« Vivian Maier, The Color Work | Main | School Me on the iPad? »

Friday, 16 November 2018


You know, I've never found myself not buying a camera because the aesthetic of the manufacturer's offering lineup didn't appeal to me.

I wouldn't fret too much. They have the GFX 50R coming out on Nov. 26. I think it's safe to say no one has anything like that. I am counting the days until B&H ships. Then I will have the trifecta X100F, X Pro 2 and GFX 50R. Actually I feel kind of silly/stupid. I am getting the 63 and 45 for the GFX. For the X Pro I have the 18, 23 (2.0 and 1.4), 35 (2.0 and 1.4), and 50. One would think I would not need any more 35 or 50mm equivalents.......... However, just for good measure I just bought an M5 with a 50mm Voigtlander and 35mm Zeiss. I suppose one can never have too many 35mm lenses. I just wish Fuji would make a 27mm F2 for the X Pro.

My impression is that Fujifilm currently labels their cameras by body style, not by expected application. For example, the X-T100 is functionally part of the X-A series, but its body style is like the X-T series.

I suspect that the defining characteristic of the X-H series is the larger body. If Fuji owners can be so passionate about the difference between center-mounted and corner-mounted viewfinder, it seems reasonable to expect that they'll be passionate about body size.

That larger body size made for a convenient "first offering" platform for Fuji's new IBIS system. I think it's generally expected that over the next few years we'll see IBIS across most of the Fuji lineup, so the X-H probably isn't "the IBIS series."

Funny this article came along when it did.

Currently own a Nikon D600. I wanted to try out mirrorless, but IBIS was mandatory. In the Fuji ecosystem, that meant the X-H1. Size and weight were factors, for sure.

I was actually ready to buy a used one X-H1 and 16-55/2.8, until I compared it to a Nikon Z7.

The Nikon and Fuji bodies were about the same size. The Fuji 16-55/2.8 is actually heavier than the Nikon S 24-70/4.

Even price-wise, the X-H1+16-55/2.8 and Z6+24-70/4 combos are similar (new, the Fuji is actually more, while used it's about $400 less than the Z6 combo).

So I ordered a Z6 (same size as the Z7) and 24-70/4 combo, along with an FTZ adapter, to arrive Monday.

I was actually always pretty clear about Nikon. They had the F-mount lenses, and then a variety of machines that accepted them. The lenses were updated from time to time, as tech got better, as were the machines. I had the F3, F4, F5, D3, D800, and also, back in the 90s, a couple of bodies that sat just below the F5 but were much lighter. I guess if I worried a lot about marketing, I might have disagreed with some of their positioning, but as a photographer, I found everything quite clear and orderly.

Oh, and another thing -- your comment about the Panasonic GX8 being orphaned. I really fear this might be true. Both Panasonic and Olympus seem determined to grab some video market, and they're putting a lot of eggs in that particular basket. (I think that's a mistake, for reasons I won't go into here.) In the meantime, they're neglecting a great system that is now getting long in the tooth -- especially the sensors. The m4/3 system will never compete with FF in terms of absolute image quality, but can be absolutely superior in terms of size/weight. They could be the Leicas of the 2000s, but instead, the m4/3 cameras are creeping upward in size, and some are now virtually as large as FF cameras (although the lenses remain smaller.) Now there are rumors that Olympus is planning an uber-m4/3 that will be essentially as large as a Nikon Z7, and just as expensive, but...not as good. And with the now long-in-the-tooth sensor. Why? IMHO, they should be going with the strengths of the system, which are portability and lower costs. They should be selling it to journalists -- no journalist really needs more than the m4/3 quality offers, and most would welcome the reduction in size/weight when carrying multiple bodies and lenses. But there seems to be no effort in the direction. This absolutely mystifies me.

Damn, you really hit the bullseye on Nikon with this one, and I'm a Nikon guy. My main criticism has been the lack of DX primes, which essentially "pushed" me into FX. Probably what Nikon was hoping guys like me would do, but as Thom Hogan describes, those kinds of decisions (lack of DX primes) also causes "leakage" of existing customers to other camera systems such as Fuji and Sony.

“A Judgement”? Mike, this isn’t even quite an opinion as you have barely even mentioned the camera. This is a drive-by opinion. ;-)

Did you like the camera or not?

