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Sunday, 06 January 2019

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My guess is that the very existence of Fuji's X-T3 is the X-H1's main problem. But this camera has its charms, which you have written about, Mike.

Here's the challenge for those considering the X-H1: Will there be an X-H2? By that I mean essentially an X-T3 with larger body and in-body stabilization, if you like.

If so, some will be well-served by waiting. Others, perhaps including myself, may do better by jumping on this great deal now. But the answer is far from certain.

For me, the X-H1 would make lenses like the Fuji XF 16-50mm and 50-140mm f/2.8 zooms a possibility. But do I want to give myself a reason to spend that kind of money?

Mike: . . .maybe it's just not selling well. I guess it does come across as being rather, ah, unfocused, from a marketing and product-lineup perspective.

I would argue that the problem with the X-H1 isn’t an ‟unfocused” marketing strategy—the somewhat larger, more robust, form-factor and in-body image stabilization distinguish it well enough from the Fuji X-T product line—but rather that the introduction of the X-T3, with a new sensor and more powerful processor, made it seem dated rather early in its intended life-cycle. I suspect an X-H2 (i.e., the same body with current-generation components) would sell quite well at list price.

Popflash is currently listing the X-H1 at $1048, which is $850 off. Not a TOP affiliate, but they have been good to me over the years and the price is right!

Clearance, anyone?

That's an incredible price to a superb camera. I was reading Thom Hogan's excellent Sans Mirror blog a couple days ago, and I remember a comment in one of the articles that the marketing effectiveness from the camera companies is, on the whole, pretty poor. Certainly Canon did not plan the marketing for the EOS R well, and the comments about the Nikon Z marketing launch are better left unsaid.

More to the point: I've been thinking for a while now that Fujifilm has not done a particularly good job marketing the X-H1. Many X-T2 users upgraded, only to find out that with the same sensor and image processing engine, the value proposition for upgrading wasn't clear to many of them. I'm still of the firmly held view that the X-H1 produces superior image quality to the X-T2, but that point seemed lost on a lot of the folks who "upgraded".

While IBIS and the video features were a step up from the X-T2, the video specifications (4K 30P 8-bit 4:2:0) didn't meet the bar set by the GH5 because of the processing power limitations for the sensor/core image processor that was available when the X-H1's development started in early 2017 or thereabouts (note: the Sony A7III is restricted to similar video specs for the same reasons – lack of processing power), even though the X-H1 is actually a very, very capable video platform. All of Fujifilm Global's series of X and GFX marketing videos shot in most of 2018 were shot using X-H1s; I know 'cause I met the video production team at the Fujifilm Festival).

I've pointed here several times that my view was the X-H1's real value-proportion was for use as a pro body similar to the Canon 1Dx/Nikon D-series cameras: to provide a very rugged, tough, durable, robust, stiff and strong camera body, especially for mounting big, heavy, long stills and video lenses and designed for demanding, hard core professional use-cases. And, I think that key point was lost, or rather, not effectively marketed by Fujifilm. The fact that the the X-T3 came out 7 months later and is regarded by many review sites and YT channels as "Camera of Year" means the X-H1 is likely facing challenges to meet its sales numbers.

And that's a shame, because, IMHO, it is a truly superb camera that produces exceptional image quality. All of the pros I know that bought and are using X-H1's agree.

Its ironic that a camera that has become something of a "red-haired stepchild" is actually one of the very best cameras Fujifilm has ever made.

"I don't understand the reasons. Maybe it's just not selling well. I guess it does come across as being rather, ah, unfocused, from a marketing and product-lineup perspective."

My guess is slightly different from most of those posted so far: I suspect Fuji knows Sony is on the verge of dropping the A7000, or whatever it might be called. And that will probably cost $1400-$1500 and not have some of the 4K video limitations the X-H1 has.

For stills shooters, any recent camera is great. For video, the X-H1 feels like it is almost, almost there but the 10-minute 4K time limit is odd. Older Panasonics like the G85 don't have it.

I agree with Chris Kern - I suspect that the X-T3 video specs made the X-H1 less attractive to a large subset of the potential clientele. I wouldn't be surprised if an X-H2 comes out soon with X-T3 video capabilities embedded, though Fuji could also kill the line (which in my view would be a mistake!) As for me, I shoot stills, and made the decision to upgrade from the X-T1 to the X-H1 about a month before your review came out, Mike... and no regrets! What has impressed me most about the X-H1 is how the camera gets out of the way of my artistic intentions better than any camera I have owned. The camera has an addictive combination of ruggedness and ease of use. And, the IBIS adds a whole new dimension to hand-held photography! It's a superb package.

