Hands on with Yongnuo’s weird Android-powered YN450M Micro Four Thirds mirrorless camera

Jul 11, 2020

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Jul 11, 2020

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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Yongnuo seems to have a very unusual approach when it comes to cameras. They’re not the first to launch an Android-powered mirrorless camera. Samsung already did that. But their initial dip into their world of camera manufacture. Their latest camera, and probably the only one to actually be released, is the Yongnuo YN450M.

It’s an Android-powered Micro Four Thirds mirrorless camera that takes regular Micro Four Thirds lenses, and it’s been teased in one form or another for the last couple of years. But this video from Linus Tech Tips appears to be the first time somebody’s actually gotten their hands on one and put it through its paces.

Yongnuo’s history with cameras has been strange.

  • May 2018 – Yongnuo shows off a weird “YN43” lens adapter for smartphones – it takes EF mount lenses, but has a Micro Four Thirds sensor. This doesn’t appear to have ever been released.
  • October 2018 – Yongnuo teases an unusual looking Android-powered camera that appears to take a Canon EF mount lens.
  • November 2018 – More specs are released on what is now known to be the Yongnuo YN450. Also, strangely, this Android-powered device also has a Micro Four Thirds sensor, despite a Canon EF lens mount.
  • March 2019 – Yongnuo shows off the YN450 at CP+ 2019. It was expected to be released in China in April 2019, although that doesn’t appear to have happened, either.
  • February 2020 – Yongnuo joins Panasonic and Olympus in the Micro Four Thirds System Standard group, along with Laowa and Mediaedge.
  • March 2020 – Yongnuo announces the YN450M, a functionally identical camera to the YN450 first teased in May 2018, but with an actual Micro Four Thirds lens mount to match the sensor.

For the last few months since March, though, it’s been all quiet on the Yongnuo front. I’ve had several friends in Shenzhen, where Yongnuo is based, keeping an eye out to see if they start popping up for sale, and they haven’t so far. Now, though, it looks like there are ways to buy it for those based in China as the LTT video shows.

It’s an odd-looking device because it has an Android operating system and UI (although with some definite iOS-esque icons) and takes a sim card (although apparently can’t make phone calls), but it’s also an actual Micro Four Thirds camera. But how does it stand up?

To make the test somewhat comparable, Linus and the team take the 16-megapixel YN450M out and put it to task against the 12-megapixel iPhone 11 Pro Max and the Fujifilm X-T4. Personally, I think they should’ve compared it to one of the 16-megapixel Panasonic Micro Four Thirds cameras that could perhaps be using the same sensor and allow them to utilise the same lenses.

Still, it certainly highlights the differences between the YN450M and a phone as well as the YN450M and a more traditional style mirrorless camera. The YN450M definitely offers advantages over both, but it also falls very short of the mark in aspects against both, too.

Whether it’s right for you… Well, you’ll have to watch the video and make that decision for yourself.

Personally, I’m happy with what I have, although I still kinda want to play with one of these!

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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6 responses to “Hands on with Yongnuo’s weird Android-powered YN450M Micro Four Thirds mirrorless camera”

  1. Scott E Mc Avatar
    Scott E Mc

    Wait… what? Do want!

  2. Dominic C Avatar
    Dominic C

    Take one cheap mft camera from a rather obscure manufacturer with the worst kit lens on the market and compare it to the xt4 with a 1000$ lens and one of the most expensive flagship phones on the market. The results will be exactly what you expect. No insight was gained.

    1. Charg Avatar
      Charg

      Well. He did comment mostly about the processing. His point was using just a better sensor and lens will not inherently make it a better camera. Linus never set out to do a apples to apples comparison.

      Even my 170 dollar eos m and kit lens (yes I got them for 170 bux, used) beat that trashy youngnuo camera phone cuz it has better processing

  3. Albin Avatar
    Albin

    Its patents could end up being worth much more than the hardware business. For some time it’s seemed “something along these lines” is needed to bridge the gap between phones with brilliant algorithmic software and pathetic cameras, and cameras with wonderful hardware and pathetic 1990s navigation and intelligence. My guess has been a company with core competence in both cameras and phones, e.g. a Sony or Samsung, might take the leap. It would be especially interesting if an API is provided to let third-party app developers to substitute for the often very mediocre in-house development teams at major manufacturers.

  4. Drew Rick Avatar
    Drew Rick

    A few software upgrades and hardware generations later, with a better lens, this could become an amazing product. On the other end, my Fuji cameras can automatically send images to my phone when I turn them off, so sharing on social media is getting easier and easier. Can’t wait to see large sensor cameras with strong computational photography elements. I use real cameras together with used smartphones for $100 because for me the quality just isn’t there even on the expensive flagship phones.

  5. Jeremy Avatar
    Jeremy

    Shame the touch screen sucks. That thing would be awesome with competent software and with Panasonic’s 20mm f1.7 lens. You could fit it in your pocket without fiddling with changing lenses.