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YI enters mirrorless camera market with the M1 for beginner photographers

Young Innovators (YI) made a name for itself earlier this year with its 4K action camera, a device that went head-to-head with the GoPro Hero4 Black — for $200 less. Now, the China-based company is looking to the mirrorless interchangeable lens market with the M1, a Micro Four Thirds camera built around a 20-megapixel CMOS sensor from Sony.

While pricing and availability have yet to be announced, we expect the M1 to come in at the low end of the market. Unlike YI’s 4K action cam, the M1, for the most part, does not look to compete with the best interchangeable lens cameras but will likely offer significant value for the money.

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Built for simplicity and ease of use, the M1 uses a compact design that lacks an electronic viewfinder and makes do with a fixed, three-inch LCD. The camera is controlled almost entirely via touchscreen, with only two physical buttons on the body, according to Digital Photography Review. Built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Low Energy provide ample connectivity options for sharing images to a phone or tablet.

Related: YI 4K Action Cam Takes on GoPro Hero4 Black

In terms of performance, it features a maximum continuous shooting speed of five frames per second and an 81-point, contrast-detect autofocus system. While contrast-detect autofocus  that can operate in lighting levels as low as -4 EV. which rivals the best pro cameras out there.

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Interestingly, the M1 will shoot RAW images in the Adobe DNG format, an open standard that few other camera manufacturers have taken advantage of. This means it will be instantly compatible with editing software like Adobe Lightroom without having to wait for third-party RAW support.

In addition to 20-megapixel still photos, the camera will also shoot 4K video at 30p and 75mbps in the H.264 codec, not bad for a consumer-level camera.

The camera will ship with two lenses, a 42.5mm f/1.8, and a 12-40mm f/3.5-5.6. Including a fast prime lens in a kit is unique, though it lacks a functional manual focus ring, which again suggests YI is aiming solely at entry-level photographers with the M1.