[This isn't the review. This is the part that wouldn't fit in the review. I'm still working on the review. --Mike]

Looking at Fuji over many years, that clarity doesn't seem that apparent to me. Just looking at medium format, they had system cameras, plastic rangefinders with non-interchangeable lenses, folders, and very little that could be interchanged between them. If you liked the rangefinders but wanted more than one focal length, you either bought the 645zi with the zoom lens, or you owned several of the things, at which point the compactness of being a rangefinder lost its value. But none of those persisted in the market for as long as most of the competition.

Contrast that with Pentax--poor Pentax. They supported the superb 6x7 line for nearly 40 years, and they are still supporting the 645 line at 37 years. Yet they receive little credit or even attention from the pundits for doing so. Despite the disaster that was Hoya ownership, they still remain consistent with their long-standing commitment to optical SLR's.

But as soon as Fuji comes out with the GFX, which despite being several years newer than the 645z, uses the same sensor with no image-making advantage, everybody declares SLRs dead and jumps to a system that simply does not provide the flexibility inherent in the nearly 40 years of lenses that we always admired, and that still work. In fact, during the time Pentax has supported a 645 system with the same basic lens mount, Fuji has introduced and discontinued a number of medium-format cameras.

If being faced with having to start over with a new system every so many years is considered visionary, then I suppose I'm without vision. But I'm still using a Canon DSLR that is a decade old, and still shooting film with a Pentax 67 (and large format), and happily enjoying a large library of lenses that work perfectly on my 645z. Yet the rush to the Next Big Thing may persuade Ricoh to kill it. Will photographers benefit from that? Only the rich ones.

Have we conflated being visionary with being disruptive? I like the companies that do NOT disrupt my established workflows. But, then, I've always thought being disruptive was a bad thing.

Loved your description of Nikon's "non-vision". FWIW, I'm a former Nikon owner turned off by much of what you said, though I didn't think of it in the terms you used. I hope Thom Hogan weighs in. I suspect he would agree with your assessment.

Give them credit for hearing its user base, even if their IBIS is not quite up to spec with their current tech/design factor. Hopefully, this is but a stop gap measure that (given time) will be massaged and incorporated into the current X-T series. Right now, if IBIS was such a strong consideration- I'd rather go with SONY, and get FF with the increased size.

I know little about either canon, nikon or Fuji products but I find Canon and Nikon to be fairly obvious. Just lots of DSLRs and you can have a cheap one or an expensive one. I found Fuji's product's pretty obscure, I really have no idea what the differences are between each one. Just my impression as someone who doesn't buy from those makers.

Right now Fuji has confused me, their GM in dpreview article talks about never full frame, then how x series users not migrating to g series, then about their low end Instax might get different lenses, on top of which every time I turn around Fuji having sales on everything. I use d850 and Leica x’s I was hoping to see an Xpro 3, but doesn’t look like that happen till next year maybe.

As far as their camera division is concerned Fujifilm are a small company and, as you pointed out, a relatively new one. Small new companies always have the advantages of less baggage and faster response. Fuji were able to rethink the ergonomics of their cameras and this I think is their major advantage. Go to a Sony full frame to get IBIS? You have to be kidding. Have you ever tried to use one? Fuji have always been good at listening to their customers. In my opinion the X-H1 is an attempt to give their customers what they want. There has been much talk on the web about Fuji needing a camera with good video performance and IBIS. So for those that want those features here it is. The X-t series major on small size and they would have to get bigger to accomodate IBIS.

Mike, I think its not that difficult an issue.

The X100 was a new concept camera, introduced to test the market for a small well-featured APS-C camera. Spurred by its success, Fuji introduced a second variant with interchangeable lenses, then updated both variants once, then twice, whatever, as we all know.

The GFX 50S was a new concept camera, introduced to respond to the criticism from enthusiast and art photographers that the APS-C line doesn't have the image quality they demand. Indeed, it goes one better, jumping 'full-frame' 35mm to medium format. Take THAT! Now there's a second variant on the way.

The X-H1 is a new concept camera, introduced to respond the criticism from heavy-handed pro-journo photographers who accept that the APS-C line provides perfectly adequate image quality but who think the existing APS-C line isn't tough enough or fast enough or gutsy enough to see them through their heavy-handed, non-stop shoot-em fast workdays. Think we're sissies? Take THAT!

