Yi M1 Review - Micro Four Thirds System Camera

by 20. April 2017
The Yi M1 is the first mirrorless system camera of the still young camera manufacturer "Yi Technology". For just 350 €, the Yi M1 offers a touch screen operation, based on the Micro Four Thirds standard with multiple lens options and uses an 20 megapixel Sony IMX269 image sensor, which is used, among other things in the much more expensive Panasonic GX8. Whether the Yi DSLM keeps what it promises, more in this review!

Yi Technology


Yi M1


Type: DSLM
Standard: Micro Four Thirds

Image sensor: Sony IMX269
Display: 3 inch LCD with touch operation
Display resolution: 720x480

Wired: Micro USB, Micro HDMI
Wireless: WiFi (2.4G), Bluetooth BLE4.1
SD card: SD / SDHC / SDXC to 512GB

Microphone: Stereo
Speaker: Mono
Battery: 900mAh

video Resolution
3840 2160 × @ 30p
2048 1536 × @ 30p
640 480 × @ 240p

Video format: MPEG-4 / H.264
Audio format: AAC


Picture format: RAW, JPEG

Focus type: CDAF
Focus Mode: S-AF, C-AF, MF, Touch
Focus points: 81

Shutter: 1 / 4000s ~ 60s
ISO: 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400, 12800, 25600
Exposure Compensation: + -5EV
HDR: Yes

External Flash: Supported
Sync speed: 1 / 125s

Size: 113.5 × 64.3 × 33.6 mm
Weight: 300g

What's in the box

1x Yi M1 DSLM
1x camera strap
1x cleaning cloth
1x zoom lens
1x Macro Lens (Dual Lens Kit only)
1x charging adapter
1x USB cable
1x user manual

First impression of the Yi M1

What's in the box

The Yi M1 is as "Single-lens kit" and as "Dual Lens Kit" available. Depending on which variant you choose, you get one "YI 12-40mm F3.5-5.6" zoom lens or in addition "YI 42.5mm F1.8" macro lens, Furthermore, each kit contains one Kameragurt, cleaning cloth, USB cable with micro connection, a charger with type A plug, one 900 mAh battery as well as a multilingual one Manual.

Design, workmanship and handling

Visually, the Yi M1 strongly reminiscent of that Design of the Leica TL, The Yi system camera just measures once 113.5 64.3 × × mm 33.6 and weighs exactly including battery 300 g, The low weight can be mainly due to that, for the most part Plastic housing to explain. The bayonet and a few other components, however, were made of metal. The lens housings are mostly made of plastic. Even the lens mount is made of plastic here.

Yi M1 DSLM test part 1 | Unboxing & Video Sample

Camera grip, thumb rest and trigger are placed close to each other. Especially with big hands, the little M1 is a bit difficult to use, because the thumb rest is a bit too high and the trigger is a bit too far to the right. Nevertheless, the grip is not bad. The tiered Handle is pleasantly rubberized and the thumb rest offers despite the plastic housing by his nubby surface enough hold.

The back is the 3 inch large color LCD screenWhat the camera is mainly used for. Right next to it were two physical control buttons one of which allows you to quickly switch to the gallery and the other to operate different functions, such as focus or zoom, depending on the recording mode. On the top of the case, the M1 has a Wheel to select the recording program, In the middle of it is the Video recording button, Right next to it is another Selection wheel accommodated. Above the program wheel and the selection wheel is the Rocker switch with central release button. The battery bay with removable battery located on the bottom of the case. In the middle of the housing bottom is also a ¼ inch tripod thread, If you use a quick release plate, access to the battery is blocked. The Connections of the Yi M1 were hidden on the right side of the case under a hinged cap. In addition to an easily accessible SD memory card slot there are one to the left Micro-USB connector and right next to it Micro-HDMI socket. A viewfinder does not exist.

The application is not to be faulted. Unsightly gaps are looked for in vain, the battery compartment and the connection cover close clean and the lenses included in the delivery leave a decent impression that can expect no camera from the low price segment.


