A Hike with the Fuji XH-1.
By Mohamed Hakem
After the announcement of new Fuji XH-1, which I consider Fuji’s new flag ship over the XT-2 and the Xpro2, I was Interested. I’ve been a Fuji owner for 6 years since the release of X100 and two years later fully migrating from Nikon full frames, I’ve watched how Fuji have developed itself and matured with every camera release.
I sold my Xpro2 after pre ordering the XH-1, the XPro2 was my least favorite Fuji camera. Don’t get me wrong it’s a very good camera but I just didn’t find myself in it. The lack of articulated LCD was my major disappointment after I got used to in the XT-1. But also I wasn’t very happy with the view finder, despite having the impressive hybrid optical and digital view finder, I still didn’t fall for it, the optical finder with zoom lenses is all but useless, and the digital finder is not as large as the old XT-1. Finally the video was not as impressive, I will not jump into the technical details but other camera brands and even the XT-2 were far superior in that aspect.
I didn’t get the XT-2 but I’ve used it on many occasions and it’s an impressive upgrade over the XT-1 and in the mirrorless segment in general.
After the announcement of the XH-1 I was confused, is this a replacement for the new Xt-2? Why not an XT-2S? But after buying it I immediately knew everything. Being at a high price point same as the Sony A7III, the Fuji XH-1 should offer something new. At first when opening the box I was dazzled by the ruggedness, how solidly and uni-bodly it is. It is not a small camera but still in the range of 700g in weight. The Grip is fantastic and the overall feel is truly amazing. Makes the Sonys look much cheaper. Secondly you will find that unlike the Xpro2, Fuji Engineers thought of everything with no compromise, they threw lovely features in that body. It really is a camera with soul, not just many junk features but the overall feel is fantastic. If the Term H stands for anything then it should be Hybrid as the video capabilities is amazing and on par with the big players. And oh the stabilization IBIS works very well too.
So having a package of amazing photo quality, solid and rugged feeling, mature lens line up and a competitive video capability is an all in one solution to my needs. Some people argue with the size, but being APS-C will still have the advantage in terms of lenses size compared to the full frame, so the overall package is still much less.
I decided to go on a hike with the camera and I took it through some tough conditions in the deserts of Sinai,Egypt, it experienced heat, dust and small bumps along the way. Switching from photo to video is easy, the high customizability was fantastic and the knobs and buttons were perfectly placed. I just didn’t much like the shutter button as it is too buttery. The touch screen didn’t add anything for me and I think that its something that still needs to mature. As for the usability, after the five days hike through the deserts of sinai, with high mountains of freezing conditions to deep canyons in hot weather, the camera was part of my hand and I was very happy using it. It was an intensive real time test of the XH-1 having it lugged around my bag strap or in my hands from the moment I wake up to the moment I sleep. the obvious feature of charging through the micro USB is finally available and thats how I survived the 5 days with 3 batteries and a power bank. The images were fantastic right out of the camera and I have to admit the post processing was 95% done on Lightroom with basic editing. My next step is diving more into the video capabilities thats good so far .
So in conclusion:
Pros: Incredible build quality – Fuji photos quality – very capable video camera – highly customizable and the second LCD is amazing – IBIS really works!
Cons: with the battery grip becomes really big and heavy – the battery life is below normal when shooting videos (the grip solves the problem as it cycles through batteries) – shutter button is too buttery
My website: www.hakemphotography.com
My instagram: instagram.com/moh_hakem