Fujifilm X-M1 Review
12 Conclusion and Samples
Conclusion - Pros
- Excellent image quality; top-notch JPEG engine reduces the need for Raw
- Low noise until the very highest sensitivities
- Solid build quality, despite composite construction
- Sharp, tilting 3-inch LCD has wide viewing angle
- Quick startup, shot-to-shot speeds
- DR, highlight, and shadow tone tools brighten shadows and restore highlights
- Handy focus peaking feature
- Numerous bracketing modes
- In-camera Raw processing
- Good quality kit lens
- Wi-Fi allows easy photo sharing
Conclusion - Cons
- AF speeds a bit slower that mirrorless competition
- Areas of fine green detail can be 'mushy'
- Awkwardly placed rear dial takes getting used-to
- No electronic level
- Camera cannot be controlled via Wi-Fi
- Moiré, rolling shutter can be an issue in videos
- Lacks HDR, panorama features
- Can't access memory card when using tripod
While the X-M1 is Fujifilm's 'low-end' X-Trans mirrorless camera, it sure doesn't feel like it. It doesn't have the electronic viewfinder, metal body, and a few relatively minor features from the X-E1 (which, by the way, only costs $100 more), but the most important trait - excellent image quality - remains the same.
Design & Handling
At first glance, the X-M1 looks a lot like the slightly more expensive X-E1. Pick it up and you'll notice that it's lighter, due to the nearly all-plastic body. Thankfully, the body doesn't feel 'cheap', save for the power switch / shutter release combo. Like other rangefinder-style cameras, there's not much of a grip on the X-M1, though it's good enough. The faux leather is a bit slippery, though.
The most obvious differences between the X-M1 and the X-E1 can be found on the back of the cameras. The X-M1 loses the electronic viewfinder of its big brother, but gains a tilting 3-inch LCD in return. The LCD, which has a 3:2 aspect ratio and 920k dots, offers a wide viewing angle and impressive sharpness. Outdoor visibility isn't great at default settings, but turning the brightness up a stop or two takes care of that issue.
The X-M1 has a simple and accessible control layout. There are dual control dials: one on the top plate, the other on the rear. The rear dial is flush with the back plate of the camera, and takes some getting used-to. Settings can be adjusted quickly with the direct buttons on the rear of the camera, or using the Q Menu that should look familiar to anyone who has used a higher-end Fuji camera in recent years.
The built-in pop-up flash pumps out enough light to brighten nearby subjects. Redeye was not a problem, as long as the camera detects a face (and uses its digital removal tool). For more flash power you can attach an external flash to the hot shoe, or cut the cord and take advantage of the X-M1's wireless flash control feature.
The X-M1 is a full-featured mirrorless camera, and keeps up well with similarly priced cameras. You'll find an Advanced SR Auto mode with automatic scene selection, a good selection of scene modes, and plenty of special effects. The X-M1 has the core set of Film Simulation modes, but loses some of the options found on the X-E1. Two things you won't find are HDR or panorama shooting modes. The electronic level from the X-E1 didn't make its way to the X-M1.
If you're an enthusiast, there's plenty to like here. The X-M1 has full manual exposure, white balance fine-tuning, numerous bracketing modes, and focus peaking. Naturally, you can shoot Raw images, and the in-camera processor is one of the best you'll find.
There are several tools that can be used to restore highlights and brighten shadows. The highlight tone and DR correction tools work in different ways - with the latter requiring an increase in minimum ISO - but both are effective. The shadow tone feature works just as well, with a minimal increase in noise.
A feature that's new to the X-series is Wi-Fi. While you can use Fuji's smartphone app to download and share your photos, there's no way to control the camera remotely - a big disappointment.
The X-M1's movie mode is similar to that of the X-E1, with the ability to record 1080/30p video with stereo sound and continuous autofocus. The dedicated movie recording button makes it easy to start taking a video in any shooting mode. While you don't have full manual control when recording videos, the aperture can be adjusted priority to shooting in 'A' or 'M' mode. Video quality is decent, though don't be surprised if moiré or rolling shutter effects make an appearance.
Performance and Photo Quality
While not best-in-class, the Fujifilm X-M1 is still very responsive in most respects. The camera powers up in under a second, though waking it from sleep requires a one-second-long press of the shutter release button.
