Best Fujifilm X-H1 Hybrid Black Friday and Cyber Monday Deals & Sales 2020:
Almost two years after the X-Pro2 , Fujifilm presents a new series in its X Premium range with the X-H1 case which completes the manufacturer’s offer alongside the X-T2 , the X-Pro2 and, of course, the medium format GFX 50S . More massive, the X-H1 is the first in the range to have mechanical stabilization of the sensor and brings some new features on the video side . Still equipped with a 24MP APS-C sensor, it becomes the family’s standard bearer for this format.
Best Fujifilm X-H1 Hybrid Black Friday and Cyber Monday Deals & Sales 2020
The first contacts with the Fujifilm X-H1 Hybrid surprise. The hybrid quickly established itself in hand. It is rather massive and its lines are directly inspired by the brand’s medium format, the GFX. If the neo-retro look of the X-Pro2, the X100F, and to a lesser extent, the X-T2 was unanimous, the more monolithic design with a Stalinist tendency of the GFX did not really succeed in seducing the photographers.
The X-H1 inspires confidence with more than 600 g without optics (almost the mass of a Nikon D7500 naked) and a high-flying construction. With resistant optics, the new hybrid will be comfortable in all weather conditions. Rain, snow, dust, cold: nothing should make you go back!
Made in Japan in a factory we visited, the X-H1 is, according to Fujifilm, almost twice as resistant as an X-T2. Difficult to assess these statements, but the case has 68 seals while the power handle has 26. The frame itself has been reinforced in anticipation of the 200 mm f / 2 which should arrive in the months to come up.
The exterior coating is also very resistant. While the X-T2 is stamped with a scratch resistance of 5H, the X-H1 is credited with an 8H (pencil scratch hardness). After more than a week spent in the company of the X-H1, and without taking any precautions whatsoever, we did not notice any scratches on the case.
Dimensions of a small reflex
The GFX is clearly the largest APS-C in the Fujifilm line. By exaggerating somewhat, the Fujifilm X-H1 Hybrid is almost as imposing as the GFX which nevertheless incorporates a significantly larger sensor. Its proportions are ultimately quite close to an APS-C SLR like the Nikon D7500 .
The Fujifilm X-H1 Hybrid does not take up the ergonomics of the medium format, even if it is inspired by it a lot. On the left shoulder of the case, you will find the ISO sensitivity adjustment wheel which allows you to select both L mode (Low: 100 ISO) and the different values from 200 to 12,800 ISO, as well as the H value (High: 25,600 or 51,200 ISO). This point is also quite open to criticism. In fact, you cannot access the two highest values via the scroll wheel. You must choose one of the two sensitivities to assign to the H position in the user menu. This is not really obvious …
Under the wheel, you will find a selector to choose the motorization, but also the artistic filters, the panoramic mode, the different brackets or the video mode.
On the other side of the viewfinder, you will find a barrel to adjust the exposure time. This allows you to adjust this time in steps of 1 EV, the intermediate values being defined using the front / rear dials. Those who are resistant to this system can also position the barrel in T mode and choose the exposure time only using the front / rear adjustment knobs. A lever also allows you to select the exposure mode with four possibilities: spot, center-weighted, average and multi-zone. However, the lever is not very easy to access. Pity.
On the imposing handle, sit the trigger as well as the tensioning lever. A button for exposure compensation is also present, but it is especially the impressive monochrome LCD screen that catches the eye. It allows to display permanently – even with the camera off, apparently using e-ink technology – a lot of information on the shooting, both in photo and video. A command allows the information to be backlit for better visibility in the middle of the dungeon.
The back of the case is more “traditional” in its approach, but some will appreciate the arrival of an AF-On command in order to focus with the thumb and not halfway on the shutter. You will find the second clickable adjustment wheel (like the one at the front) and a joystick to move the AF points and navigate the menus. As on the GFX, the Q command (to activate the quick menus on the screen) is deported to the thumb rest. The author of these lines, for his part, does not appreciate this awkward position and would have preferred a larger key positioned not far from the joystick, for example. Besides, in general, the controls on the back are quite small and would have deserved more presence, space not missing.