Fuji has a lot of good karma going for it. One problem tho - the X-Pro2 not getting Focus Bracketing as was added to the X-T2.
Fuji folk say "X-pro2 owners don't use their cameras like that". Baloney - just as Leica had Visoflex housing and microscope adapers and a ton of things that made them all around gear for many uses - Fuji X-Pro users photograph more than Cartier-Bresson street people.

Really like the rangefinder style body and especially the optical finder it has. Don't like the electronic only viewfinder on the X-T bodies. If I have to go that route I'll get a Nikon D850 for Focus Bracketing/Stacking and have all those great Nikon lenses to choose from. Even if Nikon is the wierd Uncle of photo body production they sure have some great glass. Fuji does as well, but not nearly the range of Nikon.
I buy cameras to use them and don't like having to have separate bodies for full use. Not in the same sensor/film size. 2 1/4, 8x10 and the like are used for what they do well - but I don't have two of each so I can get a particular feature the first body won't do.

I bought the X-H1 with IBIS because I wanted something that I could use with my Fuji lenses (the 14, 16-55, 23, 35, 50, 56, 90, and the 55-200) and shoot stellar stills and 4K video. I could not be happier with the results - my biggest problem is to decide which of my other 3 Fuji X bodies to use with my X-H1 for weddings and general shooting. The size, while larger than my Nikon D810, is not a problem at all - especially with a lens like the 16-55. And the IBIS works great, allowing very steady video and sharp, sharp image quality without using a tripod, ever.

I kinda agree that the X-H1 seems "odd" because it only has IBIS to really set it apart from all the other similar attributes of the X-Tx series. But what if the next update was given at least one other significantly defining feature - like maybe the highest number of pixels available in an APS-C camera? Say 30 or thereabouts. Since Fuji to me seems to be the "king of the hill" for that sensor size, they should do whatever is possible to push it to the limits. I have no idea if it's reasonably possible, but if it is, they should go for it. And an X-Hx series could be assigned that lead.

Fujifilm does make lots of nice, well thought out cameras, but most folks buy one camera at a time, the one whose feature set most appeals to them. I view the H1 as a new top of the line camera with a more robust build, IBIS and more Video centric features as well.
It also costs more.
If I were a photographer who loved Fuji lenses but needed IBIS I think I'd be happy.
If it turns out to be a one off model, I would be less happy. But I don't really get that feeling. As You say they have been quite smart and deliberate about their offerings so I doubt that's the case.
It seems like a nice camera to me.

I agree Mike, after being lured from Canon FF into the Fuji 'photosphere' by the X100s, then X100t, then XPro2 (my fave), and the X-T2 which I sold to buy the X-H1. It is an odd offspring, but not unlovely on its own merit. Just... not quite the same heft and feel of its predecessors. Which makes it easier for me to pop the XPro2 and 3 fast primes into a small bag and take off to make great images. Unless shooting video, which the X-H1 excels at, replacing my Canon 5D IV for video. Because Canon gear has no 'Fuji loveliness' about it, at ALL.

I hope I'm not preempting your eventual review of the Fujifilm X-H1, but for what it's worth, here's mine, based on ten minutes of examining one at a local pro shop: First, it's capable of excellent image quality, as one would expect of Fujifilm sensors and lenses. Second, the IBIS works quite well, although not as well as the best of Olympus and Panasonic. Third, the price you pay for IBIS, aside from more cash, is increased size and weight. Fourth, the ergonomics and hand-feel give the impression of being more of an afterthought than a priority. I found it felt slow, awkward, and clunky -- and not in a good way. Will it get the job done? Sure. Will you enjoy using it as you work? Well, I don't know about you, but I doubt I would. As usual, YMMV.

Strange kinda post.... although well-written as always. Not something I would use as a pointer to picking a camera or system though. (Not as if I need another one ha ha!)

Fuji looks to the many different types of photographers, and designs and manufactures different form factors to address each. As I understand it, the X-H1 was designed to be video-centric, to take long lenses (specifically the 200mm f/2) and to be used where the more compact X-T series would be less well suited (eg situations where you want to be able to see the settings in the dark).

