Some Fuji XM1 test notes, especially compared to EOS-M and 6D

Discussion in 'Fuji X-Mount Cameras' started by WT21, Aug 20, 2013.

  1. WT21

    WT21 FujiXspot Regular

    166
    Feb 1, 2013
    I've put these up over on serious compacts, but thought I'd post them here, too. Put in below in a series of posts. Maybe they are helpful to someone.
     
  2. WT21

    WT21 FujiXspot Regular

    166
    Feb 1, 2013
    Absolutely the #1 EOS-M vs XM1 thread on the internet (this conclusion is derived from me saying so without so much as even Googling to see if anyone else bothered with this).

    ...OK, Might actually be the ONLY EOS-M vs. XM1 thread.

    I've rented an XM1 for the week. After my disastrous trial of the X100, and failed attempts with the XE1 and XPro1, I've decided to try the XM1. Why one earth? Well, my main issues with the XPro 1 and XE1 were size. Then with the XP1, XE1 and X100, it was the VF. I don't seem to get along with the OVF, had diopter issues with the XP1 and X100, and found there was too much glare and stuttering with the XE1.

    So, why the XM1? It's small, and there's no VF of any kind. Nothing to complain about, lol.

    The problem is that the Fuji image quality haunts me. It's really quite special. So, how can I find a combo that works? Give the XM1 a try.

    The positives:
    • The speed and performance of the XM1 is better than the X100 (original, not X100s) and as I remember it, better than the XE and XP.
    • It is quite a bit smaller, though it's actually still a little larger than I'd like.
    • It's got the useful tilty screen. Sweet
    • Wifi, two thumb wheels, pop-up flash. Very nice.
    • XTran!
    • Though this SHOULD be expected, my experience with Fuji's EVF makes this a positive. The LCD is great to shoot with, as LCDs go. No tearing, quick refresh, quick to come back after the shot. Maybe all Fuji LCDs operate this way, but their EVFs sure don't!

    The negatives.
    • Oh my goodness, it's plastic fantastic! It's got the build quality of a Canon 50mm 1.8 lens. They took a cue from the Holga lens in choosing plastics. I'm sorry, but this does not feel like a $699 body, IMO. I can't remember using a camera with so much plastic since the Canon a series (a720, for instance), and even then, I think the Canon might have been built better.
    • I don't mind the mode dial, but I wish they'd put the scene modes behind one dial setting.
    • It's not EPL5 small, though I suppose the trade off is it has more buttons and a flash.
    • This camera REALLY needs a touch LCD. At least just to set the AF point, but the Q menu is begging for it

    Lenses
    XF27 2.8

    Small, compact. Seems to provide some better bokeh and shallower DOF than I expected from 2.8. But it's noisy during AF. Noisier than the Panasonic 20mm. Noisier than the EOS-M 22mm. It is as noisy as the Fuji 35/1.4, which IMO is a worse statement for the 35. You might accept this in a pancake lens. It's unacceptable on the 35. The 27 focuses pretty quickly. No complaints there. It is a unit focusing element, so be careful as the front unit pops out and in during focus.

    XC16-50
    Wow is this lens small. This vs. the 18-55 2.8-4.0 is night and day. This is a compact zoom. I'd say it's the size of a PL25, or the NEX 18-55 kit zoom, but much more elegant looking. And I am amazed at how fast and silent the AF is. It's crazy. Focus parts are internal. nice.

    So, where's the XM1 vs. EOS-M part that everyone's waiting for?
    Physical dimensions and controls
    The XM1 is wider and taller and thicker than the M. More so than camerasize.com would lead you to believe. Plus the M is sleeker and rounder at the edges, giving a smoother profile. Both feel the same in-hand, though the Canon feels better built. I rented it, thinking they were pretty much the same size, but in real life, the XM1 gives the perception of being bigger. They are equally easy or hard to hold, depending on your viewpoint. Use a strap of some kind! I think the EOS-M might be heavier than the XM1. It's most certainly denser.