Aim: the return of touch
Electronic aiming always remains one of the sensitive points of hybrids. For this new model, the engineers have renewed the OLED panel with 3,690,000 points which already equips the GFX. It is a very precise model and only the viewfinder of the Leica SL displays more information. The magnification is however less (0.75x) than that of the X-T2 (0.77x). The Fujifilm X-H1 Hybrid also has a large rubber eyecup which makes aiming very pleasant.
The refresh rate is by default fixed at 60 fps, but it is possible to push the rate to 100 fps in the menus or with the power handle for better fluidity in bright light. In low lights, no mystery: the display becomes grainy before jerking when the lighting becomes too dim. As too often, the display also stutters under artificial lights, which makes aiming problematic.
The LCD screen is mounted on a strange system that allows orientation in three directions and displays 1,040,000 points. In this regard, we would have appreciated a more precise model, because it is sometimes difficult to estimate a manual focus with this screen. Why not have chosen the model that equips the GFX with its 2,360,000 points?
Achilles heel of hybrid devices, too limited autonomy remains problematic at Fujifilm. Indeed, the Fujifilm X-H1 Hybrid is equipped with the Li-Ion NP-W126S battery of 8.7 Wh (8.4 V / 1260 mAh) which already powered the X-T2 and X-Pro2. The technical data sheet for the new hybrid promises 310 views according to CIPA standards. A very low figure which we confirm, unfortunately. During our tests (it was quite cold …), we barely exceeded 250 views during intensive use of the device without being in “boost” mode. A second battery will therefore be a precious ally during a photo outing (count 70 €).
To counteract this low autonomy, you can also acquire the VPB-XH1 power supply handle (around 300 €) which allows you to carry up to two additional batteries for a total of three – enough to practically triple the autonomy of the case. Note that the handle and its two batteries is also 393 g more to carry, which brings the housing + handle assembly to practically 1 kg.
The VPB-XH1 handle is not limited to increasing the autonomy of the case, it also acts as a case accelerator or booster . Thus, it allows you to climb to 11 or even 14 fps and hold up to 30 min of recording in 4K / UHD. In addition, the handle also offers a headphone output essential for checking the sound recording on video, as well as a mains supply to quickly recharge the three batteries.
The box has the classic paraphernalia for this positioning …
- 3.5 mm stereo mini jack microphone input.
- USB 3 connector.
- HDMI Type D output.
- Connector for 2.5 mm wired remote control.
- Flash sync socket.
No more modern and now very common USB-C type socket. Too bad… We will console ourselves with the USB port which offers recharging of the internal battery. Good point !
The GFX 50S comes with a version of Silkypix to process JPEG or RAW files. It is not the most user-friendly application, but it has the advantage of offering a multitude of options. Adobe Lightroom should very soon support medium format .RAF files and we can imagine that even Capture One – now competitive in this market – will take care of raw files. What is less certain is the compatibility of the connected mode of Capture One. We will therefore have to turn back to Lightroom.
A small software ($ 80) Fujifilm Tether Plug-in PRO for Lightroom will be available when the box is released for macOS and Windows . A light version is also available for $ 29.
In addition, Fujifilm offers the Fujifilm X-H1 Hybrid Acquire app for free, which allows you to quickly transfer photos to a computer folder ( Windows / macOS ) with the settings on the camera.
With a definition of 24 Mpx, the size of the photodiodes is approximately 3.9 µm. The ISO range natively ranges from ISO 100 to 12,800 and can be pushed up to ISO 25,600 and ISO 51,200 with both JPEG and RAW files.
