UPDATE: Xiaomi has reached out to us and clarified that this camera is XiaoYi’s own product and is not Xiaomi branded.
After their stint in the action camera market, Xiaomi-backed camera brand XiaoYi is expanding their horizons with an entry into the mirrorless camera market. That said, it does bear a striking resemblance to a certain renown German camera maker — right down to its unmistakably red dot.
Okay, maybe you could make the argument that the dot isn’t exactly the same shade and is more of a square, but the resemblance is uncanny.
This new mirrorless camera will be called the Yi M1 (yes even the naming scheme is similar!). On paper, the Yi M1 will sport a Micro Four Thirds 20.16-megapixel Sony IMX269 sensor with a mechanical shutter. This means the camera will be able to shoot 4K video at 30fps, have an ISO of up to 256,000 and the ability to shoot in raw.
Couple that with its clean good looks and you’ve got a capable shooter that will certainly turn heads. Based on the photos, the camera has two dials and a shutter button at the top, plus two additional buttons at the back. Beyond that, input will come from the 3-inch 720×480 touchscreen that has an interface similar to that on Xiaomi’s existing smartphone camera software. Besides that, it’s also got Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity for easy photo sharing.
But here’s where the bad news starts. This camera does not have an Electronic Viewfinder nor does it have a built-in flash. This would likely mean that you will have to rely on the hot shoe to strap on these features. Another issue one might have with the camera is the relatively small sensor size.
Micro Four Thirds sensors mean that you will have a crop factor of 2.0 as well as generally poorer performance in low light and dynamic range compared to a full frame or APS-C sized sensor. Still, the Micro Four Thirds sensor size is incredibly popular among camera enthusiasts so this “bad news” could be down to personal preference.
The good news is that you can purchase the Yi M1 with a choice of two lenses — a 12-40mm f/3.5-5.6 zoom lens and a 42.5mm f/1.8 prime lens. When multiplied by the crop factor, these lenses provide great focal lengths (24-70mm for the zoom and 85mm for the prime) which should be more than enough to get you started. There doesn’t seem to be any information on adapters or other lenses at the moment.
The Yi M1 camera will go on sale in two packages: A camera body with the 12-40mm zoom lens for RMB2,199 (around RM1364) or the camera body with the 42.5mm prime lens for RMB2,999 (around RM1,860). However, this camera is likely to be a China exclusive as it will only go on sale through JD.com on the 23rd of September with no mention on whether it will be available outside of the country.