Fujifilm X-H1: A Disappointing Release

Fujifilm X-H1: A Disappointing Release

Fujifilm has recently announced the X-H1, a larger APS-C mirrorless camera that leans more towards the video crowd. Although this camera is definitely an interesting one, I can't help but feel a little disappointed with the features.

Skimming through many of the comments online, the most common questions are around where this camera fits and whether or not people should simply wait for the replacement to the Fujifilm X-T2.

As a fan of Fuji cameras, it's not very often I'm disappointed by them, however this camera is a missed opportunity. It seems feature-packed on the surface but when comparing it to other Fuji cameras and a quick look at the competition, it will allay any excitement. 

First of all, this camera is big when it comes to mirrorless and especially big considering it's an APS-C camera. It rivals full-frame mirrorless cameras in terms of size and weight. In fact, it's actually heavier than the Sony a7R III even when including batteries and SD cards. The sensor and the processor are exactly the same as the X-T2 and so are most of its other features.

It's probably much quicker to point out what's new because there's not a lot:

  • Sensor-Shift in-body image stabilization

  • DCI 4K

  • F-Log

  • 120 fps at 1080p

  • Addition of a touchscreen and an improved viewfinder

  • A top LCD screen

  • Minor improvement to focus system

For photographers, this camera offers almost nothing over the X-T2 at a much higher price point. Based on that it's safe to assume this camera has been developed more for videographers and even then this is disappointing. Sure DCI 4K is great and 1080p at 120 fps is very useful, however the camera is limited to 15 minutes worth of recording time without the battery grip. If you include the battery grip then the price shoots up further and makes this camera about as heavy and much larger than the Canon 5D Mark IV, which is a full-frame DSLR. There's no headphone jack in the camera, battery life is actually worse than the X-T2, and due to the less-than-useful record time, the battery grip is essentially a requirement. With this camera, gone is the argument of mirrorless being more compact and lightweight. Even on a gimbal this camera is going to be relatively awkward and potentially very difficult to balance.

In general, Fuji is not considered the go-to brand for video, and with this camera, I have a feeling this is not due to change anytime soon. With alternatives like the Sony a7R III and the Panasonic GH5, why would you pick the X-H1? The GH5 offers far better video features like 4K at 60p, internal 4:2:2 10-bit, a much bigger battery, a really effective flip-out touchscreen, no record time limit, and all packed into a smaller, lighter body with a lower price. This is, of course, comparing it to the X-H1 with the battery grip, which is as mentioned, pretty much a requirement.

The Fujifilm X-H1 is a disappointing and confusing release from the company which is very unlike them. This feels rushed and completely unnecessary, and it would have been much better to simply wait and release a proper update the X-T2. 

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Thomas Nicholas's picture

Did its predecessor have IBIS? cause I would of that be worth mentioning

Usman Dawood's picture

I mentioned it as being one of the new features thus implying it wasn't in the old camera. Fuji calls it Sensor-Shift.

Are you serious? Fuji calls it what it is. In-body image stabilization (IBIS), READ the press release dated Feb 15, 2018. Second paragraph. You'll find the acronym IBIS. I suppose a few other APSC brand loyalist are afraid that they no longer can say "oh, but Fuji doesn't have IBIS"

Usman Dawood's picture

Fujifilms website tech specs clearly discuss it as Sensor shift check yourself.

I called it what Fuji calls it we all know it’s IBIS.

Also I don’t understand what you’re on about with the last part of your comment.

Kyle Medina's picture

Nobody is ever happy.

Oh boy you are about to trigger all the Fuji shooters(Fujicans, Fujise, Fijians?).

The XH-1 is what the XT2 should have been without the top screen.

Usman Dawood's picture

I'm one of them haha

If the XT-2 was the same size as the XH-1, then I would have stayed shooting FF. We don't want these giant bodies anymore.

The author of this article is spot on. The camera does not fit into any category that makes sense. I literally think the only category the XH-1 fits is for the person that feels extreme remorse for switching to mirrorless, but doesn't want to go through the hassle of selling all their Fuji glass.

Fuji cameras have atrocious AF, so they make no sense for sports or wildlife shooters that prefer APS-C.

For me X-Trans is the real disappointment with Fujifilm.

Scott Stebner's picture

Why? It’s a beautiful sensor with beautiful colors and resolves extremely well for its resolution.

Actually it doesn't resolve extremely well. It's ability to lessen color moire is also not much better than a Bayer sensor. As for Fujifilm's nice colors, I agree, but that's simply because Fujifilm is very good at the color profile thing, not because the sensor is significantly superior in that department.

Scott Stebner's picture

Gotcha. I must have been looking at different files after switching from medium format to Fuji :) My bad

Scott see my reply below to Clint.

Scott Stebner's picture

Thanks for the detailed explanation. Which Fuji did you own?

A medium format film camera, the Fuji GA645.

Scott Stebner's picture

So, never actually used the sensor you’re talking about?

