« Well, This Is Annoying | Main | The Fuji X-H1: Mike's Verdict »

Friday, 07 December 2018

Comments

Your photo of the wet road would look fantastic in B&W.

Yes I once spent a frustrating few minutes trying to find the pan command in the menues and ended up downloading the manual on my phone.
One other thought occured to me. Wouldn't it be nice if cameras had a back button as found on internet browsers, or ctrl 'Z' in Windows, to allow one step back to where one was before messing up the settings

'Best' is ephemeral. It changes all the time.

I have always been a fan of things that eschew superfluous excess but manage to be more than the sum of their parts. To me, that is a sign of genius, and makes them 'classics'. The original Mini and Mk1 Golf were good examples. Both minimalist but practical and fun to drive.

Is the X-H1 a future classic? Somehow I doubt it. I think very few digital cameras ever will be, but the original Fuji X-100 may be an exception.

Nevertheless, it is a very competent camera.


No one uses more than ten percent of the features but everyone uses a different ten percent. A much repeated idea that I first heard applied to Microsoft Office which now covers automobiles, microwave ovens and cameras.

One solution is (was?) programmable controls -- a feature developed so that product managers never had to say, "I'm sorry, my camera can't do that."

The only people who look at the feature set in depth are reviewers. I'm joking. Sort of.

Hi Mike, thanks for publishing your thoughts on this camera. That's more detail than I expected.
I hope you're finally feeling better.

I probably won't be the first or the last to mention this, but the reason some people like screens that flip out to the side is because they can then rotate the screen to point in the same direction as the lens. This is a benefit for the selfie-set and video bloggers who want to be able to see themselves during image capture without having to add an external monitor.

One drawback is that they increase the effective size of the camera; another is that if the I/O ports are on the same side as the monitor hinge, anything you attach may get in the way of the monitor. Generally speaking, I prefer a side-swinging screen when I'm shooting video and a flip-up screen when I'm shooting stills, but I can make do with either. (Nice job on the review, BTW.)

> No exposure compensation dial

Good riddance. Those dials are fiddly and slow compared to just spinning the giant back control dial. I never missed it on my Nikons or the Olympus.

Hi Mike,

I have been using Fuji cameras since the X-E1 and I can truthfully say I have never used an exposure compensation dial. I always shoot manual exposure so if I want to compensate for exposure, I just need to change aperture or shutter speed.

The only time I have ever touched the dial on the X-T1 was to change it back to zero after changing it by accident.

The X-H1 solved that problem and the screen is nice to quickly view settings, battery life.

Modern super cars don't do much for me. I'm more of a "slow car fast" kind of person.
Have no idea what you would do with a super car in the states but this may betray a lack of imagination on my part.
According to the web (so it must be true) in 2003 some genius in Texas got pinched for driving a Konigsegg 243mph in a 75mph zone. I wonder how many points that puts on your license?


Hi Mike, long time no comment.
I confess I don't care about the Fuji; not because I think it's a bad camera, or something, but you pose a more interesting question in this entry. You see, I wholeheartedly subscribe your words on the Bugatti Chiron.
One of the most beautiful cars ever conceived is the Bugatti 64. I think only one or two cars were assembled, but even so the 64 is an accomplishment. It is the superlative Bugatti, it embodies the values the marque stood for.
Comparing the 64 - or the 57, or just about any ancient Bugatti - to the Chiron is like comparing an original work of art to a pastiche. Bugattis - I mean the real Bugattis - were all about beauty and aesthetics: there is this anecdote that Ettore Bugatti's son, Jean, wanted to build independent front suspensions into a certain Bugatti model, but Ettore rejected it on the grounds that the live axle was more beautiful.
There's no beauty in either the Veyron or the Chiron. Contemporary Bugattis are ludicrous. Worse still, they're ugly.

And now the aforementioned 64 (HTML analphabet here, sorry):
https://myautoworld.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/1939-Bugatti-Type-64.jpg
Now THIS is a Bugatti. The Chiron is an overinflated, overpriced Audi R8.

So you have to set autobracketing through the Focusing submenu? That's odd and bothersome, but not surprising. Fuji always messes up this feature. My XE2 sets bracketing through the Drive button, as it should, but my selections are limited to one stop either way, two thirds or one third. Does anybody really bracket by one third of a stop? On a cloudy day?

