- 1Body and Ergonomics
- 2Rear Screen
- 3Operation and Menus
- 4Focus Peaking
- 5Autofocus and Performance
- 7Key Features: Wi-Fi
- 8In-Camera RAW Conversion
- 9Film Simulations and Advanced Filters
- 10Other Items of Note
- 11Image Quality: Resolution, Dynamic Range and Color
- 13JPEG Quality
- 14Movie Mode
- 16Image Samples
- Exceptional dynamic range and rich color lead to great depth to the images
- Excellent noise control, offering low noise images throughout the ISO range
- Short shutter lag
- Overall camera responsiveness is improved over previous X-Series cameras
- Autofocus is accurate and has acceptable speed
- Very compact and attractive body with very well laid out controls, including excellent dual dial system
- Rear LCD is high resolution with good color and sharpness, and has tilt capability over an impressive range of motion
- Focus Peaking works very well and can be switched on and off rapidly with the rear command dial
- Built-In flash works quite well
- Wi-Fi capability makes transferring images to your smartphone quick and easy
- Great JPEG output
- Body feels cheap in the hand due to smooth plastics throughout the construction
- No viewfinder, nor the option to add an external viewfinder
- Autofocus still lags the competition in speed by a decent margin
- Fewer film simulations to choose from vs. X-E1 and X-Pro 1
- Tripod mount is too close to battery/SD card door
- No touch-screen capability
- Wi-Fi mode is limited and doesn’t have the ability for remote camera control
- Geotagging could use some refinement
- No dedicated focus mode switch
- Can’t view vertical images using the whole screen on playback.
- Replacement of shutter speed dial with Mode dial may rankle some people, and removes the ability to see your settings at a glance with the camera off.
The Fujifilm X-M1 is a unique camera. It’s a mid-tier priced mirrorless camera, coming in at $699 body only, or $799 in a kit with the XC 16-50mm zoom. It has a lower end build feel, but an extremely high-end imaging pipeline. The combination leaves one with some mixed emotions. I wish it felt as solid in the hand as something like my OM-D or Panasonic GX1. At the same time, the controls are laid out extremely well, the rear LCD is very nice, and they’ve improved the performance over the previous X-Series cameras in a way that eliminates almost all of the small annoyances that still remained with those cameras. Then they’ve thrown in integrated Wi-Fi and packaged it in a very small body.
I didn’t think I was going to like the X-M1 that much. I really prefer to use an EVF where possible, though I’m not completely averse to using a camera without one. They modified the truly outstanding old-school control scheme, and I didn’t think I would like that at all. Then, when I picked up the body, it felt quite plasticky. Yet, as I used the camera, I found myself really, really enjoying it. It’s by far the most responsive X-series ILC to date, the small size and outstanding image quality, combined with a well thought out control scheme has made me quite happy to grab the X-M1 and go shoot. Focus peaking works very well on the rear LCD, I enjoy using Wi-Fi to quickly share high quality photos, and certainly, the image quality seriously impresses. I actually found myself enjoying the X-M1 more than my X-E1 in most situations.
It’s not all puppies and rainbows, of course. The autofocus speed still noticeably trails its competitors, though Fuji has made good strides over the past year to bring it up to a speed that is generally acceptable for most shooting. I missed the quick switch for focus modes and I do still wish it had an option for an external EVF. This is also the type of camera that one would expect to have a touch screen, and it’s a feature that Fuji probably should have added.
In all, though, I think the X-M1 is a very fun, small camera that packs some serious punch and has excellent external controls. It could have been phenomenal, had Fuji decided not to skimp on the body materials, but if you value control and image quality above all, the X-M1 doesn’t disappoint.
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20 thoughts on “Review: Fujifilm X-M1”
A very useful review; thanks.
One question: for the photographs displayed from the X-M1, did you use any post-processing? And if so, how long did you typically spend on a photograph?
There is some post processing on all the shots, as they are all from RAW. Many have very minor edits, such as contrast and saturation adjustment, others have a little more work. Since I need to see how RAW files hold up to all sorts of different processing (it’s one of the things that can really separate camera sensors), I simply shoot and process in my normal workflow. I usually spend about 2-3 minutes per image, though a few take a bit longer. Here’s a breakdown of images, starting with the two on the Image Quality page. All images were processed in Lightroom 5.2 Release Candidate and Photoshop CS6.
– Sunrise over Columbus: Heavy shadow and highlight compression in Lightroom (blacks +36, Shadows +100, Exposure +2/3 stop, highlights around -30. Color and contrast adjustment after RAW processing.
