The Fujifilm X-H1 is the first of Fuji’s X series cameras to feature In Body Image Stabilisation (IBIS). As primarily a stills photographer, I wondered what the benefit might really be for me. Would it truly make that much of a difference if I could stabilise all my primes? After a month of heavy use, I can say that, in short, it absolutely does make all the difference. I’ve really been enjoying knowing that my shots at 1/60 or sometimes even slower will always be sharp. This is of great benefit on my couple sessions and at corporate events. For my personal work, I’ve been pushing the limits of this system to see just what it’s capable of, and that’s what I’ll be showing here. Before that, however, I’d like to give you a few of the pros and a couple of cons about the IBIS system.
First up, the good stuff. Let’s just say that it does what it says on the box. You’ll get a lot more hand-hold-ability out of your lenses. This is fantastic for the primes in Fujifilm’s lineup. Shooting with a stabilised 35mm f/1.4 has been an absolute dream. Being able to hand-hold shots at 1/15 or 1/8 and get them sharp has been really useful as I can now keep my ISO as low as possible as often as I can. Of course, you’re still going to get motion blur if your subjects are moving, so it’s not magic just yet. Also, turning the IBIS onto continuous mode makes composing with longer lenses much easier. No longer do my shaking hands shift my composition around quite so quickly. For video as well, this system means I can shoot simple run-and-gun footage without having to bring heavy stabilisers along. Being that I’m primarily a stills photographer, this is great.
Now, the not so good. Well, there’s really only one thing that bugs me about the IBIS implementation and Fuji have said they’re going to fix it in a firmware release coming in May: as of the release, you can’t assign the IBIS function to a button or add it to your Quick menu. Not particularly Fuji-like to not allow you to customise this. Not to worry, though. That will be sorted out shortly.
For this post, I would like to keep a running journal of my IBIS tests. Each time I go out, I’ve been testing a different lens to see how slow I can push the shutter before I can’t reliably make sharp images. I’ll add my thoughts and samples for each lens as I keep testing them. Keep checking back if your favourite lens isn’t here yet. Feel free to let me know which lenses you’d like to see tested.
XF 23mm f/2 WR
This lens is so small and so pocketable that, with stabilisation, it becomes such a useful addition to my kit. So far, I’ve got sharp images down to 1/2 second with my elbows braced on a ledge. Considering that I usually won’t shoot this lens below 1/60 when shooting handheld, that’s an excellent improvement for me.
XF 35mm f/1.4 R
This is my absolute favourite prime for the Fujifilm X system. With every camera or firmware Fuji releases, it just gets better and better. But, with the IBIS in the X-H1, this lens is a whole new beast. In my tests so far, I’ve been able to reliably get 1/10 second image sharp every time. On the odd occasion, I’ve found that even 1/4 second images will be tack sharp. That really depends on my technique, wind, and the subject, however.
XF 90mm f/2 R WR
The way I see it, if you can stabilise one of the sharpest lenses on the Fujifilm system and allow slower shutter speeds when handholding, you have a winner. On the odd occasion, I’ve got a sharp image at 1/10 with the 90mm! See the shot below. However, I’d say that the point where I’m comfortable handholding it is 1/40. I’m looking forward to testing the potential of this lens a little more with IBIS.
Check back soon, as I will be going through the primes one by one and making some more tests.