…it’s my Fujifilm X-H1 review
With apologies to all of you who would rather not be reminded of the Holies’ 1969 hit, the road is long, with many a winding turn. Which is how I am feeling about the new, Fujifilm X-H1.
Updated: June 2, 2018
I have been shooting with the X-H1 steadily for weeks, using the XF16-55mm f/2.8 and XF10-24mm f/4 lenses. There is no doubt about it, the AF and IBIS work really, really well. This is particularly evident with the non-stabilized XF16-55mm lens. I also really like the feel of the camera in hand. Better, for me, than the feel of the X-T2. As a work camera, at least for the type of work I do, the X-H1 is the best camera Fujifilm has produced.
For post-processing X-H1 images, you will need the latest version of Lightroom Classic CC. If you are still using Lightroom 6, you won’t be able to process the RAW files from the camera*. An alternative to both, is to use Alien Skin Exposure X3, which is improving all of the time.
Bigger and better
I recently opted to upgrade one of my two work camera bodies to the new X-H1, retiring my beloved X-Pro2 to the personal photography bag (more on this later). Before I made the X-H1 purchase, I spoke with fellow X-photographer Joe Ng about the new camera and got some really helpful advice. Perhaps the best bit of advice that Joe gave me regarded the X-H1 and the XF16-55mm f/2.8 lens. This is the lens that will be on the camera 90% of the time and I wanted to know if the IBIS made any difference for shooting with the 16-55. To paraphrase Joe, IBIS makes it a completely different lens (in a good way). That’s primarily what I was looking for with this new camera, to give me a stabilized 16-55 f/2.8 lens.
I was also looking for a larger body that balances better with my two primary work lenses, the 16-55 and the XF50-140mm f/2.8. Both are big lenses that can use a larger body. The more robust hand grip on the X-H1 also works much better for my hands. Of course, I was also looking forward to the best AF and continuous shooting experience available in the Fuji X-camera lineup. So far, the camera has delivered.
So IBIS and improved focusing performance have made the upgrade worthwhile. However, I do think there is room for improvement.
Is it fast enough?
One issue I have noticed in the short period I have been using the X-H1 is that startup time seems painfully slow. Using the battery grip and switching to “Boost” performance, I expect it to start up immediately. I expect that when I turn on the camera and raise it to my eye, that I should be able to start shooting. I can’t. Which has cause me some consternation as I have missed shots waiting for the camera to start. I really hope this can be addressed with a firmware update. Given that this is now the flagship camera in the lineup, I really expect every aspect of the X-H1’s performance to be blazing fast.
Weight has increased with the size, making the combined body and battery grip feel close to a pro DSLR. This was expected and hasn’t made a significant difference in my work photography. I do find it interesting that by traveling this winding road with Fujifilm, I have arrived at a place where, at least for my work photography, my cameras and lenses are only slightly smaller than the gear I was using before switching to the X-cameras. I accept that this is a result of that amount of material and technology packed into the bodies and lenses. And, the shooting experience is remains far superior to a DSLR, so I wouldn’t want to go back.
So you want small and light?
Of course, by “retiring” my X-Pro2 to the personal bag, I am still retaining the shooting experience and light weight that drew me to Fujifilm in the first place. At least for my personal work. The X-Pro2 now lives with one of my three f/2 lenses in my everyday bag, which travels with me most of the time. With this camera and lenses readily available, I look forward to doing more personal photography. Particularly starting in June, as work will quiet down significantly when the Legislature rests until the Fall.
NB: Work photos captured with the Fujifilm X-H1, fronted with the XF16-55mm f/2.8 lens. Personal work captured with the X-Pro2 and the Fujichron 35mm f/2 lens. Product photo captured with the GFX 50S and GF63mm f/2.8 lens.
*To edit your X-H1 RAW files with Lightroom 6, you can change the EXIF data on those files to a camera that is supported, such as the X-T2.