Of all improbable things, Fuji has been running a television ad featuring a dude shooting beach volleyball. A TV ad. For a camera that's just a camera. (That does not make phone calls nor texts.) In 2019.

They really are different!

I'd note which model but can only report there's an X in the name. Here's hoping the strategy works and other camera makers follow suit. I do wonder how they're all going to acquire new customers (folks who never owned a camera aside from a phone).

@Michael Bade: I don't think they will as I got the distinct impression at the Fujfilm Festival in Venice, CA in October that Fujifilm senior management was quite proud of the engineering accomplishment that the X-H1 represented. Also, I specifically asked the senior management at Q&A session for the Fujfilm Festival on Sunday morning, October 7 to please not kill the X-H line as the camera was a superb professional-level body and workhorse, and Kazuki Harigaya, a product manager for Fujifilm NA, replied with a big smile, "Thank you for saying that!"

Fujifilm has stated that an X-H2 will not be released in 2019, 2020 was more likely. This is consistent with the 2-year development cycle that almost all the camera companies are on, and with my understanding of the amount of work and effort involved in technical product development, that makes complete sense to be as a realistic time-frame (actually, 2 years is pretty fast for products as complex as these).

So...here's hopin'. ;-)

For the typical and faithful Fuji X users, the X-H1 is an oddball: either too big, too heavy, or both, in comparison with their expectations.

The fact remains that it is one of the best cameras out there.

Born and raised (I never say grew up ‘cause I never have, never will) in NY, B&H is in my backyard. I used to go at least once per month and spend an inordinate amount of dough there treating my particular case of GAS.

I ventured there recently after I hiatus of probably two years. It was a Sunday afternoon, granted a rainy one, but only 2 weeks before Christmas. What used to be a store packed with shoppers, with lines upstairs for the camera/lens section, while not a ghost town, was at least 50 percent less crowded than I’d ever seen it.

So it’s not just the Fuji not selling well, camera gear in general is down and down big for quite a few years now. Walked around Times Sq. 9 out of 10 people were shooting with phones or iPads. A P&S was a rarer sight than a dinosaur. A smattering, perhaps, and even that’s generous, of DSLRs.

I have no willpower!

I have been looking at the X-H1 since it came out. Like Mike, I am a big fan of IBIS.

Last year I picked up an X-Pro2 (with only about 1,000 shots) for about a grand when the owner sold it to upgrade to the X-T3. I am quite happy with that camera. My plan was to pick up a used X-H1 when I could find a similar deal.

I pushed the button on the X-H1 on the 31st when a low price was posted and then quickly pulled. I received some encouragement to push Amazon to honor the price, but I didn't want to take advantage of someones mistake. I even emailed Mike that I didn't really NEED the new camera, so I wasn't going to push it.

The new deal popped up, and I immediately pushed the button. It has been 12 hours, and I have neither regret nor a cancellation notice. So far, so good.

CRM

Kirk Tuck co-incidentally has a review up:
https://visualsciencelab.blogspot.com/2019/01/my-mini-review-of-my-fuji-x-h1-and-60mm.html

My life is simplified, too, as the deal does not seem to be available in the UK.

Jeez Mike, you know I'm not particularly good at that "restraint" thing. I saw your link to B&H last night and it was too good to pass up. Now I have two G9s and two X-H1s and can't decide which way to go. For now, I'm keeping both sets. Lots of good lenses out there for the Panasonic G9. Let me know if you want any recommendations.... or want to borrow any that I have.

Happy New Year and warmest regards, your Austin Fan Club, Kirk

The camera arrived today and it is delightful. While 12 hours is not enough to really know, it seems to fit my hand better than any other camera I have ever used.

The viewfinder is great. It is a little heaver than my X-Pro2, but the grip makes it hang easily in the hand. I didn't put the on a scale, but the weight with the 23mm Fuji-cron is close to my Leica M4-2 with a 35mm 'Cron. About the same width. About the same height with the Voigtlander VC II meter on the Leica. Noticeably thicker from front to back.

No regrets. I may be ready to sell the last of my Nikon gear.

CRM

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