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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Usman Dawood's picture

Fuji calls it sensor shift so I called it that too.

Lance Bachelder's picture

No they don't - they call it 5-axis IBIS. More evidence as why your article is complete rubbish. Stick to youtube videos.

Usman Dawood's picture

Fact checking is important please see below. See article and how it's described.
This is a seriously minor issue and I find it odd that you would make such a big deal about it. You're still wrong.


Dear Usman, Fuji removed the content from the link that you have shared
Now they call it IBIS here

Usman Dawood's picture

Hey thank you for the comment. It’s good to see Fuji using terms that most of understand. At the time of writing this article I had to use the terms they used for their features.

I'm disappointed that it doesn't have a flip out screen. That was a real big disappointment.

But I still have my pre order in and this will replace my XT2. At the end of the day it's a personal choice. I've owned/used Sony (A7RII/A7s/A7), Nikon (D7000, D600) and Panasonic (Gh3)... Fujifilm, for me, has the best user experience. The video features on this camera doesn't compare to GH5 but they are more than good enough for my needs.

What excites me the most is IBIS and the isolated settings for photo/video.

Chip Kalback's picture

It does have a flip out screen?!

Usman Dawood's picture

I think he may have meant a flip out screen like the GH5. Flip out to the left instead of the tilt and the weird vertical thing the screen does.

Yes. This is what I meant. Thank you.

the actual term is Fully Articulated screen

Chris PLUNKETT's picture

I really like the top LCD screen.It'll be nice to see all camera manufacturers putting something like this on the next generation of DSLR cameras. After 15 or so years almost totally unchanged,it'll be refreshing to have a new camera that doesn't look like it's a victim of a time travel accident.

Sergio Miranda's picture

but you are missing one point. If a Fuji user, that usually did photography, wants to leap more into video, then that user was waiting for this camera. And it coming with IBIS, is an extra plus. That user already has a set of fuji compatible lenses, therefore probably would never switch to other brands.
Now, if it's going to be the first camera you buy, then definitely you are right.

Usman Dawood's picture

Even in that context, this is disappointing, they've given their users a severely crippled video camera that comes in a huge form factor. It's bigger than a 5D Mark IV, what were they thinking?

Hmmm, I don’t know, about $3,000.00 cheapah!

Usman Dawood's picture

$3000 cheaper than the 5D4? don't you mean about $1000?

5D4 is also full frame.

Michael Aubrey's picture

It is certainly a disappointment.

But it also certainly isn't bigger than a 5D mkiv


Usman Dawood's picture

I discuss that point specifically with the battery grip. The grip is essentially a requirement and with that it’s definitely bigger and heavier than the 5D4.

I don't get the argument that if Fujifilm isn't going to release a product that essentially is not better than anything else out there i.e. best bits from GH5, best bits from 5D4, best bits from Sony, then they should not bother or be flamed/ridiculed for trying.

That is not only childish but also ridiculous, more options are great for the consumer whether they are at the top, middle or bottom of the product feature pack.

Usman Dawood's picture

Everything is relative.

Sergio Miranda's picture

yeah, get your point. but keep in mind that changing kit to a 5d4 plus good quality lenses, is way more expensive. I have an xt-2+grip and I'm not impressed by the update to the xh1 for photography, but specially cause I don't do video. I have a kit of six lenses for the xt2 though, so in case I WOULD be interested in video, I would definitely update. Size isn't an issue for professionals.

Wasim Ahmad's picture

I'm still quite happy with the X-T1. Maybe this is where I just get an X-T2 since it doesn't feel like I'd be missing much.

Anonymous's picture

Same here.

I don’t think it’s made with a video shooter as it’s first thought. I think, like the rest of Fuji stuff, it’s made for the still photographer who does the occasional video.

Korey Napier's picture

I agree. The X-H1 looks like a killer camera, but why not include the headphone jack on the camera? For video, a fully articulating screen is so incredibly useful as well and would have been a nice feature to have. I'm not sure why they wouldn't make a bigger battery. It's a much bigger grip, so one would think a bigger battery would work and it will require more juice than the X-T2.

Overall, it looks pretty awesome, but I think it could have been refined more. I'll stick with my X-T2 as I do 90% stills.

“The X-H1 looks like a killer camera, but why not include the headphone jack on the camera?”

Simple - Heat dissipation. If you are doing video (and thing longer than a few minutes), the battery grip is essential because the heat generated by the processor requires a bigger heat sink (which is partly what the grip acts as). So if the grip is essential for video, putting the headphone jack there makes sense.

If you do 90% stills, I’d wait for the X-T3, which is rumored for fall of this year.

The body is massive. There's more than enough room for a proper heat sink. You don't hear about DSLRs overheating, and this is literally the size of a DSLR.

Pedro Pulido's picture

i mentioned this when this camera was still a rumour and i totally agree with your thought process. a consider this a total failure from Fuji. This product is all over the place and nowhere at the same time. I understand it has been created with video in mind, but it's lacking some really important features. As for photography, i'm very happy with my XT2 so this is not for me.

barry cash's picture

Hard to say anything without using the camera all the current reviewers love the size and balance of the camera. It has some new features but its a Fuji at heart so if you don't like Fuji X cameras you wont like this one, if you thought Fuji was going to release a brand new looking camera completely redesigned with new menus and what not your dreaming.

I would suggest anyone with doubts buy one from B&H and try it out for a couple of weeks if you don't love it send it back for a full refund, but I have a feeling you will have just bought yourself a new camera!

the major flaw is handled by the battery grip what was the 1st and primary flaw with the X cameras BATTERIES AND THE DRAW OF CURRENT SUCKS MOST MIRROR-LESS CAMERAS HAVE SHORT BATTERY LIFE. The batteries just too small probably for a good reason but its frustrating.

Donald Bate's picture

"For photographers, this camera offers almost nothing over the X-T2 at a much higher price point." I would respecfully disagree! There were 3 things on my X-T2 I didn't like: No IBIS, lack of a decent ergonomic grip, and an unlockable protruding compensation dial that would frequently (and annoyingly) get accidentally moved during action shoots. Plus many more little gripes. The new X-H1 resolves these issues and more.. it's the perfect upgrade for me. My X-T2 is now sold and I'm happy paying extra for the upgrade, in fact I think the X-H1 is good value, considering all the significant improvements and technological complexities. Well done Fujifilm!

But if you want a giant, ergonomic grip, why not switch to FF and get a good improvement in image quality? The only real benefit of a small mirrorless setup is wiped out with this giant, heavy body. The ergonomics of these small cameras do basically suck, but for most of us, it is worth it to keep the weight and size down.

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