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horvendile

Fuji X-H1 system

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Hi! For those who may remember earlier threads: yeah, this is me once again discovering a potential uw system candidate, yet I never seem to buy anything.

Balking in front of the expense, size and weight of a full frame system, an m4/3 system seems a reasonable compromise. But what about the APS-C alternatives? I think the Fuji X-H1 looks very attractive. I know there is no native fisheye, so if that's important to you Fuji is out. But hear me out on the rest:

* Camera and housing (Nauticam) noticeably cheaper than X-T3. Remember, this is a compromise.
* I get IBIS and don't lose that much to the X-T3. The housing is actually significantly lighter.
* Paired with the 15-45 lens (cheap, light, quite good) I can use the WWL-1, which does pretty much the same job as the WACP-1 but at a fraction of the cost and weight.
* There is native macro. (It would be cool to be able to use a CMC lens on the 15-45 but I don't know if that's possible.)
* 1/250 s flash sync (looking at you, Sony APS-C)

So yeah, I lose one stop compared to a full frame system and there's no native fisheye. Size, weight, price much lower, even if stuff like strobes will still cost the same.

Is there a serious gotcha I missed?

Edited by horvendile

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macro support not so good either, the 60mm which would be the choice for UW macro only goes to 0.5x by itself.

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2 hours ago, ChrisRoss said:

macro support not so good either, the 60mm which would be the choice for UW macro only goes to 0.5x by itself.

Oh, I missed that. Thanks a lot. Then there's the Zeiss 50 mm macro which is 1:1, but I suppose 50 mm may be considered short.

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APS-C is a good choice, there are very good cameras in this segment.

Choosing a Fuji seems to limit the choice of useful lenses.

My preferred lens (due to its versatility) is the Sigma 17-70mm F2.8-4 DC MACRO OS HSM, which do not exist in Fuji mount.

In the same price range, you would find a much better camera with the Nikon D7500.

Frankly, for underwater strobe, image stabilization doesn't bring much value. Most of the time you will shoot with strobes, in which case image stabilization (whether in lens or in body) is useless.

The Nikon D7500 has a much better dynamic range and is less noisy, which in my opinion is much more important to get good pictures in low light situation where you cannot use a strobe. If you look at the comparison of dynamic ranges (https://www.dpreview.com/reviews/fujifilm-x-h1/9), you'll see that there is a huge gap between the X H1 and Nikon APS C, including cheaper models such as the D5600.

1332555910_Screenshot2019-12-12at22_20_54.thumb.png.42a8da574507082ff791ab9e5d338dd9.png

As you can see, the difference is quite significant.

The D7500 has a huge capability to recover underexposed pictures without adding too much noise. Between image stabilization and dynamic range, I much prefer a better dynamic range, which will benefit all pictures, even those where shutter speed is not an issue.

You also get a huge range of lenses, including fisheyes and macro, from Nikon but also third party lens makers such as Sigma, Tamron, Tokina. 

 

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21 minutes ago, hyp said:

Just get a micro four thirds and be done with it. ;)

:goodpost:

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Well,

On lenses: in my current fantasy I get by on the WWL-1 for wideangle and some macro capability added to that, either using a dedicated macro lens or something like one of the SMC lenses. Therefore I'm not overly concerned about lens range as long as the aforementioned lenses exist and are usable.

On choice of sensor: yeah, I've been thinking a lot about m4/3. For shooting with domes I absolutely see the point. That changes however with the WWL-1, which will obviously be of the same size regardless of sensor size. The housing also seems to be pretty similar in size for the mirrorless APS-C options I've been looking at. (Sony may be an alternative with the A6600, depending on how flash is handled.) In fact, there seems to be little to no size advantage going m4/3 compared to APS-C, while the latter will net me a larger sensor.

I know some claim the sensor E-M1 Mk II performs as well as larger sensors, but I'm not convinced. Two main reasons:
1. Basically all modern sensors except Canon rely on more or less the same technology, hence has more or less the same efficiency per unit area. There is no reason to believe the E-M1 should be able to ignore the physics of this.
2. I know there are measurements out there showing the E-M1 performing exceedingly well, and while I acknowledge Olympus has probably done a good job, when doing comparisons in the dpreview comparison tool (linked above) it's clear the E-M1 (Mk II) lags behid modern APS-C cameras.

NB, I can't afford to buy a system right now anyway, this is pure window shopping. But that's also a hobby I guess.

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I went from window shopping to buying a used E-M5 mk1 with Ports and Housing for less than 1k. All mirrorless cameras currently out there including 1 or 2 generations past will give you great image quality for stills. 

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1 hour ago, hyp said:

All mirrorless cameras currently out there including 1 or 2 generations past will give you great image quality for stills. 

Probably, yes, but that doesn't mean there aren't differences or that they aren't both measurable and noticeable.

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For micro four thirds we’re talking about 4mp, 1/2 stop of ISO performance and maybe 1 stop of DR if that. It’s certainly measurable but I don’t think it’s noticeable beyond pixel peeping. I certainly can’t tell the difference between my 20mp and my 16mp files. 

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I have the X-H1 which I use as my land camera.  I love it, it is fantastic.  It's not the absolute best camera at any one thing, but it is a great great camera at just about everything. (Studio, wildlife, street photography)

I thought about getting the Nauticam housing for it, to replace my LX-100, which is my underwater system.  Long story short - I upgraded to the LX-100II, which fits in the same housing. I wound up adding the WWL-1 to my system.

The Fuji X-H1 could be brilliant underwater, but it depends on what you want.  For video, the image stabilization would be really helpful.  However, I don't know how well the X-H1 will execute a custom white balance underwater, which is really important for uw video work.  Canon and Panasonic seem to be best at this.  Alternatively, you can compensate by adding a filter (Magic Filter or Keldan red filter) to the camera lens, though this then pose a challenge switching between stills and video.  The question of white balance matters less for stills because you are shooting to your strobe(s), and can easily adjust the white balance on raw images.  (It is much harder to adjust white balance on video files)

There are no native autofocus fisheye options from Fuji, though there are 2 native wide angle zooms (10-24 F4 and 8-16 F2.8), and several wide primes (12mm, 14mm, 16mm). There are many more lens options in the micro four thirds ecosystem.

For me, it came down to cost and size issues.  I upgraded my camera without having to replace the housing, which was awesome.  My kit fits in my carry-on bags (just barely), which is also really helpful, and that alone keeps me from upgrading to a larger sensor system.  The image quality is better with a larger sensor: the LX100 II uses a slightly cropped micro 4/3 sensor, vs APS-C for the X-H1, but the quality gain just was not enough to justify the increased cost and size. There is no wrong answer, it's just a matter of what works best for you.

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Yeah, I'm shooting with the LX-100 now so for me that's a very relevant reference. Though I have mine in an Ikelite housing so adding the WWL-1 isn't an option. I have considered switching to the LX-100II precisely because it will fit in the same housing. Not a huge improvement but neither would it be a huge cost. If I stumble on a used one at the right price I might do it, as a stopgap if nothing else.

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