Fujifilm widens again its range of premium compact interchangeable lens X-Series cameras. After the X-Pro1 and its famous / gorgeous hybrid optical viewfinder last year, closely followed by the X-E1 and its EVF , here is the X-M1, a more compact version of the recipe that made the success of this high-quality range, but this time with no viewfinder at all, in order to be more compact. The announcement of the X-M1 comes with a new compact lens Fujinon XC 16-50mm OIS and a pancake 27mmF2.8 lens.
At least at Fujifilm, you can choose! You can not do without an optical viewfinder? Then you certainly will go for the X-Pro1. You can accept the compromise of a electronic viewfinder in exchange of a smaller size? So you may go for the X-E1. And if the compactness is your key criteria, but you still want to enjoy the famous X-Trans APS-C 16-megapixel sensor, then the Fujifilm X-M1 is the one for you weighing a mere 330 grs only.
Fujifilm X-M1: APS-C X-Trans sensor
The main common denominator of all these cameras is undoubtedly the famous Fujifilm APS-C CMOS X-Trans sensor of 16 megapixels. This sensor has the characteristic of not being topped by a low-pass optical filter. Contrary to what the competitors like the Nikon D7100 or D800E, Fujifilm has redesigned the color matrix that allows the camera to reproduce the colorimetry of the photo. The Bayer matrix has too repetitive a pattern made of four colored blocks. In the X-Trans sensor, it is replaced by a very special matrix with a more complex structure with 36 blocks, which limits the chances of getting a repeating pattern that would cross artifacts and moiré, the main drawback of a filter-free sensor. I therefore expect an absolutely identical image quality on the X-M1 to that of the X-Pro1 or X-E1. The X-Trans sensor is operated by the X-M1 from ISO 200 to ISO 6,400, expandable up to ISO 12,800 or 25,800.
EXR Processor II
Who says Fujifilm says EXR processor. The EXR II generation of the X-M1 is promised to us as a token of velocity of the camera, which is generally under our expectations in the X series, especially regarding the autofocus part. The X-M1 provide a start-up time shortened to half a second and a shutter lag time of just 0.05 second. The burst rate reaches 5.6 frames per second for 30 consecutive shots. Getting better !
The most compact of Fuji X mirrorless cameras
Enjoying the picture quality of the X-Pro1 is great, especially in a compact package for those who are sensitive to the size of their camera. If we consider that a good camera is the one that is with you as often as possible, then the X-M1 should not be unworthy! … It is the most compact X-series camera to date with a thickness of only 39 mm and a height 66.5 mm. It is also very light since it weighs only 330 g with its battery loaded despite its large screen and a built-in flash, because yes, the X-M1 is equipped with a built-in flash, and it is not a detail when you look at the very bad habits of some manufacturers in the mirrorless cameras market market who tend to supply a small external flash you will have to think to carry on with all all the time…
Built-in flash and Super i-Flash technology
The built-in flash of the Fuji X-M1 provides a guide number of 7 power. It is controlled by the “Super i-Flash” technology which adapts the power of the lightning to the type of scene you are photographing. For example, an indoor portrait in low light conditions, will have the camera intelligently reducing the power of the flash to avoid the burnt high tons effect on the face of your subject and rise the illumination of the background that otherwise would have been plunged into darkness. The X-M1 intelligent flash automatically switches to fill-in when photographing a person with backlight conditions.
Wi-Fi on board
A compact housing and top photographic features may be designed to speak especially to the geekiest photographers. And for them, (among which I might be a part of at some extent), it was imperative to implement the wireless connectivity the market is asking for, we are in 2013! This is now done: the X-M1 is WiFi and can interact with your smartphone or tablet, transfer images wirelessly to your idevice or on a computer in an automatic backup mode.
Film simulation modes and creative filters
This is a strength of Fujifilm: the X-M1 gets the simulated analog film modes. It is getting 5 of them: Provia, Velvia, Astia, Sepia and Black & White. The creative mode is also supplemented by a full set of artistic effects like Miniature Effect, pop color, soft focus (which I love for portraits), etc.. The Fujifilm XM1 records video in Full HD, 1920 x 1080 pixels at 30 frames per second. In video mode you can also use the film simulation effect or apply artistic filters to our movies.
New Fujinon 50mm XC 16-50mm OIS
Fuji introduces also today a new light and cheaper X mount zoom lens : the XC 16-50 mm F / 3.5-5.6 OIS. This lens offers a 24-76mm equivalent focal range when used with the X-M1 and gets optical of image stabilization. Three aspherical elements and an ED glass lens should bring what the high-res sensor needs. The lens will be available in black or silver. The main drawback of this lens is that it has no aperture ring. The price of the lens alone is not known yet. However, it will be sold as a kit with the X-M1 for which it seems designed being so lightweight (only 198 grams).
Main technical specifications of the Fujinon XC16-50mm lens :
- Focal length: 16-50mm (24-76mm equivalent on APS-C sensor)
- Maximum apertures: f/3.5-5.6
- Image Stabilization: Yes, optical
- Optical Formula: 12 elements in 10 groups
- 3 aspherical lenses
- 1 ED glass lens
- Diaphragm: 7 circular aperture blades
- Minimum Focusing Distance: 30cm in wide-angle to 40cm in telephoto
- Maximum magnifying ratio: 0.15x long focal length
- Length: 65.2 mm
- Lens diameter: 62.6 mm
- Filter diameter: 58mm
- Weight: 195 grams
Price and availability of the Fujifilm X-M1
The Fujifilm X-M1 which hit the stores in the end of August 2013 at a suggested price, body only, of € 699 / $699. It will also be available in a “Fujifilm X-M1 XC + 16-50mm Lens” bundle at €799 / $799. The extra bucks asked for adding the XC 16-50mm zoom lens is very mild, €100, compared to the higher prioce of the (yet higher quality, faster and top in any ways) of the Fujinon XF18-55mmF2.8LM R.