"Best Ever!" "Breathtaking" "The new Fuji camera has finally arrived". The line for the newest Fuji camera starts .... right behind me. Gotta be an X-H1 or I'll go to the floor right now and throw a tantrum.

Here's my breathtaking and highly original announcement. You heard it here on the VSL blog. This may be one of many decent cameras to be announced in 2018. It may be even better for some uses than other cameras which will also be announced. It's possible that some people will take good photographs with it.

so. Where's my "real world" "hands on first impression" "what you need to know" review?  Okay, I've got this. Here's my "I've read the same press release as everyone else so I'll take a stab at summarizing how I feel about a camera I've never seen" journalism:

(Seemingly) Hailed by FujiFilm's gallant and unctuous marketing professionals as the greatest camera since the Leica M3 the pros at Fuji are happy to have at last caught up with Sony, Olympus, Pentax and Panasonic by offering their first ILC camera with in-body image stabilization. Three or five years late to the party but the invitation said the deadlines were casual....

On to bigger news!!!!! The camera now offers decent (but not great) 4K video allowing Fuji to join the other members of the $2,000 camera body club. Sure, there's no headphone jack, the 4K video cuts off after 10 minutes and even with an HDMI cable jacked in you can still only squeeze 8 bit files out of the camera. But who cares? Eterna! right?

But wait!!!!!!! it also has a new LCD data readout on the top plate. That should propel this pup to new handling horizons.  But the engineers did take off the physical (and elegant) exposure compensation button to make space for the specious LCD panel... but that's more flashy than just an EV dial...

The new camera does have some good points. It uses the same sensor as the XT-20 (which you can buy for about $999). And thankfully they did not change the lens mount. That should count for something.

So why are the bloggers swooning, drooling a wetting themselves? Oh, yeah, we'll circle back to that IBIS thing. Nice. If I owned a totally obsolete XT-2 I would rush right out and get one for the IBIS. That would complete my bonding with the fine art of photography.

The most common complaint in the forums? Image quality? Video performance? Price? Naw, the rubes are convinced that the X-H1is too big. Didn't Fuji get the memo? All mirrorless cameras must be small enough fit in a man's wallet.

In all seriousness, I've looked at the camera and it seems decent. For a serious photographer and casual videographer it will no doubt be a satisfying addition to many Fuji lover's camera bags. I have a moment of weakness for a Fuji system every time I look at the 56mm f1.2 lens. I don't really care which body I'd put one on but oh! that lens...

Wake me up when the video specs match those of a GH5....

Added 2/19: For the pathologically literal reader, try Michael Johnston's take on the current state of camera reviews: http://theonlinephotographer.typepad.com/the_online_photographer/2018/02/re-video-reviews-of-camera-equipment.html


  1. Fun post Kirk! I used to shoot Fuji, beginning in 2011 with the X100 until around 2016. In that time, I shot with the X-E1, XT-1 and X100s, all with some of that great Fujinon glass :-) I do miss that! However, in the of spring 2014 I was really wanting more from video (Fuji video at the time was pretty unusable, an iPhone was better) and I added an RX10. Later, an RX10 MII for 4k. In the fall of 2015, added a Leica Typ 109 with 4k. Today, I still have the Leica (off for a sensor clean though) and an FZ2500 (to get around the annoying Sony recording limit without a hack and the menus, firmware, etc.)....and all of the Fuji's are gone.

    Every time Fuji makes a new announcement, I get excited! Unfortunately, none of them are ready for video yet (at least for me). I need the longer record time for theater recording (at least 90 min to intermission), no overheating and good 4k. I'd jump back to Fuji without a second thought if this were to happen....maybe it will someday. Oh, and it MUST have audio monitoring. I do record into a Zoom H4N Pro with XLR mics in an XY config at the lip of the stage and rung the cables back to the FZ2500 where it is mounted on a bracket. I then record into the FZ2500 with a shotgun mic as a backup and monitor both (but mainly the XLRs) to ensure all is well.

    In the meantime, that little Typ 109 and FZ2500 are a great 4k combo! The Typ 109 (aka. LX100) is a fantastic little stills camera too for stage work upclose....silent, fast, nice lens and great m43 sensor RAW files.

