#743. The X-H1. Has Fuji hit the target?  Three opinions.

#743. The X-H1. Has Fuji hit the target? Three opinions.

Kaiman Wong (Kai W) calls it a beast. An acknowledged street photographer true, but jizzing around in the rain outside a new(ish) building at 1 New Change in the City of London is hardly a decent test.

 

There are now three X-H1s in the hands of our contributors and a triple header road test seems like a much better plan. No specs, no test methodologies, just three photographers, their images and their opinions:

 

Bob Hamilton – a DS regular, known for his fine landscapes and more recently, some outstanding wildlife photography. He was the first amongst us to get his X-H1.

 

Chris Gibbons – a new DS recruit, Chris shoots events and conferences for clients in Johannesburg but for pleasure it’s all about wildlife – mainly birds. He’s learned from some of the greats and here debuts his new camera accompanied by some fine shots of our feathered wildlife. Chris’ X-H1 arrived just two days after mine.

 

Paul Perton – me. If you’re a DS regular, you’ll know I shoot on on the street and am equally at home in the landscape. My approach and finished images often fall outside the norm. The X-H1 promises to be a fine companion for the kind of photographic subjects I like.

 

Bob says:

 

Young Monk, Punakha Dzong, Bhutan - XH1 + 50-140mm

Young Monk, Punakha Dzong, Bhutan – XH1 + 50-140mm

 

Birch Tree Refections, Loch Katrine, Trossachs, Scotland - XH1 + 50-140mm

Birch Tree Refections, Loch Katrine, Trossachs, Scotland – XH1 + 50-140mm

 

Birch Tree Refections, Loch Katrine, Trossachs, Scotland - XH1 + 50-140mm

Birch Tree Refections, Loch Katrine, Trossachs, Scotland – XH1 + 50-140mm

 

My take on the X-H1, after some 20,000 images taken, is that it is a meaningful improvement over the X-T2 in many ways but still some way off the mark in several others….at least compared to the Sony competition I also own.

 

The EVF is excellent – deeper, better and more pleasant to use than that of the A9 or A7R3 for non magnified viewing but not nearly as good as those of the 2 Sony cameras for magnified, manual focusing. The Sony EVF appears to be more contrasty than that of the Fuji which is probably why manual focusing is easier with the Sony cameras but standard viewing not so pleasant.

 

The IBIS is excellent and I would say at least 2 stops better than the IBIS in the Sony cameras. It makes the use of certain lenses, such as the 16-55mm f2.8, much less problematic that they were when used on the IBIS less X-T2.

 

The body is much more robust than that of the X-T2 and the deeper handgrip is a major improvement.

 

Image quality seems better than that of the X-T2 which I find surprising given that I understand that both sensor and processor are exactly the same as those in the X-T2; perhaps it’s due to the noticeably improved autofocusing of the X-H1? The X-H1’s auto white balance is definitely more accurate than that of the X-T2.

 

However…

 

Early Summer, Loch Achray, Trossachs, Scotland - XH1 + 50-140mm

Early Summer, Loch Achray, Trossachs, Scotland – XH1 + 50-140mm

 

Daybreak on Loch Katrine and the Arrochar Alps, Trossachs, Scotland - XH1 +16-55mm

Daybreak on Loch Katrine and the Arrochar Alps, Trossachs, Scotland – XH1 +16-55mm

 

Roe Deer Buck, Clyde Valley, Scotland - XH1 + 100-400mm

Roe Deer Buck, Clyde Valley, Scotland – XH1 + 100-400mm

 

Mute Swan in Flight, Clyde Valley, Scotland - XH1 + 100-400mm

Mute Swan in Flight, Clyde Valley, Scotland – XH1 + 100-400mm

 

The implementation of the exposure compensation button and dial is, to my mind, inferior to the simple dial of the X-T2, being much more cumbersome  and clumsy to use for fast action photography – for example, for birds in flight moving from a dark background, such as the ground, into the air which necessitates more exposure. The top LCD is useful and I’m sure more so for video photography than for stills but its introduction, forcing the change from the exposure compensation implementation of the X-T2, is a negative aspect for me and one with which I still have difficulty even after 20,000 frames, more often than not necessitating the removal of my eye from the viewfinder to see what I am doing.