As on the present “X-Trans CMOS III” models, the housing delivers a very good image quality between 100 and 800 ISO. The images are full of details and the solid areas are not very marked by the mottling. You can easily push to ISO 1600 while keeping a lot of details. The colored areas are also still little affected. Even at ISO 3200, the images are still very clean with very light smoothing, colors still very vivid, but the dark values are slightly denser.
The images then lose a bit of dynamics with less detail in the extreme areas (dark and light), and the granulation becomes more visible and less pleasant. Overall, the image still retains good performance and will be perfectly usable. Higher sensitivities are naturally a little more complex to manage. At ISO 12 800, the grain prevails and blurs the finest details, the borders become less sharp and the solid areas are now “pecked” by the noise.
The last two values (25 600 and 51 200 ISO) are classified out of category by Fujifilm and are indeed more delicate. These values will be limited to work which will not be displayed in grain or which may be reworked, in particular in black and white.
When recording video, the entire surface of the sensor is not used and it is necessary to count on cropping in HDTV 1,080, but also in 4K / UHD. According to the technical sheets, for UHD video, the recording uses a definition of 5,120 x 2,880 px for resampling in 3,840 x 2,160 px, a bit like Sony offers on its latest models.
In UHD, the precision of the image is of quality and the oversampling of the data makes it possible to restore a sharp and precise image, like that of certain Sony boxes. The image of the Sony A7 III remains however more pleasant with a little less visible aliasing.
The possibility of filming in 120 / 100p in HDTV 1,080 is also very interesting, especially to give yourself the latitude to achieve smooth slow motion. However, switching to high speed degrades the quality of the images, as you can see in the example below.
In video, the autofocus system to its fans and detractors. In this exercise, the Fujifilm X-H1 Hybrid shows itself to be irregular. Sometimes fast, sometimes slow, the focus still largely depends on the optics used. In addition, face recognition is also uneven depending on the shooting conditions.
Besides, the Fujifilm X-H1 Hybrid gets really interesting when used with its power handle. It is therefore necessary to add more than 300 g on the balance and almost. 440 € outside the wallet (300 € of handle + 140 € of batteries). The set therefore exceeds € 2,300, the price of the Sony A7 III which has a 24×36 sensor…
However, for photographers looking for an APS-C package with more compact and lightweight optics, the Fujifilm X-H1 is an attractive option with welcome improvements over the previous line manager, X-T2 . We particularly appreciate the integrated mechanical stabilization which works with all optics. For a first try, the results are really more than honorable. The arrival of a more precise viewfinder is also a good point, even if it still lacks a bit of responsiveness in low light. Under this last condition, the X-H1 is on the other hand a little more reactive to achieve the development and, overall, the case behaves well, even if certain competitors do better, in particular for the autofocus tracking. For this new line,
Never without its handle
The construction of the case gains in robustness and the Fujifilm X-H1 Hybrid seems really all terrain. We regret that the battery life does not follow. There would probably have been daring, again, a battery change, but Fujifilm has renewed an already existing model. This is probably the next site on which the engineers will have to work. In fact, the power handle quickly becomes essential to go serenely in photo reporting, for example. In addition, the handle offers many advantages with its “boost” function which over-stimulates the case and gives it access to a faster burst and gives a little boost in overall tone. Finally, it offers the possibility of connecting a headset for audio recording.
In terms of high sensitivity management, the Fujifilm X-H1 Hybrid sets the record straight and undoubtedly delivers the most convincing shots of the moment for an APS-C format. You will also appreciate all the color science of Fujifilm with in particular film simulations Velvia, Provia, Classic Chrome or black and white Acros. The new Eterna profile, more intended for video, is also very flexible to use due to its neutrality.
Stronger, more massive, heavier, but also faster and more video-oriented than other Fujifilm APS-C hybrids. The Fujifilm X-H1 Hybrid has established itself as the new standard bearer in the range. It receives a recommended despite a somewhat muscular price and the obligation to use the power handle to take advantage of its full potential.
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