On a stray point, the current Pentax KP also comes with removable grips in three sizes. What an excellent idea!

Thanks for a great example of an ergonomic review. Now that all cameras (and most cars) have passed the point of performance sufficiency (if not efficiency), this review covers all the factors that really matter.

I like flip-out screens because I can turn them around toward the camera and never see them again.

California should pay you to move to their state and then do camera tests to solve their lack of rain problems...

All those things that Ramón mentioned as video uses for the articulating screen also apply to still photos, for me (and I'm so glad to finally have a camera with it; for so long the major manufacturers who used to consider viewfinder flexibility as a distinguishing feature on their "pro" cameras refused to put articulated viewing screens on their pro cameras).

Although I don't do video I prefer an articulated LCD to a flipping one because of age. I'm 74 and like to shoot things closer to the ground than eye level. Getting down low enough to see a non-articulating screen and back up after shooting is literally a pain.

Re: removing GX8 Card.

You need at least one-sixteenth of open fingernail. Anything longer is fine. Open the cover of the battery/card compartment, push down on the card with a thumbnail so it pops up, slide your middle finger, fingernail down, across the top of the battery into the side of the card. The card will have a small lip. With your fingernail under that edge, lift straight up. No problem.

The camera is also wifi enabled and the advanced user manual, available as a PDF from Panasonic, will tell you how to transfer the photos to a computer wirelessly, which would eliminate the need to remove the card at all. I've not done that since I have a card reader and a fingernail that is at least 1/16 open.

Good riddance. Those dials are fiddly and slow compared to just spinning the giant back control dial. I never missed it on my Nikons or the Olympus.

Your opinion might change if you photograph mostly at night, in the dark, and operate the camera by feel alone, as I very often do.

Being able to make changes via dedicated knobs and dials instead of virtual or universal ones works much, much better for me.

Which just goes to show every stupid decision a camera designer makes is probably considered a great one by some photographer, somewhere.

Really good Part 1 review on the X-H1, Mike! Fully agree with your assessments.

I've made my thoughts on using the XH1 here a number of times since buying mine at the end of March, but I really love this camera. I recently used mine, for the first time on a real estate photo shoot instead of my X-T2, and loved using it; its a real pro workhorse.

I'll my comments on its image quality for (hopefully) when you post your verdict, but regarding the body, controls and operation, I have come to really prefer the top-deck display and command dial mode of setting exposure compensation. I was just using it yesterday, and I could simply glance down and see what setting the aperture for my 18-55 (which has no markings for its aperture ring) was set to. And, when I shoot real estate interiors or landscape in manual mode, its very nice for know where your settings for the exposure triangle are at a glance. I used to think I preferred the physical exposure compensation knob on the X-T series until I did a commercial shoot at Sonoma Raceway last March and found that while I quickly running from place to place around the facility, my comp dial was constantly getting changed from getting bumped. It turned out to be a real a PITA. Not a prob anymore with the X-H1.

Regarding the "back-button autofocus" button: this button is MUCH better shaped, sized and placed than the X-T2/X-T3's button for sports/action photography, and I use it all the time for motor racing photography:

Can you set it up separately from the shutter button: Yes, you can toggle the shutter button from activating the AF to OFf by going to the Menu:Settings >Button/Dial>Shutter AF (page 2 of 3)>Shutter OFF. This way the AF point will be selected only when holding down the rear AF button.

Regarding your comments about the EVF: "The only negative thing I noted was that sometimes it doesn't give a very accurate report to the eye of the subtleties of colors in the scene, or of the subtleties of the light." That's easily adjusted; you just have to configure the EVF to your tastes/need (without sounding like a wag, it does help to read the manual). You can adjust the EVF for a number of different parameters: At Settings Menu>Screen, you can set EVF Brightness, Color, Color Temperature (you can actually create a custom EVF color temp "map"), and, if you want a view comparable to an OVF as you mentioned as a "negative" above, go to Settings Menu and and set Screen>Nutural Live View>ON. This will give you the "classic" OVF view, and not a preview of the exposure. You can also fine tune this even further with the EVF Shadow and Highlight settings, if desired.