 

The shutter button is far, far too sensitive and results in many images taken by mistake which can be an issue if tracking birds in flight using the high speed continuous drive mode in particular, meaning that the comparatively meagre buffer is used up with unintentional images. The Sony cameras have the sensitivity just right.

 

The autofocus is, as I said, noticeably improved over the X-T2’s and is very reliable and accurate for what I would describe as “normal photography”. However, it’s not a patch on the autofocus of the Sony A9 for fast action photography, such as tracking birds in flight, where the total lack of blackout in the EVF, the fast frame rate of up to 20fps, the comparatively huge processor buffer and the limpet like, rabid pit bull nature of its zone autofocus system makes a 90%+ hit rate in tracking fast moving birds a reality. Sadly, the X-H1 simply cannot compete in my opinion. The A9 has to be tried to be believed.
All in all, the X-H1 is a lovely camera which gives great image quality and is, for the most part, a pleasure to use. However, as you can probably gather from the above, it is not my go to system for wildlife photography where the attributes of the Sony A9, detailed above, more than compensate for the relatively short reach of the Sony G Master 100-400mm lens compared to the Fuji equivalent.

 

The one thing I should say is that the battery life of the X-H1 is now very poor compared to the new type battery in the Sony cameras which has been transformed completely from being a relative disgrace to being utterly superb. I can get well over 2,000 images from the new Sony battery in normal use, by which I mean a mixture of continuous and single drive shooting.

 

Fuji needs to address this issue even if it means users of future and existing cameras needing 2 battery systems and the inconvenience that would cause.

 

Roe Deer Buck, Clyde Valley, Scotland - XH1 + 100-400mm

Roe Deer Buck, Clyde Valley, Scotland – XH1 + 100-400mm

 

Beech Leaf on Snow, Clyde Valley, Scotland - XH1 + 80mm macro

Beech Leaf on Snow, Clyde Valley, Scotland – XH1 + 80mm macro

 

Mute Swan, Clyde Valley, Scotland XH1 + 100-400mm

Mute Swan, Clyde Valley, Scotland XH1 + 100-400mm

 

Festival Spectator, Paro, Bhutan - XH1 + 50-140mm + 1.4xTC

Festival Spectator, Paro, Bhutan – XH1 + 50-140mm + 1.4xTC

 

Chris says:

 

Can Fuji do BIF? Specifically, the Fuji X-H1 + 100-400?

 

For the uninitiated, BIF stands for Birds In Flight. As opposed to bird on twig, bird on stick, telegraph pole, garden feeder, fence post or any other stationary object.

 

Fuji does all of the latter extremely well, but since the introduction of Fuji’s X-T1 in 2014, whether it does BIF and, if so, how successfully, has been a matter of intense debate.

 

For bird photographers, BIF is a sine qua non. After all, flight is what birds do – it’s what makes them….well, birds.

 

I had an X-T1 for a couple of years and came to the conclusion that the answer was no, it could not do BIF. In fact, it couldn’t much of anything moving at speed as far as I could tell. Not even my Airedale terrier, Ben, running straight at the camera.

 

Somewhere along the way, I added the 100-400 to my collection of Fuji lenses, but its performance was so bad on the X-T1, it went back to the shop on the day I bought it.

 

From there to an X-T20 – better AF-C than the X-T1, to be sure, but still nowhere close to my Nikon D500 + 200-500 f5.6, which I’ll simply call ‘the Nikon’ from here on.

 

Perhaps the X-T3 would do the trick, I thought, waiting patiently for its rumoured release towards year-end.

 

However, my business has seen an increased demand from clients for video, which the X-H1 apparently does very well and the Nikon D500 does only adequately. So I’ve been watching reviews and reading reports about the X-H1 with interest. Among them are two bird photographers whose work I respect and they are beginning to speak very highly of the Fuji combination. So, one Saturday recently, I decided to take the plunge – camera, grip and lens – and set off to find some birds. (For brevity, if you‘ll allow me, I’ll use the same shorthand – X-H1 + VPB + 100-400 = ‘the Fuji’.)

