Fuji X-M1 Camera
MSRP: $500 (body only)
There's a lot of talk in the photo world about the rise of smaller, mirrorless cameras displacing DSLRs (those big bulky digital cameras pros shoot with). It ain't gonna happen. I assure you. DSLRs still play an important roll because the image quality is better (in most cases), they're more durable, and offer a wider array of lens options.
That said, mirrorless cameras are indeed on the rise. Pros are using them in some instances, and they're gaining in popularity amongst amateurs. I've had the chance to shoot with a couple of these cameras including, most recently, Fuji's X-M1. It sits a couple steps below the company's premier mirrorless cameras, like their X-T1, and therefore lacks some important features, like a traditional eye-level viewfinder. But what it lacks in features, it makes up for in image quality.
That's because the X-M1 has the same 16-megapixel sensor that's in some of the expensive models and, put frankly, it's bad ass. It produces gorgeous high-res photos with rich, accurate colors and also performs well in low light.
I recently took the X-M1 on a work trip to Chamonix, France, and was happy to have a smaller camera while trudging through international airports. While hiking out on the glacier below the Aiguille du Midi, I was also happy that it weighed less than a traditional DSLR. I would have brought my DSLR if I was shooting people skiing because I need the longer lenses that you can purchase for DSLRs. But this was a more casual trip and I never once regretted leaving my Canon at home.
The X-M1 that I reviewed came with the standard XC 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 OIS kit zoom lens, which was fine for taking in the view or making snapshots around town in Chamonix. Fuji also offers a range of fixed lenses (read: non-zooms) that offer increased sharpness and bigger apertures.
What really seals the deal for this camera, however, is the price. You can get the body for $500, which is hundreds of dollars less than the top of the line Fuji models and more than a thousands dollars less than a good DSLR. You have to remember that it's not the ideal tool for shooting the cover image for POWDER, but if you're just looking to make beautiful pictures on your next trip, you won't be disappointed.