There has been a lot of buzz online about a little rumor that the Fujifilm X-H2 was canceled.
I personally know a few people that have been waiting for the X-H2. I was even considering skipping the X-T3 to wait for the X-H2.
But I have a few ideas about what could be happening.
Fujifilm X-H Line Discontinued
Fujifilm is very savvy with marketing and they know all the tricks.
I’m still seeing a ton of X-T3 traffic on my site which means sales are still good. I’m thinking that Fujifilm as a marketing trick could possibly be leaking fake info to get this idea out that the X-H2 isn’t happening any time soon to get fence-sitters to just jump for the X-T3 or the X-Pro3. Notice how the timing of these leaks are perfectly timed with the release of the X-Pro3.
Even if Fujifilm isn’t planning on releasing the camera in 2020, they want to get the word out to stop people from waiting so they jump into an X-T3 or X-Pro3 now.
This makes the most sense to me as someone that has worked in advertising for over 10 years.
Fujifilm needs more time to figure out what to do with the X-H2.
The camera market is getting more and more crowded with mirrorless cameras. Going forward it is going to be important to niche out cameras a little more.
Between the X-H2 and X-T2, there wasn’t much that was meaningful except IBIS. A lot of people still believe that IBIS cameras are touched by God, but in reality, it’s a niche feature and not that useful to most people.
Sure it’s nice to be able to lower your shutter to 1/30 for natural light portraits, and it’s nice for the slower shutter landscape when you don’t want to mess with a tripod. It’s occasionally nice for video if used in a very controlled situation, although it often makes video look worst when used all the time.
So I get it, I have it on my Z6, I keep IBIS on, but I can’t tell that it’s doing anything for me when I compare the results between my X-T3 and my Z6 photos. Probably because I always live at 1/100 to 1/150 shutter for most of my street photography.
My point is, just adding IBIS to an X-T3 isn’t good enough and cons out way the pros for me for this reason.
- The X-H1 is massive for an APS-C camera. If I want IBIS in a massive camera like that, I’ll just get a Nikon Z6. Then I have access to all those f1.8 (f1.2 APS-C Equiv) lenses that are all under $1000. Oh wait, I did. Remember the X-H1 was $1,900 at launch. Right now a full-frame Nikon Z6 is $1,700 at B&H. So a new X-H2 would likely have to be around $1,900 at launch. This wouldn’t work.
As a hybrid camera, the X-H2 isn’t really good enough unless you’re already invested in Fujifilm lenses and Fujifilm would need to make it a niche camera. There are two things they could possibly do to make the camera a reasonable purchase decision.
- They could either turn it into a higher resolution landscape camera and throw 30+ megapixels into it.
- They could turn it into more of a video-focused camera like the Panasonic S1H.
Turning the camera into a video-focused system makes the most sense to me, however, there is a huge problem which is why I think we’re seeing a delay.
- Fujifilm does not have any fast lenses that are suitable for video.
I love the Fujifilm f1.4 prime lenses, I have all of them. I love that Fujifilm favors the art and character of a lens over just clinical performance and I really love that the Fujifilm community is savvy to that and appreciates that as well. We are the only ones left except for maybe some old Nikon guys.
But the Fujifilm f1.4 primes suck at autofocus when engaging contrast-detect. Some of them are also fairly loud and the manual focus-by-wire kind of sucks. Just to be blunt. Next time you’re in a camera store try the EOS R focus-by-wire and you’ll get why I say that. Although Canon always destroys the competition with the little tiny quality of life things like that.
So my theory is,
Fujifilm will niche the X-H2 into being more of a video system but I think they will try to get a few faster primes out next year like the 50mm f1, and hopefully some wider f1.2 lenses.
They canceled the 33mm f1 because it was massive, but honestly, nobody was asking for that. All we need for now for the wider lenses is f1.2. Then maybe they can go back someday and update the f1.4 lenses.
I think they could get the lenses smaller and lighter at f1.2 instead of f1 while keeping them under $1000, especially if they are more art and character / video-focused, where perfect insanely sharp corner to corner sharpness is actually an undesirable characteristic with pro cinematographers.
Movies already look rediculous in 4k. Every imperfection with hair and makeup and even green screen composites can look hideous if things are too sharp. Canon has started to intentionally make some of their Cine lenses a bit softer possibly for this reason.
Unfortunately, this will probably still piss off all the portrait photographers that won’t be happy with sharpness until they can see every single individual eyelash parasite chewing on the model follicles.
If Fujifilm is trying to make this more of a video niche camera, they could be holding out on some new technology that’s just right around the corner.
It’s possible there is some 6k video sensor they are working with that has less rolling shutter, or there are even organic sensors on the horizon. But right now launching just an X-H2 with X-T3 specs would be a disaster. It needs to be very meaningfully focused at a target audience, especially with the Sony A7III and Nikon Z6 selling for so cheap now.
An APS-C camera that is a full-frame size at a full-frame price as a concept is DOA. A super 35mm 6k video-focused camera that is Netflix approved with advanced video codecs would be something very unique with very little competition.
Ultimately, if Fujifilm changes the core model of the X-H2 then yes, it is dead. But the concept could live on under a different name depending on how much it changes. I’m sure their management is all still working on that and haven’t come up with a decision yet.
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