 

At first sight, the combination looks as hefty as the Nikon. But don’t be fooled. It’s not and it’s a good kilogram lighter. Towards the end of a day’s shooting, it makes a big difference. On that score alone, the Fuji wins.

 

With power set to ‘Boost’ on the grip, and OIS to ‘on’ and limiter to ‘5m-∞’ on the lens, AF to CH and 8fps on the camera, it was time to set off.

 

Both of the bird photographers I mention above stress the importance of using the AF-C Custom setting – although both use it slightly differently and both also recommend the 3×3 Zone setting.
With all of that dialled in, and Auto ISO enabled (max 1600, min shutter speed 1/1,000), off I went.

 

The Western Cape region of South Africa, where I live, is heading into winter. The light can be very poor at this time of year and many of the birds which visit in summer went north a couple of months ago. But there are still enough residents around – certainly enough to test my limited skills on!

 

That first session, I’m afraid, yielded nothing spectacular at all. My heart sank – was this to be a repeat of the X-T1 experience?

 

I needed better light and more birds. A day or two later, with the sun shining, I found myself at Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront, one of the city’s major attractions, and a place thronged with gulls. With a convenient railing to lean on, the Fuji and I were in business.

 

Hartlaub’s Gull, Cape Town

Hartlaub’s Gull, Cape Town

 

It’s OK – quite heavily cropped in Capture One 11 – usable, but I wouldn’t want to print it in any kind of large.

 

Hartlaub’s Gull, Cape Town

Hartlaub’s Gull, Cape Town

 

Not the greatest composition, but like the first one – cropped and usable.

 

At the point, it’s worth noting that I had about a dozen or so shots in this category, from around 400 overall. Not a very high keeper rate at all, IMHO.

 

Back to the drawing-board.

 

Out again the following day, tinkering with the settings in poor light. No gulls this time, but close to my house there’s a vineyard which is home to several pairs of Spotted Thick-knees.

 

Spotted Thick-knee, nr. Paarl, South Africa

Spotted Thick-knee, nr. Paarl, South Africa

 

That’s more like it, I feel. Good feather detail, a sharp eye with a hint of catchlight. I’d print this one happily and I’m starting to feel more confident about the Fuji’s ability to do BIF.

 

For the sake of comparison, here’s a similar one, shot on the same day with the Nikon:

 

Spotted Thick-knee, nr. Paarl, South Africa

Spotted Thick-knee, nr. Paarl, South Africa

 

It’s a slightly different crop, but perhaps the key difference is that I had managed to lock the Fuji’s ISO at 1600 – whereas the Nikon’s was working as Auto-ISO is supposed to between 100 and 1600. This came in at ISO 280. Operator error – nothing to do with the H-T1.

 

One observation at this stage – the Nikon, at 500mm, is getting me closer to the birds, as you would expect. The Nikon’s OVF is also allowing me to pick the bird up faster than the Fuji’s EVF, but the difference is very slight.

 

I’m still not getting enough keepers, though. Time for some more homework and more fiddling with the settings.

 

What followed was the breakthrough session. Good evening light, clear blue skies, and a large tree which is a roost for White-breasted cormorant, Sacred Ibis and Hadeda Ibis.

 

I had also noticed, as I processed the images from the previous batch, that parts of the birds’ bodies were in focus, while other parts, especially eyes, were not. Could it be that the 3×3 Zone focus was allowing the camera to lock on to any old body part?

 

So I switched from 3×3 Zone to Single Point – choosing the second-smallest of the five options.

 

That was promising, and I could immediately see better results as I chimped images on the X-H1’s screen.

 

But what made the real difference, especially in terms of keeper rate, was switching from half-shutter focus to AF-On. The X-H1, with its slightly deeper grip, fits my rather square and not-very-big hand perfectly and suddenly the AF-On button is just where I need it to be.

 

Egyptian Goose. Nr Paarl, South Africa

Egyptian Goose. Nr Paarl, South Africa

 

Egyptian Goose. Nr Paarl, South Africa

Egyptian Goose. Nr Paarl, South Africa

 

Again, not a very inspired image, but the important thing to note is that the Fuji is holding focus and not latching on to the background (as the X-T1 would certainly have done).

 

White-breasted Cormorant. Nr Paarl, South Africa

White-breasted Cormorant. Nr Paarl, South Africa

 

Again, holding focus admirably.

