YI M1 Mirrorless Camera Unboxing, Hands On, First Impressions!


I got my hands on a very interesting piece of tech from a subsidiary of Xiaomi, the XiaoYi M1, often shortened to just the Yi M1.

The M1 is a mirrorless camera with incredible specs (on paper) and a rock bottom price to match. It uses the same sensor as the much more expensive Panasonic GX8 and is capable of shooting 4K video at 30fps, all for the low low price of $330.

Surprisingly, Yi’s marketing team did not point this in the direction of DSLRs and more expensive mirrorless cameras, but instead at point and shoots. Their spiel was something along these lines: “There is a huge market of people looking for more power than a traditional point and shoot or smartphones, but are not ready for DSLRs just yet”.

Enter the Yi M1, touted as the perfect replacement. Let’s get on with the unboxing.

YI M1 Specifications

Sensor Sony IMX269 20MP Sensor
Display 3” 2 million dot TFT
Kit Lens 12 – 40mm F3.5 – 5.6 lens
Optional Lens 42.5mm F1.8 lens
Platform Mirrorless Micro 4/3 Mount
Connectivity Bluetooth, WiFi
Battery 900mAh
Physical Dimensions 0.28kg, 11.35 x 3.36 x 6.43 cm

Big thanks to Gearbest for providing this review unit.

YI M1 Unboxing

The Yi M1 comes in a very classy black cardboard box that wouldn’t look bad at all on a shelf as decoration.

Open it up and you find the camera body and two lenses sitting in foam (the kit with one lens is cheaper). Take them all out and underneath is the battery, charger, and manual. Nice box, it will definitely look nice on my shelf. I just have to find a bag for this camera now…

YI M1 Hands On

What really surprised me was how tiny the camera body was. The picture below shows three cameras side by side, the Canon Rebel T3, Panasonic G7, and the Yi M1. The T3 looks and feels absolutely gargantuan, the G7 being manageable, and the M1 feeling positively tiny. The M1’s body easily slides into my jeans pocket, but place a lens on it and it gets a lot bulkier.There don’t seem to be a lot of physical controls here, most everything is controlled by the touchscreen.The two lenses are both plastic. The larger one is the kit lens from 12-40 f5.6 and the other being the 40mm prime lens. I found it weird that the prime lens had a physical focus ring, but it didn’t work!At first, I was ready to ask for a replacement under warranty but then after reading other reviews, the focus ring is not supposed to work, it’s just cosmetic.
I also tried fitting my Panasonic G Vario kit lens and my Sigma 40mm Prime lens and both worked.

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YI M1 First Impressions

The software on the camera itself runs quite smoothly, not as smoothly as a brand new out-of-the-box Google Pixel or iPhone 7, but close. I know that’s not completely apples to apples, but speaking strictly about fluidity and speed, that should be enough information.
Even though the specifications on the M1 are technically as good or better than my Panasonic G7, I do not expect it to take better photos. I took a few quick shots with the kit lens, check out the sample images below.

YI M1 My First Thoughts

What Xiaoyi has done here is pack in DSLR (or mirrorless in this case) level specifications inside a point and shoot body. The unboxing experience and first impressions of the camera itself have mostly been positive. I’m not one to roam the city looking for cool things to photograph, but that’s exactly what I’ll be doing. My full review will be coming soon.

You can buy the Yi M1 here.

YI M1 Gallery

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20 Comments

  1. Nicolas Marshall
    February 23, 2017

    Looking forward to the full review, this looks like something that I could buy or that would make a nice gift to offer.

    • MisterWU
      February 25, 2017

      Just Google!!! you will find many full reviews also one at DPreview

  2. Ibrahim Bahakim
    February 23, 2017

    Is there a way to switch from Chinese firmware to international firmware?? 🙁

    • February 25, 2017

      How do I tell? Mine came in Enlish

      • Ibrahim Bahakim
        February 26, 2017

        ah you lucky boi.
        Mine came ONLY in Chinese only to realize that there are two versions and mine was in CN firmware.
        Contacted the website I bought from “lightinthecrap” and they said oh sorry PERIOD. lol

  3. Nicolas Marshall
    February 23, 2017

    Looking forward to the full review, this looks like something that I could buy or that would make a nice gift to offer.

