light autofocus, and the latter pixel reading is good for fine textures -- all areas in which the X-H1 should better than the X-T2, which uses different pixel readings in different orders depending upon the camera's scene recognition system.
During Fujifilm's internal testing, the X-H1 hit focus 75% of the time in low-light AF testing scenario. The X-T2, on the other hand, managed only a 57% success rate. Overall, the X-H1 performed to satisfaction 85% of the time versus 81% of the time for the X-T2. Further, the X-H1 performs better when using AF-C and zooming due to redesigned algorithm curves.
Let's move on to video, which proved to not only be a large area of emphasis for the X-H1 in marketing materials, but also took up a large chunk of Watanabe's presentation. The X-H1 can record DCI 4K video, a first for an X Series camera, and it can do so at a bit rate of 200Mbps with internal log recording (F-log). The camera records 4:2:2 8-bit video via HDMI out and 4:2:0 video internally.
The camera's 15-minute 4K recording limit may seem a bit short when compared to some of the competition, but achieving the 15-minute limit required design changes in the X-H1's heatsink. The new copper heatsink is big, taking up nearly the full height and width of the main body area, which you can see it in the image below:
Another change in the X-H1 is the new Eterna Film Simulation. Whereas cameras often increase the blue tones of memory colors to make things like the sky appear more vibrant, Eterna moves memory colors in the opposite direction, giving the image a more subdued, cinematic and neutral look. Users wanted a Film Simulation that was easier to work with during post-processing but looked good straight from the camera. Whereas in still photography, you need to deliver a message in a single frame and therefore might want more vivid colors and more pop in your photo, Watanabe remarked that for video, the demands on individual frames are different and you don't need to rely on vibrancy and contrast as much to deliver a story or message.
In a sample video we watched, they appear to have hit the mark. Based on Fujicolor Eterna 500, a negative film stock, the Eterna film simulation has soft tones in shadow and highlight areas and can deliver 12 stops of dynamic range when the camera is set to DR 400%. Further, a new LUT based on the Eterna Film Simulation will be available for download when the X-H1 launches.
Autofocus has been improved for video, as well. The wobbling effect that is common with hybrid AF systems that incorporate contrast-detect autofocus has been reduced with the X-H1 as the camera now averages subject positions over time rather than reacting to every small shift when using AF-C. This results in much more natural-looking video. Face Detect is also now possible when recording 4K video, despite the increased processing required, in part due to the new large heatsink.
Our sample will be arriving soon and you'll be able to pore over lab and gallery image samples shortly thereafter.
• • •
Fuji X-H1 Review -- Overview
by Jeremy Gray
Preview posted: 02/15/2018
There's a new leader in Fuji X series performance. Fujifilm's announced the brand-new X-H series of cameras with the X-H1, and it combines high performance, in-body image stabilization, improved video capabilities and more in the most durable X-series camera body yet.
The X-H1 includes a number of firsts for Fujifilm X series cameras, including being the first with in-body image stabilization and DCI 4K video recording. There are many smaller changes and even more familiar aspects, so let's take a closer look at the X-H1.
Fuji X-H1 Key Features
- Redesigned camera body with more durability and improved ergonomics
- 24.3-megapixel X-Trans CMOS III image sensor
- X-Processor Pro image processor
- In-body image stabilization
- New high-resolution OLED EVF
- 3-inch tilting touchscreen display
- Top "sub display"
- Up to 14 fps continuous shooting
- DCI 4K recording at 24 fps
- 4K UHD video at 30 fps
- High-speed video recording
- Internal F-log recording
- New ETERNA Film Simulation
- Built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
Camera Body and Design
The Fuji X-H1 follows the same general design language as other high-end X Series cameras, but it also borrows elements from the medium format GFX and definitely looks a bit different from the X-T2, for example, when you look closer. We'll look at some of the design changes in the next section, but if you're a fan of Fujifilm ergonomics, don't worry, it's still very much a Fuji camera.
If you've ever wondered if companies listen to feedback on things such as ergonomics, Fujifilm certainly has been. The X-H1 incorporates many improvements based on feedback from professional photographers, including a larger grip design, a redesigned leaf-spring switch for the shutter release, a quieter shutter mechanism, a new focus level, a new AF-On button -- which should prove very useful for photographers preferring back-button autofocus -- and larger buttons on the rear of the camera.
Looking at the rear of the camera, we find a relatively sparse, no-nonsense assortment of buttons. There are playback and delete buttons to the left of the viewfinder and AE-L and AF-ON buttons to the right. There's a rear command dial, a small Q button to the right of the thumb grip, AF joystick, directional buttons and DISP/BACK button to the right of the 3-inch tilting touchscreen display. Gone is the AF-L button of the X-T2, although presumably the AF-ON button can be set to serve the same functionality, and the command dial is now all the way to the right of the rear buttons.