In other words, sports and wildlife shooters, people who shoot video and stills, as well as people who stress their bodies out a little more in adverse conditions, and who do mind the extra heft.

I see it as a coherent extension.

The video centric XT-3 features is emblematic of the Fuji philosophy of not dumbing down their cameras. Just because the XH-1 was meant to be a video centric offering will not prevent them from incorporating more advanced features in other bodies, as technology moves on in time. Where they are able to, they will implement these advances in prior bodies through firmware updates.

Contrary to your response to Eamon, you’ve written before: “I admit to a certain bigotry about Leica.”

And you frequently admit to your own snarkiness toward the company, despite your use (film Ms) and praise of some its products (the S). Methinks price weighs heavily in your seemingly emotional assessment.

Mike, I have to say that I'm not at all surprised by this article, because there have been many, many similar comments by Fuji X-T2 users and YouTube reviewers who thought they were upgrading when they bought the X-H1 and then found themselves wondering "Why, when it has the same exact sensor and image processor as the X-T2, did I buy this camera?"

Your rather lengthy digression into Nikon's marketing skills aside (38% of this article), I would agree that, on the surface, the X-H1 might appear to be something of a "red-haired stepchild" in the Fujifilm X-series lineup.

This is because Fujifilm's APS-C X-camera product portfolio has up to this point, been pretty clearly differentiated (and I used that word specifically as it applies to product portfolio management) into two broad & distinct line of cameras: The X100F/X-Pro/X-E line which most think of as "rangefinders" but might more accurately be classified as "reportage cameras", and the X-T line, which recapitulates the traditional "central viewfinder/pentaprism" design of SLR & DSLRs that the vast majority of customers have found is the best design for "general purpose" photography. Both the "reportage" and "SLR" lines have analog digital controls and lenses with aperture rings which have been shown to appeal to many, many folks (including me) for their analog yet modern & highly functional industrial design. And thats great.

With respect to the X-H1, as I've mentioned here several times, "Its not your father's X-T2". And more to the point, it was never intended to be. As I mentioned here in February when this camera was released (and in my blog here: https://bit.ly/2HYC8f6), the X-H1 is the first model in an entirely new line of APS-C Fujifilm cameras that is the functional equivalent of the Canon 1D/Nikon D-series professional bodies. As its the very first model in a completely new camera line, with only one model released to date, its entirely too early to judge how this new line will extend and more fully differentiate Fujifilm's APS-C mirrorless product portfolio. That will only be known with the test of time.

So, what are we to make of the X-H1, then? Let me use a simple example as a case in point. Here is a pair of Snap-On pliers. They cost over 42 bucks.

Now, most folks here will recognize these as a pair of pliers, and some might recognize them more specifically as a pair of "needle-nose" pliers. But, they're not needle nose pliers, they're "long-reach duck bill pliers". And, I would likely bet most of the folks here have never seen a pair of pliers exactly like this before. When I bought these pliers from my local guy in the Snap-On truck, he said, "Oh, you need to remove the fuel tank of a motorcycle". How did he know that? Because the only people that buy a pair of Snap-On long-reach duck-bill pliers are motorcycle mechanics, or guys like me, who work on their own bikes. This was a tool designed to do a very specific job, and here's the operative point, unless you had the appropriate domain expertise and experience, you would not really know 1) who this tool was specifically for and 2) what it was specifically designed to do. But the Snap-On guy did. And so did I.

And so it is with the X-H1. The X-H1 doesn't look like an X-Pro2 or and X-T2 quite simply because it wasn't designed to be; it wasn't intended for those customers. Any more than a Canon 1Dx MkII or a Nikon D5 was designed to be a Canon 5DIV or Nikon D610, respectively. As such, it was not designed for the majority of end-users. It was specifically designed for a small, but very key segment of professionals. And once again, the key point here is... unless you had the appropriate domain expertise and experience, you would not really know 1) who this tool was specifically for and 2) what it was specifically designed to do.

Unless you've shot with a Canon 1D-series or Nikon D-series body in a hard-core, kick-yer-ass, beat-you-into-the-ground, shooting-for-8 hours-a-day-on-your-feet-or-3-days-straight professional photojournalism or sports photography use-case before, you're not likely gonna get who this camera is for. If you never seen a camera have its mirror-box bent or completely cracked through the frame from jumping over K-wall to get the burnout by Kyle Busch winning a NASCAR road race...you're not gonna get who this camera is for.

