So now Fujifilm has decided to shrink the X too. By omitting the Electronic Viewinder (EVF) the body size was reduced substantially making it far more compact than the next of kin Fujifilm X-Pro1 and XE-1. New features have been added and operator controls have been simplified to make the camera more attractive for casual shooters. This will make it a direct competitor to the popular Sony NEX-5R and all the other more basic compact Interchangeable Lens Cameras (ILC) aimed at entry-level photographers and enthusiasts who appreciate more pocketable solutions.
In their news release Fujfilm describes the new camera quite adequately: “Compact and lightweight, the X-M1 offers enhanced operability whilst bringing the outstanding design, picture quality and performance of the multi-award-winning Fujifilm X-Pro1 and X-E1 cameras not only to photo enthusiasts but also to a broader scope of users.”
The basic specs:
- 16.3 MP APS-C X-Trans CMOS sensor
- lightweight and very compact body (when compared to XE-1 and X-Pro 1)
- 3″ LCD screen with 920K dot high definition (tiltable)
- built in flash plus hot shoe
- ISO 100-25600
- Full HD Video at 30fps
- 49 point AF
- In-camera RAW processing
- film simulations modes and advanced art filters
- Q button for quick view of frequently-used menus
- built-in Wi-Fi for easy image transfer to smart phones and tablets
- available in black, silver and brown
- on sale from August 2013 for €679/$799.95 body only (also offered bundled with Fujinon lenses)
Fuji has finally jumped on the bandwagon and now goes without a viewfinder as well. Apart from that, another feature has been omitted from the new line of lenses that have been announced with the camera. Both the Fujinon XC 16-50 f/3.5-5.6 OIS and the new pancake Fujinon XF 27 f/2.8 R now come without aperture rings. According to Fujifilm this was again done to achieve compact and light dimensions.
This may disappoint a few of the Fuji followers who celebrated the X line of cameras for their great professional-like operability but may indeed attract a new clientele. Prospective customers who otherwise might have chosen smaller size Micro Four Thirds or Sony NEX products, now may think twice and go for the superb retro design.
With the X-Trans CMOS sensor the new Fujifilm X-M1 will again deliver outstanding image quality. A tiltable screen for nicer on-screen previews and Wi-Fi to enable quick and easy transfer of photos and videos to mobile devices and computers are features that are highly welcome. Small dimensions and the ability for one-handed camera operation makes the camera more attractive as an alternative to point and shoots or as a backup device to accompany DSLRs or existing Fujifim X series cameras. This new product might steal some more market share away from previously dominant top dog manufacturers. Especially Nikon with its 1-inch sensor mirrorless offerings may lose out on sales in future. There are no preeminent size benefits to justify small sensors anymore. Sony, Olympus, Panasonic and now Fujifilm show headfirst what can be achieved using great sensor technology coupled with highly appealing design. Nikon may not want to jeopardize DSLR sales but they will have to watch their back. DSLR-class image quality is now possible in a far more compact package. Check my article on the death of the DSLR.
Will I buy a Fujifilm XM-1? I am not sure yet. I am addicted to the use of a high quality viewfinder and will probably stick with my Fujifilm XE-1 for now. But the pancake might fit the bill to make the X more pocketable. Shame they got rid of the aperture ring though…