We see the biggest differences when we look at the top deck of the X-H1. First, there's now a top-deck status display, discussed below, and the exposure compensation dial is now gone, replaced with a dedicated button. The new grip is particularly obvious from above, as it is much larger than that found on the X-T2. The new shutter release is immediately evident as well. We are looking forward to getting our hands on the Fujifilm X-H1 later today, so stay tuned for more impressions of how the camera feels.
Displays: New EVF and new top display
The Fuji X-H1 has an all-new OLED electronic viewfinder, which has a higher resolution than previous Fujifilm X Series EVFs. In fact, the new viewfinder has a very high dot count of 3.69 million. This is right up there with the Sony A9 in terms of dot count and even matches Fujifilm's medium format camera, the GFX 50S.
Despite being higher resolution (3.69M versus 2.36M dots), the X-H1's EVF does however have a bit lower magnification than the X-T2 (0.75x versus 0.77x in 35mm equivalent terms). With that said, the X-H1's electronic viewfinder remains impressive on paper. The claimed display time lag is a mere 0.005 seconds, and the viewfinder panel has a frame rate of 100fps. Further, the EVF offers a 100% field of view.
The X-H1 includes a tilting touchscreen display. Like the X-T2, the LCD can tilt in three directions and has 1.04-million dots. This is the same rear display as the X-T2, but what makes the X-H1 different is its new, secondary top-deck display, which Fujifilm dubs the "sub-LCD." The 1.28-inch e-ink display is much like the one found on the GFX. It has light lettering on a dark background by default but can but this is reversed when the display is illuminated via its dedicated light-up button, presenting dark text on a light background.
While the somewhat larger and heavier X-H1 may look generally similar to the X-T2, there are numerous changes to the body's construction. In addition to its dust & water resistance, and ability to operate in temperatures as low as 14° F (-10° C), the X-H1 has 25% thicker magnesium alloy than the X-T2. To help keep the X-H1 looking good even after extensive use, the body is coated with a new scratch-resistant material.
In-Body Image Stabilization
As mentioned, the X-H1 is the first X Series camera to include in-body image stabilization. The system works via three axial accelerometers and three gyro sensors, and includes a specially-developed dual processor that performs around 10,000 calculations per second. Fujifilm claims the 5-axis image stabilization system will deliver up to 5.5 stops of image stabilization when paired with certain XF and XC lenses, although the image stabilization system in general is compatible with all Fujinon XF and XC optics.
To help further combat blurry images, the X-H1 includes a new spring mechanism to reduce tiny vibrations created by the movement of the mechanical shutter. If you want to virtually eliminate all vibrations caused by normal operation of the camera, you can utilize the new electronic front curtain shutter option or the camera's fully electronic shutter.
Sensor and Image Quality
The imaging pipeline is familiar. Like the X-T2 and X-Pro2, the X-H1 features a 24.3-megapixel X-Trans CMOS III APS-C sensor and Fujifilm's X-Processor Pro image processor. The native ISO range is 200 to 12,800, which can be extended as low as ISO 100 and as high as ISO 51,200.
Fujifilm cameras are well-known for their Film Simulations and the X-H1 is no different in that respect, as it offers the standard suite of Film Simulations including the recently-added ACROS. However, it has a new trick up its sleeve, the new ETERNA film simulation mode. This mode is said to be ideal for movies but can be used for stills as well. The mode simulates cinematic film by producing subdued colors and rich shadow tones, which Fujifilm says allows for more flexibility during post-processing.
To help ensure better images in a variety of shooting conditions, the X-H1 is the first Fujifilm camera with flicker reduction. This allows you to capture stable exposures during burst shooting under fluorescent and mercury lights.
Performance and Autofocus
Speaking of performance, the X-H1 is quite quick. It can shoot at up to 14 frames per second with its electronic shutter and 8 frames per second when using the mechanical shutter, which are the same burst speed specs as the X-T2. The electronic shutter can shoot at up to 1/32,000s, while the mechanical shutter tops out at 1/8,000s. We will need to test the camera in our lab, of course, but Fujifilm states that you can expect a buffer depth of around 40 JPEG frames, 27 lossless compressed RAW images and 23 uncompressed RAW images when using the electronic shutter at maximum speed, and 80, 31 and 26 frames respectively when using the mechanical shutter for the same file qualities. These figures are however one to three frames lower than Fujifilm's X-T2 buffer specs, which are 42 JPEG, 28 lossless compressed RAW and 25 uncompressed RAW frames at 14 fps, and 83 JPEG, 33 lossless compressed RAW and 27 uncompressed RAW frames at 8 fps.
