Fujifilm X-M1 vs X-E1 vs X-Pro1 Comparison

Fujifilm X-M1, X-E1 and X-Pro1 side by side

On June 25 2013, Fujifilm as announced the X-M1 mirrorless camera. This is Fujifilm’s third premium Mirrorless Interchangeable lens camera. The X-M1 is the smallest among the three (X-Pro1, X-E1), much smaller in fact. The camera utilizes the same unique 16.3MP APS-C X-Trans CMOS sensor as the other two cameras,EXR Processor II for very fast operation and many many more useful features that we’ll talk about in a second. The Fujifilm X-M1 has its cons and pros as you’ll soon see, and some photographers criticized Fuji for not understanding this specific market needs, considering its inferior market share compare to the competition.  

Let’s take a closer look at the X-M1 specs and see what goodies this new mirrorless camera has to offer. I will also compare the X-M1 versus the X-E1 and X-Pro1, so you can understand the fundamental differences between those three models — OK, without further ado, let’s begin.

I will start with a short introduction to the X-M1 and than we’ll continue to the comparison itself.

Fujifilm X-M1

The first thing you notice about the X-M1 is how small it it compare to the other cameras. Both the X-Pro1 and X-E1 were criticized for being relatively larger than other CSC on the market, especially the X-Pro1.  I am happy to see that the X-M1 is even smaller than the E-P5. I also really liked the slick new retro look of this camera and finally we have an integral grip which is a part of the camera design.

X-M1 vs X-Pro1 and X-E1 size comparison
X-M1 (center) vs X-Pro1 (right) and X-E1 (left) size comparison (via camerasize.com)

The body itself is made of polycarbonate and meta, but less metal compare to the other models. Still, the cameras feels very solid and the leather-like coating only adds to its prestige look.

Another thing you probably notice is that the Fujifilm X-M1 doesn’t have an electronic viewfinder. Both the X-E1 (EVF) and the X-Pro1 (Electronic and optical) do have a eye-level viewfinder. This trend also exists on other vendors as well, with the viewfinder is kept for the premium models. For example, in Olympus mirrorless camera’s lineup, the O-MD E-M5 is the only one with an EVF, this is also Olympus CSC flagship model.

At the back of the camera we have a small surprise, a 3-inch 920K-dots Tilt LCD screen. The X-Pro 1 and X-E1 both have a fixed display. So Fuji didn’t include an EVF, but spoiled us with a tilting (high 85°,  low 90° angle) high-res display , which is nice and becomes handy in different situations.

The X-M1 features less buttons than the other two models, but still keeps the top Fn button (on-touch access to frequently used camera functions) and two wheel dials at the top. The left wheel allows you to change scenes and shooting modes (e.g. Advanced SR Auto, Advanced Mode, Scene Position, Landscape, Custom, etc.). Fujifilm drops the option to change the shutter speeds from the left wheel, a feature that I personally would miss and exists on both the X-E1 and X-Pro1.  For example, on the X-Pro1 you can choose a shutter speed ranging from 1 sec to 1/4000 sec by just scrolling the wheel. What I like about the design of Fuji X-series is that all the important dials and buttons are on the right side of the camera. This means that you can operate the camera easily when holding it in one hand.

Fujifilm X-M1 and X-E1 rear side
Fujifilm X-M1 and X-E1 (rear) - X-M1, simple user interface


X-M1 vs X-Pro1 top wheel
X-M1 lacks the shutter speed settings as in the X-Pro1 and X-E1

At the heart of the Fuji X-M1 we can find an APS-C X-Trans CMOS sensor, same sensor as the X-E1 and X-Pro1. Fujifilm did exactly what Olympus has done, sharing its OM-D E-M5 flagship camera sensor with its higher-end PEN flagship model, the E-P5.  What this means is that you should get image quality that is on par with the flagship model, but that still yet to be seen.

The X-Trans sensor is Fujifilms proprietary sensor. It features a large sensor that is on par with what you get with a mid-range DSLR, but instead of a conventional 2×2 pixel unit Bayer pattern, it features a 6×6 pixel unit arrangement. This eliminated the need for an optical low-pass filter due to highly random pattern. So the lack of OLPF helps the camera to capture sharper image.  Fujifilm is not the only vendor to dump the OLPF on some of its cameras, Nikon, for example, has done it in its D7100 DSLR camera. However, the difference is very small, although camera vendors claim quite a big difference. In practice it’s really hard to notice any difference – there is a difference, but again,  it’s almost unnoticeable. In short, we need to examine the X-M1 image quality closely before we come out with any big statements about the image quality, no matter what components are being used, or not being used.

