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Friday, 30 August 2019


I am very happy with my Panasonic GX8s. You saw my B&W prints from their files. I really don’t know what more I could want, unless it were a Mark II. I suspect I’ll be using these as my primary cameras for years.

[Yes your prints were beautiful. --Mike]

Interesting to witness great product going out of the market. I guess the marketing people know what they are doing.

I do drive Golf wagons since 2005, manual transmissions, currently on on my third, a 2015, 170hp or about. The drive is great for a modest car, the space for the light stands, power packs and along the assistant and make-up artist is sufficient. And I can afford it.

Recently, VW decided to discontinue their range of Golf wagons. They want us to buy a Tiguan, a SUV that comes only automatic and not much much fun to drive. But the market dictates, so it seems. Who would argue with the people at marketing, they know so much.

Thanks, but no thanks.

Funny thing is, when I bought my first VW wagon in 2005, as I was telling the salesman my joy to at last to buy such a car, he replied:

- Hey, we were losing so much sales to Subaru...

Well, well, well.


I'll bet it even felt good to write about a camera that you own and about which you have no major reservations (or minor ones given your description). Just as it is liberating to use such a camera.
When a camera is fully competent, reliable, AND fun to use, it is a liberating experience. It lets you see through the clouds of technical minutia right through to the pictures.
Good cameras, or cameras that really suit our style as well as being technically good are the ones you hold on to because they disappear in your hands. They bring a confidence that if you do your job, they will do theirs.
You will find your interest in the newest features wane a bit. There will always be something technically better given some time.
But it won't matter, you will be taking pictures you are proud of.

It actually makes me feel good to 'hear' the enthusiasm in your voice. To hear you speak about the joy of taking pictures.
Enthusiasm, and work you enjoy are Elixirs
Enjoy yourself.
I'm looking forward to the results.

GAS is horrible when you can’t afford it. But new gear pushes me out the door to test it, to play with it, to use it, to prove to myself that I didn’t just throw my money away! My latest purchase is a phone gimbal, it works great, it has a focus knob that lets me set the phones minimum focusing distance. But, 4k recording burns my phone battery like it’s mining for bitcoin. I need to test in 1080p.

That made me smile, because I've been feeling the same way. I take it with everywhere with me the way I took my first dslr, the Olympus 420. I ordered a fancy strap, then realized the original was better. Anyway, I was starting to think that mirrorless cameras couldn't really produce that feeling of satisfaction that good dslr's do, but this one does.

Here's a shot I like from a few days back using an adapted Pentax 35f2 (just ordered the Fuji 35 1.4):

Congdon Park Cliffs

Glad to hear you've finally found a camera you thoroughly enjoy shooting with. I'm of the belief that this has more beneficial effect on one's photographs than how much equipment one owns or how impressive the specification sheet might look.

I just traded in my X-T1's, and after considering the various options, including the X-H1, I surprised myself and went for 2 x X-E3s. Weight, size and complexity are becoming more important for me, and when a camera doesn't have an optical viewfinder, it's just really a sensor mount for your lenses

The X-H1 is in my top 3 as well, a really brilliant executed camera. I got it for IBIS, otherwise I was happy with my XT-2 - but everything else on the camera blew me away after a day. The build and grip do help with the IBIS being effective, I'm sure - it's made my Elmarit 90 a really useful lens again. It's not tiny, but there's nothing extraneous on the beast - anything removed would ruin the gestalt.

But it's done something horrible now - there are only three other cameras that I don't hate using, now - my M6(the real one, not the canon one), my F2AS, and my beaten X70 that's another end of the line orphan like the X-H1.

It's nice that Mike is so happy with his new camera but isn't the job of a camera to make, at the direction of the photographer, pictures?

Mike! How are the pictures?

I don't often engage in "I told you so" behavior. If I did, the people in my life would surely see fit to return the favor and they would be able to make the remark to me far more often than I could to them. So I do the prudent thing and keep my mouth shut.


I can't resist the urge this time. Remember your "Weigh In" article of February 23, 2018? The X-H1 was one of the cameras that you were pondering at the time and I pegged it as the perfect camera for you. The Fuji system just seemed and still seems like a perfect fit for you. The addition of a camera with IBIS seemed like the only piece that was missing. When the X-H1 showed up, I saw it as the perfect Mike Johnston camera.