Cheers,
Stephen

I moved from a very complete Leica M system to the Fuji X-H1 early this year, due to eye related focus difficulties with the M's and I am very happy. There was a bit of a learning curve as I have never used an auto-focus camera in the past 35+ years, but that is a different story.
The only thing that I am still struggling with is the color. I was very enamored of the "house color" of Leica and now I'm faced with a dozen + choices. It seems like having an a bag full of every kind of Fuji film stocks would be a good thing, but to me it ends up being a time-wasting game of "pick one" in processing. Maybe I'm just set in my ways. ;-)

Elmer Kilmer was lucky to avoid Mr. Bean. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nl0HqlbX7dc

"screwing up the setup by accident and not knowing how to get back" ... that was one of the things that really bugged me about the XPro-1, even though overall I really liked the camera. I was always getting into some mode by total accident. Then I could not remember or figure out what the hell was going on and how to get back to Oz. Or Kansas.

The X100F is much better in this regard, along with all the other improvements which are, to me at least, huge.

I’d love an X-H1. Unfortunately I can’t mount any of my M43 lenses on it.

@John McMillin: The autobracketing is set on the X-H1 through the Drive menu, just as it is on the X-E2, X-T2/3, etc. You can set it up to bracket in a nice range of 9 steps in as small as 1/3 stop increments.

For my real estate interiors, I shoot an ambient light "base image" shot at "0", then ±7 brackets at 2/3 stop increments, for a total of ±2 stops around 0.

You access AE Brackets from CAMERA>DRIVE SETTNG>BKT SETTING>AE BKT>FRAME/STEP SETTING

Once you have it set up the way you like it, you can forget it. The X-H1 (and X-T2/3) have a drive mode ring under the ISO dial; you simply turn it to Bracket Mode, press the shutter once, and it rips off all 7 frames in about 1 second. Pretty cool, saves time on a shoot.

I think where Mike ended up was in the Focus Bracketing submenu, pehaps.
Cheers,
Stephen

This was worth the wait. Brilliant review. Looking forward to part 2.

Not a case of sour grapes, but this camera is mostly overkill. Will it take better pictures than Margaret Bourke-White's / Weegee's Speed Graphic? Or even HCB's Leica, for that matter? In fact, in skilled hands, I am confident that an RX100 will match it shot for shot at lower ISO's. Ditto for many of its features.
The day may come when the most popular and most efficient sensor will be an 1"-type, duly supported by computational imaging. Nikon D850 power in one's shirt-pocket.

Dagnabbit! I wanted to read how the XH1 had a host of negative features among which I could create a collective deal breaker.

Even though your final verdict is not yet in, I'm feeling a bit let down because I'm still interested in the big lug (emphasis on "big").

I escaped "big" some years ago when I embraced m4/3s. But I gradually crept back up in size to an X-T2 and it felt great. I could hold it and not bump a buttons inadvertently.

However, I really like IBIS and the dang XH1 is the only FUJI body with that feature. What's a shaky character to do?

I couldn’t do without back-button auto-focus.

Scotty is a hoot! It took a minute to adjust to his high pitched shouting. All his VW talk reminded me of a Jalopnick video I saw recently where it was stated that the Karmann-Ghia was based on a 1952 Chrysler show car named the D’Elegance (Virgil Exner). I’ve never driven a Ghia but they are interesting and probably fun to drive. I hadn’t realized they have no body panels/seams. While it looked sporty, an early VW ad featured a Ghia (60 HP?) sporting a racing stripe and door number and the tag line read, “You’d lose”.

I just spent an enjoyable evening reading Gerry Badger's book about Eugène Atget. Here's a photographer who worked his whole life with an 18x24 cm view camera, and maybe a couple or three lenses (nobody knows for sure). And he stuck with glass plates long after it made no sense to do so because film was lighter and easier to use.

Atget's photography is terrific and really enjoyable. However, what also amazed me was the sharpness, tone and detail of the photographs he was able to make with this antique equipment. We're talking about pictures that were made around a century ago. Of course these are reproduced from big plates, but if the lens was horrible then the image would be horrible too.

The point of this little history lesson is simply to say that "we" -- photographers who fuss about gear -- need to step back and give ourselves a collective shake! Is there a camera today that isn't more than good enough?

P.S. I did enjoy your review Mike! I have an X-H1 and think you're on point with your observations. It's a terrific camera. If someone can't make good photographs with this camera, it's not the camera.

I love the X-H1.