This camera was designed for lenses like this:

Shooting in scenarios like this....

Shooting stuff like this...

Who is the X-H1 for? Guys like Brian Nelson, Jeff Carter, John Rourke, Regis Lefebvre, and the dearly-departed John Thawley.

Guys like me.

[Since when do companies get to decide who their products are for? (With the exception possibly of Ferrari, which once sold a car they didn't let owners take possession of...they kept them at the track and let the owners drive them when they came around.) The camera's for whoever wants to buy it, for whatever use they want to make of it. History is littered with examples of cameras that were popular with users other than the ones they were targeted for, for uses different than the manufacturer intended.

I want a camera like my X-T1 but with IBIS. Ergo, it's for guys like me too. --Mike]

I think the X-H1 was a spaghetti at the wall attempt to see what kind of customers would want it. It was clearly designed by a bunch of professional migrants from other brands, so it incorporates some of their features without going all the way.

But a giant expensive APS-C camera kind of defeats the object of APS-C for me. It's certainly a more 'professional' tool than an Xpro2, but not in any ways I would consider useful or desirable - I am not a pro. Nor does it have the custom modes and battery life that a pro body needs, even though they had the chance to use a totally different battery in the larger grip.

If it had the XT3 sensor, AF and video, and a more powerful battery, then it would make a lot more sense in terms of the product line-up. A real professional range-topper of a camera.

As it stands it seems to force people into the hard choice of choosing AF and video or IBIS. Seems the XT3 is winning.

The obvious question is 'where next?'

An XT4 that incorporates the XH1 body and IBIS, or an XH2 than incorporates the XT3 sensor and video performance.

I don't see room for both in the lineup.

Careful Mike, you are weighing into Thom’s territory with the big picture / strategy perspective :~)
I’m a Nikon shooter and agree with your assessment. But it doesn’t stop me using their gear. My completely uninformed opinion is that this probably applies to just about any photographer using any maker’s gear.
Still, at least it keeps you busy. Given consumers generally can’t take corporates at their word, we need people to provide more of an independent assessment of their products, be it cameras, cars etc.

The XH line are Fuji's sorts/action/wildlife cameras (stills or video). The XH-1 just happened to be Fuji's first (truly) video capable camera.

According to the Angry Photographer, Fuji is coming out with an X-H2, with superior IBIS. So it won't be a one off.

I started shooting with Nikon many years ago and made the decision over Canon mostly based on battery life. Ecosystems being somewhat comparable not having to carry extra batteries around and/or being able to leave a camera in my car for a week or two and always knowing I could get by on whatever charge I had was likely.

I switched to the Fuji X-T2 and LOVED it. The size to feature ratio was unmatched knowing the company would constantly up my product was intriguing. My only complaint and the reason I switched to Sony came down to battery life. The X-H line, in my opinion is the perfect series for Fuji to introduce a larger capacity battery. Overwhelmingly other than the (exhausting sensor size debate) battery life is the only thing holding Fuji back to a large group of people. The X-H line solves the lack of IBIS complaint and now they just need a larger battery. I would consider switching back. Having to use a battery grip to get through a few hours of shooting defeats the purpose of using a somewhat smaller camera. I love everything about Fuji and hope this is in their plans. X-H would be the series to run with this this expansion.

As a Nikon user looking in from the other side of the fence, I do find Fujifilm interesting but I guess I see some point-and-shooter cameras which will be rationalized at some point, a fixed lens camera which looks like a late '60s medium priced fixed lens shooter, a series of cameras which look like rangefinders, and a series of cameras which look like SLRs. The lens lineup looks interesting in a Leica-esque manner similar to the Cosina/Voightlander and Zeiss M-mount lenses. All of it is produced in a manner meant to channel the style of the camera gear older guys like me associate with solid German manufacturing. It is indeed very cool and tempting.