The X-M1 feature Fujifilm’s latest EXR Processor II. This ignites a very fast performance, allowing the camera to start up in ready to shoot in approx. 0.5 seconds. Shutter time lag also reported to be around 0.005 seconds. According to Fuji, 0.5 sec. start-up time is related to the time it takes the camera to start shooting when it’s in “sleep” mode.  The camera enters “Sleep” mode when you turn off the power. Than the camera gets into “sleep” mode for up to 24 minutes. After that period of time, the camera turns its power off completely. When the camera’s power is turned off completely, it will take 1 second for the camera to be ready to shoot when you turned it back on.

Other features include:

  • 5.6 fps at high-speed continuous shooting (up to 30 frames)
  • Histogram display
  • New 1:1 image aspect ratio
  • Focus point zoom, framing guideline (GRID 9, GRID 24 and HD Framing)
  • Micro thumbnail view (up to 100 picture viewable on the screen)
  • Wi-Fi wireless connectivity (connect the camera to your smartphone, upload images to your PC via Wi-Fi router)
  • Built-in flash
  • Advanced filters
  • Film simulation
  • Full HD video recording
  • Multiple Exposure shot (for blending two images, not for HDR)
  • 5-levels Noise Reduction
  • 49-point AF system
  • Auto bracketing functions (ISO bracketing, AE bracketing, Dynamic Range bracketing and Film simulation bracketing)
  • ISO 100 – 25600
  • In-camera RAW converter (Silkypix software included)
The Fujifilm X-M1 is a fully equipped mirrorless camera for enthusiasts photographers who favor Fujifilm’s cameras for its innovative features, image quality and high-quality optics.  The lack of a viewfinder might turned out to be a deal breaker for many photographers, but still a fully-featured camera in a much more compact body.
Worth mentioning that at the time of writing, the Fujifilm X-E1 is being sold for $799.00 on B&H (body only) and the X-M1 (body only) costs $699.00, $100 less than the X-E1. I think that many enthusiasts will prefer spending extra $100 and enjoy the excellent built-in 2.36 million dot OLED viewfinder.


X-M1 vs X-E1 vs X-Pro1

The Fujifilm X-M1 is a premium interchangeable lens camera that also comes in a compact retro-design body. It has a large APS-C Trans-X sensor, tons of features to play with,  simple user interface, tilting display and the option to use Fujinon’s  excellent lenses for the X-series.  This is also the first camera in the X-series to support Wi-Fi connectivity, so you can transfer your photos and videos to your smartphone or tablet device (need a camera app, free to download).

The X-M1 was announced together with the XC 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS zoom lens (equivalent to 24-75mm) and this lens is part of the Kit offering.  I must admit that it’s hard for to comprehend why someone who already willing to pay a premium price for such camera won’t go with the X-E1 instead. The eye-level viewfinder is probably one of the most important features that enthusiast look in an interchangeable lens camera.  It really interesting to see what else the X-M1 has to offer that the X-E1 and X-Pro1 does not. Without knowing your alternative options, you might made a wrong buying decision.

In this section we’ll take a closer look and compare the specs of the Fujifilm X-M1 versus the X-E1 and X-Pro1, allowing you to clearly view and understand the differences between those three excellent mirrorless cameras.

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Fuji did make those three cameras very different from each other. Each one has some features that the other doesn’t have, not like in many cases where the more expensive camera have all the features of the cheaper one plus added features.

We can see that all three cameras have the same 49-area AF sensor, same light metering sensor, same 16.3MP sensor and same ISO range.

