Fujifilm X-H1 first look: Reinforced, expensive mirrorless shooter

By Souvik Das | Published on 22 Feb 2018
Fujifilm X-H1 first look: Reinforced, expensive mirrorless shooter

The Fujifilm X-H1 borrows its essentials from the compact X-E3 mirrorless camera, and adds far superior integrated stabilisation, a more durable body and faster continuous shooting.

Fujifilm has launched a new installation to its mirrorless camera lineup, the Fujifilm X-H1. The new camera shares its core elements with the X-E3, while improving on a bunch of elements to target a completely new group of users. As a result, even though it shares much of its characteristics with the older X-E3, what it offers is a wider range of use cases, thereby catering to an equally wide range of people.

The Fujifilm X-H1 is powered by a 24.3-megapixel APS-C X-Trans CMOS III sensor with Fuji’s primary colour filter. It gets the Fujifilm X-mount for the Fujinon range of lenses, and native ISO range goes up to ISO 12800 (with expandable range of ISO 51200). It also gets 256-zone through-the-lens metering, and Fujifilm’s new generation intelligent hybrid autofocus module, which includes through-the-lens contrast and phase detection autofocus. All of these are the same as what was already on offer with the Fujifilm X-E3.

However, one of its strongest selling points is the 5-axis mechanical image stabilisation, or as Fuji calls it, In-Body Image Stabilisation (IBIS). The Fujifilm X-H1 is rated for 5.5-stop image stabilisation, which is pretty sublime considering how 6.5-stop image stabilisation is how far camera stabilisation can go. This particularly helps the X-H1 in low light and sport photography, and in shooting handheld videos.

Furthermore, Fujifilm states that the X-H1 has 94-point-sealed dust and weather-proofing, which gives it a more robust body. This should help shooting in extreme weather and environment conditions. Combined with the 5.5-stop image stabilisation, this should allow the X-H1 shoot better low light photographs across a wider range of conditions.

Unfortunately, as a trade-off, what you get is a bulkier, heavier body that takes away the pocketable slimness of the X-E3. The weather-sealed body is quite large to accommodate a pentaprism eyepiece with eye sensor, a full-fledged hand grip, a tiltable display and weather-sealed flaps for ports. The overall size is comparable to that of an APS-C sensor-powered DSLR, and at 673 grams, it is double the weight of the rangefinder-format X-E3.

The third new feature is faster continuous shooting rate. At 14fps, the higher buffer memory of the X-H1 coupled with the faster autofocus system allows it to shoot much faster. Upon first impressions, Fuji seems to have dealt with the slow autofocus and continuous shooting speed of the X-E3, which should help increase its versatility.

Upon first impressions, the Fujifilm X-H1 does not appear to drastically differ in contrast, colour, sharpness and dynamic range in comparison to the X-E3. The notable differences lie in the speed of shooting, and enhanced stabilisation. The X-H1 may not be noticeably superior to the X-E3 in the long run, but we will save our final verdict for the upcoming review.

Shot on the Fujifilm X-H1

Shot on the Fujifilm X-E3

Here's taking a look at a second camera sample shot simultaneously from the X-H1 and the X-E3:

Shot on the Fujifilm X-H1

Shot on the Fujifilm X-E3

The Fujifilm X-H1 retains the multi-way joystick selector that makes usage and navigation very easy. Alongside, it also comes with integrated Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity for remote control and image transfer. To aid its versatility, it now gets an articulating display that can be tilted up and down, and moved laterally to a fixed angle. The movement may be restricted, but it is better than a non-articulating display.

On overall terms, the Fujifilm X-H1 seems to offer similar overall performance as the X-E3. However, it is more versatile and can offer faster shooting in low light and in conditions that demand faster response rate. Prices for the Fujifilm X-H1 start at Rs. 2,29,000, which is significantly more expensive than the Fujifilm X-E3. Is it worth the price? It all depends on your use case, but we will reserve our final answer for the eventual review.

Souvik Das

The one that switches between BMWs and Harbour Line Second Class.

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