No, Nikon's 1-series cameras didn't find a viable market even with the help of Mr. Kutcher. I'm still using my Nikon 1 gear including what looks to be a mint used V2 I found for 1/4 of the price when it was new. It all works fine for me. The DL-series cameras looked good in the product shots but they were mostly better styled 1-series bodies with fixed lenses so perhaps Nikon was correct in canceling the lot. I don't understand the animosity towards the Coolpix A though. It had a nice wide angle fixed lens, a good APS-C sensor, a nice size which made it easy to carry about town, and it was priced at about $1100. The add-on optical finder was pricey, granted, but most of us knew you could pick up an old Nikon or Leica finder. The real problem though was the Coolpix A didn't look like the Fuji X100. That's how I see it anyway. Perhaps if Nikon had persevered with the concept and launched a Coolpix B which addressed the complaints its customer base made it could have built a following. I think that by the time they launched the V3 the market had forgotten about the 1-series.

Anyway, my guess is that as time passes Fuji may look more and more like Nikon with the vision thing becoming more challenging. The camera gear market is going to be a tougher nut to crack as time passes. I'd like to try an X-Pro2 and a couple of the lenses but, new, the set would top $2k. Meanwhile, the Pre-Ai lenses I found at a thrift shop work nicely in Sunny 16 mode on the D3300 I bought just for fun.

Reacting to John Camp’s point about the upcoming Olympus: it’s all rumors, but they do show that this camera will be aimed at photo journalists with its high frame rates and superb AF. On top of that, Olympus has apparently managed to produce 80mp hi-res frames at 1/60s, meaning that for many applications this Olympus will be a real contender against any other mirrorless camera. The weak point is most likely still going to be noise at higher ISOs compared to FF. Again, if rumors are to be believed.

"You can believe what you want, but I'm not terribly sentimental about brands. I'm just not a brand fan or foe. I have disliked some individuals;"

This! One thing that annoys me is the tribalism that still exists. Back in film days, I worked with a guy who went off on a major rant because I had bought a Pentax MX - only complete fools failed to buy a Canon! Guess what he owned.

And it still seems to go on, and not just by make - you also have full-frame versus crop, DSLR versus Mirrorless, even still a bit of film versus digital.

Though that's probably not what you meant by individuals...

A somewhat ironic comparison, given that Fuji's earliest pro digital cameras used Nikon bodies! That was back in the dark ages, and I don't know how collaborative the project was, but it would be interesting to hear what Fuji's engineers learned from that enterprise.

From the perspective of someone who sells these modern miracles, I cannot help thinking of both Canon and Nikon as a pair of massive, slightly addled, mildly paranoid whales being circled by a group of young, fit sharks, some nursing thoughts of unfinished business others newly born. Maybe these sharks to will eat and eat and become whale-sharks eventually, but maybe the ocean will shrink or change and they will have to evolve or perish anyway? My personal view is 1"-4/3 sensor hybrid cameras (replacing compact cameras as an option to phones) and "super sensors", getting bigger and bigger will become the two defined categories, both with their merits, like 35mm and MF. Canikon will, I feel be clearly in the latter camp with maybe a small showing in the lower end. Speaking of market chasing, how about the Nikon P1000. Talk about a Humvee running on a lawn mower engine. A real case of being made for dominance in a micro market.

It's so boring being a Canon user...

You just buy a Canon, and take pictures.

EOS 1N, 5D3, 1DX2.... just pick it up, stick your existing lenses on, take pictures. Buy a few SD or CF cards instead of film. Maybe look at the manual one day when you've got time.

Want to shoot mirrorless... just buy one with the adaptor for your existing lenses.

You just have to get excited about pictures instead ;)

I agree with John Camp re m4/3. I like the look and controls of the Fuji XT series, coming from an Oly EM5, but I don't need the weight. Not the weight of the body solo, but that of a body plus a 3 or 4 lens kit. And I won't buy a body without IBIS.

"Since when do companies get to decide who their products are for?"-Mike.

Since day one, Mike. Back when Henry Ford said, "You can get any color you want, so long as its black."

Mature companies that have effective product portfolio strategies and discplined product development capabilities, use, and you've heard me say it here before numerous times, "Voice of the Customer" aka VOC, to decide who their products are for, because no single product will meet all customers needs, or meet a single customer's needs, all the time. As someone whose been a VOC professional for over a decade, its completely clear to me what companies have mature, disciplined, and effective VOC programs and skills, and what companies do not (Fujfilm very much does, Nikon, ummm....not so much. Sony, well....I won't even go there).

