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Take five: Best budget cameras on test

Fujifilm X-M1 w i t h 16-50mm l enS £429 / $799 espite using the same-size APS-C image sensor as most SLRs, the X-M1 is much more compact. It’s only a little bigger and heavier than the Olympus E-PM2, the smallest and lightest camera on test. The 16-50mm lens is also reasonably diminutive, considering it doesn’t have the retracting design of the Nikon and Olympus kit lenses. It offers the widest viewing angle in the group, equivalent to a 24mm lens. As with the Olympus and Samsung cameras, a key downsizing element is the omission of a viewfinder, so you’re limited to composing shots on the rear display. The 3.0-inch screen’s 920,000-dot resolution helps here, as does a tilt mechanism. However, the screen is more reflective than those in competing CSCs. There’s also no touchscreen.

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The X-M1 uses Fujifilm’s X-mount system, for which a growing number of quality lenses are available. The camera should be able to take full advantage of these thanks to its X-Trans image sensor design, which omits an optical low-pass filter. Even so, at 16.3MP, the pixel count is down on other APS-C cameras in the group. Build quality feels tough and solid, although handling suffers from the slimness of the finger grip. Controls are well thought out. Intelligent auto and basic modes are supplemented with advanced shooting modes. Wi-Fi is supported by a free iOS and Android app. The contrast-detection AF is sluggish but performs well, even in dull lighting conditions. Metering is accurate, too, though it tends to slightly under-expose high-contrast scenes.

Photography Week Issue 100  

Photography Week, the world's best-selling digital photography magazine, has been given a makeover, and to celebrate we're giving away a fre...

Photography Week Issue 100  

Photography Week, the world's best-selling digital photography magazine, has been given a makeover, and to celebrate we're giving away a fre...