New kid on the block: YI M1 review
November 2017: Several issues raised in this review have been addressed in recent firmware. We are now shooting with an updated camera and hope to revise the review to reflect current behavior.
- 20MP Four Thirds sensor
- 3" 1.04M-dot touchscreen LCD
- 81-point Contrast Detect AF system
- Touch-to-focus and one-touch image capture
- 5 fps continuous shooting
- 4K/30p video recording capability
- Built in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth LE
YI is a China-based company that has already made its mark in the action cam market, earning a recommendation in our recent roundup. But it clearly has ambitions beyond this and has announced its entry into the consumer-level compact ILC market.
We were lucky enough to get our hands on the YI M1, the company's first-ever mirrorless camera. YI has attempted to capitalize on an already well-established camera mount, but decided to put a new spin on it in the form of an almost entirely touchscreen-based user interface.
YI tells us its name refers to 'young innovators,' so its no surprise its target demographic is a group that is looking to move on from their smart phone based camera, but perhaps isn't ready or interested in, taking the plunge into the realm of a traditional DSLR or mirrorless platform.
|The YI M1 features an all-metal lens mount and a 20MP CMOS sensor.|
The YI M1 is built around a Sony-designed 20MP Four Thirds CMOS sensor that boasts Raw capability in the form of DNG output files and the ability to shoot 4K/30p video. As with its action cameras, YI publicly lists where its key components come from and the Sony IMX269 instantly suggests good things about the camera's potential.
The big news is the all-touchscreen interface (the body only has two physical buttons), which aims to give a simple, more smartphone-like user experience. However, the company doesn't treat these users as undemanding, just because they don't want a conventional camera.
The camera comes with either the 12-40mm zoom, the 42.5mm prime or a kit that features both the prime and the zoom, a camera strap, USB charging brick and a Micro-USB cable. While the camera sports a hot shoe for an external flash, the current kit doesn't include a flash.
The two lens choices that come in the kit were a bit of surprise for us, and in a very good way. It's not too often that a camera company decides to include a prime lens and a zoom in an ILC starter kit, but that's just what YI has done. There's a macro-capable 42.5mm F1.8 prime as well as a more conventional 12-40mm F3.5-5.6 (24-80mm equiv.) zoom in the box, neither of which is equipped with image stabilization.
The lenses are constructed of a mostly plastic body and are extremely lightweight. I definitely wouldn't suggest getting them wet, as they don't appear to have any sort of weather-sealing. The lens mounts are made of a plastic composite material.
Oddly, the 42.5mm prime (85mm equiv.) doesn't offer true manual focus – the 'focus ring' is purely cosmetic. You are able to adjust the focus with an up and down arrow via the touchscreen interface. In any case offering a prime lens, particularly a portrait-friendly 85mm equivalent one, is a really nice touch and is sure to please folks moving from a fixed-lens smartphone to an ILC platform.
Being that this camera is on the Micro Four Thirds platform, YI claims that it will be compatible with more than 50 other lens options. We've tried several Panasonic and Olympus MFT lenses and they all seem to work well, so that's very promising.
The YI M1 offers five JPEG shooting modes: a high contrast black and white mode, a standard black and white mode, portrait, vivid, and lastly a standard shooting mode. Unfortunately you currently aren't able to shoot Raw + JPEG, so you will have to decide which format you would like to shoot in before heading out with the camera.
In terms of autofocus the YI M1 has an 81-point contrast-detect AF system with touch-to-focus/shoot. It also offers face detection and both AF-S and AF-C shooting modes. It's also important to note that the AF also lacks any sort of subject tracking outside of face detection.
Autofocus is possible during video capture, but only in a complete auto mode where you have no ability to specify your subject. Unfortunately, the YI lacks a dedicated AF control switch (there's no way to switch between manual and auto focus without entering the menu system), which makes switching AF shooting modes a bit difficult. Novices coming to the YI may find they'll need to pay more attention to their autofocus point placement than they did with their smartphone.
The M1 has several video shooting modes- the highlight of which is its ability to shoot in 4K/30p. It also offers 2K/30p, Full HD 1080p and 720 at 60, 30 and 24p. Autofocus is available while shooting video in the form of complete auto AF-C, but if you're using the 12-40mm F3.5-5.6 zoom lens you will also have the ability to use manual focus with focus peaking, which can definitely come in handy because the autofocus is fairly slow to lock focus while in video mode.
Pricing and Availability
The YI M1 is available in three different kits. It will cost $349 for the kit with the standard zoom lens (12-40mm F3.5-5.6) and $459 for the kit that comes with the 42.5mm F1.8 prime. If you wish to purchase the camera and both the zoom and the prime lens it will set you back $549 USD. It will be offered in two colors: Ice Silver and Storm Black.
Dials and sliders and buttons, oh my! This modular set of editing controls hopes to improve your photo editing workflow – for a price.
The UK's recent heatwave has provided a glimpse into Britain's history, revealing the outlines of ancient structures and buried features in the grounds of historical buildings.
