You may know of Xiaomi as the makers of affordable smartphones, and chances are you would have known someone who is using one. The Redmi and Mi phones have propelled the Chinese tech company to international fame, offering good specifications, decent designs, and a price almost anyone could afford.
More recently, to everyone’s surprise, they unraveled their very first laptop – the Mi Notebook Air.
Apple inspirations aside, the product was built upon the foundations that made their phones worth it. An understated industrial design, specs that people actually need, and the weight and price that is less than what competitors offer.
Xiaoyi, or Yi Technology, is Xiaomi’s camera sub-division within the company, and up until now have only produced small, yet powerful cameras for home or outdoor use, with its line of IP and action cameras.
Yi have even delved into the realm of drones, which in most cases, is a natural next step for companies who build action cameras.
Gunning For The Big Leagues
Not contented with just cameras that sit on your desktop for you to make video calls, and action cameras that you could swim and fly with, Xiaoyi dropped a bombshell today.
Aimed squarely at the smartphone generation, this is the M1, and it is Xiaoyi’s attempt at challenging the more traditional camera market, and from the looks of it, seems to be their best proposition yet.
Aesthetics-wise, dare we say that there’s some strong hints of Leica around, plus a mix of maybe Samsung and Sony.
Let’s talk internals.
Xiaoyi is playing it smart here by not developing their own fiddly formats. The M1 employs the widely used Micro Four Thirds (M4/3) sensor and mount format that is used in the market right now by companies such as Panasonic and Olympus.
What this means for the end user is simple.
You may be buying Xiaomi’s first ever mirrorless camera, but with it, you unlocked the door to every single Micro Four Thirds lenses that any manufacturer has ever made, including those be Panasonic and Olympus, which you will be able to use on the M1.
That’s not to say that Xiaoyi will not have their own lenses. At launch, user will be able to have access to two Yi branded lenses to get them started on their photography journey.
And of course there’s an app for the camera for you to control it remotely, or to just transfer images into your smartphone.
Naturally Jaw Dropping Price
The cost for Xiaomi’s first mirrorless camera?
The starter bundle with the 12-40mm f/3.5 – 5.6 lens costs approximately SGD$450 (￥2199) and the one with the 42.5mm f/1.8 lens at around SGD$613 (￥2999). Prices are as of current exchange rates.
The cameras will be available from JD.com from 23 September, so if you want the latest Xiaomi product, you will need to find some way to get it from China.
If not, let’s hope the local Yi Technology distributor here in Singapore will be able to get some in, or else, you can use the services of places such as Airfrov (they recently did one for the Notebook Air)
Also, judging by DPReview’s first impression, the M1 looks set to impress.
To quench your need for one in the mean time, check out the sample images on the camera’s product page here.
Feature Image Credits: Xiaoyi