On my hunt for the perfect pocket-sized camera I decided to dust off my 10 year old retro-looking Fujifilm Camera; the Fujifilm X-M1. I can’t remember the last time I took pictures with this camera – that’s how long it’s been since I’ve used it. So I was eager to take it out for a test to see how it would perform on its ten year Anniversary. Is it still worth buying? Let’s investigate!
But first, can we just talk about how beautiful this camera is! WOW! If I should visually describe my dream camera this would be it. I’m not sure what the brown material is made of – perhaps some kind of plastic, but it feels like leather and it helps with a good grib. This camera also come in two other designs. See below.
The Fujifilm X-M1 is a mirrorless camera and comes with the option to change lenses. It’s the same size and weight as a tiny compact camera, but because of the lens attached it becomes bigger in size and more difficult to fit into a pocket like you can with some compact cameras.
I like to put mine in a small croosbody bag when I’m on the move. It weighs almost nothing; about 500gr with the lens attached, so I’ll often just carry it in my hand when I’m out for a photo walk. It has a very nice grib on the side.
The X-M1 is the first Fuji mirrorless camera to come with Wi-Fi for wireless connectivity with computers, tablets, and smartphones, but I’ve never managed to get it to work, so I just upload the photos to my computer. It also has has no built-in viewfinder but I don’t mind that because I almost always shoot using the LCD screen anyway. Often the viewfinder is removed on small cameras simply to make them as compact as possible.
Sometimes it can be a real challenge framing through the LCD screen during daytime conditions when it is very bright, but I didn’t have any problems with this camera. I also like that it has a flip screen this makes it easier in some situation to get a good shot.
I went out and tested the camera in various locations and I must say I was presently surprised! The photo above from our local Marina was the first photo I took one evening just as the sun was disappearing and it instantly reminded me of how good Fuji process colors in JPEG – straight out of the camera. I only needed to do very little in post processing to make it pop even more. Fujifilm simply do colors better than any other brand out there on the market – even on their older camera models.
Above you can see a JPEG image of the yellow flowers as it looked straight out of the camera. All I did in the editing was to warm it up using saturation + color balance adjustments, and then add some brightness and darkness in the right areas. The image is a bit grainy but it adds to the filmlike look that I like.
I only have one lens for this camera and that’s the Fujinon XC 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS zoom lens. This lens is a joy to work with and I was especially impressed with the close-up flower photos. The lens is also great for working in small spaces.
Fujifilm X-M1 Most Important Specs
- Sensor: 16.3 MP
- Sensor Size: 23.6 x 15.6mm
- Resolution: 4896 x 3264
- ISO Sensitivity: 200-6,400
- Lens mount: FUJIFILM X mount
- Weather Sealing/Protection: No
- Body Build: Plastic
- Built-in Flash: Yes
- Autofocus: Yes
- LCD Screen: 3 inch tilt type
- Movie Modes: Full 1080p HD 24 fps
- Weight: 280g
- Price: about $300 (body only) and with the Fujinon XC 16-50mm lens kit about $400.
I also wanted to test how the Fujifilm X-M1 would perform under pressure. In the photo above to the left you can clearly see a very underexposed and too dark image. Normally, I wouldn’t edit a photo like this, but I wanted to see if it would be possible to get a decent result. In Photoshop I worked with the Levels tool and also raised exposure + brightness and saturation. I was able to recover the details and the photo still looks good.
Operating the camera and navigating the menu system feels super intuitive and easy. It’s a fun and playful camera and I can see myself use it a lot more in the future for when I want to achieve that film-like look with high contrast, beautiful colors and a bit of grain.
The camera has an excellent Q-menu for quickly changing key settings and gives you a lot of creatives options; most importantly it includes Fujifilm’s ‘Film Simulation’ modes, which is the most attractive JPEG colors of any camera brand.
So do I have anything negative to say about the Fujifilm X-M1?
Hmm, well, the most obvious negative is that it “only” has 16 megapixels which is not much compared to some newer cameras. But if you’re going for the film like look this can actually be a wonderful thing.
I wish this camera came with today’s wifi and bluetooth features that worked easily and instantly with my iPhone. That would be great, so I could transfer and edit the photos on my phone and avoid the computer workflow.
I’ve also noticed that the shadows and the contrast are intense and a bit darker than I prefer. That might be possible to get around inside the settings, but I haven’t found the solution yet. Luckily, these dark shadows recovers well in post production.
I’m a huge fan! This camera is just lovely! I wouldn’t use it or recommend it for professional photography work, but for those personal creative projects or as a fun travel camera, I think it’s perfect.
Also, it’s just a joy to walk around with this camera because it’s so light weight, and that’s something that personally matters to me because I bike and walk a lot.
For the price that this camera cost, you get a lot for your money. It’s not only the most beautiful camera out there, it’s also a creative joy to work with. So if you like the analogue film style but don’t want to shoot real film, the Fujifilm X-M1 could be a good choice. It delivers perfect imperfect pictures.
I have another old camera that I would like to test soon; the Fujifilm EX-1, that I almost forgot I had because my daughter have borrowed it for the past 6 years.
I called her up and asked if she still has it and I was surprised to hear that she still use it and she confirmed it’s a very good camera – just like I remember. So when I manage to get it back in near future I will give it a test drive and share it with you. Below you can see two portraits that I took in 2014 with the Fujifilm EX-1 .
Lastly, if you’re thinking about getting a Fujifilm camera but don’t want an old model but rather prefer a new version with all the new tech and specs like AI features, super fast focus, face and animal recognition, wifi and bluetooth transfer and so on. Then I have three suggestions for you…
New and investment-worthy Fujifilm Camera’s In 2023
- Fujifilm X100V – highly popular & super small camera
- Fujifilm X-S20 – for vlogging & content creation
- Fujifilm X-T5 – pro camera
These are all three on my personal wish list for my camera collection.
That’s all for now. Happy beautiful day lovelies.