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YI M1 versus Panasonic GX850

The YI M1 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX850 (labelled Panasonic GX800 in some countries) are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in September 2016 and January 2017. Both the M1 and the GX850 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are equipped with a Four Thirds sensor. The YI has a resolution of 20.2 megapixel, whereas the Panasonic provides 15.8 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their size, their sensors, their features, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison: YI M1 vs Panasonic GX850

The physical size and weight of the YI M1 and the Panasonic GX850 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter. You can also toggle the display to switch to a percentage comparison if you prefer that the measures are being expressed in relative terms (in this case, the camera on the left side – the M1 – represents the basis for the calculations across all the size and weight measures).

Snapsort YI M1 vs Panasonic GX850
Compare M1 versus GX850 top
Compare M1 and GX850 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic GX850 is somewhat smaller (5 percent) than the YI M1. Moreover, the GX850 is slightly lighter (4 percent) than the M1. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the M1 nor the GX850 are weather-sealed.

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. In this particular case, both cameras feature the same lens mount, so that they can use the same lenses. You can find an overview of suitable optics in the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog. Mirrorless cameras, such as the two under consideration, have the additional advantage of having a short flange to focal plane distance, which makes it possible to mount many lenses from other systems onto the camera via adapters.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
YI M1» 4.5 in 2.5 in 1.3 in 9.9 oz 450 n Sep 2016 349 i i
Panasonic GX850« 4.2 in 2.6 in 1.3 in 9.5 oz 210 n Jan 2017 549 i i
Canon SX730« » 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.6 in 10.6 oz 250 n Apr 2017 399 i i
Canon M100« » 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.4 in 10.7 oz 295 n Aug 2017 499 i i
Canon G7 X Mark II« » 4.2 in 2.4 in 1.7 in 11.3 oz 265 n Feb 2016 699 i i
Canon M10« » 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.4 in 10.6 oz 255 n Oct 2015 499- i
Fujifilm X-E3« » 4.8 in 2.9 in 1.7 in 11.9 oz 350 n Sep 2017 899 i i
Fujifilm X-A3« » 4.6 in 2.6 in 1.6 in 12.0 oz 410 n Aug 2016 399 i i
Fujifilm X-A10« » 4.6 in 2.6 in 1.6 in 11.7 oz 410 n Dec 2016 399 i i
Panasonic G7« » 4.9 in 3.4 in 3.0 in 14.5 oz 350 n May 2015 649- i
Panasonic GF7« » 4.2 in 2.6 in 1.3 in 9.4 oz 230 n Jan 2015 499- i
Panasonic GF6« » 4.4 in 2.6 in 1.5 in 11.4 oz 340 n Apr 2013 499- i
Panasonic G6« » 4.8 in 3.3 in 2.8 in 13.8 oz 340 n Apr 2013 599- i
Panasonic GX1« » 4.6 in 2.7 in 1.5 in 11.2 oz 320 n Nov 2011 949- i
Sony RX100 V« » 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.6 in 10.5 oz 220 n Oct 2016 999 i i
Sony RX100 IV« » 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.6 in 10.5 oz 280 n Jun 2015 999- i

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. 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 36 percent) than the GX850, 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.

 

Sensor comparison: YI M1 vs Panasonic GX850

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature a Four Thirds sensor and have a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 2.0. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the review cameras among the medium-sized sensor cameras that aim to strike a balance between image quality and portability. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3.

YI M1 and Panasonic GX850 sensor measures

While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the M1 offers a higher resolution of 20.2 megapixel, compared with 15.8 MP of the GX850. This megapixel advantage translates into a 13 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the M1 has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 3.34μm versus 3.77μm for the GX850). Moreover, it should be noted that the GX850 is a somewhat more recent model (by 3 months) than the M1, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of individual pixels. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the GX850 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

M1 versus GX850 MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for most cameras. 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 following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
YI M1» Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/30p----
Panasonic GX850« Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34484K/30p23.213.358673
Canon SX730« » 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p----
Canon M100« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.512.9127278
Canon G7 X Mark II« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p----
Canon M10« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.211.475365
Fujifilm X-E3« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/30p----
Fujifilm X-A3« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p----
Fujifilm X-A10« » APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/30p----
Panasonic G7« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34484K/30p----
Panasonic GF7« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60p----
Panasonic GF6« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60i20.710.662254
Panasonic G6« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p21.311.563961
Panasonic GX1« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60p20.810.670355
Sony RX100 V« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.812.458670
Sony RX100 IV« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.812.659170

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. 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).

