As of early 2018, Fujifilm stepped up their game with a flurry of impressive new video features packed into the Fujifilm X-H1. Aimed at aspiring filmmakers and hybrid shooters, the X-H1 has a new body style that was designed from the ground up. It's larger than the other X-Series cameras to accommodate robust new specs. I’ll fill you in on these standout features, never before seen in a Fujifilm camera and explain why they're such a big deal.
In Body Image Stabilization (IBIS)
This is the first Fujifilm camera to introduce IBIS and it works just as expected. The best part is that any lens can be stabilized when mounted to the X-H1 body. The five axis stabilization enables five additional stops of hand-held stability when taking photos. This means that if 1/500 was the slowest shutter speed you could safely hold your camera without image shake, IBIS will allow you to go down to 1/15 to achieve the same result. Unfortunately, it will not slow down and stabilize the action that is happening within the scene. That would truly be a miracle! Pro tip: disable your IS whenever you're locked off on a tripod. Also, do not use IS at higher shutter speeds on the XF 100-400mm lens (I've found that it can actually add shake to the image). When shooting handheld video the IBIS works really well for static shots. You may run into problems, however, if you're trying to produce smooth pans and tilts. The IBIS tends to jump a tiny bit to keep up with the camera movement. In short, the IBIS not designed to be a substitute for a fluid head / tripod, slider or steadicam but it works really well for run and gun filmmaking.
F-Log Video Recording
If you want to achieve the highest possible dynamic range when shooting video, then F-Log is the way to go. Fujifilm has never before offered a Log recording option in their mirrorless lineup. Gone are the days when you had to settle for Classic Chrome or ProNeg as your flattest image profile as I recommended in my post about shooting video on the X-T1. Also, no longer do you need to drag down the highlight, shadow and color saturation for video in the quality settings on the X-T2 (F-Log was made available via firmware in 2018). F-Log's high dynamic range handles all of this for you and gives you a nice neutral image to grade with in post production. Better yet, Fujifilm has made an Eterna lookup table (LUT) available that you can download for free and apply to your F-Log footage in post or on a digital recorder. Eterna is Fujifilm's highly praised, cinematic, color negative film that has been used in the motion picture industry since the 1930s. Very pleasing Eterna results are also attainable by skipping F-Log altogether and shooting video directly to the Eterna film simulation in-camera.
High-speed 120fps Recording
At long last we now have the capability to shoot buttery smooth, slow motion, 1080p footage by overcranking our frame rate and conforming it down to 24 or 30fps. I remember when only high-end cinema cameras like the Red Epic could do this. The Fujifilm X-H1 does all this now in-camera without any special editing software or plugins. I've got to say, shooting slow motion footage so much fun but it takes a lot of restraint not to overuse this effect. I am guilty as charged! In my opinion, nearly everything looks better in slow motion. This capability was also made available to the X-T2 via the latest firmware. Just be aware that there is often some aliasing to contend with in these files but when the X-H1 was released not many other affordable cameras were even capable of this feature at 1080p.
More Fujifilm X-H1 video specs:
- External 4K recording: DCI, 200 mbps, 8-bit, 4:2:2, 24p
- Internal 4K recording: DCI, 200 mbps, 8-bit, 4:2:0, 24p
- 4K up to 30p and 1080p up to 60p
- H.264 codec
- Face detection while shooting 4K
- Video specific, custom picture settings
- 180 degree angle shutter speeds (i.e. 1/48th)
- Linear manual focusing (vs. the arbitrary, non-linear focus by wire)
- A premium sound, built-in microphone (24bit / 48KHz)
- Timecode for syncing multi camera footage in post
- Tally lights on the front and back to indicate recording
- Silent movie shooting (great for storing independent still/movie capture settings)
The camera is hefty, weather sealed and well made but it’s definitely bigger than the X-T2. One reason I prefer Fujifilm mirrorless cameras is because their X-Series cameras are lighter and smaller than the competition. The Fujifilm X-H1 is an exception to the rule as it's more like a traditional DSLR in size. That’s the tradeoff for accommodating the in body image stabilization and 4K shooting without overheating. I suppose a larger body could be considered a benefit for those with big hands and videographers wanting the extra stability that comes with a heavier form factor.
The larger body affords improved ergonomics like a better hand grip, taller dials which are easier to use with gloves in cold temperatures and a resolution bump on the electronic view finder (3.69 million dots). The EVF protrudes out a bit to keep your nose grease off the back of the LCD screen. Ha!
There's a sub-window which is a nice perk because it shows your remaining shots, remaining video time, battery level and whether or not you remembered to reload your card slots. Ever go out for a day of shooting only to realize you left your SD cards sitting on the desk at home? The devil is in the details!
Then there’s the vertical power grip. It adds 30 minute 4K recording, headphone audio monitoring, and obviously more power with two extra batteries and some additional performance boosting functions.
Things to be aware of:
- No 10-bit video capability
- Missing 180 degree flip screen
- Exposure comp button is a tad awkward
- Aliasing found in the high speed recording
- Grip required for audio monitoring and 30 minute recording
- Record limits: 4K - 15 mins (30 mins with grip), FHD 20mins (30 mins with grip), unlimited with external recorder
For the most part, I really enjoyed using this camera. It's a pleasure to use and very capable when it comes to hybrid photo/video work.
Full disclosure: I'm an official Fujifilm X Photographer and my views may be biased. However, I do not get paid to publish this content and these opinions are my own. My goal is to share honest, insightful information based on my personal experience with these products. I hope that it provides value and entertainment for my audience.
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