    Come on Fuji, I'm rooting for you!!!!

  2. As I have no interest in video, I'm not concerned about the X-H1's capabilities in that area. The main thing I think about it is that it's more expensive than I want to pay. If the price of the X-T2 gets pushed down a bit once the X-H1 is available (probably not), I might consider buying one of those. Meanwhile I'll just stick with my X-E2S, which I'm really quite satisfied with overall.

  3. Oh come on now Kirk, your loosing it, no link to Amazon so you an get rich off your insightful "review".

  4. You forgot to mention catching up to Konica-Minolta with the IBIS.

  5. Argh VSL strikes again. When I see a Fuji, I think of my Nikon D7200 and then it happens. GAS Envy, lust, In-body stabilization, great glass. I see the images in my mind's eye and my mind’s eye is watering and Damn I am that good. I start thinking about the Fuji and my heart starts accelerating. I am in my element. The camera now an extension of my certain creative vision. When I look at wrinkled laundry it morphs into the excellent rendered images an extension of my creative vision that I know I will “create”. My God! It has buttons to push too! I got to have it. My creative lust is full filled, I am more complete than before. Gimme, Gimme, Gimme, I GOTTAHAVEIT, GOTTAHAVEIT, GOTTAHAVEIT….

  6. I had the 56mm f1.2 lens when I had a Fuji kit. It was so slow to focus on my XT-1 that I quickly amassed a large collection of out of focus images. I am happily shooting with an OLY 45 1.2 with my Micro 4/3 kit. Much better lens.

  7. I got to "gallant and unctuous" and stopped, because how the hell is this review possibly gonna get better than that?

  8. Online summary of today'a live videocast at The Camera Store TV with Fuji rep "Billy" on the X-H1:

    "Nobody buys a GH5 or A7sII to do professional stills and video. They are video cameras that have stills option. The X-H1, though, is a fantastic stills camera that happens to do excellent video."

    X-H1 must be Best Ever or something :)


  9. Ach, an uberkamera at last! Now I know there's hope for me as a photographer yet. If anything, something to tide me over until the X-H1 Mark II hits the market.


  10. Dear Kirk,

    I’m pondering un-bookmarking your site over this post. As it goes Fuji cameras don’t do much for me either but this is post is needlessly insulting to Fuji owners. It reminds me of the kind of mindless snarkiness of dpreview’s comments sections (another site I no longer visit).

  11. I read on dpreview, that the video on this is activated by half press of the shutter. There is no dedicated video record button and no way to set one of the other function buttons as a dedicated record button. Does that sound like a bad idea. Like video was just tacked on in an unusable way. The hands on at dpreview commented that he got lots of video of his feet and would stop recording at the moment he wanted to start a recording. I think I know what the first firmware update will be.
    Also the specs reminded me of the GH4. Which may be cheaper to buy.

  12. Dear Anonymous reader, I'm so sorry that not all of my content here delivers to you reader euphoria. I have made a full refund of all the dues, fees, payments, subscriptions and other material costs you've had to bear over the years in order to read the material here on the VSL. We've stopped billing your credit card for your VSL Platinum Membership. Please go ahead and un-book our site. We couldn't bear the thought of taking up that valuable space on your free reading machine. And thanks again for all your enthusiastic past support. Have a great day!

  13. A great post on the tripe that is editorial advertising we see so often from other sites. Other examples include the hype that's been generated in the past for the GH5 and G9 ;D

    In full disclosure, I've been using both Fuji and M43 systems (for light video) for the last 5 years, and my most recent M43 camera was purchased in part due to Kirk's recommendation - the humble G85, which is a great fit for what I want.

    Have a great week ahead!

    Rich in Tacoma

  14. It looks big, I remember carting around a Nikon F5 with 'pro'zoom f2.8 lenses to photograph horse 3 day events.

    I now use Op/Tech straps on my Canon FF gear. Ok, Canon is quite conservative, but I use some of their specialist lenses and I prefer to mount them on Canon rather than Sony with adapters. Plus, I don't quite get the Sony FFs, too angular and I need cameras I can use whilst wearing gloves. I still use a Nex-7, though.