 

Feature comparison: YI M1 vs Panasonic GX850

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The M1 and the GX850 are similar in the sense that neither of the two has a viewfinder. The images are, thus, framed using live view on the rear LCD. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the YI M1 and Panasonic GX850 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras. The full specs-sheets can be found in the camera manual or, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.

Core Features
  Camera Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec))
Build-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Build-in
Image
Stab
YI M1»- n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 4000 5.0 n n
Panasonic GX850«- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 500 10.0 Y n
Canon SX730« »- n 3.0 922 tilting n 3200 5.9 Y Y
Canon M100« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 6.1 Y n
Canon G7 X Mark II« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 2000 8.0 Y Y
Canon M10« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 4.6 Y n
Fujifilm X-E3« »2360 n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 4000 8.0 n n
Fujifilm X-A3« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 6.0 Y n
Fujifilm X-A10« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting n 4000 6.0 Y n
Panasonic G7« »2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 7.0 Y n
Panasonic GF7« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 500 5.8 Y n
Panasonic GF6« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 4.2 Y n
Panasonic G6« »1440 n 3.0 1036 swivel Y 4000 7.0 Y n
Panasonic GX1« »- n 3.0 460 fixed Y 4000 4.2 Y n
Sony RX100 V« »2359 n 3.0 1229 tilting n 2000 24.0 Y Y
Sony RX100 IV« »2359 n 3.0 1228 tilting n 2000 16.0 Y Y

Both the M1 and the GX850 are current models that good online retailers will have in stock. You can check the latest prices, for example, at amazon. The GX850 replaced the earlier Panasonic GF7, while the M1 does not have a direct predecessor.

Review summary: YI M1 vs Panasonic GX850

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the YI M1 better than the Panasonic GX850 or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

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Reasons to prefer the YI M1:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (20.2 vs 15.8MP) with a 13% higher linear resolution.
  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (4000/sec vs 500/sec) to freeze action.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (450 versus 210) on a single battery charge.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (36 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in September 2016).

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Advantages of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX850:

  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
  • More modern: Was introduced somewhat (3 months) more recently.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the M1 comes out slightly ahead of the GX850 (6 : 5 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera.

M1 06:05 GX850

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras is instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it says nothing about, for example, the handling, responsiveness, and overall imaging quality of the M1 and the GX850 in practical situations. 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 adjacent table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). You can find the full text of the reviews by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review scores
  Camera cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
YI M1»-69/100-2.5/5- Sep 2016 349 i i
Panasonic GX850«Rec76/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Jan 2017 549 i i
Canon SX730« »Rec-4/5-4/5 Apr 2017 399 i i
Canon M100« »Rec-4/5-3.5/5 Aug 2017 499 i i
Canon G7 X Mark II« »HiRec81/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Feb 2016 699 i i
Canon M10« »---rev4/5 Oct 2015 499- i
Fujifilm X-E3« »Rec84/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2017 899 i i
Fujifilm X-A3« »-74/1004.5/5-4/5 Aug 2016 399 i i
Fujifilm X-A10« »--4/5-4/5 Dec 2016 399 i i
Panasonic G7« »HiRec80/1005/54.5/54.5/5 May 2015 649- i
Panasonic GF7« »Rec-4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jan 2015 499- i
Panasonic GF6« »HiRec-4.5/5-4.5/5 Apr 2013 499- i
Panasonic G6« »HiRec-5/5-4.5/5 Apr 2013 599- i
Panasonic GX1« »Rec77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Nov 2011 949- i
Sony RX100 V« »HiRec83/1004/55/54.5/5 Oct 2016 999 i i
Sony RX100 IV« »HiRec85/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2015 999- i

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings are only valid when refering to cameras in the same category and of the same age. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

 

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored. If you cannot find the camera you are interested in, please contact me, and I will try to update the database with the necessary infos.

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