Based on their VOC, they knew, for example, that the X-T2 did not meet the needs of some customers, nor did it meet a set of future engineering needs (requirements, actually). The X-T2 was not big enough to accomodate an IBIS mech that had minimal or no impact on image quality. Also, the X-T2 was not designed to mount the 200mm f/2, or the new MK line of cine lenses; its frame and lens mount are quite simply not strong & stiff enough. This has been confirmed to me in-person by a Fujifilm NA product manager, who said there is too much flex on an X-T2's lens mount with the XF200 f/2.0 mounted.

While I would likely agree that Fujfilm dropped the ball on effectively marketing the X-H1, they knew exactly who and what the X-H1 was for. And because they're the ones spending milions in development on it, they get to decide who it is for, Mike. 'Cause they're the ones ponying up the big bucks.

"The camera's for whoever wants to buy it, for whatever use they want to make of it. History is littered with examples of cameras that were popular with users other than the ones they were targeted for, for uses different than the manufacturer intended."

Well, of course it is. If it meets yours or other folks needs as well as its intended customer base, that's great. Go for it. Even if I weren't shooting motor racing, I'd still get the X-H1 because, in my experience over the last 7 months, it produces the most highest and most impressive, sublime, image quality I've seen this side of a GFX.

I think what it comes down to, at the end of the day, is that a lot of users are pissed because the X-T2 and X-T3 does not have IBIS. Fujifilm has stated numerous times that, quite simply, their IBIS mech will not fit into the frame of an X-T2 or X-T3. Their VOC also says that users do not want a larger X-T2/3, so what are they supposed to do? There is no free lunch in engineering, so they have to make a choice between three different outcomes: 1) make a larger camera, the X-H1, that is not your father's X-T2, but has a very good IBIS functionality and outstanding image quality, and oh, BTW, will mount that gorgeous new 200mm f/2 or 2) not put in IBIS in, have the X-T2/3 as nicely compact as they are and produce excellent image quality, but have people bitch it has no IBIS. Or, 3) put an inferior IBIS mech that fits into the frame of an X-T3, and have it impact absolute image quality and then have end-users gripe that the image quality sucks? As Fujfillm has long stated that image quality is, and will remain, their #1 top requirement, they chose No. 1 for the X-H1, and kept the X-T3 the size of the X-T2 w/o IBIS.

On a parting note, I'm thinking maybe I should write series of articles for TOP on technical product development, because with all the complaining I hear from many different folks regarding many different brands and what they do and don't do, and why can't one camera be perfect for every users in every use-case, its very clear to me that a very large percentage of folks do not understand product development at all, nor that the simplest point that virtually all products are a set of carefully chosen tradeoffs and compromises.

Not every company can be Apple. Hell, even Apple was days from bankruptcy before it was bailed out by Microsoft. And eventually every product company's product lines become a shambling mess. Even Apple's.

Also, I like product lines that are a shambling mess. One doesn't buy a product line: one buys a product or several. Like Thom Hogan keeps saying, Nikon's product management is a mess, but they still manage to make the D850 which is the best interchangeable lens camera for his purposes. Lenovo and HP both makes every kind of computer for every kind of customer. They each own about triple Apple's market share, though they obviously earn less profits.

I'm a Nikon guy from way back. I tend to use gear until it really is obsolete or dead. But I still have my working Nikkormat ftn from 1970 whenever - shot some film through it at a wedding recently but haven't had a chance to get it developed. My now 10 year old D3 works just fine and I suspect will still be going in another 20 years or so to be used by some collector of by then vintage if not antique DLSRs. But my shoulders are not what they used to be and I was quite excited to go handle the new D7 at a local dealer- even as a (the last") defender of a 12 mp sensor, I can't argue the 42 mp will not have visibly better resolution. The body and even the viewfinder are fantastic. But what is it with the lenses? What is the point of making a tiny but ergonomic and light body, and then producing prime lenses that double the weight? The 24-70 zoom I forgive - but which makes my point because it is about the same size and weight as the "S" 35 mm.) Where are the "Z mount" equivalents of the D series "F mount" primes? OK, I could adapt my existing lenses while I wait - but I won't even buy a Z if I don't know that lighter and smaller native primes are coming at some point. I guess I don't mind spaghetti if there is a choice of sauce. If Nikon doesn't get its skates on, it may well be Sony sauce.

