Fujifilm brings its interchangeable-lens camera line down another price notch with the addition of the X-M1. It's essentially a cheaper version of the X-E1, which swaps the viewfinder for a host of other features -- a move that's probably bound to confuse some buyers.
The X-M1 is based around the same antialiasing-filter-free X-Trans sensor as the X-E1, probably the new model's most notable feature compared with competitors. While the X-E1 has an electronic viewfinder and mic input, plus uses less metal in the body, in trade-off the much cheaper X-M1 has a larger, higher-resolution LCD, built-in Wi-Fi for image transfer, and an updated EXR Processor II from the X100S. Continuous-shooting specs are just a hair slower.
From a design standpoint, the X-M1 is a very different animal than the X-E1. With physical shutter-speed and exposure-compensation dials and a reliance on a manual aperture ring on the lens, the latter directly targets analog-shooting enthusiasts. The X-M1 is far more "digital," with a typical mode dial, frequently used shooting functions mapped to the directional navigation buttons, and an odd vertical adjustment dial on the back.
Another trade-off is the new kit lens, which sounds like a typical 16-50mm f3.5-5.6 OIS. One of the nice things about the X-E1 kit is its relatively fast (f2.8-4) 18-55mm OIS lens. It will be interesting to see if retailers offer a custom kit combining the X-M1 body with the better 18-55mm lens; a lot of folks don't care about the viewfinder and are willing to forgo the all-metal body. If the street price of the X-M1 body eventually falls to about $100 below manufacturer price (which is quite likely) it seems like it's be an excellent matchup for the same price as the X-E1 kit.
On the flip side, if you like the EVF of the X-E1, the XF 16-50mm will be the cheapest XF lens yet -- though Fujifilm won't be selling it standalone, at least initially -- and might make a buy-in to the series a little more palatable for some. One of the biggest issues with the X series ILCs are the expensive lenses; they're good, to match the sensor, but make it hard for nonprofessionals to justify buying into the series. (However, at first glance I don't see an aperture switch or ring on the lens, which is pretty much a requirement to operate with the X-E1.)
And speaking of lenses, Fujifilm took the opportunity to announce its XF27mm f2.8 lens a (for them) rather modestly priced $449.95 pancake lens that, like the 16-50mm lens, uses the company's Super EBC coating and has a seven-bladed aperture. It also looks like it lacks an aperture control for operation with the X-E1.
Here are some comparative specs (will update with more complete X-M1 specs when they become available):
|Fujifilm X-M1||Fujifilm X-E1||Samsung NX300||Sony Alpha NEX-6|
|Sensor (effective resolution)||16.3MP X-Trans CMOS |
|16.3MP X-Trans CMOS |
|20.3MP hybrid CMOS||16.1MP Exmor HD CMOS|
|23.6mm x 15.6mm||23.6mm x 15.6mm||23.5mm x 15.7mm||23.5 x 15.6mm|
|Sensitivity range||ISO 100 (exp)/ 200 - ISO 6400/25600 (exp)||ISO 100 (exp)/ 200 - ISO 6400/25600 (exp)||ISO 100 - ISO 25600||ISO 100 - ISO 25600|
|Continuous shooting||5.6fps |
11 raw/15 JPEG
(10fps with fixed exposure)
2.36 million dots
2.4 million dots
|105-point phase-detection, 247-point contrast AF||99-point phase detection, 25-area contrast AF|
|AF sensitivity range||n/a||n/a||n/a||0 - 20 EV|
|Shutter speed||n/a||30-1/4,000 sec.; bulb to 60 min; 1/180 x-sync||30-1/6000 sec.; bulb to 4 minutes; 1/180 x-sync||30-1/4,000 sec.; bulb; 1/160 sec x-sync|
|Metering||n/a||256 zones||n/a||1,200 zones|
|Metering range||n/a||n/a||n/a||0 - 20 EV|
|Video||1080/30p H.264||1080/24p H.264||1080/60p/30p; 1080 x 810/24p; 720/30p H.264 MPEG-4||AVCHD 1080/60p @ 28, 24Mbps, 1080/ 24p @ 24, 17Mbps, 1080/60i @ 17Mbps; H.264 MPEG-4 1440 x 1080/30p @ 12Mbps|
|Audio||Stereo||Stereo; mic input||Stereo; mic input||Stereo; mic input|
|LCD size||3-inch tilting |
|2.8-inch fixed |
|3.3-inch tilting AMOLED touch screen |
|3-inch tilting touch screen|
|Battery life (CIPA rating)||n/a||350 shots||n/a||270 shots|
|Dimensions (inches, WHD)||4.6 x 2.6 x 1.5||5.1 x 2.9 x 1.5||4.8 x 2.5 x 1.6||4.8 x 2.8 x 1.1|
|Body operating weight (ounces)||12.1 (est)||12.4 (est.)||10.9 (est)||12.3|
|Mfr. price||$699 (body only)||$999.95 (body only)||n/a||$749.99 (body only)|
|$799 (with 16-50mm lens)||$1,399.95 (with 18-55mm lens)||$649.99 (with 20-50mm i-Function lens)||$899.99 (with 15-60mm PZ lens)|
|Ship date||July 2013||November 2012||March 2013||October 2012|
The X-M1 jumps into a very competitive segment; there are a lot of cheaper, excellent ILCs, and the X-Trans sensor tends to be a little weak on video, so the camera might not appeal as much to the consumer crowd. And the Samsung NX300 comes in a similarly two-tone look with the digital feel. It seems nice, but only testing will tell.