Fujifilm family has a new member in their X-series lineup. The X-H1 or the Hyper X as they like to call it in their videos. The camera looks like it took internals of X-T2, scaled it up a bit and added the grip with LCD from the GFX-50S to reach closer to entry-level DSLR formfactor. Fujifilm has given their flagship a lot of features to make it competitive in the mirrorless market. Notably, with the addition of inbody stabilization, Fujifilm has proved themselves wrong for the good (they had previously said that it can never be done).
The improvements over the previous X-series lineup are :
- 5-axis IBIS (In Body Image Stabilisation) upto 5.5 stops
- New silent mechanical shutter & Feather-touch shutter button for reduced shutter shock
- 1st curtain electronic shutter
- A 1.28-inch monochrome LCD screen on the top of the improved deeper grip
- A 3.69 million dots EVF, 56% higher resolution than X-T2’s 2.36 million dots
- Improved build with a 20% thicker magnesium alloy body, with 8H level of hardness scratch protection coating
- A new cinematic film simulation Eterna
- Upgraded video performance, 120FPS FHD recording, 200mbps video
- Anti-flicker mode, peripheral light reduction
- Improved AF-C performance
- Twin UHS-II-compatible card slots
Similarities with X-T2
- 24.2MP APS-C X-Trans III sensor
- X-Processor PRO
- 200 to 12800 ISO (100, 25600, 51200 extended values)
- 3-way tilting LCD screen
- AF joystick
- continuous shooting speeds (8fps / 11fps with battery grip / 14fps with electronic shutter)
- shutter speeds (1/8000s with mechanical shutter / 1/32000s with e-shutter)
- flash sync speed of 1/250s
- dual SD card slot with UHS-II compatibility
- optional vertical battery grip available for boost mode
Ergonomics and handling
Because of the larger body and the deeper grip, the camera feels much at hand as compared to its predecessor. With larger buttons, tilted shutter button and the added LCD at the top, would make is more user friendly. The thicker and tougher body with added weather sealing makes it one of the strongest camera in the X-series. The body adds approx 100g over the predecessor which might upset some while the deeper grip should make it feel less noticeable due to better ergonomics. Fujifilm has increased the size of the buttons to suit the larger form factor based on suggestions from the users. The drive dial now adds CM mode.
Fujifilm has improved the weather sealing with 94 sealing points as compared to 63 on the X-T2. The grain pattern on the body has also been improved to improve scratch resistance with 8H coating for that longer lasting finish. To compensate for the additional heat generation from IBIS mechanism and to address massive heat generation during 4K recording, a larger heat dissipation plate is adopted.
This is the First Fujifilm camera to feature in body image stabilization. This is particularly amazing because now all the lenses on the camera have Image stabilization functionality including those rare vintage lenses available for x-mount. The camera achieves this with the help of 3 gyro sensors and a dedicated dual processor which makes around 10,000 calculations per second to achieve upto 5.5 stops of stabilization. The functionality can be selectively chosen for continuous, photo only or off mode. The larger heat dissipation plate should help in better heat performance caused by stabilization mechanism.
The camera can achieve continuous shooting speed of 14 FPS with electronic shutter and 11 FPS with the mechanical shutter in boost mode and 8 FPS without the vertical power booster, all with continuous autofocus. The image quality would be equivalent to the X-T2 and X-Pro 2 which according to most professionals as the best that can be achieved with an APS-C sensor since it shares the same sensor and x-processor pro. The maximum shutter speed is 1/8000 sec for mechanical shutter and 1/32000 sec with the electronic shutter which is a delight for the sports shooters. Interestingly, the shutter timing can be set to a maximum of 15 min (900 sec) from the shutter priority mode without the need of a remote release which should delight long exposure shooters. The battery life has slightly reduced to 310 shots due to having inherited the same battery of XT2 but added energy consumption from the IBIS mechanism.
The major improvements can be seen in the video capturing capabilities of the camera. it can now record upto 30 fps 4K movies in 17:9 cinema aspect ratio upto 15 minutes. The battery grip is a great addition that extends the recording time to 30 minutes and an audio monitoring headphone jack. The f-log (raw video profile) can now be recorded directly onto the SD card. Camera record 4:2:0 8-bit video up to 200 mbps on camera & 4:2:2 8-bit video via HDMI out. The new Eterna film simulation reduces colour grading requirements of the footage by giving a balanced cinematic colour graded footage straight out of the camera. The saturation, contrast and tint can be adjusted for the simulation to achieve desired look. The dynamic range of the camera can be increased to 400% to get upto 12 stops of DR. The FHD slow motion with high bitrate video is a welcome feature to achieve a further stabilised footage with that unique cinematic feel. The rate of slow motion can be set to 4x/5x. The camera also gets an added menu dedicated to video.
What we liked
- 5 axis IBIS that works will nearly all XF lenses and is selectively applicable
- Ergonomics, Info LCD and customisable touch screen layout
- New shutter mechanism with Low vibrations and quick response
- Touch autofocus with variable focus shift
- Recording of f-log on SD card, 200 MBPS video, 120fps FHD
- Eterna film simulation which makes grading quicker And gives great look just out of the camera
- Easy switchability between Video and Photo modes
What we did not like
- A larger body could have housed a larger battery increasing the battery life (Battery grip solves it with additional incentive of boost mode)
- Audio monitoring port could have been provided on the main body rather than on the additional battery grip.
Should you upgrade?
The existing Fujifilm customers having X-T2 of the X-Pro 2 would find it difficult to make their mind about upgrading to a camera with same sensor, bigger footprint and added weight. They can definitely wait and pin their hopes on X-T3 which is expected in the second half of the year with an improved sensor. The X-T2 and X-Pro 2 may also receive some of the features via firmware updates due to Fujifilm’s Kaizen philosophy. As for the photographers willing to switch to the mirrorless fujifilm system from DSLRs, the decision is easier than ever. The camera should also attract web video content creators and indie filmmakers due to compatibility with affordable Fujinon MKX cine lenses and other fast lenses available for x-mount.
The X-H1 bring much needed feature of IBIS and pro-video upgrades to the X-series. The camera may not be an upgrade in terms of the already excellent image quality due to having the same X-trans III sensor but is surely an upgrade for the videographers. The larger form factor and added weight with the improvements to shutter AF and IBIS makes it a very capable camera for Professional sports and wildlife shooters. Existing customers may wait for the next iteration in X series. The focus on video features will surely impress serious videographers and bring them towards Fujifilm. Overall a Well placed launch from Fujifilm. Can’t wait to get our hands on this beauty and test in detail.
It will be available from 1st March in India and US markets.
India for Body Only MRP INR- 149,999, Body and battery grip MRP INR- 172,999
US for Body Only MRP 1899$ Body and battery grip MRP 2199$
3399$ with 16-55mm f2.8 lens
4099$ with 100-400mm lens
3799$ with 50-140mm lens