    The XM1 uses two thumb wheels, which is nice, though the rear one is odd. It's not hard to use, but it does break from what you expect. I have to stop and think a bit to use it. That would probably go away in time. I'll do some closer comparisons, but the touch lcd on the EOS-M is just as functional as the dials on the Fuji, IMO. Given that neither use a VF, it doesn't matter that the Fuji's are thumbwheels. You are still making settings with the camera in front of you (not to your eye). EDIT: after shooting the weekend with the XM1, the thumb wheels are an easier control point than the EOS-M's touch LCD. The touch LCD is fine, but the thumb wheels are just quicker and easier. Score one to Fuji.

    The XM1 has a pop-up flash that the EOS-M lacks. Anything else about the bodies outside of the size and controls are pretty much a wash for me.

    Speed - Fuji is king!
    Fuji the speed demon. This is the only review on the internet, where you'll see Fuji get the speed crown!!!

    If you think of speed in three components: acquiring focus, shutter lag, and buffer clear/LCD return, so you can shoot again. The XM1 w/27mm is slightly faster to acquire focus than the EOS-M w/22mm, and is much faster shutter lag and shot-to-shot. The EOS-M has a surprising shutter lag, the likes of which I haven't seen since the EP1.

    Here's my unscientific measure: focus on something close, point at something far away, and push the shutter. Count "one-one-thousand, two-one-thousand" etc. to the picture being taken. EOS-M: I got past two-one-thousand, so estimate 2 1/2 seconds. Fuji: I didn't finish one-one-thousand. Unscientifically, the Fuji is more than twice as fast.

    Hey Fool -- where are the pictures?
    I have a number of things going on this weekend, and I hope to get some pictures up, but I know EVERYONE is dying to know how the EOS-M compares to the XM1, so here are some first thoughts.

    Conclusion (already? without brick wall shots??)
    Am I going to sell my EOS-M and get an XM1? No. I rented the XM1 specifically just for a spot of fun. I am not dumping my $300 slow EOS-M with the gorgeous 22mm lens for a $1,000 XM1 + 27mm lens. I have my Canon 6D for speed, lol. This is just my play-around camera for my hiking and still lifes (still lives??). If the XM1 ever drops to under $300 on the body, though, then cheap access to an XTran might be hard to pass up. I'd still like to see a slightly better build quality and a touch screen, so maybe I'll wait until Fuji hits v2 of their cameras -- either a better EVF on the XE2, or a better build quality and touch screen on the XM2.
     
  3. WT21

    WT21 FujiXspot Regular

    166
    Feb 1, 2013
    Cut to the chase, and spoil the plot: I don't see a lot of difference in these lenses in terms of output. They are both lightweight and pretty good. I still like the 22mm better as a lens. It seems to handle starbursts better, and goes one stop faster, but overall the XM1 is a better camera, if you want to pay the extra money (I'm not sure it's that important to me, personally, so I'll stick with EOS for now).

    Here are the major differences:

    • EOS-M 22mm: Center sharp wide open, but vignettes much more than the Fuji (doesn't show in these pics, as I cropped the 22mm shots to keep the FOV the same). But, it goes to f/2.0! Also, IMO, the 22mm handles flare and bright lights better. Might be better for starbusts, but I haven't done those kinds of tests yet.
    • Fuji 27mm: corners seem a bit better, and doesn't vignette. Bokeh (not shown well in these pics) seem just as good and just as little DOF as the EOS-M, even though the Fuji is 2.8. Might focus just a bit faster than the EOS-M 22mm, but the difference in AF speed in the bodies is night and day -- with the Fuji actually having a shot at movement, and the EOS-M being relegated to pre-focusing. I found some xtran funkiness in a few of these shots, but that's down to the sensor and not the lens.


    Here are some pairs. Note: I cropped the wider shot in a number of pairs, to avoid the obvious signs of which is which. Also, all shots were OOC jpgs. Both were shot in standard mode jpgs, with no in-camera tweakings. The EOS-M was mostly shot at +2/3 EV, because I find the Canon's under-expose.

    You be the judge.

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    set is here, with a few more shots and access to full size: XM1 vs EOS-M - WT21's Photos
     
  4. WT21

    WT21 FujiXspot Regular

    166
    Feb 1, 2013
    Here's a pair showing the M22mm vignette (hint: look in the upper right corner), and the FOV differences. I happen to like vignette, so it's a non-issue for me.

