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2013.06.25

Yesterday, Fuji unveiled their latest mirrorless camera, the Fuji X-M1. This one slots itself below the X-E1 reviewed here, pushing it to mid-range while the X-M1 takes the entry-level position. Along with the top-of-the-line X-Pro1, these three share the same unique 16 megapixels X-Trans CMOS sensor with a 1.5X AS-C crop-factor and DSLR-like 3:2 aspect-ratio. Its unique color-filter-array lets it go without an anti-alias filter and not be prone to moire artifacts.

Expecting the same outstanding image-quality as its siblings, this puts the X-M1 among the top-performers of mirrorless digital cameras. Despite its entry-level status, this latest member of the X-family offers full manual-controls, including manual focus with peaking, custom white-balance, spot metering, depth-of-field preview and dual control-dials for efficiency.

Fuji X-M1

This capable mirrorless camera can shoot continuous at 5.6 FPS for up to 30 frames and record full 1080p HD video with stereo sound. A hot-shoe lets it connect to external lighting and a small built-in flash also serves as master controller. Where Fuji cut back from its higher-end sibling is in the viewfinder, digital-level and audio input, none of which are present on the X-M1. This camera is also not built to the same quality with a mostly plastic body and more fragile LCD which is mounted on a tilting hinge.

Given its status, the interface of the  Fuji X-M1 is simplified and definitely more typical. There is a traditional mode-dial and two unmarked control-dials. One of them serves as direct EC dial outside of manual mode which can be rather error-prone, particularly if the X-M1 is not Exposure-Priority which remains to be seen. The mode-dial lacks a movie-mode position, instead relying on a Video-Record button to start filming. Hopefully Fuji provides HD-framing guidelines to make setting up video shots at all possible.

Fuji X-M1

Along the X-M1, Fuji has released two new lenses. One is the pancake XF 27mm F/2.8, sold separately, while the other is the first X-mount kit-lens, initially sold only with the new camera. The kit-lens covers a extremely versatile 16-50mm with a traditional variable aperture design opening up to F/3.5 at wide-angle and a dim F/5.6 at the telephoto end. This XC 16-50mm F/3.5-5.6 OIS lens includes built-in image stabilization and is mostly made of plastic, lens-mount included. Neither of these lenses features an aperture ring, so they will require a firmware update to work with the X-E1 or X-Pro1.

The X-M1 is scheduled to be available next month, body-only, for $699 USD or CDN. The kit-version expects to sell for $799 USD or CDN. Adorama and B&H Photo already accept pre-orders.

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