The LACK of the totally useless (IMHO) exposure compensation dial on this camera is a huge plus.

I've never understood why such a thing is necessary. Just use the light meter the way is meant to be used -- viola! Correct exposure! AMAZING!

Such a waste of valuable top plate real estate. The X-H1 got it right.

The X-H1 looks like a great camera. I use a Nikon D750 that weighs maybe 77g (0.17 lb.) more than the X-H1, has the Top Plate display, and a nice grip as well. It's interesting to hear the enthusiasm for what to me is a basic DSLR body type and style. (That said, the D750 is by far the best camera I've owned for how it feels in my hands, and for ease of use). The D750 does not have IBIS (but Nikon does have VR in a variety of lenses. I would not own a zoom lens without VR, I don't miss VR with my prime lenses of which the longest is 58mm).

As an aside, I use the D750's "PV" button on the front of the camera for AF-ON. Works pretty slick. To me, AF-ON is a common sense way to shoot, separating acquiring focus from taking the photo. I have the shutter button set to lock exposure on a half press.

Size is important, no matter what anyone says.
I like a small total camera kit, but think that a lot of the new mirrorless cameras sacrifice usability and comfort trying to get as small a body size as possible, and then stick gigantic lenses in front of them in order to maximize quality (yes Sony, I'm looking at you).
I prefer a comfortable camera body that fits my hands (slightly larger than normal) and balances with a range of lenses.
I made the mistake of picking up an X-H1 the other day in a camera store and I have to say that the ergonomics fit my hand perfectly. I sort of wish that I hadn't picked it up as the last thing I want at the moment is to buy yet another camera in the never-ending search for "the perfect fit".
An X-H1 with a selection of fujicrons would make both a comfortable and usable carry camera and yet still not become too large.
I more and more come to the conclusion that aps-c sensor cameras are the current sweet spot, especially when paired with small, fast primes.
Now I just have to try to forget how good the X-H1 felt in my hands....

Mike, hope your feeling better! On your comment about NYC 57th street needle thin or super skinny new towers just south of Central Park I'm not aware of the one you said had only 50 units at 100 million. The reason I'm commenting here is the team I work with shot the views from these towers, all of them, before they were built. Because of the 360 work that I do on these in post, I pretty much always get floor plans for these towers and I'm not aware of any of these that only have 50 units. Most have way north of 500 units, some over 1,000. But it is correct to say that most owners of these condo's may not ever live there let alone visit them. It's the world of 1% of the 1%. The buyers of these live in a world most of us can't even imagine. In one project long completed I found floor plans for studios, 200-350 feet studios on some lower floors. I was shocked as the top penthouse floors were over 100 million. So I called the marketing manager to ask about these, he just laughs and told me you have to buy a "real" unit before you could buy one of the studios. The studios were for servants. They cost at least 3 million. Do the math on the middle ground, that's about $12,000 per Sq. Ft. - only in NYC or other billionaire preferred locations around the world.

[I have a bad memory for numbers, and it's getting worse as I get older. Sorry if I missed the mark on the specifics. I don't always fact-check every assertion I make any more. I used to. But if middle age is 45-65, then I'm getting more and more middle aged every day! --Mike]

Mike,

Nice report of your impressions. The more I read of how you think and feel about photography (and life in general) the more I think we’re alike in a lot of way. Kinda weird, actually. Even down to the “hold your breath, turn blue” comment. That could have been me in the 4th grade. Still a (probably too often) used expression of mine when talking to folk about having “expectations.”

I have an X-H1 and too many Fuji lenses. Your sense of it it pretty much right on target. It really is a well thought out, well sorted out, camera. I’ve owned the T-1, Pro-2, and T-2 and liked them all very much, but the H-1 just talks to me in a way the others don’t. One of the things I told my wife before we married a dozen years ago was that if she had objections to my “chasing the technology” in digital photography, she might want to say no to my proposal. It is getting to the point now, where I think the coming H-2 might be the end of the chase (assuming it retains all the goodness of the H-1, plus some of the things the more powerful processors in the T-3 bring to the table).

I also have a GFX 50s and the similarities in handling make using one or the other pretty much seamless.

As to the EC dial “issue,” you’re exactly correct. It is moot. With the button set to toggle on / off, the functionality is exactly the same. Wheel on the rear right, visible indicator of +/- on top “permanently.”