While the hybrid phase/contrast detect AF system is the same at its core as the X-T2's, with 325 total AF points and 91 Zone Focusing areas, Fujifilm has tinkered with the system's sensitivity and performance. The low-light limit for phase detection autofocus has been improved by about 1.5 stops, from +0.5 EV down to -1.0 EV. Further, the minimum usable aperture for lenses has gone from f/8 to f/11, meaning that you can use the Fujifilm 100-400mm lens with a 2x teleconverter and still have full autofocus on the X-H1. Fujifilm claims that major improvements have been made to the autofocus algorithms, particularly with respect to continually focusing while zooming the lens.
If you add the optional Vertical Power Booster Grip (VPB-XH1), which will be available in a kit with the X-H1, it can not only increase battery life to 900 shots (and 4K video recording to 30 minutes), but also boosts continuous shooting to 11 frames per second with the mechanical shutter. (Claimed buffer depths at 11 fps are 70 JPEG, 28 lossless compressed RAW and 24 uncompressed RAW frames.) What about battery life without the grip? Well, it's not that good. The X-H1 uses Fujifilm's existing NP-W126S lithium-ion battery pack, and the camera's battery life is only rated for about 310 frames on a charge.
The VPB-XHI Vertical Power Booster Grip, in addition to increasing battery life considerably, has a few tricks up its sleeve. The grip is weather-resistant, like the body, and provides space for two additional NP-W126S batteries. It includes an array of buttons: shutter release, focus lever, AE-L, AF-ON, command dial, Q button and Fn buttons. It also includes a headphone socket so that sound can be monitored while recording video. Further, the grip includes a socket for direct recharging.
There is also a new Wide Eyecup EC-XH W accessory. This eyecup covers a broader area around the eyepiece which blocks out additional light, and the eyecup can be rotated in 90-degree increments, allowing it to be used with either eye, and for shooting vertically or horizontally.
Video: DCI 4K has come to the Fujifilm X Series
The X-H1 is the first Fujifilm camera to offer DCI 4K (4096 x 2160) video recording, and it includes internal F-log recording, making it the most pro-oriented video camera of any X Series camera to date. Further, it offers dynamic range recording settings up to 400%, which Fujifilm states offers approximately 12 stops of dynamic range. For the highest quality video, you can record video at a maximum bit rate of 200 Mbps. Further, audio has not been ignored, the X-H1 includes a new high-quality internal microphone (24 bit/48 kHz).
Looking more at the video recording options, the camera offers DCI 4K and 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) recording at up to 24 and 30 frames per second, respectively, with clip durations limited to about 15 minutes. If you want a higher frame rate, you need to reduce your recording quality to 1920 x 1080 (Full HD), which allows for 60 fps recording via normal modes and 120 fps via the special high-speed recording mode, with clip limits of about 20 and 6 minutes respectively. The high-speed mode allows for slow-motion videos with 1/2, 1/4 and 1/5 speed playback. There's also a 2K (2048 x 1080) mode at up to 60 fps with a 20 minute limit, as well as HD (1280 x 720) at up to 60 fps with a 30 minute limit. Video file format is MOV (MPEG-4 AVC / H.264) with LPCM stereo audio.
Ports and Connectivity
There are numerous ports on the X-H1, including a hot shoe on the top of the camera, a PC sync socket on the front, a USB 3.0 Micro-B port, a Micro (Type-D) HDMI port, a 2.5mm remote release jack, and a 3.5mm external mic jack.
The X-H1 also has dual SD card slots, both offering UHS-II compatibility.
For wireless connectivity, the X-H1 offers built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. The Bluetooth is Ver 4.0 (Bluetooth Low Energy).
Fuji X-H1 Price and Availability
The Fujifilm X-H1 will be available starting March 1. The camera will sell body-only for US$1,899.95 and CAD $2,449.99. Accessories included are: NP-W126S battery pack, BC-W126 battery charger, EF-X8s hoe-mount flash unit, shoulder strap, body cap, strap clip, protective cover, clip attaching tool, hot shoe cover, grip connector cover, sync terminal cover, cable protector, and an Owner's manual. The X-H1 will also be available in a kit with the Vertical Power Booster Grip, which will sell for $2,199.95 and $2,799.99 in the US and Canada, respectively.
Stay tuned for a hands-on with the X-H1
We will be able to go hands-on with the X-H1 at a Fujifilm event in Los Angeles following the camera's initial announcement. Stay tuned to Imaging Resource for much more information on the X-H1 and our initial thoughts on the camera in use.
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