When Yi Technology introduced the Yi M1 last year, I was amazed how big the touch screen is. Of course, at the time I had only seen the render shots of the manufacturer. In reality, the display is a lot smaller than expected. Diagonally, the display measures 3 inches. Accordingly, not the entire back is filled, but around the display are thick black edgesthat are not visible on the render images.

The LCD color display comes along with it 720 480 x pixels on. The presentation is sharp and the colors are precisely displayed. Depending on your needs, the display brightness be adapted in 6 stages. An automatic brightness adjustment, as they are known from smartphones, does not exist. Entries via the touchscreen are detected precisely.

Operation and setting options

After switching on, you are directly on the Home screenwho at the same time is the Live image outputs. At the top of the screen are details of the recording mode, the ISO, the selected focus and the measurement method. The left edge of the display shows aperture, shutter speed and light value. Depending on the recording mode, these can be selected by tapping and the value can be individually adjusted with the selection wheel. On the right is an icon that allows quick access to the autofocus, the ISO, the white balance, the measurement method, the file format and the sequence mode. The lower edge of the display includes information about the white balance, the selected resolution, the available memory, whether Bluetooth and WLAN are active, and information about the battery level.

With a swipe to the left you get into the settings. Again, depending on the selected recording mode different settings are possible. Here is an overview of the possible settings.

I AUTO, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400, 12800, 25600

White balance: AWB, Sun, Shadow, Clouds, Incandescent, Kelvin (2000 - 11500)

Measurement Method: Multi-field measurement, spot measurement, center-weighted measurement

Focus Mode: Single-AF, Continuous AF, Manual Focus, Manual Focus + Focus-Peak Display

Touch-release: On, off

Face recognition: On, off

HDR: On, off

Sequence mode: Frame, Continuous, 2's Trip Delay, 10's Trip Delay

Connection setup: Car, Off

Time lapse: Interval time 0.5s - 60s, continuous exposure time 30 minutes - 24 hours, video resolution

Video Settings: 3840x2160@30, 2048x1536@30, 1920x1080@60@30@24, 1280x720@60@30@24, 640x480@240

Basic settings: Date and time, language, shutter sound, function sound, idle mode, auto. Shutdown, color space (sRGB / AdobeRGB), LCD brightness, factory settings

Bracketing: AE / WB Bracketing (3F 2S, 3F 4S, 3F 6S,)

File format: JPG-S, JPG-M, JPG-L, RAW

Image Format: 4: 3 - 5184x3888, 3: 2 - 5184x3456, 16: 9 - 5184x2920, 1: 1 - 3888x3888

Picture quality: 50MP, 20MP, 16MP, 8MP, 3MP, VGA

Lightning: Lightning: Auto, On, Off

Card means: Delete photos, format memory card

AF illuminator: On, off

Automatically shoots image display: Off, 0.5-5 seconds

Display screen: Off, trichotomy

Image Stabilization: On, off

Firmware Info


The Yi M1 has several recording modes, which are in one Full Auto mode, the Exposure programs PASM, one Panorama mode, one scene mode and one scene mode divide.

automatic mode

In this mode, the camera automatically makes settings for the aperture, shutter speed, and light value, so all you have to do is press the shutter button. In the test, the fully automatic mode proved to be reliable and suitable for snapshots as sufficient.


PASM stands for a total of 4 exposure programs, which are divided into an "automatic program", an "Aperture Priority", a "Shutter Priority" and a "Manual Mode". Depending on the program, the aperture, the shutter speed or the light value have priority. In manual mode, all values ​​can be set individually. The shutter speed ranges from 1 / 4000 to 60 seconds.

