Yi is a definitely a weird company in the camera makers word. While Sony, fuji and the likes are marketing their cameras as part of of a complete life style story, YI is more focused on technical specs and price.
This is how they marketed the YI 4K, and this is their approach with the Mirrorless YI – M1.
We had a quick play with the camera at photokina and the camera is different in some ways from what we have learned to expect from mirrorless cameras. (there will be a full review coming soon too) .
The first think that you notice when picking the camera up is that it is feather light. Camera weight has a lot to do with how the camera feels and it was waaaaay to light for me. Down to the point that got me thinking that other makers are making their cameras heavy on purpose.
The lens has no focus ring, I mean it has a focus grip kinda ring, but it will not rotate. And it seems it is there for cosmetic reasons only. The only way to focus is via the camera controls. (We checked the prime YI prime lens, though it is compatible with any micro four thirds mount). To focus you can select the focusing point on the LCD and do the actual focusing with the usual half press. I wish it supported touch to focus.
There are very little physical controls on the camera, a mode dial, a shutter button, a control dial and play/stop controls. Everything more than that in done with the LCD menus.
Conditions we not optimal for actual image quality testing, but focusing felt OKish. (say, somewhere between fuji and Sony)
Ergonomic wise, the mirrorless YI feels OK. Without a grip it will probably be fun for people with small hands, but for me it did not feel very natural.
We are going to take this camera for a full spin and see how it functions in the real world soon. Stay tuned.