 

White-breasted Cormorant. Nr Paarl, South Africa

White-breasted Cormorant. Nr Paarl, South Africa

 

Good wing position, but perhaps not as much feather detail on the neck as I would like?

 

Sacred Ibis. Nr Paarl, South Africa

Sacred Ibis. Nr Paarl, South Africa

 

Plenty of feather detail here, sharp eye with catchlight. I’m happy.

 

So can the Fuji X-H1 and 100-400 do BIF? On the evidence above, no question. As my familiarity with the camera-lens combination grows, I’m sure the images will also improve. Will it replace my D500 + 200-500, though? That’s a different matter: where weight is not an issue – driving my own vehicle to a shoot, for example – I think the Nikon still has the edge for BIF and will make the trip. But when I’m flying to a destination with restricted baggage, especially carry-on, or if I’m walking anywhere for any length of time, I’ll have the Fuji and be safe in the knowledge that if I do need BIF, it won’t let me down.

 

One final thought. The Nikon D500 is a very fine camera. With any of Nikon’s big telephoto primes attached, it’s formidable. But Nikon has ignored the shorter distances for its APS-C range (DX, in Nikon-speak). There is simply nothing carrying a Nikon badge that comes remotely close to Fuji’s 16-55mm or 50-140mm, leave alone any of the remarkable primes, like the 23mm 1.4 or 90mm f2.0.

 

Those lenses, allied to the excellent X-H1, are why, for both my business and pleasure, Fuji is now my go-to system.

 

Paul says:

 

The Kogelberg at dawn - X-H1, 16mm f1.4 @ f11

The Kogelberg at dawn – X-H1, 16mm f1.4 @ f11

 

Winter wave - X-H1, 100-400 zoom (372mm) @ f5.6

Winter wave – X-H1, 100-400 zoom (372mm) @ f5.6

 

Dunes at Betty's Bay - X-H1, 16mm f1.4 @ f11

Dunes at Betty’s Bay – X-H1, 16mm f1.4 @ f11

 

Betty's Bay - X-H1 with Zeiss 25mm Biogon @ f11

Betty’s Bay – X-H1 with Zeiss 25mm Biogon @ f11

 

I’ve havered for weeks over the X-H1. I’ve had an X-Pro as a constant companion for the last three years, supported on long journeys by the pocketable X100F. It’s been faultless and racked up 28,000 images during that time, despite its close-to-pathetic battery life. Why would I want to change it?

 

As I wrote in an e-mail to Pascal a couple of weeks ago about the IBIS in the X-H1; “I’m reaching an age where image stabilisation is increasingly important. My hands don’t shake, but the rest of me does.”

 

A joke at my own expense, but nonetheless, IBIS is now a need-to-have.

 

The mirrorless X-Pros have also been a route to carrying less and less on my travels, but as I’ve bought a couple of additional primes, my camera bag mass has grown accordingly. To quote Northcote Parkinson; “The work expands to fill the time available.” Change as appropriate.

 

Rooi Els river - X-H1, 16-55 f2.8 zoom @ f11

Rooi Els river – X-H1, 16-55 f2.8 zoom @ f11

 

Morning abstract - X-H1, 16-55 f2.8 zoom @ f22

Morning abstract – X-H1, 16-55 f2.8 zoom @ f22

 

Walker Bay - X-H1, 16-55 f2.8 zoom @ f16

Walker Bay – X-H1, 16-55 f2.8 zoom @ f16

 

Wavelets - X-H1, 16-55 f2.8 zoom @ f11

Wavelets – X-H1, 16-55 f2.8 zoom @ f11

 

So, the X-H1 is destined to be a travel solution. Paired with Fuji’s 16-55 zoom, it’s quite a handful, but not a monster like the Nikon D800/24-70 zoom duo. Performance-wise, it gives up very little to the Nikon set up and does reduce the bag mass quite considerably.

 

The Fuji primes will get either get used for specific travel excursions, or (along with the X-Pro) when my camera bag is in the back of the Landy and I don’t need to be much concerned with how much they weigh.

 

So, what’s to like about the X-H1?