The iPhone Photography Awards (IPPAWARDS), was founded in 2007, making it the longest running iPhone photo competition in the world. Now in its 11th year, the winners of the IPPAWARDS have just been announced.
Our technical evaluation of the Panasonic GX9 has included a trip to the studio, where we put its 20MP Four Thirds sensor in front of our standard test scene.
The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 VI earned high marks in our recent review, and we've revisited our collection of buying guides to reflect our final conclusions. Click through for links to our updated guides covering the best pocketable and long zoom compacts as well as the best choices for travel, which has a new winner (hint, hint).
Fujifilm has announced the XF 200mm F2 R LM OIS WR telephoto lens along with a matching 1.4x teleconverter. This weather-sealed lens - 'matte silver' in color with a bold green hood - has a total of 19 elements, a nine-blade aperture and five stops of shake reduction according to Fujifilm. The lens and teleconverter kit will be available in late October for $6000.
Fujifilm has updated its X-mount lens roadmap with three intriguing new models, which include 33mm F1.0 and 16mm F2.8 primes and a 16-80 F4 zoom.
Fujifilm's widest X-series zoom lens to-date, the XF 8-16mm F2.8 R LM WR, will hit the market in late November for $2000. The weather-sealed lens features ED, Super ED and aspherical elements along with a Nano GI coating.
We've seen different flavors of 360° cameras over the past couple of years, but the Vuze XR may be the first one that's designed to shoot both 360° spherical and 180° stereoscopic video in a single unit.
Huawei has launched the world's first photography contest with both AI and human judges. The contest began on July 12 and will run for 8 weeks. During this time, photographers can submit their images via a Facebook Messenger chatbot.
Fujifilm has announced the XF10, a premium compact camera with a fast 28mm equivalent F2.8 lens and 24MP APS-C sensor. This replacement for the X70 will ship in August for $500.
It won't come as a surprise to anyone that there are some unpleasant, predatory men within the photography industry. However, a long-form, extensively researched special report in the Columbia Journalism Review about sexual harassment is still a depressing, eye-opening read.
Is this the end? Nikon's UK and Japanese websites now list some of its KeyMission action cameras as discontinued.
Leica Camera AG is now an investor in Light, the makers of the innovative L16 camera. According to the company, the funding will allow Light to 'expand the reach of its imaging platform beyond consumer photography'
YouTuber ZY Productions has a video wherein he provides a succinct summary of how phase detection autofocus systems work, their benefits and their shortcomings.
The X-U is Leica's first ruggedized compact camera and is still the only waterproof camera on the market with a large APS-C sensor. That sensor sits behind a 35mm-equivalent, F1.7 lens, and we've taken it to the mountains and back to see just what it's capable of.
Gitzo and Sony have teamed up to launch a new tripod and L-bracket designed specifically for Sony α-series cameras.
There have now been seven variants of the Sony RX100 series, and at least six of them are still current models. Confused? Here's an updated look at their differences, and our recommendations among them now that we've tested the Mark VI.
The Kodak-branded 'Kashminer' Bitcoin mining scheme announced at CES has apparently collapsed, with Eastman Kodak distancing itself from the company behind it.
The software uses computational imaging techniques to boost detail and dynamic range in your images, and reduce noise levels.
As part of a promotional giveaway, Fujifilm Korea has released kimchi-flavored instant noodles wrapped in branding inspired by Fujifilm Provia 100 color reversal film.
The Leica Noctilux-M 75mm F1.25 ASPH is a fast, high-quality and decidedly heavyweight short telephoto prime lens, designed for use with Leica's digital M-series rangefinders. We've been grappling with it for a little while - take a look at our sample images.
70-200mm F4 zoom lenses may not get as much attention as their faster F2.8 siblings, but for many photographers these lenses hit the perfect sweet spot of price, performance, and weight. This week, we shoot the new Tamron 70-210mm F4 alongside the equivalent Canon and Nikon models to see how they stack up.
Blackmagic recently worked with Apple to develop Blackmagic eGPU, an external GPU that brings "desktop-class graphics performance" to the new MacBook Pro laptops with Thunderbolt 3 ports.
Lightroom alternative Luminar has received numerous updates across both its Mac and Windows versions, primarily improvements to existing features, as well as support for additional cameras from Fujifilm, Sony, Olympus, Panasonic, Canon, and Pentax.
Sony has quietly updated its RX100 V, bringing a couple of the goodies from the RX100 VI travel zoom. The updated RX100 VA gains a new processor and various firmware tweaks but misses out on the VI's other hardware improvements.
Apple has updated its MacBook Pro series of notebooks with 15in and 13in models that are claimed to be better for intense image and video editing. The company says the new models are the most advanced ever, and that they feature 8th generation Intel Core processors for faster performance.
According to sources familiar with the matter, Adobe will announce a full-fledged Photoshop version for the iPad at its annual conference in October.
The last day to place an order for Apple photo prints and related products is September 30th.
Manfrotto has launched its new Noreg camera bag series with the Backpack-30 and Messenger-30 models. Both bags are designed for premium mirrorless camera systems, each featuring internal camera units that can be removed and used independently of the larger bags.