    • MisterWU
      February 25, 2017

      Just Google!!! you will find many full reviews also one at DPreview

  4. Ibrahim Bahakim
    February 23, 2017

    Is there a way to switch from Chinese firmware to international firmware?? 🙁

    • Zi Jin Cheng
      February 26, 2017

      How do I tell? Mine came in Enlish

    • Ibrahim Bahakim
      February 26, 2017

      ah you lucky boi.
      Mine came ONLY in Chinese only to realize that there are two versions and mine was in CN firmware.
      Contacted the website I bought from “lightinthecrap” and they said oh sorry PERIOD. lol

  5. trapchan
    February 24, 2017

    People who thought that the body is made from metal will be disappointed

  6. trapchan
    February 24, 2017

    People who thought that the body is made from metal will be disappointed

  7. MisterWU
    February 25, 2017

    This camera don’t shoot video at 4K 60fps!!!
    This camera shoot video at UHD 60fps: 3840×2160 !!!
    Before writing review maybe go back to school. Or you enjoy cheat the costumer and keep them under ignorance???

    • February 25, 2017

      You realize how difficult it is for me to not be rude to someone who cannot write proper English, READ proper english, and understand that there are 2 different standards for 4K.

      So let’s go through those one by one in a civil manner.

      First, it should be “or DO you enjoy CHEATING the customer and KEEPING them…” keeping them under ignorance? That doesn’t make sense, it should be something along the lines of “keeping them in the dark”.

      Second, there are two standards that involve “4K” in the name. The first is the DCI 4K standard, which describes a resolution of 4096×2160 pixels. The second standard would be UHD-1 4K, often shortened to just 4K, is the standard for 16:9 screens, hence 3840×2160. I believe there is actually a third standard with some crazy 8000×4000 pixel resolution, but we’ll leave that for a later time.

      So as you see, UHD-1 4K is so often shortened to 4K that the average consumer understands that 4K means 3840×2160, not 4096×2160. Confusing? Yes. Cheating on my part? No. Go ahead and google that to prove me wrong.

      And also please learn to read, this camera only shoots a maximum of 4K at 30fps.

    • Eno
      March 3, 2017

      @MisterWU

      4K naming is universally associated with the UHD acronym.
      The cinema 4K it’s called DCI 4K and is a little bit wider.

      If you are so stressed about the rigorous naming you should have known this perhaps. 🙂

      • MisterWU
        March 5, 2017

        Bullshit. Keep supporting the lies of unfair marketing if you like.
        Maybe that way you believe people are more stupid than you???
        Go back to kindergarten.

  8. MisterWU
    February 25, 2017

    This camera don’t shoot video at 4K 60fps!!!
    This camera shoot video at UHD 60fps: 3840×2160 !!!
    Before writing review maybe go back to school. Or you enjoy cheat the costumer and keep them under ignorance???

    • Zi Jin Cheng
      February 26, 2017

      You realize how difficult it is for me to not be rude to someone who cannot write proper English, READ proper english, and understand that there are 2 different standards for 4K.

      So let’s go through those one by one in a civil manner.

      First, it should be “or DO you enjoy CHEATING the customer and KEEPING them…” keeping them under ignorance? That doesn’t make sense, it should be something along the lines of “keeping them in the dark”.

      Second, there are two standards that involve “4K” in the name. The first is the DCI 4K standard, which describes a resolution of 4096×2160 pixels. The second standard would be UHD-1 4K, often shortened to just 4K, is the standard for 16:9 screens, hence 3840×2160. I believe there is actually a third standard with some crazy 8000×4000 pixel resolution, but we’ll leave that for a later time.

      So as you see, UHD-1 4K is so often shortened to 4K that the average consumer understands that 4K means 3840×2160, not 4096×2160. Confusing? Yes. Cheating on my part? No. Go ahead and google that to prove me wrong.

      And also please learn to read, this camera only shoots a maximum of 4K at 30fps.

    • Eno
      March 3, 2017

      @MisterWU

      4K naming is universally associated with the UHD acronym.
      The cinema 4K it’s called DCI 4K and is a little bit wider.

      If you are so stressed about the rigorous naming you should have known this perhaps. 🙂

    • MisterWU
      March 5, 2017

      Bullshit. Keep supporting the lies of unfair marketing if you like.
      Maybe that way you believe people are more stupid than you???
      Go back to kindergarten.