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First Impressions: Fujifilm XM1

by Chris Gampat on 08/08/2013

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm XM1 First Impressions product photos (4 of 7)ISO 4001-125 sec at f - 4.0

Fujifilm’s XM1 is targeted at the user that wants Fujifilm’s image quality, but can’t reach the higher fruit that is the X-E1 and X Pro 1. This audience is the entry level mirrorless camera user–and certain things about the XM1 hammer this fact home. For example, it is kitted with the 16-50mm f3.5-5.6 lens which has no aperture ring in order to make it simpler for entry level users to operate it. Instead, the XM1 emphasizes the use of two dials to set up exposures.

The camera also deviates from its higher end siblings in that it forgoes the use of a viewfinder of any sort and instead relies on its tilting LCD screen.

Fujifilm has already proven itself in terms of image quality and having stylish good looks. But can they really court over a crowd that asks, “Canon or Nikon” before anything else?

 

Gear Used

We’re using the Fujifilm XM1 with the 16-50mm f3.5-5.6 kit lens, 27mm f2.8 pancake lens, 35mm f1.4 R, and the SLR Magic 23mm f1.7.

Tech Specs

Specs taken from the B&H Photo listing of the camera

Imaging
Lens Mount Fujifilm X Mount
Camera Format APS-C (1.5x Crop Factor)
Pixels Actual: 16.5 Megapixel
Effective: 16.3 Megapixel
Max Resolution 4896 x 3264 @ 3:2
Other Resolutions 3456 x 2304 @ 3:2
2496 x 1664 @ 3:2
4896 x 2760 @ 16:9
3456 x 1944 @ 16:9
2496 x 1408 @ 16:9
3264 x 3264 @ 1:1
2304 x 2304 @ 1:1
1664 x 1664 @ 1:1
Sensor Type / Size CMOS, 23.6 x 15.6 mm
File Formats Still Images: JPEG, RAW
Movies: H.264, MOV
Audio: Linear PCM (Stereo)
Dust Reduction System Yes
Noise Reduction Yes
Memory Card Type SD
SDHC
SDXC
AV Recording
Video Recording Yes, NTSC/PAL
Resolution 1920 x 1080: 30 fps
1280 x 720: 30 fps
Aspect Ratio 16:9
Video Clip Length Up to 27 Min
Audio Recording Built-in Mic: With Video, Stereo,
Focus Control
Focus Type Auto & Manual
Focus Mode Single-servo AF (S), Continuous-servo AF (C), Manual Focus (M)
Autofocus Points 49
Viewfinder/Display
Display Screen 3″ Rear Screen Tilting Live Preview LCD (920,000)
Screen Coverage 100%
Live View Yes
Exposure Control
ISO Sensitivity Auto, 200-6400 (Extended Mode: 100-25600)
Shutter Type: Mechanical
Speed: 30 – 1/4000 sec
1/4 – 1/4000 sec in Auto Mode
Remote Control RR-90 (Optional)
Metering Method Average metering, Multi-zone metering, Spot metering
Exposure Modes Modes: Aperture Priority, Manual, Programmed Auto, Shutter Priority
Compensation: -2 EV to +2 EV (in 1/3 EV steps)
White Balance Modes Auto, Custom, Fine, Fluorescent (Day White), Fluorescent (Natural White), Fluorescent (White), Incandescent, Shade
Burst Rate Up to 5.6 fps at 16.3 MP for up to 30 frames
Flash
Flash Modes Auto
Auto/Red-eye Reduction
Flash On w/ Red-eye Reduction
Forced On
Rear Curtain/Slow Sync
Slow Sync
Slow Sync./Red-eye Reduction
Built-in Flash Yes
Guide No. 22.97′ (7 m) ISO200
Max Sync Speed 1 / 180 sec
Dedicated Flash System iTTL
External Flash Connection Hot Shoe
Performance
In-Camera Image Editing High Key, Low Key, Miniature Effect, Pop Art, Soft Focus, Toy Camera
Start-up Time 0.5 Seconds
Continuous Shooting Up to 5.6 fps
Self Timer 2 sec, 10 sec
Date & Time Stamp Yes
Connectivity HDMI C (Mini)
USB 2.0
Wi-Fi Capable Yes
Power
Battery 1x NP-W126  Rechargeable Lithium-Ion Battery Pack
Operating/Storage Temperature Operating
32 to 104°F (0 to 40°C)
Humidity: 10 – 80%
Physical
Dimensions (WxHxD) 4.6 x 2.6 x 1.5″ / 11.7 x 6.6 x 3.8 cm
Weight 9.88 oz / 280  g without battery and card
Kit Lens
Focal Length 16 – 50 mm
Comparable 35mm Focal Length: 24 – 76 mm
Aperture Maximum: f/3.5 – 5.6
Minimum: f/22
Angle of View 83° 2′ – 31° 7′
Minimum Focus Distance 23.62″ (60 cm)
Magnification 0.15x
Groups/Elements 10/12
Diaphragm Blades 7
Autofocus Yes
Image Stabilization Yes
Filter Thread Front: 58 mm
Dimensions (DxL) Approx. 2.46 x 2.57″ (62.6 x 65.2 mm)
Weight 6.88 oz (195 g)

