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Fujifilm announces the X-M1, its cheapest retro-styled interchangeable lens camera

Fujifilm announces the X-M1, its cheapest retro-styled interchangeable lens camera

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Fujifilm X-M1 lineup
Fujifilm X-M1 lineup

Fujifilm's excellent X-Pro1 combined the stylish retro looks of the X100 with a high-quality lens ecosystem, but the $1699 price point (and similarly expensive lenses) limited its appeal a bit. Last fall's X-E1 brought the barrier of entry down to under $1000, but Fujifilm's pushing things further with the brand-new X-M1 — a $699.99 (body only) camera that features the same interchangeable lens mount as the X-Pro1 and X-E1. The X-M1 also features a 16.3-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor, which is based on the same X-Trans technology and features the same megapixel count as the sensors found in Fujifilm's more expensive cameras.

The sensor features an ISO range of 100 to 25,600, the same range found in the X-Pro1, and the camera can also shoot video in 1080p at 30 FPS. Another major new feature on board the X-M1 is Wi-Fi, making it the first camera in Fujifilm's X-series to include wireless technology. As with most other Wi-Fi enabled cameras on the market, the X-M1 can transfer photos to smartphones, tablets, and computers once you've installed the appropriate app. iOS and Android devices will feature an app that lets the X-M1 transfer up to 30 photos in one batch over Wi-Fi, and it also supports video transfer as well.

Vintage, but not dated

But perhaps the biggest thing the X-M1 has going for it is the entry price — $699.95 will get you the X-M1 body and entry into the X-mount ecosystem. While that's a bit more expensive that a comparable camera like Sony's NEX 5R, it might be worth it for those who appreciate the X-M1's retro style. Like the rest of the X-series lineup, the X-M1 looks vintage, but not dated — and it has a style that most cameras in this price range lack. Unfortunately, to achieve the X-M1's lower price point, Fujifilm had to remove the viewfinder entirely — instead of the X-Pro1's excellent hybrid viewfinder or the EVF found on the X-E1, X-M1 buyers will have to make do with the camera's 3-inch, 920,000 dot rear tilting LCD. Another compromise was made in the body materials — while Fujifilm's representatives were quick to note that the camera still feels quite solid in the hands, it has less of the full metal feel and construction you find in the X-Pro1.

If you're looking for a viewfinder, you'll have to look elsewhere

For those who don't have any X-mount lenses Fujifilm will offer an inexpensive entry point — a $799.99 X-M1 kit will include a new XC 16-50mm (24-76mm equivalent on a full-frame camera) lens. It includes optical image stabilization and an f/3.5-5.6 aperture range. Befitting its stature as a kit lens, its construction is a bit more plastic than the rest of the X-mount lineup, and it lacks a manual aperture control, but sounds like a good lens for those stepping up to the X-M1 from a smaller point-and-shoot camera to get started with.

A compelling option for those who want to step up from a point-and-shoot

The lens is only available as part of the X-M1 kit, but Fujiflim is announcing another new entry in the X-mount lineup: the XC 27mm F2.8 lens. While it also lacks a manual aperture ring, the XC 27mm is a bit thinner as a result. Fujifilm appears to be pushing it towards street photographers, citing the len's ability to give a viewpoint similar to the human eye. But like the rest of the company's X-mount lineup, the XC 27mm won't come cheap — it'll cost $449.95 when it's released. It'll be available alongside both the body-only ($699.95) and kit configuration ($799.95) of the X-M1 this July. The XM-1 will be available in the standard Fujifilm silver and black configurations, but the company is also releasing a brown model one month later.

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