 

Clearly for me, the IBIS is a given – wish I had it in Japan last year for all of those evening/after dark shots I took. In my immediate post-purchase shooting tests, I’ve found I can hand hold the X-H1, with 90mm prime at f16 for a 1/15th. That’s a real win and means less dragging a tripod around in my suitcase.

 

Next is the shutter, which is soft and seductive enough to make you want to shoot more and more, just to enjoy its feel. It does take a bit if getting used to, however. For a press the shutter halfway shooter like me, you’ll find lots of pictures you didn’t mean to take, as you learn just how little encouragement the button needs.

 

The articulating screen is also a massive step forward, but I’m not so sure about its touch facilities – I need to spend more time fiddling with it, before I’m even halfway convinced.

 

Morning abstract - X-H1, 16-55 f2.8 zoom @ f22

Morning abstract – X-H1, 16-55 f2.8 zoom @ f22

 

Walker Bay - X-H1, 90mm f2 @ f5.6

Walker Bay – X-H1, 90mm f2 @ f5.6

 

The cellar at Muratie vineyard - X-H1, 16-55 f2.8 zoom @ f11

The cellar at Muratie vineyard – X-H1, 16-55 f2.8 zoom @ f11

 

Crystal - Gordon's Bay - X-H1, 16-55 f2.8 zoom @ f11

Crystal – Gordon’s Bay – X-H1, 16-55 f2.8 zoom @ f11

 

Viewfinder? Brilliant. ‘nuff said?

 

An added bonus – The X-H1 can be charged via a standard USB cable. I usually carry several spare batteries when travelling and share them between the X-Pro and X100. Now, I’ll substitute the X-Pro and leave the charger at home – the X-H1 can charge batteries for its own use and I can swap them, for the X100. It’ll even charge off a cigarette lighter USB connection and cable in the car. Another win.

 

Just about everything else works like all the other Fuji cameras; reliable, predicable and generally, a joy to use.

 

So it’s great. There are a couple of downsides and I do have a few grumps, two that are quite serious.

 

Firstly, the 16-55 zoom I’ve paired with the X-H1 body is a real dust pump, with the result that I need to clean the sensor far more than I’ve become used to with my X-Pros and prime lenses. That means more, rather than less kit to carry. I know that’s not a specific X-H1 issue, but Fuji do need to find a solution for their flagship APS-C product.

 

Fire damaged trees - X-H1, 16-55 f2.8 zoom @ f11

Fire damaged trees – X-H1, 16-55 f2.8 zoom @ f11

 

The Kogelberg reserve - X-H1, 16-55 f2.8 zoom @ f16

The Kogelberg reserve – X-H1, 16-55 f2.8 zoom @ f16

 

The second, I’ve since solved, but caused me some serious Googling and a lot of head scratching; the Fuji remote cable/release is small and light. It travels with me and has been hugely useful over the years. Like the batteries, it’s the same remote for both the X-Pro and X-H1. Provided you can find where to plug it in that is. The obvious port is where you’d expect, under a flap on the opposite side of the body to the twin SD card slots. Except that that’s a micro HDMI port and the micro USB connector doesn’t fit.

 

Several searches and a few e-mails tracked the solution down – the manual is completely useless on this point – the micro USB plugs in to one section of the full size USB port. It works fine and is a really clever solution. I just wish Fuji had made it clearer in the manual.

 

Final grump (so far) – I use exposure compensation a lot in my photography and find the button to activate the command wheel used to change these settings way too small and awkward, especially when the camera is on a tripod at eye level.

 

Aside from the dust – not really the X-H1’s problem – it’s all good.

 

This is a fine camera. A firmware update arrived a few days ago and has made a significant improvement to the camera’s AF performance, making me even happier that I’d bought it.