See reply to M D below.

M D's picture

Maybe try shooting with a Fuji digital camera instead of relying on DPReview to fuel your need to argue with a user base who have owned many Fuji digital cameras.

I have the x100s and the XPro2. They both have strengths and weaknesses. But I know them well because I’ve been shooting a Fuji digital camera every day for the last few years.

I don't need to actually shoot with the cameras in question to see how well the sensors perform.

Because you apparently don't like the facts I have stated about the X-Trans sensor doesn't mean I have a "need to argue" with anyone.

Scott Stebner's picture

I do not like green eggs and ham, I do not like them Sam I Am :)

Giovanni Aprea's picture

I agree, I put a lot of hope into the X-Pro1 when I got it and, at beginning, found it to be really good, small, beautiful colors, nice lenses bla bla bla then when comparing to my D-SLR with a FF sensor I found out the limitations, color wise it's absolutely nice to get those variations but, let's say the truth, they are not the real colors and they can be achieved in post processing anyway. The biggest disappointment was a month ago when I gave it another chance, I shoot it side to side with my FF D-SLR, the Fuji with the 14mm and the FF with a 20mm, both on tripod, both in raw and both with same aperture setting, comparing the files in a situation where I needed to stack several exposures to blend shadows and highlights revealed that camera totally inadequate, it still does well for a compact portable system but I'd never trade it for a FF body not to talk about lenses and their shortcomings, I know the sensor plays big with the out of focus area and shallow DOF but, under some circumstances, the blurred area rendered by the Fuji sensor along with their lenses is definitely a no-no.
I know I am talking about first iteration of the X-Trans sensor (even tho somebody prefers its processing to the second generation especially talking about the jpg engine) but am referring to stationary photograph where AF system has little to no involvement, just sensor and lenses...

It's refreshing for a photographer to admit deficiencies and disappointment in a camera that they own. In the end they are just tools, but some people get too emotionally attached to their tools.

The look of XTrans II and III files are unique and are a huge reason that an extreme amount of photographers are buying or totally switching to the Fuji system. Fuji is making money hand over fist and growing faster than all the other manufacturers. I know the look of their files and the small size of mirrorless were enough to prompt me to ditch all my FF gear and I couldn't be happier with the results.

That's great that you are happy with your Fujifilm camera but he X-Trans sensor gets trounced by the best of the bayer competition when it comes to detail. There is no getting past the detail loss of the X-Trans sensor. Below is a screenshot from the dpreview.com image comparison tool of what I'm talking about when compared against the Sony a6300/6500. That's why I would never buy a Fujifilm camera with the X-Trans sensor.

Fujifilm makes great cameras. I owned a medium format one and both of my enlarger lenses were Fujinon. All top notch gear. X-Trans is a shame because it does no justice to the rest of their fine gear, especially their fine lenses. What most people appear to really like about Fujifilm's cameras are their pretty color profiles. I like them too, but that isn't enough to overcome the amount of softness as a result of the X-Trans sensor. I personally can not get past that.

I really have to take issue with people like you.

So damned disingenuous.

If you have a point, then make it fairly and square(ly). Matching a Fujifilm fixed lens compact camera with known lens softness at the edges with the Sony interchangeable lens camera and then blasting the whole line up of sensor tech is nothing if disingenuous (or if you didn't know the difference, then even worse, as one who essentially is spouting nonsense due to ignorance).

If you wanted to do this properly, then comparing the a6500 with the X-T2 would be a fairer comparison but for whatever reason, you fail to acknowledge this. So for reference, here is it.

Is that a joke? My friend, you don't test sensor performance with JPGs.

Edit: I now attached RAW comparisons with the same Sony sensor and the XT-2. And before you resort to "disingenuous" claims consider that I was actually trying to be generous by choosing a fixed lens Fujifilm X-Trans camera for the much greater likelihood that the lens would be top notch. Apparently it isn't. That's an odd situation that any experienced photographer should be able to acknowledge.

That said, the softness I have talked about is of course still there, as it is with all the X-Trans cameras I've researched, even if much improved over the fixed lens camera. Look at the section of the fine green foliage. Notice how it is mushy in comparison to the Sony. Look at the color wheel how poor the text looks. Look at the man's beard. Look at the pencil drawing. More detail with the Sony, and no strange mushy details. There is a lack of bite and clarity with X-Trans that you can and do get with the better Bayer sensor cameras. And I'm not even mentioning the odd artifacts that you can see with the X-Trans.

Click the images and then scroll through them to view the higher quality versions.

The detail loss can be fixed by using a bunch of different programs to import files before processing them rendering this comparison and argument totally non-important. I mean, this issue was solved over a year ago, but people that have no idea constantly bring this up like it is an actual problem still.

You can not fix detail that was never captured in the first place because of the odd design of the filter on that sensor.

You can if the raw engine used for processing by DPreview is known to be terrible.

Software can not create detail that is not there in the first place.

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