Nikon D780 vs YI M1
The Nikon D780 and the YI M1 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in January 2020 and September 2016. The D780 is a DSLR, while the M1 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on a full frame (D780) and a Four Thirds (M1) sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 24.3 megapixels, whereas the YI provides 20.2 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon D780 and the YI M1? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Nikon D780 and the YI M1 is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The M1 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the D780 is only available in black.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the YI M1 is considerably smaller (56 percent) than the Nikon D780. Moreover, the M1 is substantially lighter (67 percent) than the D780. It is worth mentioning in this context that the D780 is splash and dust resistant, while the M1 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. A larger imaging sensor will tend to go along with bigger and heavier lenses, although exceptions exist. You can compare the optics available for the two cameras in the Nikon Lens Catalog (D780) and the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog (M1). Mirrorless cameras, such as the M1, have moreover the advantage that they can use many lenses from other systems via adapters, as they have a relatively short flange to focal plane distance.
The battery packs of both cameras can be charged via USB, which can be very convenient when travelling.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.
|1.||Nikon D780||144 mm||116 mm||76 mm||840 g||2260||Y||Jan 2020||2,299|
|2.||YI M1||114 mm||64 mm||34 mm||281 g||450||n||Sep 2016||349|
|3.||Canon 6D Mark II||144 mm||111 mm||75 mm||765 g||1200||Y||Jun 2017||1,999|
|4.||Canon SX730||110 mm||64 mm||40 mm||300 g||250||n||Apr 2017||399|
|5.||Canon 6D||145 mm||111 mm||71 mm||770 g||1090||Y||Sep 2012||2,099|
|6.||Fujifilm X-A3||117 mm||67 mm||40 mm||339 g||410||n||Aug 2016||399|
|7.||Nikon D6||160 mm||163 mm||92 mm||1270 g||3580||Y||Feb 2020||6,499|
|8.||Nikon Z6 II||134 mm||101 mm||70 mm||705 g||410||Y||Oct 2020||1,999|
|9.||Nikon D5||160 mm||159 mm||92 mm||1415 g||3780||Y||Jan 2016||6,499|
|10.||Nikon D500||147 mm||115 mm||81 mm||860 g||1240||Y||Jan 2016||1,999|
|11.||Nikon 1 J5||98 mm||60 mm||32 mm||231 g||250||n||Apr 2015||399|
|12.||Nikon D750||141 mm||113 mm||78 mm||750 g||1230||Y||Sep 2014||2,299|
|13.||Nikon Df||144 mm||110 mm||67 mm||760 g||1400||Y||Nov 2013||2,749|
|14.||Nikon D610||141 mm||113 mm||82 mm||850 g||900||Y||Oct 2013||1,999|
|15.||Nikon D600||141 mm||113 mm||82 mm||850 g||900||Y||Sep 2012||2,099|
|16.||Panasonic GX850||107 mm||65 mm||33 mm||269 g||210||n||Jan 2017||549|
|17.||Panasonic GF7||107 mm||65 mm||33 mm||266 g||230||n||Jan 2015||499|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The M1 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 85 percent) than the D780, which puts it into a different market segment. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Nikon D780 features a full frame sensor and the YI M1 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the M1 is 74 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.0 and 2.0. The sensor in the D780 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the M1 offers a 4:3 aspect.
With 24.3MP, the D780 offers a higher resolution than the M1 (20.2MP), but the D780 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.94μm versus 3.34μm for the M1) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the D780 is a much more recent model (by 3 years and 3 months) than the M1, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.
The resolution advantage of the Nikon D780 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the D780 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30.2 x 20.1 inches or 76.8 x 51.1 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24.2 x 16.1 inches or 61.4 x 40.9 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20.2 x 13.4 inches or 51.2 x 34.1 cm. The corresponding values for the YI M1 are 25.9 x 19.4 inches or 65.8 x 49.4 cm for good quality, 20.7 x 15.6 inches or 52.7 x 39.5 cm for very good quality, and 17.3 x 13 inches or 43.9 x 32.9 cm for excellent quality prints.
The D780 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
The Nikon D780 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 51200, which can be extended to ISO 50-204800. The corresponding ISO settings for the YI M1 are ISO 100 to ISO 25600 (no boost).
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
| DXO |
|1.||Nikon D780||Full Frame||24.3||6048||4024||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|2.||YI M1||Four Thirds||20.2||5184||3888||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|3.||Canon 6D Mark II||Full Frame||26.0||6240||4160||1080/60p||24.4||11.9||2862||85|
|5.||Canon 6D||Full Frame||20.0||5472||3648||1080/30p||23.8||12.1||2340||82|
|7.||Nikon D6||Full Frame||20.7||5568||3712||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|8.||Nikon Z6 II||Full Frame||24.3||6048||4024||4K/60p||..||..||..||..|
|9.||Nikon D5||Full Frame||20.7||5588||3712||4K/30p||25.1||12.3||2343||88|
|11.||Nikon 1 J5||1-inch||20.7||5568||3712||4K/15p||21.1||12.0||479||65|
|12.||Nikon D750||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||1080/60p||24.8||14.5||2956||93|
|13.||Nikon Df||Full Frame||16.2||4928||3280||none||24.6||13.1||3279||89|
|14.||Nikon D610||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||1080/30p||25.1||14.4||2925||94|
|15.||Nikon D600||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||1080/30p||25.1||14.2||2980||94|
|16.||Panasonic GX850||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||4K/30p||23.2||13.3||586||73|
|17.||Panasonic GF7||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60p||..||..||..||..|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, and both provide the same movie specifications (4K/30p).