Focusing performance isn't as snappy as, say, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G6, but most people won't notice. The camera focuses well in low light, and took less than a second to acquire its subject. You'll wait for just over a second before you can take another shot, regardless of the image quality setting. Adding the flash into the mix increases the delay to two seconds.
The X-M1 can shoot continuously at roughly 6 fps for up to fourteen shots (depending on image quality setting). The buffer flushes quickly, so you can enter playback mode or the menus with only a minimal delay.
Using the CIPA standard, Fujifilm claims that the X-M1 can take 350 shots per charge (with Wi-Fi off). In real world shooting, the battery seemed to drain a lot quicker than you'd expect given that number.
As with the X-M1's X-Trans siblings, photo quality is very good. The included 16-50mm kit lens surprisingly good sharpness at wide-angle and telephoto, with minimal corner blurring and no noticeable vignetting. To really see what the camera can do, attach a prime lens and you'll be blown away by the sharpness and detail it can capture.
Exposure is accurate in most cases, with occasional overexposure and clipped highlights (the latter can be reduced by using the DR Correction feature). Fuji cameras are well known for their very vivid colors, and the X-M1 carries on that tradition. One thing we did notice is that areas of high frequency green detail can be a bit smudged, possibly due to the X-Trans color filter.
The X-M1 keeps noise at bay until the very highest sensitivities (ISO 6400 and higher). Even then, the highest settings are still usable for small prints and web sharing. With many cameras, additional detail can be gained by shooting Raw and post-processing but that's not the case with the X-M1, as the JPEG is engine is excellent. The main advantage to using Raw is to adjust white balance, or fine-tune things like chromatic aberration removal.
The Fujifilm X-M1 is a stylish, well-built mirrorless camera that doesn't skimp on features and takes excellent photos. It takes everything that made the X-E1 such a great product and adds a tilting, higher resolution LCD and Wi-Fi, but that's at the expense of an electronic viewfinder. Still, most of the X-M1's buyers will be stepping up from compact cameras, so the lack of an EVF won't be a huge issue.
The best thing about the X-M1 is its top-notch photo quality. While the bundled 16-50mm lens produces good results, photos taken on Fuji's prime lenses - some of which cost as much as the camera itself - are truly stunning. Since noise isn't a problem until the highest sensitivities, you can shoot with confidence in low light.
Whether you're making the leap into the mirrorless, or just want a second camera with great photo quality, then the Fujifilm X-M1 earns our highest recommendation.
Scoring is relative only to the other cameras in the same category.
Click here to learn about the changes to our scoring system and what these numbers mean.
Category: Mid Range Interchangeable Lens Camera / DSLR
Ergonomics & handling
Metering & focus accuracy
Image quality (raw)
Image quality (jpeg)
Low light / high ISO performance
Viewfinder / screen rating
Movie / video mode
The X-M1 is Fujifilm's entry-level mirrorless camera with its unique X-Trans sensor. While it lacks the build quality and EVF of the more expensive X-E1, it adds a sharper, tilting LCD and Wi-Fi. The X-M1 is capable of taking incredibly sharp photos with very little noise. Performance is very good, although AF speeds are not as quick as the best-in-class mirrorless cameras. The camera is missing a few other handy features, like an electronic level and remote control via Wi-Fi.
Real World Samples
There are 37 images in the Fujifilm X-M1 review samples gallery. Please do not reproduce any of these images on a website or any newsletter / magazine without prior permission (see our copyright page). We make the originals available for private users to download to their own machines for personal examination or printing (in conjunction with this review), we do so in good faith, please don't abuse it.
Unless otherwise noted images taken with no particular settings at full resolution. Because our review images are now hosted on the 'galleries' section of dpreview.com, you can enjoy all of the new galleries functionality when browsing these samples.
Fujifilm X-M1 Samples
Aug 9, 2016
Jun 14, 2016
May 25, 2016
Feb 24, 2016
Super macro photographer Can Tuncer captured these incredible close-ups of a single peacock feather using a special setup and three different microscope lenses.
After successfully crowdfunding the Biotar 75mm F1.5, Oprema Jena is at it again. This time they're bringing back the Biotar 58mm F2: the world's only lens with a 17-blade aperture.
Adobe's move to a subscription model is treating it very well indeed. The company has posted record revenue for the second quarter in a row, hauling in a mind-boggling $1.84 billion.
