Fujifilm X-H1 First Impression 2021

The Fujifilm X-H1 – 24MP X-Trans III
These are my first impressions after buying this camera second-hand mid-June 2021.

When I first got hold of the camera, it immediately felt perfect, a nice big grip, well placed shutter button, and finally a viewfinder that is placed in such a way that you don’t have to stick your face so tight to the camera to see something through it.
It actually feels just like a DSLR but with shutter and Iso dial instead of PASM dial.
Like my Pentax K-3, this camera also has an LCD on top, which is useful in some cases.

Then the very first “power on” and the first press of the shutter – the shutter button is silky smooth, but what immediately stands out is the sound of the mechanical shutter, or should I say almost the lack of it, I almost thought there was something wrong with the camera, this is really the quietest camera I’ve ever had my hands on. This is actually great for taking nature photos, but it can also be very useful for street shooting.

A negative point, I also read this in reviews is the menu, it is not that it is really disturbing but it takes getting used to and searching in the beginning. The first problem is that when you go in and out of the menu you don’t return to the last item consulted, I also find the order and “where is what” not always clear or logical. But, if you use a camera regularly, you get used to it and eventually you know everything where it is. The advantage of this camera is that you hardly use this menu – after it has been set up properly – and because of the many dials and buttons that handle almost all (major) settings.

I’ve written it before, when you read a review you really have to read between the lines. For example, the Fujifilm X-T20 is considered too small in some reviews – it is indeed small, but that suits a target group and can be a plus. The X-H1 on the other hand is too big some say, but for me it feels great in size and weight, I want a camera that I can hold well, and the large grip will help when using larger lenses. So there is always something to cry about, but not always a real problem. Below I will list a few of these annoyances and my view on them:

  • Too big = for those who come from a DSLR, the “big” will be perfect, it is a professional camera, not intended as a pocket camera to take holiday snapshots. The size is also partly determined because you have a rugged and weather sealed camera, an X-T20 is neither of those.
  • Too heavy = the camera weighs 673gr. – the new Pentax K-3 Mark III weighs 820gr, personally I think that if you opt for a rugged weather sealed camera, the weight is not that bad – a Nikon Z6 II weighs 705gr (full frame) and an X-T4 weighs 607gr. Actually, cameras of this quality all have about the same weight, so don’t complain 🙂
  • Low number of shots – or battery life = the camera shoots official 310 pictures with a battery weight of 47g, the Pentax K-3 Mark III gets 800 shots with a 78g battery, and the Fujifilm X-T4 with the new battery NP-W235 gets 500 shots, that battery weighs 91gr – Last Sunday I went to test the camera outside, I made a total of 344 shots in RAW and maximum format Jpeg, and the battery was not completely empty yet . I did turn off the LCD and did not use it, and the IBIS was not on continuous but on recording only. The battery weighs half that of the X-T4 and it’s battery doesn’t go twice as far. It’s all the way you look at it. How many pictures do you take on an event/trip/photo shoot, and do you really shoot continuously until it’s empty, no time for a battery change ? The camera grip you say, but wasn’t the camera too big already ? In addition, an NP-W126S is very small and light, with a few batteries in your pocket you can go very far.
  • No Exposure Compensation dial = yes there isn’t one, do you need it ? Some say that the jpegs of the camera are a bit too dark, ok, the exposure compensation button is right next to the shutter release button – a small press and turn of the wheel and you’re done. Personally, I don’t constantly adjust my exposure when I take pictures, unless under difficult lighting conditions, are you constantly fiddling with exposure compensation ?

There are probably still things that can be annoying for some nitpickers, but for every camera there will always be something to pick on.

My first conclusion after this short time of use:

As written before, I’m a Pentax shooter, I couldn’t really imagine me and any other camera, well, until now that is, this is the first camera that makes me feel even better than with my trusty Pentax K-3 workhorse, it’s also been a long time since I really been stimulated and had even more fun taking pictures. I think this is partly due to the fact that this camera feels and looks like a cross between an analog 35mm film camera and my trusty Pentax K-3, a vintage look with the grip of a digital camera and modern technology.

The camera is from 2018, in comparison only the X-T4 has IBIS and weather sealing (the X-S10 is not weather sealed). Something I’m also really happy with is the viewfinder, it features the same viewfinder as the Fujifilm X-T3 – 3690k dot Electronic viewfinder. Actually, the X-H1 has a bit of the X-T2 (Sensor 24MP), the X-T3 (Viewfinder), the X-T4 (IBIS) and the body of the GFX Series.
All in all, it makes this camera a great tool that I can confidently recommend to anyone looking for a camera that can take a beating, is water resistant and has image stabilization on board, it’s a real Adventure Camera !

By the way, I heard the Fujifilm X-H2 is coming in 2022, so prices are likely to drop even further ! I can only hope that the battery, the NPW126S, is still used for the new X-H2, and not a different battery as for the X-T4. Personally, I find it so easy that you have interchangeable batteries between your X Series cameras, don’t you ? Anyway, if so, then maybe I’ll buy one too… in about two or three years, when it’s cheaper 🙂

Something about lenses : I already had the XF 18-135mm WR, a sturdy lens, reliable, fast and weather-sealed. But for nature photography and other far off subjects the 135mm can be a bit too short, so I was looking for something that gave a bit more range, a 50-200mm wouldn’t be a big upgrade and its not WR, so there were only two alternatives: the xf 100-400mm and the new xf 70-300mm. After much deliberation, the price, the weight, the range and usability, I opted for the XF 70-300mm with tele converter TC 1.4 , a combination that I think is more usable at a lighter weight and price. I’ll probably do a review about the X-H1 again when I’ve been using it for half a year or so, and then also in combination with the 18-135mm and 70-300mm..

Below my first attempt to become a videographer as well, there is still a lot of work to do I think 🙂


Extra’s :

The Fujifilm X-H1

The Fujifilm X-H1 is discontinued, so if you’re interested in this camera, you’ll have to rely on the second-hand market or a dealer who happens to have one left in his store. If you want to know more about the X-H1 click here, or download manual or firmware click here.

Wim Arys

X-H1 Manual with Settings, Tips and Trips

A very comprehensive manual

Published by Marc R.

Belgium Based and Retired :-) Photographer, IT specialist networks and computers, Technician and Bushcrafter - not necessarily in that order. Dumped Windows OS (I've wanted to do this for a long time) and switched to a working OS : Linux Kubuntu, and for Photography I use : RawTherapee, Darktable, Digikam, Luminance HDR, Hugin, Gimp and many other. Oh yes, the email address is still there, but I'm not a Pentaxian anymore - now i'am proud to be a Fujiian !

9 thoughts on “Fujifilm X-H1 First Impression 2021

  1. What a great review, I was playing with my friends X-H1 in more depth on Wednesday after you saying you were getting one and I fully agree with your review.

    I actually do use the exposure compensation dial a lot, especially when switching between film simulations that require different exposures, but using the rear command dial is just as effective as you say.

    Congratulations on the 70-300 and teleconverter! Another great lens and combined with the IBIS of the X-H1, you’ll be able to drink a couple if litres of coffee and still get perfectly in focus shots with no camera shake!

    Fantastic article Marc. Enjoy your camera (and lens).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Mark, Now that I’ve switched brands, there’s a whole new world of Fuji gadgets ! Unfortunately, this will probably be my last post – my wife has decided to cut my credit card into 1000 pieces, and she has ordered a straitjacket for me. Oh well, as long as she straps my camera to my chest, and I can shoot with my nose, I think I’ll be alright 🙂 Thanks again and have a great weekend ! Marc.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I totally agree, my X-H1 was again purchased second hand, from a reputable dealer and was to say the least – in immaculate condition with just over 7000 actuations on the shutter count.
    I was surprised at how light to touch the shutter button was compared to that of my other Fuji – the X-T20, silky smooth and almost as if you haven’t even pressed it, let alone focused )if in auto-focus) and taken the picture.
    The camera is well balanced, holds like a DSLR and just feels right in the hand. This camera is now my main camera and my X-T20 – well that’s my backup camera but also my ‘go to’ camera when I want something a little bit smaller to carry around.
    All in, the X-H1 is a really great camera – the menu system is pretty much the same as the X-T20 and once you work your way around the menu, then there is no issues – regardless of the negativity that non Fuji users give.
    Great purchase, great camera – 2 bodies, 1 set of lenses and batteries that fit both – what more can you want.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good evening, It’s nice to meet a fellow photographer who shares the same feelings for a camera like the X-H1. I think Fuji has managed to bring the best of both worlds together here. Hopefully the successor next year will be even better, maybe for filming photographers there is still room for improvement, for me it’s already perfect. Thank you for your comment, always nice and really appreciated.
      Have a great weekend!
      Marc.

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  3. I love my X-H1, but my biggest gripe is somewhat related to the missing exposure compensation dial. It’s due to the way they’ve combined the display of the exposure comp setting with the meter’s over/under exposure display. When something doesn’t seem right and I’m like wait is exposure comp set or something? But it’s displaying the meter value instead it can get very frustrating having to set everything to full auto just to force it to show the exposure comp setting. (I mostly shoot with manual aperture and shutter but auto iso and it doesn’t seem like they factored auto iso into the way they display things. Also the thing where they change the color of the indicator to show which value it’s displaying is too subtle and I don’t notice the color 90% of the time.) If it had the option to reset the exposure comp when you shut the camera off, that might help alleviate the issue but maybe that didn’t occur to them since so many of their cameras have the dedicated dial.

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    1. Hello Daniel, I can relate to that, I don’t miss the exposure correction dial itself, but the indication of any adjustment would be useful. In general, the photos are slightly darker from the X-H1, so I have set a correction of about +0.75 by default. Furthermore, I still work a lot from RAW in Rawtherapee, and usually do my exposure corrections (if necessary) there.
      Anyway, what you say is correct.
      Hopefully it’s something that will be fixed in the X-H2 next year.
      Thanks for visiting !

      Like

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