I have been using my Fujifilm X-M1 to shot for the last couple of days. It has been everything I expected and quite happy with it so far. To get this question out of the way first, yes, I have no problem using it without a viewfinder. I fully knew about the fact that X-M1 does not have a viewfinder, optical or electronic. Although, I would prefer to have a viewfinder, but I have no problem shooting without one. So if you must have a viewfinder, either because of presbyopia or for some emotional reason, then you can stop reading this and just don’t buy the X-M1.
Coming from shooting with the X-Pro1 for almost one and half years now, the control, layout and menu system of the X-M1 are fairly easy for me, as they are more or less 90% similar to on the X-Pro1. You do lose some dials or buttons on the X-Pro1, but you also gain some new ones. The dedicated exposure compensation dial on top of the X-Pro1 is replaced by a mufti-function dial with no marking. However, when shooting in aperture or shutter priority mode, this dial just perform the same function as the exposure compensation dial on the X-Pro1. The dedicated shutter speed dial is replaced in the same position by a mode dial on the X-M1, shutter speed is changed by a new black dial at the back or the camera. Not too difficult to get used to, but now you have to look at the LCD display at the back to see the shutter speed and whether you have set any +/-EV, whereas you can glanced at the top of the X-Pro1 to see these settings on the 2 dials.
I do appreciate the dedicated WB (white balance) setting button on the X-M1. Although, it is not really too difficult to set WB on the X-Pro1 with the Q menu, but it is still less button presses now to set WB. I find it very helpful because I almost invariably need to set custom WB while shooting indoor.
I just bought a body and have been using it with my collection Fujinon XF lenses (14mm, 18mm, 35mm, 60mm, 55-205mm). They all worked pretty well. I really want to get the new 27mm pancake lens, as the combo the X-M1 would make a pretty good “pocketable” high quality camera. Unfortunately, it is not available in Hong Kong yet.
The LCD is pretty bright, and I have no problem shooting with it under pretty bright outdoor condition so far. The response of the camera is also pretty fast. The autofocus although not lightning fast, is fast enough for most purposes and I find it quite accurate so far.
As it shares the same sensor with the X-Pro1, the image quality is pretty similar. But I can only see the jpeg images now, as none of the RAW processors I have support the X-M1 yet. I am sure that should change soon.
Before I forget, the tilt-able LCD display is nice and helped me to shoot at difficult angles otherwise.
Oh, I really have to rant about this. The X-M1 is the 3rd iteration of the X series bodies, and although I applaud Fujifilm for making constant improvement with each new camera and also bringing new firmware updates to improve old ones. There are somethings that still has not changed. I have not seen anyone ranting about this so far, but I am sure I am not the only one. Why on earth does Fujifilm thinks that +/- 1 stop exposure bracketing is enough??? Even before the days of HDR photos, all DSLR I have shot with allowed at least +/- 2 stops of exposure bracketing. Does Fujifilm know that HDR photo processing even exists?? Please, please, please give us at least +/- 2 stops, preferably even 3 stops exposure bracketing! It is all software really, I am sure Fujifilm can easily add this in new firmware!
I also appreciate the “face detect” mode in autofocusing. You may ask why, do I know know how to use autofocus? Of course I do, but a lot of people don’t! Although I am usually the photographer doing all the photo shooting, I do want to get some photos of myself sometimes, especially when I am on holidays to foreign location or when I am having dinner or gathering with friends or family. There were countless number of times when I have asked people to take photo for me, they have focused on something other than on the people. “Face detect” AF mode can easily solve this problem. Fujifilm may think “face detect” is only useful for beginners upgrading from a P&S digicam to the X-M1, but it will also be a useful feature on the X-E1 and X-Pro1 too. I hope Fujifilm will be add this feature by firmware later on.
On to some test images now. All of them are jepg straight out from the camera with no processing.