More details have emerged about the potential sale of Blackstone's 45% stake in iconic camera brand Leica.
Popular mobile editing app Snapseed just got a major update that includes a new interface and 11 new presets for both Android and iOS, as well as adding the Perspective tool to the iOS version.
It might sound like a strange idea, but taking macro photos of boiling water can actually result in some really cool photographs. A good photo experiment for a rainy day.
The database was created to "break with the narrow lens through which history… has been recorded" by equipping those who commission photography with "the resources to discover photographers of color available for assignments.
Lensbaby has released two new optics for their special "optic swap system." The Lensbaby Sweet 80 Optic gives you that trademark sweet spot of focus, while the Creative Bokeh optic gives you 9 different drop in aperture plate options to play with.
TechCrunch has already posted their review of the upcoming iPhone 8 (not yet the iPhone X), and they're calling it "a look into the augmented future of photography."
Affinity Photo is a $50 photo editing software with no subscriptions. That's it – pay for it once and you're done. And we think it's actually pretty darn good.
Instagram is currently testing a major change to the app's profile layout: replacing the 3-photo across grid with a 4-photo grid... and some users are NOT taking the news well.
A report by USSRPhoto is shedding some light on the return of the famed Zenit camera brand. It seems the full-frame mirrorless camera they're working on will be made in part by Leica using components from the Leica SL.
According to a reliable Korean report, Samsung is developing a smartphone sensor that's capable of super slow motion. Translation: Samsung's next batch of Galaxy smartphones may be able to shoot 1,000fps.
This simple photograph of a seahorse and Q-tip has taken the internet by storm. We spoke to photographer Justin Hofman about how it was captured, and what it means to him.
After a massive leak last week, Profoto has officially debuted the Profoto A1: the company's first on-camera flash system that they're calling "the world's smallest studio flash."
"When the first hyperfocal distance charts were designed, someone decided that an acceptably sharp background contained some blur — enough to notice in a medium-sized print [...] After that point, nearly every other hyperfocal chart followed suit."
The Canon EOS Rebel SL2 (also known as the EOS 200D) is the company's impressively compact entry-level DSLR. Packing a 24MP APS-C sensor, DIGIC 7 processor and Dual Pixel AF, it promises a lot of bang for the buck. And while not mind-blowing, it handles most tasks very well.
Correct these four common composition mistakes and your photos will be more balanced, tell a better story, and lead your viewer's eye where you want it to go.
The rugged, compact 360° action camera Kodak unveiled at Photokina in 2016, the Kodak PixPro Orbit 360, is finally available in the United States.
iOS 11 launches tomorrow, and it'll save all of your pictures in a new high efficiency image format called HEIC. Fortunately, there's now a converter that will let you turn those photos back into JPEGs.
Photo protection company ImageRights recently released a new service that lets non-subscribers take advantage of their streamlined copyright registration system that checks for errors and fills out all the required forms for you.
What's the difference between a $200 circular polarizing filter and a $100 circular polarizing filter? Roger Cicala at Lens Rentals put six different filters through a few tests to find out.
A flurry of leaks reveal that GoPro's upcoming Hero6 will shoot 4K at 60fps, 1080p at 240fps, will cost $500, and is scheduled for announcement/release on September 28th.
Before he became the iconic director whose name we've all heard, a teenage Stanley Kubrick struck up a business relationship with New York’s Look magazine. No surprise: he was an incredibly talented photographer.
WD's new G-Technology G-Drive mobile SSD R-Series is a portable solid state option for photographers who want the reliability of an SSD in a rugged water and dust-resistant package.
Fast, stabilized and affordable is an appealing combination when it comes to lenses. With its latest 24-70mm F2.8, Tamron aims to upgrade autofocus speed and stabilization. We've got a full gallery from this updated full-frame zoom.
Photographer Clay Cook tells the story of his most ambitious photographic dream and career goal coming true: photographing A-list actress Jennifer Lawrence.
In an interview with a Chinese website, Nikon Japan's Director of Development dropped a bombshell, saying that a Nikon mirrorless camera "must be full-frame."
Here's a side-by-side spec comparison of two flagship devices with particular attention to the things that really matter – at least to people who prioritize photography features.
A month and a half after revealing the finalists of the 2017 EyeEm Awards, the photo sharing community and licensing marketplace has finally revealed the winners.