X-Pro1 Advantages

  • Hybrid MultiViewfinder
  • 24p video recording  (N/A on the X-M1) – *for those who in favor of this frame rate
  • Exposure compensation dial (N/A on the X-M1)
  • Q button for fast shooting menus (N/A on the X-M1)
  • 6 fps (highest in the group alongside the X-E1) – *tiny difference compare to the X-M1 (5.6 fps)
  • Better Build Quality (questionable; according to many online sources, wasn’t confirmed on the official specs, X-M1 has used less metal)
  • Highest LCD resolution (1230K-dots) – much higher than the X-E1 (460K)
  • Widely tested, solved issues with new firmware
  • 2012 Awards TIPA, EISA Award Best Compat System Camera 2012-2013, dpreview Silver Award, Good Design Award 2012, Reddot design award winner 2013

X-E1 Advantages

  • Electronic Viewfinder (not Hybrid as the X-Pro1, but X-M1 doesn’t have that either)
  • 30p video recording (not available in any other model) – *for those who in favor of this frame rate
  • 2.5mm mic input + mic level adjustment – only one in the group to offer a mic jack for attaching an external stereo mic (needs an adapter for most 3.5mm mics)
  • 350 shots battery life – highest in the group alongside XM1, both better than the X-Pro 1 300 shots CIPA rating
  • 6 fps (highest in the group alongside the X-Pro1) – *tiny difference compare to the X-M1 (5.6 fps)
  • Q button for fast shooting menus (N/A on the X-M1)
  • Exposure compensation dial (N/A on the X-M1)
  • Pop-up flash – X-Pro1 doesn’t have a pop-up flash, furthermore, you can bounce the light as well
  • Widely tested
  • dpreview Gold Award, TIPA Awards 2013, reddot design award winner 2013, Photokina Star 2012 Award

X-M1 Advantages

  • 350 shots battery life – highest in the group alongside X-E1, both better than the X-Pro 1 300 shots CIPA rating
  • Wi-Fi wireless connectivity – the only one to offer WiFi wireless connectivity
  • Lightest of the three (330 g)
  • Wide-angle High-res Tilting LCD – The only one int the group to offer a tilting display, and has a higher-res over the X-E1
  • Geotagging – available using a smartphone app and taking advantage of the Wi-Fi wireless connectivity. You need a smartphone that has a GPS receiver (most do)
  • Pop-up Flash – X-Pro1 doesn’t have a pop-up flash
  • Most affordable – $100 cheaper than the X-M1, $400 less than the X-Pro1
  • Smallest
  • Available in Brown (!)


The Fujifilm X-M1 is aimed towards amateurs and enthusiast photographers. It’s much cheaper than the X-Pro1 but only $100 away from the X-E1. What I liked about the Fujifilm X-M1 is obviously it’s smaller size, Wi-Fi wireless connectivity, tilting high-res display,  external design, button’s arrangement, price and the fact that it uses the same high-quality 16.3MP X-Trans CMOS sensor, light-metering and AF sensor as the more expensive models.  The will miss the EVF, the exposure compensation dial which I really liked on the X-E1 and X-Pro1.

It’s very tempting to get the X-E1 over the X-M1 due do its 2.36M-dot OLED EVF, 1080p24, stereo mic input and better and faster access to frequently used functions using an analog interface.  The X-E1 is still much larger than the X-E1, but some people might find this size to be a better fit to their needs (i.e. using larger lenses, for people with large hands).

The X-Pro1  is much more expensive than the X-M1. You get a much more bulkier camera, has better build-quality, Hybrid AF, great LCD,  very fast startup time and a analog interface for fast access to frequently used function as the X-E1. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have a flip-out screen, no in-camera HDR, no 3D photos, below average viewfinder size and no built-in OIS – some of those features features already exist on many high-end mirrorless cameras.

I personally really liked the X-M1, but I find it very uncomfortable to shoot without a viewfinder.  I think that the X-M1 does have a respectable place in Fujifilm’s X-Series, and for a good price that will invite more people to try Fujifilm’s mirrorless cameras. It’s a matter of personal preference. You now have the differences in front of you and you need to make a decision. Don’t forget that you will need to also purchase a lens (or buy the Kit) with the camera. Some of you might prefer getting the X-M1 and spend the rest of your budget on a better lens.

I also want to say that I think that Fujifilm should have implemented an EVF on the X-M1 to make its cameras more attractive in this competitive market. It’s not at the same position as other mirrorless camera manufacturers and in order to attract more buyers, it needs to offers some feature in its cheaper models that you don’t get on other vendors. Putting an EVF on the X-M1 would have made this camera much more competitive against Olympus PEN cameras.

Which one you prefer? – share your opinion and ask your questions by posting in the comment section below.

Buy and check latest prices on B&H: Fujifilm X-E1, Fujifilm X-M1, Fujifilm X-Pro1.