Panorama mode

If you know the panoramic mode of a smartphone, you will also be able to cope with the panorama mode of the YI M1. A pan movement to the right automatically calculates a panorama. Deep recording settings are not possible in this mode. In the test, only with a very steady hand or with a tripod, clean panoramic shots could be created. The slightest irregularities in the movements led to inaccurate image transitions. Praiseworthy, however, is the fast calculation of the panoramic images.

scene mode

The scene mode allows the selection of 9 preset scene programs that are adapted to the respective situation. In addition to a traditional portrait or landscape mode, there are special modes for shooting sports, a sunset or fireworks mode, and a mode for shooting on the beach or in the snow.

scene mode

Also selectable is a motif or portrait mode, which should facilitate portraiture photography for a layman. Here, too, can be selected from given motives. Each motif represents a person in different postures. Depending on your choice, the person's outlines are virtually conjured up on the display, so that the camera only has to be aligned with the person to be photographed. Adjustments to the aperture or the light value can be made manually. Overall, 9 of such templates are preinstalled. Additional templates can be downloaded from the Yi Mirrorless App.

recording quality

The Yi M1 comes with a current one Sony IMX269 image sensor equipped, natively with 20 Megapixel dissolves and is usually found in much more expensive camera models, such as the Panasonic GX8. Videos are recorded in 4K at most. The camera captures images with up to 50 megapixels.

video quality

Videos are included maximum 4K resolution at 30 images-per-second added. With a resolution of 1080p are at least up to 60 pictures-per-second possible. If you want a video recording, all you have to do is press the video recording button without additionally selecting the mode separately. After a minimum delay, the video recording starts, which is also confirmed by a beep. Negatively noticed is the edge trimming, which makes itself noticeable only after the recording was started. What is actually in the picture, you see so only in hindsight. However, extensive border trimming only occurred with 4K video recordings.

Yi M1 DSLM test part 2 | 4K video sample (original sound + post-stabilization)

The video quality is not to be criticized. Videos are in the Format MP4 recorded and reach a solid, average 85.000 kbit / s bitrate, Also the electronic image stabilizer performs good services and allows even with 2K video still a largely wobble-free image. With 4K selected, the image stabilizer is not available. There is a need for optimization in the car focus. Even after some firmware updates that have already improved the C-AF in video mode a lot, there is still room for improvement in the speed as well as the accuracy of the C-AF.

Yi M1 DSLM test part 4 | 1080p60 video sample (original sound + post-stabilization)

Even as a "Vlogging" camera, the Yi M1 is rather unsuitable. In addition to the minimal focus options, the camera lacks the ability to connect an external microphone or headphones. The built-in microphone does a good job and is quite sufficient for normal needs.

picture quality

Especially when taking pictures, the Yi DSLM is very beginner-friendly. In the test, the fully automatic mode proved to be reliable and even with spontaneous snapshots a very good recording quality could be achieved. Image captures are either as JPEG or as RAW im Format DNG saved. A simultaneous recording of JPG and RAW is unfortunately not possible. To criticize again is the sluggish autofocus and the relatively high trip time. The burst mode, which works much faster with current firmware 2.0 than with previous firmware versions, has been improved. A TTL flash metering is not supported and the flash sync speed with 1 / 125 seconds is comparatively high.

Unedited JPEG image capture with the Yi M1

In terms of noise intensity At least, the Yi M1 beats Standard ISO of 200 neat. Even with an 400 ISO, the Yi DSLM gets along well. From an 800 ISO, details are increasingly being lost. With an ISO of 1.600 and larger, the blur also increases significantly. Disappointed, the camera synonymous with respect to the settings for White balance, In addition to an automatic white balance, given profiles and a correction to Kelvin, there is no way to make the white balance manually using a gray card. The fastness could still convince in the test. Especially in the sunshine, the Yi system camera impresses with a pleasant color fidelity.

Panoramic shot with the Yi M1

Kit lenses

The single-lens kit includes one YI 12-40mm F3.5-5.6 zoom lens, In the dual-lens kit is an additional YI 42.5mm F1.8 macro lens which is not available separately. Manufacturer of both lenses is "Tamron".

The quality of both kit lenses could not be more different. Take pictures with the standard Zoom lens show one depending on the focal length visible sharpening waste towards the edges of the picture. Overall, the lens can not convince. The Macro lens surprised by a minimal sharpness drop and no artifacts. What the lens is missing, however, is a focus ring.

