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February 15, 2018

Fujfilm targets video shooters with the new flagship X-H1

by John_A

Fujifilm has dropped a hefty gauntlet on rivals with the X-H1, its new flagship APS-C mirrorless that excels at both photography and video. It sports a 24.3-megapixel X-Trans CMOS III sensor housed in a body with features from both the ergonomically excellent X-T2 and medium-format GFX 50S. Fujifilm calls it “the highest performance camera in the X series lineup,” thanks to features like true DCI 4K video (4,096 x 2,160), 14 fps max burst shooting and, for the first time in a Fujifilm camera, 5-axis in-body stabilization.

The X-H1 has a dust- and water-resistant body that is meatier than others in the X-series with a big grip requested by professional shooters. From some angles, it looks much like the X-T2, with two dual-dials that let you control not just shutter speed and ISO, but also shooting and focus modes. That’s a big plus, as it helps you avoid diving into menus. But instead of the X-T2’s exposure compensation dial (which you can access elsewhere) it sports a top LCD that shows information like shutter speed, f-stop, ISO and shooting modes at a glance — just like the GFX 50S.

Another key feature is in-body, 5-axis stabilization, the first in an X Series model. The X-1H has three axial gyros and a dual-processor that can do 10,000 calculations per second, giving you up to to 5.5 stops of shake reduction, depending on the lens. To further reduce vibration, it has a new leaf-spring shutter-release switch and electronic shutter that Fujifilm calls “near-silent.”

The X-H1 packs an all-new OLED EVF with 0.75x magnification and 3.69 million dot resolution, “leading the class for APS-C mirrorless cameras,” Fujifilm said. It has display lag of 0.005 seconds and refreshes at 100 fps — specs that jibe closely with the EVF on Sony’s A7R III, you might notice. The 3-inch display has a 1.04 million dot touch panel that can be tilted in three directions, but Fujifilm didn’t say if it can be flipped around for vloggers or selfies. The sub-LCD on top is 1.28 inches wide.

With the X-H1, Fujifilm is finally making a serious bid to attract videographers. You can shoot 4,096 x 2,160 DCI, 24fps video, 3,840 x 2,160 at 30p and 1080p at 120fps, with a maximum bit rate of 200 Mbps. That’s quite good, but Panasonic’s GH5 and GH5s can handle 4K at up to 60 fps, with a 400 Mbps maximum bit rate. Fujifilm didn’t say whether the X-H1 can output 10-bit video, which reduces banding and makes color grading easier.

Fujifilm also added a 1080p, 120fps mode, F-log SD card recording to smooth workflow, a 12-stop dynamic range setting and a new “high-sound quality internal microphone” — a plus, since the internal mic on the X-T2 is … not good. Lastly, it’s offering “Eterna,” a film simulation mode “that is ideal for shooting movies.”

If you’re wondering if the X-H1 has both microphone and headphone inputs, the answer seems to be “sort of.” Like the X-T2, there is a microphone input, but if you want a headphone jack, you’ll have to pay an extra $300 to get the “Vertical Power Booster Grip Kit.” As a plus, you do get 30 minutes of extra 4K shooting time and faster burst speeds with that accessory.

Other key features include a new “flicker reduction mode,” that eliminates strobing and banding under fluorescent and mercury lighting, 802.11b/g/n WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0 (no sign of NFC, though). Fujifilm also unveiled a pair of cinema zoom lenses that match up with the X-H1’s new video talents, the Fujinon MKX18-55mm T2.9 and MKX50-135mm T2.9 (T2.9 means F/2.9). Those will run (wait for it) $4,000 and $4,300, respectively. Yes, cinema lenses are always expensive.

Luckily, the X-H1 camera itself is a lot more reasonable, less than notable video-specialist mirrorless cameras like the Panasonic GH5, GH5s and Sony A7S II. It will arrive in the US on March 1st for $1,900, or $2,200 with the Vertical Power Booster Grip Kit.

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