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LensVid Original: Fujifilm X-M1 Hands On Preview


A few weeks ago the new Fujifilm X-M1 found its way onto our desk. This was a sample camera (not a production unit as the camera is not yet available at this time). We have been working on a full review of the camera for our sister site MegaPixel.co.il. In the meantime we have prepared this preview showing the X-M1.

The new Fujifilm X-M1 (Credit: LensVid.com)

X-M1-FRONT

Together with the camera we had the chance to play with both the new Fujifilm  27mm lens and the new Fujifilm16-50mm kit lens. The 27mm is extremely tiny pancake lens with very decent build quality, the 16-50mm kit lens is part of the new XC series of lenses (so far all Fuji lenses were from the XF series). This was a sample lens so we can’t relay comment on the final product build quality however this line of lenses is meant to be cheaper so keep that in mind.

X-M1 – a tilt LCD (Credit: LensVid.com)

X-M1-BACK

Although this isn’t the full review, we did prepare a few key pro and cons following our experience with the camera.

Pros

  • Very good image quality up to and including ISO6400 (the X-M1 sensor is basically the same X-TRANS sensor of the X-PRO1/X-E1 and is very capable indeed – very close to the level of the best Nikon DX Camera sensors of the last generation – D5200/D7100 DSLRs).
  • Compact – this is a much smaller camera than the X-PRO1 and with the 27mm lens it is truly compact (not something which you can put in your jeans pocket but you can easily put one in your jacket.
  • Decent operating speed – the X-PRO1 we received last year (with very early firmware) was extremly slow at times and had many operating problems – this camera (although its just a sample and the firmware is probably not final) felt better and functioned faster.
  • Good high-res tilting LCD – the 920k dots tilting LCD functioned well even outside (although don’t try it in direct sunlight). We really love tilting screens but Fujifilm should have incorporated a touch function (like Samsung, Sony, Panasonic and others have done with some of their mirrorless cameras).
  • Two operating dials – very useful – not something you find on most mirrorless cameras or even on most entry level DSLRs. You can easily change both aperture and shutter speed on manual mode.
  • Simple but convenient Q bottom – for reaching all those highly used menu options quickly.

Cons

  • Hand grip not large enough – we have small hands and even for us the grip felt too small – this isn’t a camera for you if you have large hands.
  • No viewfinder – the X-M1, unlike its larger and more expensive sisters (X-PRO1/X-E1) doesn’t have any type of viewfinder – optical or electronic nor can you externally add one as far as we can tell – the LCD is all you have (it is cheaper though).
  • AF speed still not were it should be – Fujifilm had come a long way since the early days of the X-PRO1 (which was almost unusable at the time). The X-M1 is normally pretty fast and relatively accurate when dealing with a well lit scenes. However when the light goes down you start feeling the contrast AF system struggling. Fujifilm can do better here (after all it practically invented the hybrid AF technology but sadly never integrated it onto its X-TRANS sensors).

Retro design and 2 control dials

X-M1-TOP

Bottom line: Although we should emphasize again that we did test a sample camera and not a production one, we can say that if you are looking for a small and not extremely expensive mirrorless camera with the highest image quality currently on the market at this budget – the X-M1 is a very appealing choice. However if AF is a dominant factor (if you are shooting a lot of moving objects for example), if you have large hands or just can’t live without a viewfinder – there are better options on the market for you.

* The X-M1 is currently available for pre-order on B&H for $700.

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