Fuji’s recent resurgence has been nothing short of remarkable and is largely thanks to the brand’s ability to release cameras that are not only packed with features, create amazing image quality and look great too. One of the newer models is the X-H1, which was launched in 2018 and was the first Fuji X-series camera to offer IBIS (In Body Image Stabilisation).
But how does this model weigh up against one of its biggest rivals? Nikon’s Z6 was launched towards the end of 2018 and, along with the Z7, was Nikon’s first full-frame mirrorless offerings. Both these cameras actually share a fair amount of features, but there’s also a lot that separates them too. We’re drilling down into the spec sheets to find out, which one is right for your photography…
Design and build:
Both cameras in this review are mirrorless, but there’s a difference with the sensor size between the two models. While the Fuji X-H1 packs a APS-C X-Trans CMOS sensor, the Nikon Z6 sports the larger full-frame CMOS sensor. Interestingly though, there is virtually no difference in resolution, with the Z6 serving up 24.5-megapixels, while the XH-1 trails only marginally behind with 24.3-megapixels. There’s also very little difference in the weight of the cameras, too, with the X-H1 tipping the scales at 673g and the Z6 at 675g – maing both lighweight options to take travelling. Even the camera footprints are closely matched – the X-H1 measuring 140 x 97 x 86 mm and the Nikon 134 x 101 x 68 mm.
Both cameras are weather sealed, which will make them suitable for professional use and allow photographers to keep shooting when the rain starts to fall. Each models also sports a top plate LCD to display exposure and mode information and each model features an LCD with a tilting design – however the Z6 has a larger 3.2-inch LCD, while the XH-1 sports a 3-inch version. The Fuji does strike back however when it comes to storage, offering two SD card slots, while the Nikon makes do with just one XQD card slot. This will be a particular bugbear for photographers who already own a stash of SD cards – plus, with the Fuji, the dual card slots will allow users to make an instant backup to the second card, or enable them to save stills to one card and video to the other.
As you’d expect, the X-H1 uses Fuji’s X-mount, which means there’s plenty of optical choice out there. The Z6 uses Nikon’s new Z-mount, so while there’s not as many lenses currently available, Nikon also made available a lens adaptor that enables Nikon F-mount lenses to be used on the new mirrorless camera. The adaptor will make existing Nikon users happy as they can still use their regular optics.
Both cameras use a 3690k dot Electronic Viewfinder (EVF), but there is a difference when it comes to autofocus and burst rate specs. While both cameras are speedy, the APS-C X-H1 has the edge, offering a max burst rate of 14 Frames Per Second (FPS), but the full-frame Z6 isn’t far behind at 12 Frames Per Second (FPS). The X-H1 also has slightly more autofocus points then the Z6 (325 compared to 273), though both cameras offer built-in Wi-Fi and 5-axis IBIS (In Body Image Stabilisation) technology. When it comes to battery life, both cameras offer decent figures, although the Nikon has the edge at 330 shots on a single charge, compared to the Fuji’s 310.
Both these cameras are capable of producing stills with professional-level image quality. The Z 6 has a maximum image size of 6048 x 4024 pixels, while the X-H1 trails just marginally behind with a max image size of 6000 x 4000 pixels, so both cameras will easily be able to produce prints up to A3 in size or allow for some cropping without overly compromising quality.
Both cameras also allow photographers to choose to shoot in JPEG or RAW file formats, with the RAW files obviously allowing for more tolerance when edited in software such as Adobe Lightroom. One big difference is the sensitivity levels of the sensors, as the Nikon offers a ISO range of ISO 100 to 51200, while the Fuji lags behind, offering a native ISO if 100-12800. That said, with ISO 12800 to hand, the Fuji should still allow photographers to capture good images when greeted with low light shooting situations.
|Fuji X-H1||Nikon Z6|
|Burst rate||14 FPS||12 FPS|
While both cameras have plenty to offer stills photographers, the Z6 and X-H1 could well find themselves a home in a videographers bag, too. Both cameras can offer ultra high-quality 4K video up to 30p, along with Full HD at 60p and a Full HD fast frame rate of 120p to allow videographers to capture epic slow motion sequences. While both cameras include an external microphone port so enhanced audio can be recorded, only the Nikon offers a headphone port so this audio can also be monitored.
However, there are mics on the market that come with this port so X-H1 users could easily find a work around to this issue. Each brand has also included it’s video profile (F-Log for Fuji, N-Log for Nikon), which will enable videographers to get more out of the footage when used in post processing.
Additional features and verdict:
Despite one camera using an APS-C sensor and the other being full-frame, both these models share many features and are likely to come onto the radar for photographers seeking a lightweight mirrorless that is portable and can shoot video They share the same resolution, the same weight and roughly the same dimensions, more or less the same video specifications and battery capacity.
However, there should still be enough differences between the cameras to make an informed buying decision. The X-H1 is faster and has more autofocus points and, at present, more lens choice (discounting F-mount lenses used via the adapter). Meanwhile, the Z6 has the edge on video thanks to the headphone port and also LCD size and ISO range. Both cameras are weather sealed and feature decent connectivity features including Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. The Fuji styling is retro chic, the Nikon styling is functional and discreet.
With such closely matched specs, it worth reverting to the price and, at the moment, the Z6 is still the more expensive camera, which may be enough to sway photographers who aren’t tied down to an existing camera system to plump for the Fuji. That said, thanks to the adapter, existing Nikon users are more likely to jump straight to the Z6 due to the familiarity of the Menu system and the ability to utilise that F-mount glass. Both these cameras are excellent mirrorless models with plenty of cutting-edge features and enough weather-sealing and pro features to keep full-time image-makers happy.