After a few leaks, the Fujifilm X-M1 camera has now become “official”. This is Fujifilm’s latest X-Series interchangeable lens camera system that is designed to bring a great ratio between image quality, light weight (11.6 oz) and a solid build quality. It is an addition to the Xpro-1 and X-E1 which not only share a close design language, but also the 16.3 Megapixel APS-C CMOS image sensor with the X-M1. To have a good auto-focus (AF) speed, this system includes phase-detection in addition of contrast-based AF. In theory, it won’t be as fast as DSLR cameras quite yet, but should still help significantly.
In industrial design terms, there is a little less “metal” when compared to the Fujifilm X-E1 (which remains the high-quality reference at Fujifilm for this form factor), but that was deemed necessary to reach the desired price target and keep the system light as well. The body comes in black, black+silver and silver+leather. The latter is my personal favorite, but let us know which one you like better in the comments.
On paper, the performance looks very good, although the race in this space has been getting crazy since Sony has introduced *very* expensive ($2500+) compact camera systems (0.6”x2.6”x1.5”), but keep in mind that the Fujifilm X-M1 would “only” cost around $700 ($799 with kit lens), so it is really competing with the NEX 3-6 Series. Among the specifications highlights here is what caught my eyes:
The 16.3 Megapixel APS-C X-Trans CMOS sensor has proven to be effective with other X-Series cameras and it communicates raw sensor data to the EXR Processor II, which converts the signal into usable digital images. The ISO range of 100-25600 should be plenty to shoot very photos even in low-light (we’ll have to check the noise filtering). This can be supplemented by a multi-exposure mode (HDR) that could be very helpful for either high-contrast or low-light situations. We’ll have to take it for a spin to test this capability…
Fujifilm has also added a WiFi image transfer mode that can beam photos to a mobile device, and from there, they can be shared to social networks for example (the app is available now). This is a 2-step process, but hopefully it is a low-friction one, and clearly smartphone cameras don’t match this type of photo quality.
In its “kit” version, the camera will ship with a FUJINON XC16-50mm (24-76mm) F3.5-5.6 OIS lens which uses the regular X-Mount from Fujifilm. Other lenses are available, and I recommend looking at the f2.0 and f2.8 pancake lenses which really transcend the compactness of this cameras, and the XF 18-55 f2.0-4.0 with stabilization would be a great do-it-all lens as well.
The competition in interchangeable camera system is becoming brutal, and it is clear that at $700 this is a great camera, but one that also faces stiff competition in the market. We will have to check it out in our lab to see how well it fares in controlled tests. In the meantime, this is a very attractive camera.
Fujifilm X-M1 Specifications Highlights
- 16.3 Megapixel APS-C X-Trans CMOS sensor
- 3” (920K dot) tilting high resolution LCD screen
- Full range of ISO100 – ISO25600
- Wireless image transfer
- Multiple Exposure mode to superimpose a second exposure on the first exposure
- Full HD movie 1080P\30fps and built-in stereo microphone
- Shoe attachment
- Available accessories include: Leather Case, Hand Grip, and Clip-on Flash
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