Doh, getting here late. I second what Rand said, especially with respect to design equivalence with the GFX50s. Also the relocation of exposure compensation control (which is an essential control for me on all my cameras) is perfectly smooth. I don't miss a dedicated dial on (the GFX) at all.

I've been happily using the X-T3 for a few months and reluctant to grab an X-H1 mainly for three reasons.

1.Video: I really have no use for the apparently excellent newly enhanced video featured of the X-H1.

2.Sensor: I realize this may be a nit, but the X-T3's sensor is a newer generation than that of the X-H1, which uses the same sensor as the older X-T2.

3. Size/bulk: I enjoy the smaller package of the X-T3, which I use primarily for more casual "street"-type photography. The X-H1 just seems too honkin' big for a contemporary APS-C camera.

Still, your remarks and those of several commenters here are encouraging me to at least give the X-H1 a try.

Thanks for the notes, Mike!

Sensor:

@Ken Tanaka:

You should at least give the X-H1 a try, Ken.

No one's really discussed it yet, and I'll reserve the larger context of my comments when, and if, Mike posts his verdict, but there is something about the image quality from the X-H1 that is...quite remarkable (there's more to image quality than just a sensor).

Personally, I prefer its image quality to that of both the X-T2 and X-T3 because it reminds me of...the GFX50S.

I'd recommend renting one for a week or so...

-Stephen

"I ended up liking it, though, because it handles so well. The large grip is perfect for my largish hands, and I didn't find it too heavy. I like cameras that allow you to let the camera hang by inserting your fingers between the grip and the lens with your hand open, like this..."

/Users/greenaa/Desktop/Hasselblad X1D vs. Fuji X-H1.jpg

It's exactly for the reasons above that I love the form factor and handling of the Hasselblad X1D with 45mm f/3.5 (35mm equivalent in 35mm). The size of the entire package is pretty much exactly that of the X-H1 and 23mm f/1.4, and its grip and balance are simply wonderful.

This suggests three things:

1 - Our preference for camera and lens size is pretty similar
2 - Hasselblad has done an amazing job (other operational quibbles not withstanding) of fitting a 44mmx33mm sensor in a compact body size, helped by the leaf shutters in the lenses.
3 - Your next rental/loaner should be the X1D, I'm pretty sure you'd enjoy the operation of it, save for the overall speed (AF, etc.) being a bit sluggish relative to the latest and greatest with APS-C and 24mmx36mm.

Best Regards,

ACG

Ah, the Type 3 VW :-)
I had one for a year or two. On its debut drive, it caught fire. A little later, it pulled the cylinder-stud threads out of the crankcase. Still managed to drive it home (it would only start by rolling down a hill, due to the lost compression). Pulled the motor out and fixed it in my mother's driveway.
Later it failed an annual roadworthiness check when the fuel hose fell off...

I think I eventually sold it for about $200 less than I paid for it.

As for the Fuji... nah, already have a Pentax and lots of glass, so no interest.

Fuji as dabbler--perfect.

As to weight, there are times I think photographers would benefit more from hitting the gym than asking for technology to accommodate their unwillingness to do so. Good thing IBIS--it compensates for the loss of stability attained the old-fashioned way, through mass. (And I suffer from essential tremor, too.)

We are supposed to like manipulating software through a menu system or touch screen instead of through physical controls, even though what motivates the relentless drive to software controls is reduced cost, which I don't see reflected in price. The same can be said for EVFs, which as a side benefit to reducing cost provide one additional separation between photographer and subject. I wish camera makers would adopt the principle of menus for rare configuration items and physical controls for real-time operation. But the ones that do are then considered too heavy and bulky.

Glad to meet you again, Graham!

Rob

I don't get the love-in for EC dials, or even any kind of dedicated dials (or buttons). My ideal camera is a Nikon D5/D500 style setup, but with dials and buttons that are completely customisable. I wonder if it's an age thing too; I'm probably much younger than most of your readership.

Your interest in Dougs fathers name oddly reminded me of Ralph Eugene Meatyard's propensity for collecting interesting names as he traveled. For some inexplicable reason I can never get, or at least I can always remember, Lumy Gene Licklighter. On of my gifts is to recall usless crap but forget anything important.

The comments to this entry are closed.