So you'll have to forgive me but, "I told you so!" ;-)

Good to hear you are enjoying the X-H1. The current sale price has prompted me to hit the buy button, even though I am very pleased with my existing Fujifilm X bodies. Nerve damage and getting older has me trying to future proof my needs, by having IBIS cameras to offset the shakey hands. The current range of cameras in the 20-26mp range are the sweet spot for me - whether m43 or APS-C. No desire for FF, that was so 2009. Its a great time to be a photographer from a gear standpoint.

Perfect example of horses for courses. I could not learn to love the XH-1 even after a year. It's great to see that Mike is happier than a kid at Christmas with it.
I can't wait to see the images you've been finding.

Best Fuji ever for me (8 years since moving to the dark sid eof mirrorless), bought mine on ebay new at auction when it seemed everybody was selling, paid $800 without the extra battery pack that makes it too big for me. Photographed 28 new bankers yesterday, approx 40 shots each over the day and still had battery life.

I feel the same way about my Olympus EM1 Mark II's. I now have three of those bodies, because they do everything I need to do, and they're great fun to shoot with, once you learn which parts of the Byzantine menu system to just ignore. Not saying I'll never "upgrade," but I'd need a better reason to do so than I've found so far.

While I love Fuji colors, the intuitive ergonomics, the beautiful classic looks worthy of the old Contax brand of yore, I couldn't stay with Fuji since I'm mostly a birder
Fuji AF while fast, is not designed for birding, especially birds in flight and switching between modes to accommodate for BIF vs birds on trees is a chore and a great opportunity to miss the bird
Birding also requires lots of cropping and Fuji sensor is not amenable for that purpose
The high level of noise is also inherent in images taken at ISO 3200 and higher
The only available optics for birding , the 100-400mm is also slowish for low light photography
If this is not your genre then swell but if it is then I recommend you look into the Sony world

Glad you're enjoying it!
Mine just arrived a couple of days ago, but have been so busy with work I haven't had a chance to really try it yet. Feels great, I love the build and the grip. The shutter is sublime (I turn the artificial sound all the way off to keep it extra quiet). With the booster grip attached it feels like a real tool, but it's certainly not light or stealthy.
I also picked up an X-E3 on sale, so that's my more portable camera.
Now for the first time I've got 2 cameras of the same generation, same (more or less) controls and menus, same sensor and color profiles. Think i'll stick with this for a while... Almost certainly will sell my X-T1, and possibly my X100s also.
I was saving for the 80mm macro, but that will have to come later now...

The glowing reports of owners of this camera make me want to own one. But I don't have the budget to make it happen. I am too firmly wedded to Nikon gear at this point - with an F-mount DSLR and three Nikon 1 mirrorless bodies, plus assorted lenses. It makes more sense for me to just stay with Nikon, especially since their Z 6 and Z 7 cameras proved that Nikon can make mirrorless cameras as well as anyone, and at least one APS-C offering is rumoured to be on the way. The specs of the Z 6 are quite similar to the specs of the X-H1.

I echo requests from other commentators - please do show some of the photos you have been taking with your X-H1.

I'm with Kirk - this is the Goldilocks camera for me. Fits like a glove, perfectly balanced, shutter, evf, controls... I love it more than any camera I have ever had, and that's a few. Although I also have great affection for my X70 and find my Canon M5 cute!

Hoarding digital cameras doesn't help when the battery becomes irreplaceable. Li-Ion batteries die of old age. I've had this problem with old-school flip-phones. It's apparently a problem now with some of the earliest Nikon DSLRs.

Mike, I've broadly agreed with your thoughts on art and PC with one slight niggle. Now, if I come upon a YouTube video of Louis CK or Bill Cosby, I can't watch them the same (or sometimes at all) so I think there may be an element of temporal immediacy at play that I don't feel in most of the largely historical examples you cited (even Polanski is a bit old enough to escape somewhat).

I like the afl and ael buttons on xh1. That's for me its main attraction.

But since I already have xt2 and have grown accustomed to it, there's little sense in buying another body just for the sake of two buttons.

Shooting mostly people at 1/125-1/250, ibis isn't a selling point for me. Neither is the handgrip.

If xh1 had been around earlier, I might have picked it over xt2. Now there is little incentive to switch. I agree it is an excellent deal but I will have to wait for xh2 or xt4.