 


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10 Comments

  1. Avatar
    jean pierre (pete) guaron June 27, 2018

    Hmm. Well – glad you guys can do the hard yards for me. Despite the comments on the Fuji lenses, I shan’t be buying one – but that’s a reflection on the availability of funds, not a comment on Fuji. For some time past I have been made increasingly aware of Fuji, and its dedication to providing ‘togs with better gear. And while the three of you have divergences at points, the report overall is highly favourable to Fuji – yet again. 🙂

    Bob, you didn’t mention how many shots the Fuji battery does – you would like over 2,000, but how many did you get? I always carry a spare (fully charged), and I can’t recall s single instance since I acquired my first battery powered analogue camera that any of my “electric” cameras has failed on that score. But then I am staggered if you are suggesting you took over 2,000 shots in a single day and, alas, cellphones have trained me to recharge batteries daily under heavy duty. (Not – I hasten to add – while I am using other cams and the cam in question is only coming with me for one or two specific shots).

    Paul, you mention that “The articulating screen is also a massive step forward”. I have mentioned before that I am more than slightly annoyed with Nikon for not including that on the D810 – and my intention to pay them back by ignoring the D850. These manufacturers have to realise it’s not all about what they would like to sell – it’s all about what we would like to buy. In a seller’s market, they can dictate – in a buyer’s market, which is where the world photography market now sits, they don’t – instead, we do. And the sooner they all realise it, the happier their shareholders will be. It’s simply basic Economics101 – or even high school economics. Not genius. And nobody is free to avoid it. 🙂

    Guys, I’d be here all day if I tried to tell you all which of your photos I like and why – and in each case it’d be practically all of them – and everyone else in DS already know I yabber too much. We old folk have all the time in the world to do it, and the result is kind of inevitable.

    But I would like to throw one question at Chris. My understanding is that the Nikon 500mm prime is a beast of a lens – rather heavy for hand held (which I imagine is your main way of shooting bird shots). I’m trying to give serious thought to acquiring a reasonably powerful tele prime for my Niks, and just not seeing anything that really grabs me. The 300mm looks “interesting”, but rally falls a bit short for bird photography and way too shot for moonshots etc. Did I read somewhere about a blistering 1800mm lens? – ouch, I bet my wife would strangle me if I spent what that must cost on a single lens! 🙂 A couple of new “lightweight” lenses using fresnel lenses – seemingly with quality issues because they are made in China – or IS that the reason? – or is the real reason the sheer difficulty of accurately making fresnel lenses for high resolution photographic lenses? I had the same probs years ago, with my Zeiss Contarex – their 250mm and 500mm primes were way expensive and the 500mm’s design was too bulky and – frankly – too weird to hold my interest. (Internally it used two curved mirrors, to zig-zag the light rays, to shorten the length of the barrel – at the cost of a huge increase in both the diameter of the lens barrel and, of course, the front element[s] of the lens. Ingenious – but not my idea of “good design work”)

    So what IS a really suitable tele prime in the sort of 400-500 range, for Niks? And preferably one that can take an adapter (maybe a 2x adapter?) to switch it over to things like moon shots. Doesn’t seem to me that there’s anything you’d really fall over yourself to buy – as distinct from something people like sports photographers simply can’t afford NOT to but.

    • Avatar
      Chris Gibbons June 28, 2018

      Hi Pete – thanks for reading and your comments. To your question – I’m not certain if I’ve misunderstood you or you/me, but the Nikon lens I use, and to which I refer in the article, is the 200-500 f/5.6E ED VR, not the 500 f/4E FL ED VR prime. The 200-500 is 2.3kgs – heavy, but not impossibly so for hand-holding. The 500 is 3.1kgs – starting to be heavy for more than a short while.

      If you’re looking out for a 500 f/4, though, Nikon has announced a PF version – no release date yet – which is expected to be much, much lighter. (But with an inverse effect on your wallet!)

      • Avatar
        jean pierre (pete) guaron June 28, 2018

        Thanks Chris.

        I am nervous about the PF version – I’ve seen varying reports on the 300mm PF, possibly stemming from the incredibly difficult task of machining a fresnel lens and possibly resulting from variable quality control due to manufacturing the lenses in China, to cut costs. The reviewer I have in mind tried 3 of them before he got a “good” one. Those odds have no appeal whatsoever to me. It’s something I’d “like” to have but don’t “have” to have. And I only want it if it’s a good one.

        Zooms have a different issue – they suck dust inside and sooner or later there’s an awful problem, getting it cleaned out. Happy to run that risk with a cheap kit zoom on my D7200 – not so happy to take that chance with a far more expensive lens on my FF Nikon.