An amazing amount of diversionary wishful thinking going down.

I've never had any camera with image stabilization of any built-in kind, nor lenses offering it. I have never felt that to be a disadvantage in my photographic life, the disadvantages I have felt have all been to do with the clear limitations of my imagination to produce the images I'd liked to have produced rather than the ones that I did and do.

If some of your respondents are to be believed, their photographic lives are far more complicated - as amateurs - than mine ever was as a pro. Are these people really all shooting high-flying vultures in the morning and atmospheric images of Lake Geneva for huge company calendars in the afternoon? Are they focussing, automatically, on Kaia Gerber's eye under a massive black tent as they shoot the next iteration of Omega watches?

What a load of crap! The harsh truth is that almost any camera body that's reliable and functions properly in its basic mode, fitted with a good lens of focal length suited to the job in hand, will serve to interpret the desires of any capable photographer. My most advanced digital machine is the obsolete D700. I also have its little sister, the D200 and either will do anything that's needed. Both live as unautomated as I can make 'em, with the exception of autoISO and Matrix, both of which work pretty damned well. Two of my lenses have af which helps, today, with my failing sight, but it wouldn't have been needed if cameras still had real pentaprisms and split-image screens.

I have been with Nikon since the F, but that doesn't imply that Canon and Pentax couldn't have produced as good (or bad, depending on opinion) results in the same pair of hands. I just happened to have liked the look of Nikon more than the look of the others.

Perhaps the most stupid thing camera companies ever did was to introduce motion capture into a stills body. That opened the floodgates of confusion and the bastardization of cameras with the vain expectation that one camera was now going to be the perfect answer to everything. It's the myth, the crazy, extrapolated idea that that's possible that leads to a topic such as this.

Think Pandora, Mike!

I like Fuji. I own a couple (X-100F, X-Pro2). I like Olympus. I own a couple (OM-D E-M5, OM-D E-M1) I like Nikon (D7100, F100, FM2n). I only own one Leica (M4-P). I like them all and tend to use them for different things.

What I don't get is that you can have IBIS in an E-M5 and it won't fit in an X-series body.

That said, comparing the X to the H reminds me of comparing the E-M5 to the E-M1. I don't recall a lot of discussion about how big and heavy the E-M1 was when it came out.


I have no opinion on the X-H1 (haven’t even see it in the wild, much less handled it,) nor Nikon (having never even touched a touched a digital Nikon) but I like Fuji (a lot) for its X lineup. I started with the XPro-1 because of the (sorta) RF-ness of it, and after about 2-½ fun years sold it to buy the X100F. The X100F gets me to OCOL digital territory, which I really need. And the user interface/controls is MILES ahead of the previous X100 and the XPro-1, IMO. The b&w jpgs straight out of camera, even with digital “telephoto” engaged, are really, really nice. I haven’t mastered all the menu options/settings yet, but I’m having a lot of fun, especially since the Rolleiflex is off for a complete spa treatment.

Fuji seems to be about refinement and evolution of concepts, both in the hardware and software domains. And when something doesn’t need to be changed (the 23/2 on the X100T is unchanged on the X100F,) they don’t seem to change just for additional marketing or financial advantage. That’s refreshing.

Something to cure - or at least explain - your GAS:


I think that the X-H1 is simply starting a new line of cameras for Fuji, catering for pros that need a larger camera to handle the larger and heavier lenses.

The XA, XE, and XT series are too small for that.

@Rob Campbell: As poetic, as profound, as practical and as eloquent an exposition of the good old basics as ever I have read. I sorely miss my beloved and long departed Minolta XE-1 and its fantastic viewfinder with its multiple focusing aids which made manual focus a breeze. There was no such thing as IBIS then, so maybe its a good thing I never drink coffee. So I shoot fast and straight with both rifle and camera...even today, and I'm hitting seventy. A steady pair of hands, 20/20 eyesight, a competent camera and good compositional skills go a long way towards getting the image in one's mind's eye. The rest is actually superfluous.

The comments to this entry are closed.