Edited RAW images with the Yi M1

Yi Mirrorless App and Firmware

Another feature is the remote control via app. For this Yi Technology introduces the so-called "Yi Mirrorless" App im Google PlayStore and Apple Appstore ready. With a smartphone or a tablet, the Yi M1 can be remotely controlled via the app. In addition, you have direct access to the images that are on the memory card. Is made the Connection via WiFi.

The app could convince in practice less and is rather a nice gimmick than that you would depend on them. The structure is structured and clear. The connection also worked fine in the test and the connection was kept stable over time. One drawback, however, is that the camera can only be operated via the app with an active app connection and can no longer be used "directly". Some of the setting options and shooting modes can not be done through the app, so you have to disconnect, make the camera and reconnect for each of these settings.

The on the one hand practical gallery function of the app disappoints to the effect that only pictures in the format JPEG can be indicated. RAW pictures or videos can not be transferred. One way to subsequently change the SSID and the password of the camera WiFi is missing.

Practically, however, is that Firmware updates automatically transferred to the camera via the app. This keeps you up-to-date and does not have to download the updates manually. However, this only applies to the firmware updates of the camera itself. Updates of the individual lenses must be installed manually. The update policy on the part of Yi Technology is commendable. During the two-month trial, 3 camera updates have already been released, which included significant improvements.


The included rechargeable battery provides one Capacity of 900 mAh. The Yi M1 battery is produced by the "Dongguan Amperex Technology Limited", which also produces batteries for the drone manufacturer DJI, Apple and BMW. The battery is charged directly via the USB socket of the camera. A charging station is available as a separate accessory. The charging time is included on average one hour and 25 minutes, If you have connected the Yi M1 with a conventional charging adapter via USB, the camera can also be used during charging. However, connecting the camera to a data transfer device automatically activates the data transfer mode, which can not be turned off manually. In this mode the camera is not active!

In the test was a fully charged battery for a one-hour 4K video recording and about 70 images. After this CIPA standard Yi Technology promises to be able to record 380 images with one battery charge. There is one to spare the battery automatic sleep modewhich can be set to 30 seconds or 1, 3, 5 and 10 minutes. To wake up the camera, all you have to do is press the shutter button. With the function "automatic shutdown" the camera can be switched off completely. You can choose between automatic shutdown after 10 and 30 minutes or after 1er and 4 hours.

Price Comparison

Price history

Current prices

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Prices last updated on: April 5st, 2020 14:01

Price history

Current prices

1-5 working days
Buy geekbuying
10-30 working days
10-30 working days

Price too high? Use our price alarm clock!

Prices last updated on: April 5st, 2020 14:01

Final Words


beginner friendly
Compact design
Micro Four Thirds
Top Sony image sensor
Very good macro lens
Decent recording quality
Regular firmware updates


A lot of plastic
Display smaller than expected
No manual white balance
Blur with kit zoom lens
Noise intensity and blurring at high ISO
JPEG and RAW recording not possible at the same time
Sparse features of the app

First impression
beginner friendly
video quality
picture quality
Battery life

The Yi M1 surprised and disappointed at the same time. Especially in the recording quality delivers the Yi system camera decent results and can even compete with the big ones. The M1 is also convincing when it comes to entry-level friendliness. Young Innovators wants to use this camera to specifically target young people who usually only take pictures or film with a smartphone. Because of this, the user interface with the playful motif templates is more reminiscent of the setting of a smartphone app than a professional system camera. Some settings, such as white balance, were neglected.

Regarding autofocus, the Yi M1 also does not deliver any great performance. Despite already published firmware updates are the AF functions in video mode rather sparse and otherwise the CDAF seems rather lazy and sometimes inaccurate. Praiseworthy, however, is the update policy of the manufacturer, which regularly delivers new firmware updates and respond to requests from the community.

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Latest Oldest

Thanks for the successful review. Really nice pictures and videos that you have taken with the M1. I wanted to get myself the camera for YouTube videos, but that does not connect a mic makes me a bit scared. Could not you connect a mic via the USB interface? LG

Franz M.
Franz M.

Hello, I have a few more questions about the camera. Is a TTL measurement possible? Can you give information about the flash sync speed? Am I right that there is no finder? Would be great if you could answer that to me. greetings