What the H?

I don’t follow rumour sites for any products. They fall squarely in the “spoiler” category for me, so I was as surprised as anyone to catch wind of an entirely new body type, with an entirely new initial, “H”. The promo videos featuring music that would lead you to believe the fate of the world hinges upon in-body stabilization have made their all-too-triumphant return.

The X-H1

It’s a curious camera. Sized and priced between the X-T2 and GFX 50s,1 it pushes the X Series quite a bit closer to DSLRs I was once familiar with from the “sub LCD monitor” to the enlarged grip.

In-Body Image Stabilization (IBIS)

I did not see this one coming from Fuji. It’s a huge shift in strategy, and it’s just great. This is one area the Olympus guys always had us beat. Now we just need to wait until the tech makes its way down the line to the X-T, X-Pro, and maybe even X-E and little X-T. The demonstration is seriously impressive. Very similar to how Fuji demo’d the OIS lenses at Photokina a few years back.

Autofocus

It just keeps getting faster. My shooting style very rarely calls for it, but if yours does, and you didn’t jump on the X-T2, this could very well be your camera, provided you’re ok with the size and weight compromises.

Body Material, Size, and Weight

With a magnesium body that’s 25% thicker than the X-T2 or X-Pro2, this thing is sure to be heavier. That will mean better balancing with Fuji’s heftier lenses, but I think we have left the “compact” camera realm far, far behind with this camera. Considering the size of my X-T2 with the grip and L-plate attached, DSLR owners are going to look at the X-H1 and see very little, if any size and weight disadvantage to their current kit. As a point of comparison, a Nikon D7500 weighs in at 640g for the body only, just 17g more than the X-H1. A Canon 80D is another 10 grams more.

Weight in grams, body only.

Where the advantage could still lie is in multi-camera ownership. As it stands now, my X-Pro2 is used for my everyday shooting, while the relatively hulking gripped and plated X-T2 is for planned photography outings. So with one set of lenses, I can still get pretty compact, and for dedicated shooting, I likely wouldn’t mind the size increase of moving to an X-H1 from the X-T2.

“sub” LCD monitor

I used to use this feature on my DSLR all the time. I’ve needed it much less with all the dials available on many of Fuji’s cameras, but it would still come in very handy for confirming my aperture on lenses with unmarked rings,2 as well as a bunch of other settings without having to look through the viewfinder after pressing the “Q” button while passersby wonder why I’m photographing the sidewalk. And it even works when the camera is off.

We do lose the Exposure Compensation Dial because of this little monitor in favour of a somewhat strangely-placed button, but at least the information aspect is not lost.

Feather-Touch Shutter Release

And we’re back to the threadless shutter release. Hopefully Fuji’s new “Feather-touch” technology will make it so that I don’t feel like I need to email Tim at Match Technical for a soft shutter release.

Shutter Shock Absorption Mechanism

Fuji’s cameras were already pretty quiet, but apparently the X-H1 will be even quieter.

New Film Simulation Mode, ETERNA

This one’s geared at video, but I could see JPEG shooters using it as a base for creative post processing. Of course many people will that’s what RAFs are for, but for the iOS photographer, it could be a good option.

Video

I don’t do a lot of video, but I’ve come dangerously close to diving into it. The X-H1 adds a ton, DCI 4K, F-log, separate video settings, but I think there’s one feature Fuji is still missing.

Touch-Enabled Rear Monitor

Fuji cites this display as being vlogger friendly, and the capacitive touchability will certainly help, but without a flip-out screen, little-known vloggers like this guy probably won’t switch to Fuji anytime soon.

1.6× Brighter EVF with 3.69-million dots

It’s a little smaller than the X-T2, but brighter, and I would happily trade 0.02× magnification for 1.33 million dots. Otherwise, the EVF specs out the same as the X-T2 except for one other thing.

If I had known the X-H1 was coming, I probably would have held off on my X-T2, which hasn’t been used in the last year nearly as much as I would like. Since I already have an X-T2, and I don’t need the expanded video capabilities, I will probably stick with what I have. If I wanted to go larger, I’d go all the way and buy a GFX if they ever get the price down to more reasonable levels.

That could very well change once I have one in my hands.

