I’ve written several times about the Yi M1, and the post that reviewed the announcement is actually the busiest post on FlatFocus right now.
I’ve been keeping an eye on the Amazon pre-order page, and while the release date was marked as October 12 for quite a while, it looks like it’s been pushed back to October 17. This is undoubtedly frustrating for people who’ve already put in pre-orders (which is a decent amount of people according to the sales rankings).
The good news is that this almost certainly can’t be for any ominous reason, like manufacturing problems or anything. I’d guess that that either there was more demand than expected, or there were shipping delays, or something minor like that. The date is simply too close for it to be anything major.
When an Asian company starts doing business in North America/Europe, quite often they don’t have as much information available right away (believe me, few people have ordered as many new camera accessories/etc from China as me), and I’ve recently found out a few things about the Yi M1 that I didn’t realize until now:
1. The M1 is already for sale in China.
How did I not know this? I found out while watching an unboxing/review video on Youtube, which I’ll embed here. At first I just thought this guy got a review M1, but he says he actually purchased it from JD.COM, a Chinese marketplace site. Sure enough, you can order it there. (please add a comment if that link winds up broken, I don’t know if it’s in a permanent format)
2. The M1 has a high-res mode
This is huge to me, I had no clue on this! I have been waiting so eagerly to buy the new Olympus EM1 Mark II, largely because of the high-res mode. While it’s not the biggest deal to everyone, it is to me, and I think that as time goes on, more and more people will be interested in this sort of computational photography feature.
Of course,it remains to be seen whether the Yi M1 will implement the high-resolution mode well – this is definitely something that could easily be done badly. I have high hopes though, considering that Yi’s specialty seems to be in software, and they have a very high-end SONY sensor inside the M1, which is definitely able to handle this.
Hat tip goes to Mathieu Gasquet, whose Youtube video mentioned this in passing:
After watching these videos, I’m still quite excited about the M1. The price is a bit higher than was originally thought on the very first day that it was announced, but it still winds up being fairly cheap.
I think that the attraction with the M1 for a lot of photographers will just be having a small, stylish M43 that the can take on outings where they wouldn’t normally take photo gear, and this will allow them to get better pics than just by using a smartphone. In the same way that the RX100 became incredibly popular as a side camera, I think the M1 fits this niche – although it’s obviously bigger than the RX100 line, and won’t fit in as many pockets, even with one of those nice Panasonic pancake lenses on it.
Another point is that you certainly can get an older M43 in this price range. Something like a first-generation Olympus EM5 can be found used cheaper than the M1 in fact, so it’s something to think about. On one hand, with the EM5, you get a slightly outdated camera from a well-established brand, with tons of reviews available online, so it’s a known quantity. On the other hand, the Yi M1 has a brand new sensor, only found in cameras much more expensive, and a host of more modern features, and it generally looks like the better choice on paper (although it doesn’t have any stabilization). However, it’s hard to be sure whether it’ll deliver better photos until it’s released and there are more reviews online.
Let me know in the comments if you have any questions, or things that we should be looking out for with the M1.