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Fuji Camera Reviews

Date: 02/10/2013 | By: Mathieu

First shots with the Fuji X-M1: B&W gallery & quick thoughts about autofocus

X100S, 1/10, f/ 28/10, ISO 200

First shots with the Fuji X-M1: B&W gallery & quick thoughts about autofocus

Thanks to the good people at Fujifilm Italia, we have the (nearly) brand new Fuji X-M1 for two weeks of testing. Unfortunately I am swamped with work these days so I haven’t been able to enjoy it as much as I’d like. That’s why tonight Heather and I decided to take the camera out for a spin around the neighbourhood. Instead of doing the usual ISO test, I chose to take some B&W shots using the Monochrome Film Simulation mode. I also tried to build a first impression about the effectiveness of the autofocus in low-light conditions.

X-M1, 1/200, f/ 28/10, ISO 6400
X-M1, 1/200, f/ 2.8, ISO 6400

My lens of choice was the new 27mm f/2.8 pancake lens and this combo actually gave me a really good impression. The first thing I noticed was that the X-M1 focuses very quickly and accurately with this lens. It locked onto all the shots I took on the first try, except for the one above (missed it the first time) and the one below. For this one, it was more acceptable because the leaves and branches appeared fine and wispy against the brightly-lit background.

X-M1, 1/80, f/ 28/10, ISO 6400
X-M1, 1/80, f/ 2.8, ISO 6400

The spiderweb on the leaves demonstrates the great sharpness of the lens even when fully wide open and with the camera set at 6400 ISO.

The X-M1 autofocus seems to be at the same level as the X-Pro 1 with its latest firmware update, or the X100s. It isn’t as fast as an Olympus Pen E-P5 of course, but in low light you really need to focus on a dark spot or point it towards a largely contrasted area to end up with that dastardly red rectangle on your screen. The camera seems to perform well at close distances too.

X-M1, 1/55, f/ 28/10, ISO 6400
X-M1, 1/55, f/ 2.8, ISO 6400

Again, these are just my first shots with the camera, and all the subjects in my pictures are stationary so I cannot conclude anything about AF performance quite yet.

The camera has the same sensor as the X-Pro1, so that means wonderful ISO performance. The photos shown here are out-of-camera JPGs resized for the web. I only slightly applied contrast and clarity to some of them as I wasn’t satisfied with the results. The monochrome seemed a little bit too flat for my liking. I set the shadows to +1 but it is a shame that the camera has only one standard monochrome profile instead of the several you can find on higher-end X series cameras. The reason is probably that the X-M1 is a medium entry level – you can’t have everything!

X100S, 1/10, f/ 28/10, ISO 200
The X-M1 with the Fujinon 27mm f/2.8 pancake

I like the ergonomics so far and the 27mm pancake lens fits perfectly onto the body of the camera. I haven’t tried the kit zoom lens yet but I think I will find it (emotionally) difficult to unmount the excellent 27mm. Its focal length is also interesting, between a 35mm and 50mm equivalent.

That’s it for this very first test but expect much more to come soon. Enjoy the gallery!

X-M1, 1/125, f/ 4/1, ISO 2500
X-M1, 1/125, f/ 4/1, ISO 2500

Have you tried the Fujifilm X-M1? What were your first impressions?

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About the author: Mathieu Gasquet

Mathieu Gasquet is a professional photographer with French and Italian origins. Besides running his own video and photography studio 3Dit Lab, he is also the official photographer for the National Cinema Museum in Turin. You can follow him on Google+, Twitter or Facebook!

  • Mathieu

    Hi Chuck, I agree with you about Fuji’s colours. I actually wrote an long article about them concerning the X100s. This was just a quick test and since I already photographed my neighbourhood a lot, I decided to do something different this time. But I will post many colour photos with the X-M1 soon 😉

  • Chuck

    The B&W shots are nice, but, in my opinion, you get a much better sense of these cameras by shooting in color. Fuji X-cameras have that that unique color rendition and exceptional IQ. This is best demonstrated when shooting in color, and various cameras can be better differentiated with color photography. Can you post some color photos for the X-M1?

  • Christine

    I love the effects you can get using black and white rather than colour.

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