Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Fujifilm's latest X marks a better-priced spot

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.

A closer look at the Fujifilm X-M1 (pictures)

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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.
The new XF27mm f2.8 lens
(Credit: Fujifilm)
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):


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