Ergonomics

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm XM1 First Impressions product photos (2 of 7)ISO 4001-125 sec at f - 4.0

Fujifilm’s XM1, once again, is keeping in mind the entry level audience. And with that in mind, the XM1 is devoid of any controls ont he front of the camera. Instead, you’ll see a textured grippy area and the XM1 branding.

Oh right, and there is also the lens release.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm XM1 First Impressions product photos (1 of 7)ISO 4001-125 sec at f - 4.0

Once you check out the top of the camera, you start to see some more controls. These controls are the pop-up flash, hot shoe, mode dial, shutter speed, Function button, on/off switch around the shutter release, and the exposure dials.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm XM1 First Impressions product photos (5 of 7)ISO 4001-125 sec at f - 4.0

Those exposure dials are placed in such a way that it makes shooting from the hip quite simple. This is also because the LCD screen tilts upward.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm XM1 First Impressions product photos (6 of 7)ISO 4001-125 sec at f - 4.0

The back of the camera has very little in terms of controls: there is the pop-up flash button, playback, record, AF, macro, white balance and more.

Interestingly enough, one would think that this camera would have a touch screen. But alas, it doesn’t.

Build Quality

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm XM1 First Impressions product photos (7 of 7)ISO 4001-125 sec at f - 4.0

The XM1 doesn’t feel cheap, but it also doesn’t feel incredibly rugged. For what it’s worth, though, it’s the best darn feeling entry level mirrorless camera that we’ve held so far. So in this regard, one is surely getting what they paid for.

Walking around with the camera is a joy as it is extremely light and not too small but also not too large.

Ease of Use

So far, we’ve put the camera in push-here dummy mode: ie. Program auto. Pointing and shooting with it is quite fun, though out of the box it doesn’t have any sort of image review functionality and you instead need to turn this on.

Autofocus

So far we’ve been testing the 16-50mm f3.5-5.6 with the camera, and it seems to be snappier to focus than Fujifilm’s 35mm f1.4 R. We’re surely quite shocked by this as the 35mm has had lots of firmware updates so far.

We will be doing more in depth testing with the camera’s autofocusing, but here’s a very quick and informal test.

Image Quality

At the moment of publication, Lightroom 5 doesn’t support the XM1’s RAW files. But here are some JPEG conversions in camera.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm XM1 First Impressions sample photos (1 of 13)ISO 2001-220 sec at f - 5.6

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm XM1 First Impressions sample photos (2 of 13)ISO 2001-125 sec at f - 5.0

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm XM1 First Impressions sample photos (3 of 13)ISO 2001-210 sec at f - 5.6

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm XM1 First Impressions sample photos (4 of 13)ISO 2001-320 sec at f - 5.6

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm XM1 First Impressions sample photos (5 of 13)ISO 2001-110 sec at f - 3.5

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm XM1 First Impressions sample photos (6 of 13)ISO 2001-90 sec at f - 3.5

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm XM1 First Impressions sample photos (7 of 13)ISO 2001-320 sec at f - 5.6

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm XM1 First Impressions sample photos (8 of 13)ISO 2001-420 sec at f - 8.0

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm XM1 First Impressions sample photos (9 of 13)ISO 2001-350 sec at f - 9.0

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm XM1 First Impressions sample photos (10 of 13)ISO 2001-150 sec at f - 5.0

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm XM1 First Impressions sample photos (11 of 13)ISO 4001-75 sec at f - 3.5

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm XM1 First Impressions sample photos (12 of 13)ISO 2001-125 sec at f - 4.0

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm XM1 First Impressions sample photos (13 of 13)ISO 2001-125 sec at f - 4.5

First Impressions

So far, we’re extremely impressed with the Fujifilm XM1’s image quality and build quality for what you’re getting. As it stands though, it is the slowest focusing entry level mirrorless camera on the market. Sony, Olympus, Panasonic and Samsung all have cameras that focus faster than this.

Obviously though, AF speed isn’t everything. And we’ll explore more in our full review.

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