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CNET First Look
Fujifilm X-M1 hands-onIf you're looking for the best photo quality you can get for the money, the X-M1 is it. It's just not the most well-rounded option.
The most notable thing about Fujifilm's XM1, the company's $800 interchangeable lens camera kit has the stellar photo quality you get for the money. The camera incorporates Fujifilm's APS-C size X-Trans sensor which uses a non-standard color filter array layout so that it can drop the softening anti-aliasing filter and combined with really good JPEG processing delivers excellent photos as high as ISO 1600 and really usable ones through ISO 6400. It's got great dynamic range and good color too. The flipside however is relatively poor video quality with a lot of edge artifacts that the anti-aliasing filter usually deals with. The camera has a really nice design as well. I like its big brother, the X-E1's body better with its electronic viewfinder and more photographer-friendly physical controls, but this camera straddles a good middle ground between consumer comfort and retro style. Highlights include 2 adjustment dials, a tilting LCD that can operate at 90 degrees downward as well as upward and surprisingly good on-camera flash that you can tilt back to bounce or reduce intensity. The grip is a lot shallower than I like but it's not bad. It does offer Fujifilm's standard confusion of auto modes; a dumb auto, a smarter auto, and the tradition select a scene auto, but it also has a custom settings slot. My only real quibble with the interface is the lack of a direct access option from metering and a physical auto exposure lock button. You can program the function button for either, but there's no way to program both operations. So you're stuck going into the menu system to change the metering. It doesn't even appear on the control panel or going without the auto exposure lock entirely. The camera's performance while sufficient lags its competitors, and though it can burst at about 5.7 frames per second it can only do so with fixed focus and exposure. And the features set which includes Wi-Fi for connecting to a mobile device to upload or tag with GPS coordinates also ranks a sufficient but not outstanding. If you're looking for the best photo quality you can get for the money, the XM1 is it. It's just not the most well-rounded option of its cohort. I'm Lori Grunin and this is the Fujifilm XM1.