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  5. WT21

    WT21 FujiXspot Regular

    166
    Feb 1, 2013
    I enjoyed the XM1 over the weekend. I carried it on a peak design strap, and barely even knew it was there. It is a pretty responsive camera, and the thumb wheels are very handy. The Q menu is great, and I've really come to appreciate a lot of the Fuji controls.

    I liked the lenses that I rented (16-50 and 27) and they, too, are very lightweight. The 16-50 I think is a lens worthy of recommendation in a price/performance ratio.

    However, at the end of the day, this is not enough to get me to switch to Fuji. I still think my 6D/EOS-M-22mm/RX100 is more versatile, and I can't see replacing any of them with the Fuji, and for me, I cannot see me picking up another system (I find myself paralyzed with too many cameras hanging around).

    The latest test was the 6D vs. the XM1. I know, it's not fair. The XM1 is 1/3 the price. But the beauty, to me, of the 6D is that, wedded to a Tamron 28-74/2.8 ($400), it's small and light enough to come with me when I can carry a shoulder bag. It's super versatile, quick on and quick focus, great battery life, and nice DOF control. It's only missing a tilty LCD and super-compact size. I think for travel, I'll stick with the EOS-M + RX100. Nice 1-2 punch. For everything else, there's still the 6D.

    Some comparisons of the 6D vs. XM1 w/16-50. I've no doubt that the Fuji with the 35/1.4 could equal (or beat) the DOF here, but the slow speed of focus and lack of versatility as a prime is a bit of a hit for what I need. BTW -- at a pixel level, the 6D and Fuji seemed pretty close. Of course, the 6D has 25% more pixels.

    There was some odd/random detail loss on the Fuji from time to time. Sometimes my daughter's face would get kind of "smeared" even at low ISO (200) when looking at 100%. Other times not. These were shot in jpgs, so it wasn't the RAW converter's fault. I had NR set to low. I'll have to go back and see if I can shut it completely off. EDIT: seems Fuji NR standard still impacts base ISO: Fujifilm X-E1 Review - Hi_iso_nr. I'm going to try some more this week with NR set to -2, instead of 0 ("standard").

    I might try some RX100 vs. XM1/16-50 shots if I get a chance.

    XM1 5+fps is nice:
    [​IMG]

    6D. At 2.8, that's kind of like a 1.8 zoom on a 1.5 crop. Maybe Sigma will downsize their new 1.8 zoom for mirrorless, and put it in X-mount??
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    DOF test. The 6D is at 75mm/2.8, the Fuji at 50mm/5.6
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    Being a FF addict, I suppose I will have to sit tight and see what Sony releases in their rumored FF NEX line.
     
  6. WT21

    WT21 FujiXspot Regular

    166
    Feb 1, 2013
    Just an update. I guess I'm treating this thread like a personal blog. Sorry about that, but what the heck.

    I am glad I rented the XM1 for the week and not just the weekend. I continue to explore the camera, and find things I like about it.

    A couple of things I've recently discovered, and make me think I might want to give this camera a continued trial.

    MANUAL FOCUS
    MF is pretty interesting. I've only got the native lenses, but if you go into MF via the Q menu, you get an elargement square. You can easily zoom in with a push in (actually, down) on the rear thumb wheel (more on this below). When you zoom in, the picture purposely loses detail, and it goes into white-outlined focus peaking and the exposure is set on the LCD to maximize the white outlines. When you are done, and half-press to get the exposure set, the correct exposure and detail is restored, and the full scene view is returned, and then you can click. Hard to explain, but easy to use. The 27mm steps it's focus points, so this feels a little choppy, but I'd bet with a proper MF smooth focus ring, this would be brilliant. I like it.

    REAR THUMB WHEEL
    The "vertical" rear thumb wheel, though odd, is actually really nice. One issue I've had with "click-able" thumb wheels (where you turn the wheel, then push in to click) is that I invariably end up clicking the wheel when I only wanted to turn it. This "vertical" oriented thumb wheel means I no longer accidentally click. You run your thumb over the edge to move back and forth, and then push DOWN instead of in, to click. It really keeps the two functions separate, and I have yet to accidentally click the rear thumb wheel. As DPR noted, it does seem like it could be a rain magnet, but it's an interesting innovation.