    And I still use an Olympus E1, with that gorgeous Kodak 5MP sensor for my clinical macro images. Oh, obviously being a clinician I should be using a Leica digital, haha.

  15. As a Fuji and Olympus user, for work and pleasure, I enjoyed your comments on the latest "Best Ever" etc view of the world spouted by breathless orgasmic over-the-top v-loggers and social media persons (who haven't yet thoroughly used this "just released" camera extensively). Appreciate the humour/sarcasm : )

    Something new is released and the internet goes crazy. A jaundiced eye and a pinch of salt is used to thin out the info from the chattering bandwidth of advert hyperbole. A quick scan of the NEWEST AND GREATEST quickly sends us on to the next article that may have something more valuable for us to use. A camera is a tool to get the job done, and there's many out there in the wild to do so.

    Now, as to Dear Anonymous...

    I am among many who thoroughly enjoy and look forward to your musings, info and cautionary and informative tales you pass on to us. It's like sitting down with someone for a good cup of coffee and a nice chat about the days events, family, work, the best picture I took, the one I saw but didn't catch, etc. I am more than happy to stay the course. So, please do not refund of all the dues, fees, payments, subscriptions and other material costs I've had to bear over the years in order to read the material here on the VSL. Please do not stop billing my credit card for your VSL Platinum Membership ; )

    Yours Appreciatively


  16. Good one.
    I'm fed up with fuji hype. Oh wheels like in5-s, oh retro, oh film simulations... but where it counts for me, it was underperforming e.g. AF, e.g. ergonomics (small grip). It has some nice glass though (allegrdly). It's good that fuji is catching up. It is a first fuji camera that might be better featured than my venerable 4 years old NX1 (thanks to IBIS) but NX1 still wins in video department. But then there was even an attempt to build hype about X-A5 - featureless camera for crods with 4k 15fps (?!?) and no small lenses.

    There is similar hype for sony, but at least sony is actually pushing technical envelope, be that resolution, af, ISO etc.

  17. Sad that our shallow friend, Anonymous, didn't understand that this article was not an attack on Fuji users but on the hyperbole of the industry's media friends. He might benefit from a course in reading comprehension, with an extra pair of sense of humor underwear.

  18. Looks alright to me. Bit expensive I suppose, but a decent enough piece of kit.

    I've owned a couple of Fuji X cameras (and all that X-Nonsense really annoys me, BTW!), they're generally well made and pleasant to shoot, but I can't get on with the weird sensor.

  19. I don't know why owners of any specific camera brand like to post snarky comments about other brands, and that is how I read this article. Fuji may be late to the IBIS party, but they've beaten Canon and Nikon. If IBIS was the be all and end all, Pentax should be leading in DSLR share. Sony, Fuji, Panasonic, Olympus - I wish them all well.

  20. Rich, I like Fuji just fine. The point of this post was to illuminate the farcical role bloggers, review sites and other sites funded by reader clicks play in hyper-marketing new product. It was all about the hyperbole of the PR effort. Fuji was just the over-hyped announcement of the week.

    P.S. Thanks for not posting your comment anonymously. I appreciate it. KT

  21. I get it - but you may be preaching to the choir in that regard. I doubt that the readers of your blog pay any attention to the worst of the "review" sites that you rail against... we have to be discerning consumers of information in the internet age, and your site is one of the good ones for sure. My comment about brand favoritism was perhaps misdirected, though you did seem to take a few jabs at Fuji along the way ;).

    I appreciate and value all the work that you do to maintain this site - keep it up!

  22. Kirk,

    I wouldn't worry about losing the "subscriptions" from readers who can't spot the real target and / or be open to a discussion about the insulation qualities of the emperor's new clothes.

    I love my X-E2, probably my favourite camera ever, and I'm not in the market for the X-H1 but like many people, I like to do a bit of virtual window shopping. Your short, tongue in cheek review told me all I needed to know about whether this was a true dual purpose camera or a stills camera with extras. Completely cut through the hyperbole I've seen elsewhere.

    Good work.


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