Fujifilm X-M1 Review
The Fujifilm X-M1 can be comfortably used as a point-and-shoot camera, and enthusiasts will find a huge selection of manual features to dive into, as well. The camera has a large selection of special effects, plus Fuji's popular Film Simulation modes. Naturally, the X-M1 also records Full HD video. We'll cover all of those - and more - below.
As one would expect, you can access all of the X-M1's shooting modes via its mode dial. Unlike the top control dial to its right, the mode dial is 'stiffer', which makes 'accidents' unlikely.
|The X-M1's mode dial has the P/A/S/M modes that one would expect from an enthusiast mirrorless camera, plus an auto mode, special effects, and scene modes for the point-and-shoot crowd.|
So what are those spots on the mode dial all about? Here's a quick rundown:
|Auto||Your standard point-and-shoot mode, with most shooting options locked up.|
|Advanced SR Auto (SR+)||Similar to the regular Auto mode, but with scene selection.|
|Program AE||Automatic shooting with full menu access. The 'Program Shift' feature allows you to adjust the aperture/shutter speed combination by using the real dial.|
|Shutter priority AE||Allows user to adjust the shutter speed, with a range of 30 - 1/4000 secs.|
|Aperture priority AE||Allows user to adjust the aperture. Range depends on lens used.|
|Manual exposure||User can adjust both aperture and shutter speed. Same ranges as above, but with added 'bulb' mode for even longer exposures.|
|Custom settings||Store your favorite camera settings in this slot.|
|Portrait||The camera uses the best settings for these three situations.|
|Scene position (SP)||Additional scene modes include portrait enhancer, night, night (tripod), fireworks, sunset, snow, beach, party, flower, text.|
|Advanced Filters||Here you'll find the camera's special effects and a multiple exposure feature.|
Everything on that list should be self-explanatory, but the Advanced Filters deserve a quick mention. In addition to a two-shot multiple exposure feature, you'll find special effects such as toy camera, miniature effect, dynamic tone, and partial color.
One feature you won't find on the X-M1 is any kind of panorama shooting mode.
The X-M1 has a whopping four types of bracketing, including for exposure, ISO, Film Simulation mode (mentioned below), and Dynamic Range.
For exposure and ISO bracketing, you can select from 1/3, 2/3, or 1 stop increments between shots. Film Simulation mode bracketing will apply three different effects with a single exposure. DR bracketing cranks up the ISO to 800 and takes photos at DR 100%, 200%, and 400%. But more on that later.
Do note that when shooting Raw images, you can only bracket for exposure - ISO, Film Simulation and Dynamic Range bracketing are all unavailable. This may sound arbitrary, but on balance we prefer it to the situation on Fujifilm's previous X-series cameras, where using these modes turned off RAW recording without warning.
Film Simulation modes
The Film Simulation modes on the X-M1 certainly aren't new, but they're always worth a look. There are five modes to choose from, which include Provia (standard), Velvia (vivid), Astia (soft), monochrome, and sepia. The X-M1 lacks the monochrome filters and Pro Neg (high and standard) modes of the X-E1.
If you shoot Raw, you can change the Film Simulation mode of any photo that you've taken, using the in-camera processor. This lets you go even further than the bracketing feature, though it requires a bit more work.
ISO 800, 1/400 sec, f/14
There are five focus modes on the X-M1, including 49-point auto, single-point select, continuous, tracking, and manual. In manual focus mode you can enlarge the frame and also take advantage of focus peaking.
|Viewing the image at 100% on the LCD.||Here's a zoomed-in view, with focus peaking turned on.|
Focus peaking puts of a sort of 'glimmer' around the edges of a subject that is in focus. It makes finding your desired focus point considerably easier than rotating the focus ring endlessly. You can use focus peaking when viewing the full frame, or when you're zoomed in.
The X-M1 has two adjustments for adjusting highlight and shadow tone. For each you can select from soft, med-soft, standard, med-hard, and hard. The soft setting reduces the effect (e.g. reduces contrast in the shadow regions) while the hard setting increases it. You can use these settings separately or combine them to achieve the desired effect. These features aren't true dynamic range adjustments - rather, they make adjustments to the shadow and/or highlight ends of the tone curve.
ISO 400, 1/34 sec, f/3.6
In standard mode, you can barely make out the letters etched into the yellow glass on the center of the escalator. Dialing highlight tone down to soft makes the lettering visible, while the hard setting has the opposite effect. In this instance, the lower-contrast, 'Soft' setting probably provides a better match between the tone of the scene and the final result.
|ISO 1250, 1/16 sec, f/5.6|
As with the highlight tone example, turning down shadow tone lowers the contrast in the shadows, while increasing it boosts it. There is an increase in noise here, though you'll only see it at the pixel level.
These examples show the extremes of each setting. There are 'medium' settings for both highlights and shadows and, as mentioned above, you can adjust both if you'd like.
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