– Ohio Statehouse: minor color and contrast adjustment after RAW processing.
On this page:
– Egret in the Mist: Heavily cropped (this is about a 4.5 MP crop of the full 16MP image), processed in Color Efex Pro 4 with the Infrared Film preset, tweaked to taste.
– Hayden Falls: Minor color and contrast adjustment after RAW processing.
– Roots: Pretty heavy editing with Color Efex Pro to enhance color, provide more subtle contrasts and a little glow.
– Statehouse Rotunda: minor color and contrast adjustment after RAW processing.
– Girl – Almost straight out of camera – maybe slight additional saturation.
– Hayden Falls – minor color and contrast adjustment after RAW processing.
– Lost boat: Black and White conversion in Nik Silver Efex Pro 2 with selective color masking done in Photoshop
– Bee: Combination of two exposures (one focused on the flower, the other focused on the bee (though the same composition for both exposures)) – minor color and contrast adjustment after RAW processing.
– Ohio Statehouse: color and contrast adjustment after RAW processing, additional processing in Color Efex for a little ethereal feel.
– Water Plants: Sunlight filter in Nik Color Efex to give warmth and modulate contrast. I cloned out a few bubbles in the water as well.
– Boats Under Broad Street: B&W conversion in Nik Silver Efex Pro 2.
a very enjoyable review , as an xe1 owner i appreciated that you took time to explain the value of the customizable jpeg engine … its a valuable feature imho….. sadly the finish seems cheap though build is good … i wish a firmware update could unlock the xe1 camera during writing , but it may just be a case of processing power , in which case unlikely.
As always, wonderful shots and thorough overview of the new Fuji. I follow your posts over at Fredmiranda as well and to my eye your fuji shots always seem to appear ‘silky’ for want of a better word and the oly photos are quite sharp and acute but not at all in a bad way. Am I reading too much into this or is this perhaps the ‘Fuji look’ folks refer to on occasion ? . Thanks for the time in putting these helpful reviews together
Yeah, a lot of that is that ‘depth’ that I talk about the Fuji images having. They’re just a little better in color/contrast and smoothness of transitions. Really nice files. The Oly files are generally a little crisper with a sharper contrast cutoff, though both are easily capable of excellent images.
These are flat out the best photos I ever saw in a camera review, and that’s mostly the photographer, not the camera, although the M1 is a very fine little machine.
Wow, thanks! I appreciate that!
Very nice and detailled review, thanks.
You mention the “plastic” feel of the camera. Is the top deck plate made of plastic, or metal (what it looks like on the pictures)?
The entire exterior of the camera, except for the two dials on top and the power switch, is plastic. It’s well assembled plastic, but it’s definitely plastic.
Just found you site “by accident” and I must say that I really appreciate the Fuji X-reviews I have read so far!
I would rank you in top along Dpreview and a few others!
There are enough so called reviewers out there I wouldn´t miss if my computer broke down…… but you´re not one of them!
Keep up the good work!
(from the north of Sweden)
Thanks so much! I appreciate the kind words. Spread the news that the site exists! 🙂
Jordan this is the most comprehensive and honest review I have read on this most underrated camera. Thank you.
I love my X100 and when Amazon UK discounted the XM-1 heavily over Christmas it was rude not to buy one.Yes it is plastic and yes it has no viewfinder but by heck it produces such stunning results that I forgive it. It punches seriously above its weight and for the $360 it cost me with the XC 16-50mm I am delighted.
Your review on the XT-1 is equally informative and, armed with a pump-action Debit card, I bought one last week. The XM-1 is wonderful, the XT-1 is sublime.
Please continue your excellent work. I have bookmarked your site and recommended it to all of my colleagues who, like me, are all sick of the ‘Merda taurorum animas conturbit’ Brigade!
Jordan… Although I am not an X-M1 user (I have an X-E1), I have to agree with the rest of the commenters here that you do have a wonderful way of giving us important technical information, user information, and lastly wonderful photographs. I sort of found your site by accident as I am a recent Fuji convert (I still shoot Nikon for paid work) but I am going to also keep your site bookmarked as a key contributor to the photography knowledge base. Please keep up the good work you are doing, and keep on adding your much higher than average camera/lens review photos to your posts. I especially like your water plants photo above. Really excellent.
I used this camera for almost a year. I really love it. Small and really suitable for me as a street photographer. My question I had already the 27 mm pancakes, kit Lens and the zoom lens. I want to buy mirelens which one is better the 60 mm or 35?
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