  1. Although decidedly closer to the X-T2 on the pricing spectrum. ↩︎
  2. Here’s glaring at you, XF 10-24mm F/4 OIS ಠ ↩︎

Fuji Filter Thread Sizes; 2018 Update

Of course the XF 50mm F/2 WR has a 46mm filter thread. Why would it be 43mm to match the other two F2/WR lenses?

My Filter Thread Size piece has been updated to include the XF 50mm F/2 WR and XF 80mm F/2.8 Macro WR OIS. The former adds yet another filter thread size for a total of 10. The latter slots in with 62mm, extending that diameter’s lead. You win some you lose some, I guess.

I’m giving Fuji the gears a bit up there, but it should be noted it certainly appears as though they start out trying to make their lens filter threads consistent. Their first two primes, the XF 18mm F/2 and XF 35mm F/1.4 were both 52mm. The first two F2/WR lenses? 43mm. And there’s an embarrassment of riches in the 62mm thread size. A for effort.

I’ve revised the entire strategy section of the piece, not just to include the new lenses, but also the availability of new filter sizes from Breakthrough Photography,→ my filter manufacturer of choice.

Fuji XF 35mm F/2 WR Review Posted

Barely made it in before the end of the year.

The XF 35mm F/2 WR is a weird lens to review for me. In some ways it is inferior to the XF 35mm F/1.4 (you can read lots more about that in my comparison here), but nevertheless, it’s still the lens I prefer to have mounted on my camera the majority of the time. Typically I would have some kind internal struggle in situations like this. “This lens has better optics and a larger aperture, but it could rain so…”. In the case of the XF 35mm F/2 WR, I just mount it and go with hardly a second thought.

It’s nice to have two options at 50mm equivalence to recommend. Here’s the review.

September Announcements

Now that Fuji seems to be getting themselves back in gear, I figure it’s a good time for me to do the same.

X-E3

I’m a little surprised to see some write-ups about this camera hardly mention the lack of a D-pad. That said, I can understand the decision, and it’s interesting to see how Fuji has decided to rework the X-E series of cameras within their lineup. The X-E2S had almost nothing unique about it outside of being rangefinder-style. Fuji is constantly struggling with how to compete against the smartphone on their lower end. They will never beat the smartphone, but making their cameras work with smartphones as seamlessly as possible is nothing but the right move.

The Bluetooth connectivity is something I’m eager to try, and is a feature I think could single-handedly make the X-E3 one of Fuji’s best-selling cameras for photographers who want instant access to their Instagram accounts with their photos.

XF80mm F/2.8 LM OIS WR Macro

This is a lens that many had hoped would be released this time last year, and with a longer focal length. My understanding is the size was getting out of control, and if I had to guess, it became what we now know as the GF 120mm F4 OIS WR Macro.

With weather sealing, f/2.8 aperture, proper 1:1 macro, and a linear motor (just one based on Fuji’s marketing materials) for faster AF, only the budget and/or size and weight-minded will consider the XF 60mm F2.4 Macro anymore, and unless the AF speed of the XF 90mm F2 WR is significantly quicker, or you really need that extra stop of light gathering/bokeh vs. OIS, the XF 90mm F2 WR could find itself getting dusty in inventory.

XF8-16mm F/2.8 WR

Yours truly called the focal length back at the last roadmap update. I’m pleasantly surprised to see the f/2.8 aperture. I’m also pleased to see Fuji say it is most suited for architecture. This suggests to me that distortion will be kept to a minimum. If that is the case, the XF 10-24mm F/4 OIS will be off my lens consideration list faster than you can say “WR”.

GFX Stuff

I have to admit that after my initial buzz around Fuji’s new format faded, my interest in it did as well. The GFX has simply proved to be much too costly for me to really get into. Perhaps once I can get my hands on a review unit again I will add more GFX content, but for the time being, X Series is where my money, interest, and review effort is going. I’d be very interested to know how my readers feel about that.

Medium Format Telephoto

I’d be interested to know how many medium format shooters are pining for telephoto capabilities. And not just telephoto, but teleconverted telephoto. Time will tell I suppose.

FUJIFILM X RAW STUDIO

In addition to the new gear announcements, Fuji also announced some software as well. When I saw “Fujifilm X RAW Studio,” my interested was piqued. X Processor Pro on my iMac? Sweet! Then I saw a camera needs to be connected to the computer. I suppose this could come in handy for RAF shooters who want to batch process, but is this software going to change any Lightroom or Capture One users’ habits? Heck no.

