Anaheim (California) 2019 January 5th
Thanks to Fujifilm Italia I had the opportunity to try the new Fujifilm X-H1, coupled with the brand new 200 F2.0, a stellar lens with a spectacular bokeh, which entertains and gives simply unique photos.
I took them to the Supercross opening in California, more than 4 hours inside the track, with me also a Sony A7III and the FE 70/200 F4.0 to cover all situations where the Fuji tele was too long, and in the Supercross there are many.
The coupled Fujifilms have satisfied me right away, the 200 is simply spectacular, both for background separation and for clarity, but I do not hide the fact of having left the race with a bit of bitter taste. Yes, because the autofocus of the X-H1 has not improved much compared to the X-T2, which I have always used since its release. With a more performing autofocus I could’ve got something more from the race…
I also tried the teleconverter, sold together with the XF 200 (TCX 1.4x which offers a 280mm F2.8 on APSC, equivalent to a 420mm FF), but the size of the track does not match with lenses so long. So I rarely used it, though enough to notice a slight loss of quality and speed of autofocus virtually unchanged.
Unable to change lenses much, because of the torrential rain that kept me company for most of the evening, I’ve almost entirely shoot with the 200, and thank to the rain I’ve got even more unique pictures.
During the races I played a lot with the settings of the body, more than anything else with the various AFC options, and here I’m giving a list of pros and cons of the system, from my point of view and based on the races experience.
The X-H1 was supplied to me with the Grip, during the race always switched in Boost Mode.
⁃ excellent high ISO performance, certainly one of the best APSC on the market (not by chance is the system that I have always preferred and used)
⁃ AFC, even with many flaws, is precise and allows to obtain truly unique shots; keep in mind, though, that you’ll need a lot of practice with the system.
⁃ The X-H1 coupled wth Fuji lenses resolve great details, I was amazed by the 200, even more when I’m pixel peeping.
⁃ EVF fresh rate fast (more than the Sony’s – X-H1 100fps Vs. A7III 60 FPS) that allows to follow subjects with ease; and very high EVF resolution useful for reviewing shots in the field and not having to wait to be in front of a monitor.
⁃ Holding the X-H1 with battery Grip, although very similar in size to DSLR, is comfortable and above all is well balanced with the new 200, taking pictures is a pleasure
-Weather sealing of body and lens are truly exceptional, 3 hours under heavy rain, with no protection, and no flaws!
-Camera’s controls are intuitive, you need just a look at the body to know all your settings and modify the exposure accordingly; I find this aspect one of the main pillars that made me choose Fujifilm at the beginning of my photographic experience.
⁃ Zone AFC does not follow as expected subjects that approach or move away from the sensor, it does a better job with those that move parallel to the sensor (the A7III does much better in almost any situations).
⁃ To obtain good results in AFC mode, you need to use the single point in medium-large size.
⁃ AFC always behaves better when the subjects approach the sensor then when they move away.
⁃ Autofocus is inconsistent and sometimes doesn’t acquire focus at all.
⁃ During a sequence the camera loses the subject after a few clicks. I solved by releasing the shutter button and re-pressing it immediately after, at which point the camera resumes the focus.
The cons list is almost all about AFC, and despite this, the percentage of shots in focus is high and the results are truly excellent!
Here a shots selection post processed with Lightroom and Photoshop:
I read many positives about the X-T3 and its best performances, I would like to try one maybe in MotoGP or in one of the MXGP’s races, to see what she can truly do and write something about it.
I’ve have already written an article with some tips to get the best performance from the Fujifilm system, these days I will publish another one more specific on the X-H1, its weaknesses and how to overcome them.
Here a Jpg on camera gallery, no post, all Velvia profile:
The Fujifilm X-H1 proved to be a good performer, fast enough to achieve excellent results. However, it is still not up to the best Sony, probably the X-T3 will not disappoint.
Image quality is very high and the new XF200 F2.0 is excellent, as the majority of Fujifilm fixed lenses. It is no coincidence that the shots I prefer are those of Fuji and the new 200, despite the APSC sensor.
However I find that the X-H1 is not the best tool for this kind of situations, where I would like to try an X-T3. Instead I find it perfect in different enviroments such as videos and night photography with the pro zooms, such as the XF 16/55 F2.8 and the new XF 8/16 F2.8, which I got to try a long time (more than a month ) and for which I will write dedicated articles.
Full Disclosure: Fujifilm provided me camera and lenses for evaluation; I’m not paid from anyone and this is my honest opinion on a system that I particularly like and use for both work and pleasure.