In-Body Image Stabilization (IBIS)
As I have already pointed out earlier, the X-H1 is the first Fuji mirrorless camera to feature In-Body Image Stabilization (IBIS) and as of early 2019, the only camera to have it. While it feels like IBIS was more of an experiment for Fuji to see if there is real demand for this feature, after using the X-H1, I really hope Fuji will be implementing IBIS on all future generations of X-series cameras. In fact, aside from the superior ergonomics of the camera, IBIS is perhaps the primary reason why I fell in love with the camera and chose to buy it over all other X-series cameras, including the X-T3.
Being the first Fuji camera to feature IBIS, it had its problems in the beginning, but those problems were all addressed via firmware updates. Firmware v2.0 in particular, improved IBIS significantly, allowing it to work together with Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) found on some Fujinon lenses, allowing all 5 axes to work together for stabilizing both stills and video footage. To take advantage of this, make sure to update the firmware on both X-H1 and your lenses, as it requires proper communication between both ends. In addition, firmware v2.0 also practically eliminated sudden jumps when panning the camera, which was an issue with the initial firmware. As a result, the IBIS feature on the X-H1 has become extremely effective – I would honestly say it is one of the best IBIS implementations on the market today!
Autofocus Performance and Accuracy
One could argue that Fujifilm rushed with the X-H1 release, using the same X-Processor Pro processor as what we have previously seen on the X-T2, instead of the more advanced and faster X-Processor 4 that is found on the newer X-T3. As a result of this, despite being a higher-end camera than the X-T3, the X-H1 got a bit handicapped from the start – the timing of the X-T3 release certainly hurt the potential of the camera. The slower processor put the autofocus performance of the X-H1 right in line with the X-T2, which was already excellent, but the X-T3 got a noticeably faster boost, delivering up to 3x faster image processing speeds when compared to the X-H1. In addition, the AF system on X-T3 sports a much better AF algorithm for things like face and eye detection. Sadly, because of the difference in processing power alone, the X-H1 could not receive any of the AF performance improvements the X-T3 got from firmware updates.
Still, despite its inferior processor and AF system, the X-H1 has an overall excellent AF performance and accuracy. It has a total of 325 focus points, which is more than enough for most photographers. It focuses fast and accurately in both daylight and low-light conditions. Its eye detection works reasonably well when shooting wide open with large-aperture lenses like the Fujinon XF 56mm f/1.2 R. And it has quite a bit of control of continuous AF behavior, allowing one to tweak AF tracking sensitivity, speed tracking sensitivity and zone area switching for different subjects and shooting environments. In short, the AF system on the X-H1 is more than sufficient for most photography needs, including mine.
If I were a wildlife or sports photographer, and I needed the best AF system available from Fuji, the X-T3 would probably be a better choice. However, for typical portraiture, landscape and travel photography that I do, I realized that the new autofocus features and other improvements on the X-T3 do not outweigh the amazing IBIS capability of the X-H1.
The beauty of the Fuji X-series cameras is how accurately you can focus, whether shooting in autofocus or manual focus modes. If you want to manually focus Fuji XF or XC lenses, or want to use third-party lenses via adapters, the Fuji X-H1 gives you plenty of tools to nail every shot – something you could never do with a modern DSLR! The large, high-resolution electronic viewfinder is superb for manual focusing because you can use such features as Focus Peaking, Digital Split Image and Dual Mode with a zoomed image to the right of the frame. Simply switch to Manual focusing using the switch on the front of the camera, then press the rear rotary dial and you are in business! The camera will zoom in where the focus point is and let you tweak focus before you take a picture. You can zoom in and out to your comfort level using the rear rotary dial (two zoom levels are available). With manual focus, you can also switch to other modes such as Digital Split Image and Focus Peaking.
If you are used to Nikon’s one-click zoom feature on advanced DSLRs, you can do the same thing on the X-H1 by simply pressing the rotary dial while playing back images, which is very nice. Once zoomed in, you can rotate the dial to zoom out and the joystick allows you to move around the image.
If you are a fan of using back button focus, you will love the X-H1. All you have to do is set the front focus switch to manual (“M”) mode and you can press the AF-ON button on the back of the camera to acquire focus – no need to change anything in the menu.
Additionally, you can set up the EVF to “Dual Mode” (switch to manual focus, then toggle with the “DISP BACK” button on the back of the camera), which splits the viewfinder into two separate images. The larger one shows the whole frame, while the smaller one shows a zoomed area where the focus point is. Now that’s an insanely useful feature that sets these mirrorless cameras apart from DSLRs – using manual focus is now extremely handy, as you no longer have to think about focus errors. And if you have bad vision, you can zoom into the focused area by up to 100% view! Keep in mind that the dual-mode only works when you are in manual focus mode. If you switch to Single or Continuous AF, toggling the “DISP” button will not show this mode. Also, you have to make sure that your screen is set up correctly and the “DUAL IS MODE” is checked under “Display Custom Setting” in “Screen Set-Up”.
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