Body and Handling

The most obvious change between the X-T2 and the X-H1 is the significantly larger grip at the front. The clickable dial embedded in the front of the grip (and its counterpart at the back) is stiffer and requires more intent behind the press, at least on our pre-production model. This should prevent any accidental pressing while spinning the dial, if you are in a mode that actually makes any use of the dial.

Fujifilm says the magnesium alloy body is 25% thicker and the surface hardness has been increased to improve durability. Like the X-T2 the camera is designed to be dust and moisture resistant and to work in temperatures down to -10°C (14°F).

The X-H1's larger grip makes the camera feel considerably larger than the X-T2 but also means it's easier to get a solid one-handed grip on it. Sadly the additional space isn't used to incorporate a larger battery, such as the one from the GFX 50S.

The viewfinder hump is larger than on the X-T2 and extends around 7mm (0.27") further from the camera's shoulder and is capped by a more extensive rubber eyecup.

The changes to the camera's ergonomics are generally good, with the larger grip and buttons providing an experience that most DSLR users will find more familiar. The downside is the loss of the dedicated exposure compensation dial. Instead you either have to hold the button and turn the dial or configure the button to act as a toggle. This makes one or both of the dials act as exposure comp (you can't then reconfigure the button, though: if a button isn't set to Exposure Comp, the dials can't be set to change it).

There is, however, a menu option to use the command dials to set aperture when the lens aperture ring is set to 'A'. Similarly, turning the shutter speed dial to 'T' passes control to a command dial, so you can make use of them if you wish.

Status panel

Other than the grip, the other striking distinction between the X-H1 and X-T2 is the top-plate LCD panel. This remains on, even when the camera is off. It defaults to showing white on black but this can be reversed. There's also an option to customize what information is displayed, so you can omit clutter and set it to show only the settings you're concerned about. It can be configured differently for stills and video mode.

Viewfinder

The viewfinder receives a new panel, now boasting 3.69 million dots giving 1280 x 960 pixel resolution. This is likely to be the same panel being used in the likes of the Panasonic GH5, which we've been really impressed with.

The viewfinder optics give a pretty spectacular view, the 0.75x equivalent magnification it huge, even if it is fractionally smaller than the X-T2's 0.77x. Wearers of glasses may find it difficult to see the corners of the screen, since the slightly deeper eye-cup bites further into the 23mm eye point. There's a -4 to +2 diopter adjustment if your eyesight isn't too bad. Overall, though, it's a very bright, detailed viewfinder.

Touchscreen

Like the X-T20, the X-H1 gains a touchscreen, but the new camera makes better use of it. For a start, it can be used as an AF touchpad when you're shooting through the viewfinder. There are a series of options for choosing which parts of the screen are active, to prevent accidental nose operation, regardless of which eye you shoot with. Though the longer extension beyond the back of the camera and the deeper eye-cup make contact unlikely anyway. In this touchpad mode there's no option to tap directly on the position in the scene you wish to focus on: the AF point is always controlled by swiping, relative to the its current position.

The camera's Q.Menu is touch-sensitive as well as customizable. Tap on an setting and a list of the available options appears.

As with the X-E3 and GFX, the touchscreen is also used in the Q Menu. Tapping any of the icons brings up a horizontal band, listing five of the available settings for that particular parameter. Small arrows appear at the left and right of any parameters with more than five options but we found spinning the dial to scroll between options was more reliable than trying to press them. Tapping anything other than the stripe of options (or pressing the 'Menu/OK' button) dismisses the options.

The Movie Silent Control mode uses this touch-sensitive list to let you set various parameters, including exposure, for movie shooting.

The big new function accessed from the touchscreen is Movie Silent Control mode: a means of controlling the camera for movie shooting without using any of the control dials that might shake the camera or add noise. It's also an effective means of ensuring your stills and video settings are distinct.

Beyond this, the touchscreen can be used to set the AF point, set AF and acquire focus or set AF, acquire focus and shoot. Like previous Fujifilm cameras it's oddly laggy when doing this. In playback mode the screen can be used to zoom in, scroll around and jump between images, which works pretty well in conjunction with the command dials.

Natural Live View mode

Another addition to the X-H1 is 'Natural Live View' mode, which shows a live preview with flatter contrast and none of the hue shifts or saturation changes of the camera's Film Simulation modes, and with a neutral white balance applied. Essentially it tries to give a DSLR-style 'natural' view of the world, but with brightness that adjusts as you change exposure (which distinguishes it from the 'Preview Pic. Effect' option on existing X-series models).

Battery

The X-H1 uses the same W-126S used in the latest generation of X-series cameras. It can still use the older W-126 packs but will burn through them faster than the newer units. The X-H1 is rated at a slightly disappointing 310 shots per charge with a single battery. Most users will get more than this figure in practice, but it's a useful way of comparing battery life. In our experience 310 shots is good for between an half a day and a day dedicated to photography. You're likely to need a spare battery or two if you're the targeted high-end photographer.

The X-H1 offers charging via its USB socket, which makes it easy to keep your battery topped-up while on the road. It also comes with a dedicated external charger, making it easier to keep a spare battery charged, too.

Battery Grip

The optional VPB-XH1 Power Grip provides capacity for two additional batteries (which can be powered using an included 9V AC adapter). It also extends video recording duration and features a headphone socket.

The larger hand grip of the X-H1 means it doesn't match the shape of the existing VPB-XT2 battery grip. Instead there will be a VPB-XH1 model which performs a similar function. Like the X-T2's grip, it holds two batteries, has an AC-In socket for charging and features a headphone socket on the side, meaning its benefit for video extends beyond doubling the camera's 4K capture times.

As well as matching the footprint of the X-H1, the VPB-XH1 also matches in the sense that its rear buttons operate AE-L and AF-On, rather than AE-L and AF-L. The buttons on the top of the grip also match the camera, with a Q button and Exposure Comp control, rather than the X-T2's customizable Fn button.

Auto ISO

The X-H1 has the same Auto ISO implementation as the other recent Fujifilm cameras. There are three Auto ISO presets, each of which allow you to set lower and upper ISO limits, along with a shutter speed threshold. You can also select 'Auto' as the threshold, which uses a shutter speed of 1/Equivalent Focal Length (ie 1/100th with a 100mm equivalent lens). This is good for working with zoom lenses, though there's no option to bias towards a faster or slower shutter speed that's still focal-length related.

Auto ISO remains active in manual exposure mode for both stills and video, so you can specify the target brightness and the camera will adjust the ISO setting to maintain it.