Vancouver Whitecaps Opening Game with Fujifilm X-H1 - Joe Ng

2018-03-07

The Fujifilm X-H1 production unit was not able to be arrived in time for my 2018 MLS season assignment (Vancouver Whitecaps vs Montreal Impact) due to the bad weather in Toronto. NOTE: All the images in this post were shot on a prototype X-H1, so the image quality might not fully represent the shipping version.


It is not a long technical review by me as usual. As some Fujifilm X-fellows do a better job than me, ie. Jonas Rask. You can check out his X-H1 technical review in details at https://jonasraskphotography.com/2018/02/15/the-fujifilm-x-h1-review-technicalitus-maximus/


I am here to share my field experience and thought about the X-H1 with you. It looks like a small version of GFX crossover with the X-T2 to me. The expanded camera size is a right fit for couple larger lenses, ie. Fujinon XF16-55mm, Fujinon XF50-140mm and Fujinon XF100-400mm. It balances well with the Fujinon XF100-400mm for hand holding, much better than the X-T2. It is more efficient shooting on the sideline with hand holding vs mounted on the monopod.

Controls and handling

The expanded size adds weight but not alot. It is more durable (25% thicker and more scratch resistant paint job) than the X-T2 but only time will tell as I am pretty rough with my gear and do not put energy into babying it.


One of the key changes to me is that the dedicated exposure compensation dial replaced by a top LCD and a small exposure compensation button. You have to press the exposure compensation button and use one of the scroll wheels (front or back) to compensate exposure. It is the GFX way and is not new to the DSLR shooters.


The Metering dial has more room now thanks to the expanded camera body size. I switch offen between the Spot and Multi metering mode. It is not an easy switch on X-T2 if you have a big hand and is challenging if you have glove on.

Another big change is the feather-touch shutter button that now topped with half-dome shaped, less recessed and fast-response operability. With the welcoming bigger size "AF-ON" button and is well positioned where my right thumb is placed. Having this new combination makes the back button focusing much easier even with my gloves on. THANK YOU!


The only hard time for me is switching back and forth with the X-T2. I always recommend to shoot with two identical bodies in order to maximize your muscle memory.


The touch screen functions are same as the one of X-E3. I use it during playing back images only but seeing the benefit using it on the video mode.


The X-H1 uses the same battery (NP-W126S) as the X-T2. It displays a warning message “the battery will drain quicker” if you put in your old NP-W126 battery. It is fine to using your existing NP-W126 battery if you have them from your existing X Series cameras. In my experience, the battery drain is almost same as the X-T2. I would recommend to use the NP-W126S if you do a lot of videos.


Fujifilm has implemented the new revision to their autofocus algorithm on the X-E3 recently. It managed to subdivide each focus point into 5-sub-points for even greater speed, better tracking and accuracy. The X-H1 now take it further. It subdivides each of the 5-subdivisions into 4 new subareas with 3 AF information data each... Ok, this is all on the book data. What I can tell you is that the AF acquisition is much faster and better subject tracking. Throughout the game, I found the AF-C setting 4 worked well enough for quick reactionary shots while a player was already in motion, and then accurately tracking that subject even if I changed framing before the autofocus points had lit up to indicate tracking had indeed begun. It is certainly better keeping the AF lock and having quicker recovering if it lost the AF lock than the X-T2.

Below is the 4K video I shot with Carl Robinson, Vancouver Whitecaps Head Coach, during the post match interview. I handheld the Fujifilm X-H1 with Fujinon XF50-140mm lens at all time by all the TV crews. The video setting is 4K 16:9, 29.97fps @ 200mbit with ETERNA film simulation and the video is straight out from the camera without any editing or colour correction. I was amazed with the IBIS even with my tired and shaky hands.

Image Quality

The X-H1 comes with the same 24.3mp X-Trans III sensor and processor as the existing line up (X-Pro 2, X-T2, X-T20 & X-E3). It delivers the same or slightly better image quality, dynamic range and sharpness. At ISO 10,000 the difference is noticeably in favor of the X-H1 than the others. There is certainly improvement on the image processing specifically at the high ISO side. I do not seem seeing any image quality loss due to the implemented IBIS as promised by Fujifilm.


These are not samples, they are all my deliverable to the agency. For the technical minds, all images below are shot with Fujinon XF50-140mm and XF100-400mm with ISO500 - ISO10,000. All RAW images were processed in Lightroom with Classic Chrome film simulation. I leave all the camera information on with all the images. So click on the photo and select the information icon for all the needed details. Feel free to leave your comments or questions, I do my best to answer them all.


PS. I have just received my production unit for my upcoming assignments. Stay tuned & more talk...

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