        Sigh. And my weightlifting days are over! Currently, my heaviest lens is 1.4Kg – 2.3Kg doesn’t scare me but 3.1 might. No worries – it’s not urgent – perhaps as Garfield said, I should expect the unexpected! 🙂

      • Avatar
        jean pierre (pete) guaron June 28, 2018

        I see the Sigma 150-600 sports is less — 2.7 Kg. A bit like a vacuum cleaner, if you open it out to 600 – quite respectable performance – and right now, I can buy one, brand new, locally, for AUD$1,980 (USD$1,460 or 1,260 euros)

  2. Avatar
    jean pierre (pete) guaron June 28, 2018

    Wisdom never comes to me in a rush – my brain has always demanded time out, for thinking. So here’s another comment. My apologies for running off at the mouth (in print? – oh well 🙂 )

    Reviewing all those photos again this morning, I was struck by one thought – a thought I’ve had before, when looking at material relating to Fuji and its cameras and its wide variety of lenses. This camera seems from your photos to be a “photographers’ camera” – no matter what aspects of it didn’t suit which one of you. The clarity of the images, the tonality of the images, the capture of the colours of the images before your lenses, is superb – throughout. At least one of the photos is something I’ve done any number of times, and I know damn well how difficult it is to capture those colours – for that shot, at least – and here the shot I have in mind is simply stunning.

  3. Avatar
    pascaljappy June 28, 2018

    Thanks for this great report. The photographs are really inspiring and it’s really nice to have to point of view of 3 different users, with different shooting styles.

    That first “Spotted Thick-knee, nr. Paarl, South Africa” is astounding. It reminds me of Danila Tkachenko’s “Restricted areas” series, which is one of the most interesting set of photographs I have seen in a long time.

    Have any of you experienced some colour weirdness, as we Sony users occasionally do? The reason for asking is that colours in these photographs are superb, but Paul’s lovely “Dunes at Betty’s Bay” shows a very Sony like drift. Is that just a white balance choice or do colours occasionally drift on the X-H1 ?

    Also, the photographs look very natural compared to all other Fujis I’ve seen to date. But the very first picture (Bob’s “Young Monk, Punakha Dzong, Bhutan”) displays some of that slightly artificial quality on contours. Or is that just the short hair creating that effect?

    Enough questions about technicalities. Thanks again for sharing those reviews and the superb photographs (that have made me realise how long it’s been since I was out in the open …).

    And congratulations to Fuji for a job well done.

    • Avatar
      paulperton June 28, 2018

      Pascal, this was shot early in the morning. The rising sun was desperately trying to break between the clouds and the white sand/tiny yellow flowers also had to have a say in the colour rendering. I could have fiddled with the WB, but to be honest I decided to leave it as it was – look closely and you’ll see that to make matters worse, the wind was whipping the bush all over the show – not a keeper, but an excellent example of the X-H1’s ability to capture colour.

      • Avatar
        jean pierre (pete) guaron June 28, 2018

        Your shot at Betty’s Bay is similar in many ways to a pastel drawing i did years ago**, of sand dunes – and has much the same range of colours. **[hanging in my lounge room, upstairs]

        I don’t think it matters, Paul, if it’s not tack sharp – it’s the subtle tones that make it a picture – and it would still be a keepr, even if the dune grass was blurred.

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    philberphoto June 29, 2018

    Obviously Fuji know how to make their clients happy and their wallets light. Kudos! And happy customers make pictures that beget clappies! Re-kudos!!

    • Avatar
      jean pierre (pete) guaron June 30, 2018

      Philippe, I think if I was starting from scratch, I’d give very serious thought to going with Fuji. They seem to me to be much more a “photographer’s manufacturer” and much less a tinsel & glitter one. They have a very large range of high quality lenses to choose from. And a good solid range of sensible camera designs.

      At this end of the market, there’s no real prospect of some kind of earth shattering technical breakthrough. Everything out there at the top end is already so good that further improvements to image quality would be hard to notice, even if technically they WERE there. So what we should look at is build quality, water & dust proofing, convenience of controls, is the user manual readily available (in case you lose one – which I’ve already done, once) and is it easy to understand (which hardly any of them really are), can you get the features YOU want, and so on.

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