FujiFilm X-H1 review: Old world charm with a modern mind

FujiFilm X-H1 review: The FujiFilm X-H1 is not ordinary camera, it is a flagship mirrorless camera which tries to show what can be achieved in the realm of digital photography.

Rating: 4 out of 5
Written by Nandagopal Rajan | New Delhi | Updated: May 12, 2018 11:12:53 am
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It is becoming really hard to review cameras. The new digital cameras have so many features that unless you are in the mood to write an epic, it is almost impossible to cover all the good features. The FujiFilm X-H1 mirrorless camera also presents a similar problem. FujiFilm, in my books the pioneers of the mirrorless segment, seems to be taking the Indian market seriously once again with the X-H1. The FujiFilm X-H1 is not ordinary camera, it is a flagship mirrorless camera which tries to show what can be achieved in the realm of digital photography. I spent a week with the camera, barely scratching the surface of what it had to offer.

FujiFilm X-H1
FujiFilm X-H1 price in India: Rs 1,49,999 (Body Only)

The FujiFilm X-H1 is a well-built camera. It gives you an old world feel like some of the other FujiFilm cameras that I have used. The camera offers a good grip and is heavy without being tiresome, which is a good feel to have for a camera. There is a 0.5-inch OLED viewfinder and a 3-inch adjustable LCD display, both of which help you frame a good picture in different surrounding. I am, however, partial towards viewfinders, especially when I am taking effort to compose a shot. There is also an LCD panel on top for a quick view of the settings you are in and this is on even when the camera is off. There is a naked dock at the bottom for connecting the battery pack, and it looks odd if you don’t have it latched to the body.

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In fact, despite this being a mirrorless camera, FujiFilm has opted to go for some old fashioned rings that let you set ISO and shutter speed separately. Quite a bold choice of features for a 2018 camera. However, this actually makes the camera easier to use as you don’t have to fumble with the digital menu once you have got a hang of the dial. You can set ISO, shutter speed, camera mode and auto-focus mode using dials.

Also Read: Sony Alpha A7R III review: Mirrorless, but certainly not pointless

After a long time I found myself with a camera in a place that inspired me to shoot. So, I took the FujiFilm X-H1 for a photo walk inside the labyrinth of North Kolkata’s gullies. One thing that bothered me with camera is that it is not easy to find a strap for this. For something that’s quite expensive, FujiFilm should have thought of a better strap loop.

With the first click you will notice something different with the camera. It is so responsive, that you could end up with some shots that are unintended. However, I can live with that given the fact that the camera ensures that you don’t miss the action by much. Even the shutter action is soft and less mechanical than we are used to.

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Another thing I noticed was that this camera offers a high contrast which is sort of trademark FujiFilm. The colours, the contrasts, the highlight everything sort of pops out. Since the images are rich, you will need a good Class 10 card to rise up the challenges of storage. A RAW file from the camera is at least 50MB and JPEG about 8MB.

Also Read: Panasonic LUMIX GH5S review: Video has never had it this good before

The 24.3 (APS-C)X-Trans CMOS III sensor gives you great control over light. This is my kind of photography where I am letting sun’s rays and light bulbs narrate a story of their own. You can go up to ISO 25600 with this one like with some other mirrorless cameras. And that opens up a whole world of hitherto unachievable frames.

The intelligent hybrid auto-focus, meanwhile, offers some precise framing. You can go for single point as well as zone focusing using the dial. You can use the touchscreen here to get to the right spot for your focus and that’s a good feature to have.

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The small cameras of today are also doing some really big things if you look at how a lot of professional videos these days are shot on DSLRs. With the new Sony Alphas and now the FujiFilm X-H1, mirrorless cameras too seem to be making a pitch for this space. The X-H1 comes with the Enterna film simulation mode which offers a more cinematic and less digital feel while you shoot videos. The camera has the potential to shoot in all kinds of environments and with the best quality possible. And being such a compact form factor, it will surely find some takers.

Overall, the FujiFilm X-H1 is a versatile modern day camera with some unique old world charm that extends from the dials to the leather bag. However, this is a very capable camera and you will be advised not to take the looks too seriously. A great option for enthusiasts who like to play around with settings and output.

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