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the D780 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the M1 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Nikon D780 and YI M1 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|3.||Canon 6D Mark II||optical||Y||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||6.5||n||n|
|8.||Nikon Z6 II||3690||Y||3.2||2100||tilting||Y||1/8000s||14.0||n||Y|
|11.||Nikon 1 J5||none||n||3.0||1037||tilting||Y||1/4000s||60.0||Y||n|
One feature that is present on the D780, but is missing on the M1 is a top-level LCD. While being, of course, smaller than the rear screen, the control panel conveys some of the essential shooting information and can be convenient for quick and easy settings verification.
The Nikon D780 and the YI M1 both have an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the D780 and the M1 write their files to SDXC cards. The D780 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the M1 only has one slot. The D780 supports UHS-II cards (on both slots), while the M1 cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD cards.
For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Nikon D780 and YI M1 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|3.||Canon 6D Mark II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|8.||Nikon Z6 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||3.2||Y||-||Y|
|11.||Nikon 1 J5||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the D780 has a microphone port, which is missing on the M1. Such an external microphone input can help to substantially improve the quality of audio recordings when a good external microphone is used.
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Nikon D780 (unlike the M1) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the D780 and the M1 are recent models that are part of the current product line-up. The D780 replaced the earlier Nikon D750, while the M1 does not have a direct predecessor. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Nikon and YI websites.
So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Nikon D780 and the YI M1? Which camera is better? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Advantages of the Nikon D780:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (24.3 vs 20.2MP) with a 12% higher linear resolution.
- Better image quality: Features a larger and more technologically advanced imaging sensor.
- Richer colors: The sensor size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
- More dynamic range: Larger sensor captures a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Larger sensor produces good images even in poorly lit environments.
- Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- Better sound control: Has a headphone port that enables audio monitoring while recording.
- Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (2359k vs 1040k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (12 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (2260 versus 450) on a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
- Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (3.1 vs 2.0).
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
- Faster buffer clearing: Supports Ultra High Speed (UHS-II) SDXC cards on both slots.
- More modern: Reflects 3 years and 3 months of technical progress since the M1 launch.
Arguments in favor of the YI M1:
- More compact: Is smaller (114x64mm vs 144x116mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 559g or 67 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- More legacy lens friendly: Can use many non-native lenses via adapters.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (85 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in September 2016).
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the D780 is the clear winner of the match-up (22 : 5 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. A professional wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Nikon D780 and the YI M1 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera and Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the D780 or the M1. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable.
This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.
|1.||Nikon D780||5/5||..||87/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2020||2,299|
|2.||YI M1||..||..||69/100||..||..||Sep 2016||349|
|3.||Canon 6D Mark II||4/5||+||80/100||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2017||1,999|
|4.||Canon SX730||..||+||..||4/5||4/5||Apr 2017||399|
|5.||Canon 6D||5/5||+ +||83/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||2,099|
|6.||Fujifilm X-A3||..||..||74/100||4.5/5||4/5||Aug 2016||399|
|7.||Nikon D6||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2020||6,499|
|8.||Nikon Z6 II||4.5/5||..||89/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2020||1,999|
|9.||Nikon D5||..||..||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jan 2016||6,499|
|10.||Nikon D500||5/5||+ +||91/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jan 2016||1,999|
|11.||Nikon 1 J5||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2015||399|
|12.||Nikon D750||5/5||+ +||90/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||2,299|
|13.||Nikon Df||4/5||..||81/100||4/5||4/5||Nov 2013||2,749|
|14.||Nikon D610||4/5||+ +||87/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2013||1,999|
|15.||Nikon D600||4/5||+ +||87/100||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||2,099|
|16.||Panasonic GX850||..||+||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||549|
|17.||Panasonic GF7||4/5||+||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2015||499|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just make your choice using the following search menu. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
Specifications: Nikon D780 vs YI M1
Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.
|Camera Model||Nikon D780||YI M1|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Nikon F mount lenses||Micro Four Thirds lenses|
|Launch Date||January 2020||September 2016|
|Launch Price||USD 2,299||USD 349|
|Sensor Specs||Nikon D780||YI M1|
|Sensor Format||Full Frame Sensor||Four Thirds Sensor|
|Sensor Size||35.9 x 23.9 mm||17.3 x 13.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||858.01 mm2||224.9 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||43.1 mm||21.6 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||24.3 Megapixels||20.2 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||6048 x 4024 pixels||5184 x 3888 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||5.94 μm||3.34 μm|
|Pixel Density||2.84 MP/cm2||8.96 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/30p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 51,200 ISO||100 - 25,600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||50 - 204,800 ISO||no Enhancement|
|Screen Specs||Nikon D780||YI M1|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||no viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||no Top Display|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.2inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||2359k dots||1040k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Nikon D780||YI M1|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/8000s||1/4000s|
|Continuous Shooting||12 shutter flaps/s||5 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||Intervalometer built-in|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Dual card slots||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||Dual UHS-II||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Nikon D780||YI M1|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||no PC Sync|
|USB Connector||USB 3.1||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||no MIC socket|
|Headphone Socket||Headphone port||no Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Bluetooth Support||Bluetooth built-in||Bluetooth built-in|
|Body Specs||Nikon D780||YI M1|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||not weather sealed|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||2260 shots per charge||450 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||USB charging||USB charging|
144 x 116 x 76 mm
(5.7 x 4.6 x 3.0 in)
114 x 64 x 34 mm
(4.5 x 2.5 x 1.3 in)
|Camera Weight||840 g (29.6 oz)||281 g (9.9 oz)|
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