I continue to hope and dream for the day Fuji gives us real Fuji processing on our computational devices.

Firmware

And finally, all of Fuji’s current cameras will see a firmware update. Key features include enhanced AF tracking algorithms for the X-Pro2 and X-T2, 4K video support for the X-Pro2—something Fuji once claimed wasn’t possible due to heat tolerances—and the ability to backup and restore camera settings.

I am by far most excited about that last one. I switch cameras so often I often don’t bother adjusting settings far from their defaults, but being able to restore them will definitely encourage some customization. I’m very curious to see how they handle the transfer of settings from different models of camera, particularly where a function is bound to a specific button.

XF 35mm F/1.4 Review Posted

My goal of getting more lens reviews published continues with the addition of the XF 35mm F/1.4. My XF 35mm F/1.4 vs. XF 35mm F/2 WR piece is easily one of the most popular on the site, so it seems fitting to get reviews of these two lenses online. They also happen to cover one of my favourite focal lengths, 50mm.

I don’t use the original XF 35mm as much now that a weather sealed option is available, but I definitely got on well with it when it was the only game in town, and still use it when my wife feels like a portrait session, or I’m in the mood to play with lens flare. Both of which are areas the XF 35mm F/1.4 excels in.

Here’s the review.

Also

I know I haven’t exactly been publishing content daily, but my big, crazy long move is finally coming to a close as I write this. I’ll be away from the site entirely for a few days, and really, truly hope to be settled soon, so I can post more regularly. Big thanks to my readers who have stuck with me.

Post Processing Style Evolution

As I was digging through my catalogue of images for my XF 18-55mm F/2.8-4 OIS review, I came across the image below. It’s your typical vacation snap, nothing terribly noteworthy, but I like it, and figured I’d reprocess it anyway. It’s not uncommon for me to look back at my post processing, especially in my earliest days of shooting, and find myself somewhat aghast.

In this case, I don’t hate the way I had processed this image before, but I don’t like it either. There is a lot about it that is no longer to my taste. Believe it or not, I was long since out of my days of wanting to extract every last bit of detail from shadows when I first edited this photo, but even then, I think I was much too heavy-handed on the Shadows slider in Lightroom. I started with Adobe’s built in profile since that’s all there was available back then, whereas today I started with PROVIA. Less vibrance, more contrast, I don’t know what I was thinking with the sky and the greens on the mountains. Probably that I wanted to emphasize the warmth of the sun hitting the mountains. Now I find my eye hunting around the frame, side to side, and top to bottom with the reflection. With the left side more in shadows, it encourages a subtle rule of thirds, and lets my eye rest where the sun hits the mountains after the clouds lead it there.

Maybe you agree with me, maybe you think I’m out to lunch and my first pass was better like my wife does. Or maybe you think they both suck, and that’s fine. What’s interesting to me is how we as photographers grow and evolve, not just in the kinds of images we capture, but also in how we handle them after the fact. I am the furthest thing from a SOOC snob. I still enjoy tinkering with an image in Photoshop, and man, would I like to have the time to take another processing pass on a lot of my older images.

Fuji XF 18-55mm F/2.8-4 OIS Review Posted

I recently finished up my review of the XF 18-55mm F/2.8-4 OIS, the “don’t call it a kit lens” kit lens.

As I posted in social media after my last set of body reviews and comparisons, I’ll focusing on lenses for the next little while, and have spent the past few weeks combing through my back catalogue of images trying to find some worth posting in a review. I hope to share more of those soon.

Deal: X-T1, X100T, X-T10

You can save yourself $500 on the cost of an X-T1 in black on its own,→ or with the XF 18-55mm F/2.8-4,→ or in Graphite Silver on its own.→

You can also get $200 off and X100T,→ or X-T10 with or without two lens choices.→

If you’ve been thinking about a second X-T1 body, now would be a great time.

Here’s a list of all the deals:

  Price Savings
X-T1 - Body Only, Black $799→ $500
X-T1 - Body Only, Graphite Silver $999→ $500
X-T1 Black + XF 18-55mm F/2.8-4 $1,199→ $500
X100T $1,099→ $200
X-T10 $599→ $200
X-T10 + XF 18-55mm F/2.8-4 $899→ $200
X-T10 + XC 16-50mm $699→ $200