Speaking of the Big Dragoon, I recently bought one. Used of course. It's my very first Full Frame Digital. Originally my intent was to digitize some of my B&W negatives and slides using the Nikon device made for that purpose and a Micro Nikkor lens. But after playing with the camera for a while I've rediscovered how much I like using the anachronistic, overbuilt SLR design. I've bought several additional Nikon lenses and now I've got that itch to supplement the D800 with a back up Nikon, another used full frame of course.

But then I pick up one of my Fuji X-Pro2's and realize how light and nimble it is in comparison when the XP2 has become my favorite camera of all time. And I wonder how I came to love a bulky boat anchor like the D800.

What's that quote about the heart wanting what the heart wants...?

Re Getting a second H1, I suggested that just after you got it and the price dropped to $999, your average cost would be $500 bucks and the deal of the century...... But if you really would never shoot with 2 cameras you probably don't really need to do that.
With the amount you shoot, it should last a long time.
In business I shot with two cameras all the time and liked it, although I now usually shoot with a single camera.
You could however shoot B&W with one and Color with the other ; -))

I hate cameras, but not all cameras. A few are tolerable. While most just ooze bad juju. I haven't used an ILC in over a year. But I shoot 25-30 shots a day with my iPhone Xs. Picture making, without cameras, makes it fun again!

Perhaps I am an idiot but I recently sold the following and bought an X100f with the funds; XF 56mm f1.2, XF 23m f1.4, XF 27mm f2.8, X100 (original model), Sekonic L-358 meter and an X-E1. Paid list price too from B&H as it is not on sale. But I am tired of carrying around a lot of gear and am moving to just the X100F. The X-H1 is actually cheaper than the X100f but there is no way that I am carrying that kind of weight anymore. I bought a X100 a few months after it came out and my photography improved greatly being "stuck" with one focal length.

Hmm. Since you posted an article about my Fujifilm articles just as I headed off on my month-long sabbatical from the Internet, I didn't get to respond to that. Now I come back and find you in love with the X-H1 ;~).

As I noted in both my summary and review, the X-H1 is a "very impressive camera." Arguably the best camera Fujifilm has made.

But I'll still contend that it's hobbled slightly by the lens lineup. The X-H1 simply can't compete with a Nikon D500 for two reasons: the Fujifilm focus performance isn't up to the same level on fast moving and erratic subjects (though it's gotten closer), and the lens lineup simply doesn't extend into the realm where the D500 dominates.

The problem I have and described in my late July article is a simple one: most people generally don't pay top price for a camera that has limits due to lack of system extension. I've been pointing out this argument for years now, and I believe that I can detail many examples of where a product did less well than it could have with the proper system lineup. Moreover, you can flip that, too: the reason why the Sony FE system is doing well is because they embraced doing a full system lineup.

At US$999 the X-H1 is a steal. Way more camera than the dollars suggest. As long as you're happy with the mostly <200mm lens lineup, you're golden. I don't see Fujifilm trying to fix that anytime soon, and that's going to put limits on how many customers they can entice with X-T's and X-H's.

I "heart" my X-H1! I switched from full frame and I love this format, I can get long lenses into event areas because they are way smaller... I mega love the X-H1 IBIS. I can travel and set it at 1/500 and end up with 96% non-garbage. My keeper percentage is too high to be honest. It's never taken me so long post processing only because I have so many keepers! First time at astrophotography was stunning. It keeps getting better. The shutter is gold, I can sit next to other people and snap away without being self conscious. My wife never tells me to keep quiet like she used to with my D750. Great kit in my opinion! I have blown up pictures onto canvas that i took while my wife was driving at 30 miles an hour. Pictures from bumpy old trains are crisp. Love, love!

I'm in full agreement with you and Kirk Tuck, and I bought my X-H1 at full price when it first hit the market: best damn ILC mirrorless I've ever used.

LIke Kirk, mine is my go-to body for professional work.

It also produces, IMHO, the best file quality of any camera I've used this side of any GFX. That camera can pull an incredible amount of image quality out of a Fujinon lens. A professsional real estate photographer I partner with aked me a while back what camera I was using because he's never seen files "like that" before.

I qualify my statement with "interchangeable lens camera" because I think the X100F is also one of the best cameras I've ever used.

The X100F and the X-H1 are "chalk & cheese", but I love using them each in their own way. I usually use the X100F for my racing pit, paddock, and "atmosphere" work because hardly anyone ever sees me with it, and when they do, they are charmed by it's retro/film camera look.

I think it's great that Fujifilm could produce two cameras so different from one another, with each being so good at fulfilling their respective design briefs.

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