    QUICK CHANGES AND CONTROL
    I'm finding the combination of the clickable thumb wheel + the Q menu to be super-fast to change settings. There are SO MANY settings such a short distance away. Let's say you are shooting in "A" mode. The larger thumbwheel on the top plate gives you EV adjustment, and the rear thumbwheel gives you aperture adjustment. (side note -- Fuji makes the larger wheel ALWAYS the EV in most settings, and the wheels are so different, I've yet to confuse the functions of the wheels -- something that happened a lot with the OMD). Click down on the 4-way controller to access timer, burst, or bracketing (brilliant), or to the right for WB. Hit the Q button and use the 4-way pad to get to the feature to change, then use the thumbwheel to change it while you hover over. It's very quick, and all easily readable from a tilty screen (in case you are shooting at an odd angle). So, super, easy!

    A side note -- as nostalgic and wonderful to see your settings as it is with the aperture and shutter speed wheels, it's also nice to have access to 1/3 stops on both with the thumb wheels.

    MENU AMNESIA
    My only issues with this set-up are:
    1. After I turn the camera off and turn it on again, it forgets what Q-menu option I was last sitting on. I'd like it to remember that (the camera also doesn't remember the last menu I was in from the main menu button -- I'd like that remembered as well).
    2. I would also like it better if, e.g., the top plate wheel moved me across the Q menu items, and the rear wheel allowed me to adjust each item, so I wouldn't have to use the 4-way controller, which slows me down. The OMD had this behavior, and I prefer it to the 4-way controller. I would think they could put this in a FW update, if they do desired. I would also love a touch screen Q menu controller, but that won't be a FW update, lol.

    27mm LENS
    I don't think I like the 27/2.8, though.

    First off, in terms of DOF, it's like a 40mm 4.2. The Panasonic 20mm 1.7 was like a 40mm 3.4, and the Oly 17/1.8 is like a 35/3.6. The EOS-M 22/2.0 is like a 35/3.2. The 27mm has the deepest DOF wide open as any of these lenses, and I've not gotten the "3D pop" that I'd like to see, and was able to sometimes get with the P20. I wish it was 2.0, or even 2.2 (to match the P20). It also has shown some poor starbursts and some nasty flare. It's sort of loud during focus and a bit expensive, given these other items. It'd be better as a sub-$300 lens. It's more like the Panasonic 14/2.5, IMO. This is the only pancake/small lens for Fuji in this focal range that is fast focusing. The 35/1.4 is larger and slower focusing (though a much better lens). The 18 is a possibility, though it's much wider. The 14 is, of course, really wide. I think they missed on the 27mm, and that makes the camera a question mark for me, because I am looking for a pocket camera (like the EPM or EOS-M series), and without the 27 performing well, I don't see the point. Though the kit lens is nice, I already have the excellent RX100, so there isn't really a place in my kit for a crop 4.5-5.6 kit lens.

    UPDATE SUMMARY
    In short, this camera is VERY controllable, I've grown to like the body a lot more, but the lens a lot less, which still leaves me in limbo on this one. However, if you like the price point, are OK with LCD shooting, prefer other lenses than the 27mm, and don't mind the plastic feel, this is a very nice camera, and doesn't give up a lot to the XE1 past the viewfinder and labeled dials.
     
  7. bhupinder2002

    bhupinder2002 FujiXspot Regular

    101
    Mar 30, 2013
    So moral of the story is sell Canon 6D, EOS M and get OMD/GX7 with 12-35 lens
    :laugh1::laugh1:
     
  8. BBW

    BBW Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Feb 8, 2013
    NW corner of CT
    BB
    Bill, thanks so much for posting your blog/review/thoughts over here as well as on Serious Compacts. I enjoyed following you along your journey and seeing how first impressions changed. Although I haven't seen this camera in real life yet, I particularly liked reading about your impressions of the control features. :drinks:
     
  9. WT21

    WT21 FujiXspot Regular

    166
    Feb 1, 2013
    Thanks BB. I think if the pancake was better (especially faster aperture), I'd be compelled to buy one right now. I still could end up with one down the road, perhaps once used units start showing up.
     
  10. BBW

    BBW Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Feb 8, 2013
    NW corner of CT
    BB
    Understood.:th_salute: