Yi Technology -- Yi-M1

Discussion in 'Mirrorless Cameras' started by VidThreeNorth, Aug 25, 2017.

  1. VidThreeNorth

    VidThreeNorth TPF Noob!

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    I posted my first 4K video from the Yi-M1 to YouTube on Sept. 29, 2017, but I did not post a link to it "here" because I did not feel that it warranted bringing it to this forum's attention. It was a good enough video for my purposes (to provide a record of an event related to the Invictus Games) but it was not up to a high technical standard, and furthermore, the reasons for its short-comings were not primarily due to the hardware. It was partly circumstantial, and partly due to a poor choice on my part. I had a backup camcorder with me (Sony CX240B) which I knew would give me a better chance for a good video, but only in Full HD, yet I decided to take the risk on the Yi-M1 anyway. I will explain the situation a bit:

    Lately my Condo management has decided to do work on the building which requires me to re-arrange everything. And yes, I work out of my condo, so that means re-locating things I use for work, including piles of notes and references, and equipment. So I am pressed for time and generally disrupted in everything I do and not by my choice. I wanted to cover the Invitus Games, but I did not have the time, except for this one event -- an evening concert. The week before I had a chance to record some Fall "stock" clips using the Yi-M1 and its kit zoom. I used manual focus, and used it on my usual monopod. That was the closest I came to practicing with this setup.

    For this concert, I did not know the venue. Toronto City Hall can be set up in different ways, and this time it had been divided to provide an area for "Wheelchair Tennis". I had not seen how this was done. But I knew I was going to arrive late, so I expected that I would be far from the stage. So I decided to use my new Olympus "ED 40-150mm f4.0-5.6 R" manual zoom lens. For 4K, with the 2.8x crop factor, this performs like a 112 - 420 mm zoom on a 35mm camera. My last 4K attempt using the 12 - 40mm kit zoom for a "music concert" had turned out good except for the focus, so it was not unreasonable to think I could do this, as long as I stayed, perhaps, below 60mm. But this time I would be trying manual focussing.

    The big issue was that I did not have time to practice with this setup before the event. Normally, I try to practice with my setup the night before recording--every time. The difference is that when a setup is new to me, I practice longer. With a setup as new as this, I would have liked an hour to check myself out on it, and maybe some time on my backup camcorder too. But I did not get a chance to do any of my usual practice. I just charged my batteries, packed up my gear, planned the trip, and tried to get some sleep.

    When I arrived and setup, I found that the crowd was not so bad. The lens forced me to setup further away than I would have with the kit zoom or the Sony. The stage was very wide, which meant I was going to have to manually focus a lot from one end of the stage to the other. And the stage had multiple levels, so I could not lock the up-down tilt on the monopod. In effect, it was like handheld except the camera height above ground was constant. With time to think it over, I could have packed up the Yi-M1 and used the Sony CX240B. But I wanted the 4K video if possible, and my last video turned out fairly well after stabilizing in post. So I decided to give it a try.

    The result was worse than I expected. The lighting was dark. I had expected "normal" spotlights. That did not happen. Also, because I was not as familiar with the camera as I thought, I mistook the "Mode" wheel for the EV control. I turned it and the EV did not change. What was going wrong? Also, I could not set "manual focus with peaking". I could only set "manual focus". Two or three songs into the show I looked at the camera and realized what I had done. I had turned the Mode wheel, eventually to Panorama instead of setting the EV. Luckily, there was no effect on the video. Moreover, the lighting apparently did not need much EV correction. I think EV = -0.3 would have been best, but no adjustment at all was good enough. As for focussing without "peaking", I found it was not worse than with "peaking." I find that the "peaking" only helps me if I have magnification, and that is never available during video recording on the Yi-M1.

    But the worst thing was that without the locked tilt, and no stabilization, at that distance, the camera shake caused blurred frames that I could do nothing about in post. Stabilizing in post does work as far as aligning the frames, but a blurred frame is still blurred.

    So how much of that was due to my lack of practice the night before? And did it make sense to use the Yi-M1 in this situation when I had the Sony CX240B ready in my camera bag anyway?

    Did I learn anything? Yes, In this situation I would not bother with the Yi-M1. I would drop back to the Sony and bring home a better Full HD clip. But even after I explain all this does it help anyone else? I do not know. All I can think is "maybe". So I decided to post this for now, but do not be surprised if I replace this someday with a link to a better 4K video, or at least one that shows something more specific about the camera.

    "[UHD] 20170926 James Blonde - Cynical - Invictus Games Concerts"
    ""


     
  2. VidThreeNorth

    VidThreeNorth TPF Noob!

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    Olympus ED40-150mm f4.0-5.6 R MSC at UHD

    The Olympus ED40-150mm f4.0-5.6 R MSC zoom lens is a "budget" zoom lens. I would call it a "semi-kit" zoom because it is often included in a 2 zoom kit for Olympus cameras. This file set shows what it could do in on the Yi-M1 in this particular situation. If you saw the video, you will know that a high percentage of the frames were out of focus or motion blurred, so it took me a bit of work to find a couple of frames that give a real idea of how good this combination could be when used "properly". I deliberately chose frames and detail crops with the band's fans in mind, but the lens can be adequate for general use. It is not a wonderful lens, but it is not terrible either. In "full resolution" you will see typical YUV 4:2:0 aliasing. The reduced "1920" images "reassemble" these anomalies to an extent. Due to the "smoke machine" use, I advise not to assume that typical contrast is demonstrated in these frames. Imagine how the video would have turned out if I could have held onto this quality throughout. That is always the goal.

    "Pic01-09h36m53s437-1920.jpg"
    The black vertical mic stands in the right foreground are surprisingly sharp in both the 1920 reduced and the 1640 full resolution detail files. I think the auto-focus would have had problems if I had used it. If you look at this frame you see almost everything far behind the guitarist. There are some heads in the foreground but I think maybe 70 - 80% of the frame is behind him. My earlier experience seems to indicate that this composition would have focussed behind the guitarist. In this frame I think I have focussed just a bit in front of him -- on the mic stands themselves.

    "Pic01a-detail-1640.jpg"
    Full resolution "detail crop of the above frame.


    "Pic02-08h59m09s086-1920.jpg"
    Ampeg, Marshall and Yamaha would be happy to see this picture. Their logos have shown up very well. I think that the bass is a MusicMan. That logo was a bit too small to show up. The drum kit and mic stands again, are good places to look for the resolution and detail. Looking at the drum sticks, brings up the question of shutter roll. I looked throughout the clip, and yes, I can see some shutter roll, but it did not seem bad. I think that there is significantly more in 2K, which is understandable since the full sensor is being read. The Panasonics have been shown to have less shutter roll than some other 4K video cameras. I think the Yi-M1 is probably about as good. Unfortunately, I have not made a formal test of this issue yet.

    Here, the big LED stage display is a significant problem for autofocus. The moire pattern on the screen in the "detail" file shows that the individual LED lights are almost in focus in this frame. I have seen clips where I am certain that a camera's autofocus had gotten fooled by a big screen like this and focussed on it instead of an act in front of it. So again, I believe that autofocus would not have worked for this clip. But in this case it would not surprise me if some other more expensive cameras would have done poorly as well.

    "Pic02a-detail-1640.jpg"
    Full resolution "detail" crop of the above frame.
     

    Attached Files:

  3. VidThreeNorth

    VidThreeNorth TPF Noob!

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    Apparently, on Oct. 30, 2017 Yi Technology released V3.0-int firmware for the Yi-M1 camera. I have downloaded the file and hope to complete the upload soon. Here are the release notes:

    "Version: 3.0-int
    Release date: 10/30/2017
    The firmware is only for the international version of YI-M1 mirrorless camera.
    It is strongly recommended that all users upgrade YI Mirrorless App to 3.0.0 to implement new features.
    Firmware version 3.0-int update logs:

    NEW:
    1. Added exposure control in the mode P/A/S/M for video capture
    2. Added AF/MF control for video capture
    3. Added RAW+JPG format for still capture
    4. Added still image option in Time Lapse
    5. Added the option to shoot 1-3 images when using the self-timer function with an initial 2 second or 10 second timer setting
    6. Added a histogram in live view mode for both still and video capture
    7. Added new focus viewing modes with improved image quality including: 6x, 8x and 10x magnification in MF mode
    8. Added 2 ways to show the Metering mode in the UI
    9. Added the user guide (Restoring factory settings to view)
    10. Added multiple selection of images for deletion.
    11. Added 2 new options for the display grid
    12. AE algorithm optimization
    13. Master Guide template display logic optimized
    14. Improved AF speed

    Fixed:
    Fixed some known bugs, and improved the overall stability of the system.

    Changed:
    Change the thumbnails in each screen from 9 to 12 images."
     
  4. VidThreeNorth

    VidThreeNorth TPF Noob!

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    I installed the Version "3.0-int" firmware last night. I have not had time for thorough testing, and as usual I cannot even predict when I will, but I did some quick testing of issues for 4K video:

    Yi 42.5mm F1.8 lens: (no focus ring)
    During 4K video:
    - cannot set Manual focus (no change from "version 2.0 Int.")
    - EV comp is working using dial
    - Touch Screen focus works during 4K video

    Yi 12-40mm F3.5-5.6 zoom lens: (has a focus ring)
    - Manual focus can be set and used (with or without "peaking" -- no change from "version 2.0 Int.")
    - EV compensation is working using the dial
    - Touch Screen focus works during 4K video

    I have not tried face detect during video yet [See Below], which would also be a big asset, but this much goes very far in making the camera a viable video tool. The "touch screen focus" is best used on a tripod or at the least, a monopod, but that is how I work for most of my video recording anyway.

    [2017-11-04]
    I just ran a quick test of face detection in 4K video using the Yi 12-40mm F3.5-5.6 zoom. It is working. It might not be as good as some other cameras, but it definitely makes this a more useful video camera.
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2017
  5. VidThreeNorth

    VidThreeNorth TPF Noob!

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    Adapting Lens To Yi-M1

    Equipment Used:

    Yi-M1 (Firmware Vers "2.0-Int")
    Monopod
    Minolta 28mm F2.8 MD lens (Used, under $50 Cdn)
    Fotodiox PRO MD - MFT" adapter MFR # MD-MFT-P (~$60 US)

    I have been using adapted lenses on my Yi-M1 and my Sony a5000 lately. The Yi-M1 attempts were aimed at use for 4K video. My testing so far have been using a Minolta 28mm F2.8 MD (fully manual) lens for 35mm film cameras through a "Fotodiox PRO MD - MFT" adapter, but without a lens hood.

    This set of files are converted from RAW and then exported without alterations (except the cropping, resizing and compressing). In general, I was quite happy with the "PA240002.DNG" image.

    Both Source files:
    Settings: F5.6-6.3

    "PA240002_-rs1640-C5.jpg"
    PA240002 is a 20MP DNG file. This version has been resized down to 1640 x 1230, but with more compression than I usually use (Paintshop Pro Compression level 5). I have not provided a corner "Detail" file in this set because I plan to provide them later in actual 4K video frame captures. But since the lens is designed as a 35mm film wide angle, one can expect that "corner" sharpness performance when used on a Micro 4:3 camera is close equaling the center, and I can report that it in fact does hold true. The equivalent 35mm film camera view for this file would be roughly a 56mm lens.

    Partial EXIF:
    Date time: Oct 24, 2017 17:13:13
    width 5200
    height 3902
    Pixel height 3888
    Pixel width 5184
    Component config YCbCr
    Exposure: Normal Program
    Scene capture Standard
    mode: Auto exposure
    bias: 0.00 ev
    time 1/100
    ISO 1000
    Metering: Center weighted average
    Gain control: High gain up

    "PA240002a-4K-1920-C5.jpg"
    This is a crop from the 20MP file representing the coverage of the camera's 4K video mode. The actual equivalent 35mm film camera equivalent view would be roughly a 78.4mm lens. This jump is a result of the 4K video mode using a reduced sensor area from the full M 4:3 sensor. Again, the Paintshop Pro JPEG compression is level 5.


    "PA240002b-Detail-1200-C1.jpg"
    Lately I have tried to standardize on 1640 x 1230 pixel "Detail" crops, but for this set I found that the file sizes required too much compression. I have reduced to 1200 x 900 in order to provide minimum JPEG image data loss. I should caution everyone by reminding that "noise" increases file size as well as detail, and I have no way of breaking out the noise component, so while the file sizes appear impressive, do not assume it is all a result of quality. Still, the nature of the composition does imply a fairly high detail component.


    "PA240009-1640-C2.jpg"

    Partial EXIF:
    Date time: Oct 24, 2017 17:16:22
    width 5200
    height 3902
    Photometric Interp: Unknown (32803)
    Pixel height 3888
    Pixel width 5184
    Component YCbCr
    Exposure: Normal Program
    Scene capture Standard
    mode: Auto exposure
    bias: 0.00 ev
    time 1/320
    ISO 200
    Metering: Center weighted average
    Gain control: Low gain up

    This image has a serious fogging issue caused by stray light within the body. Immediately after seeing this image I started looking for a lens hood. My next projects were done with a rubber lens hood, but I have a metal lens hood on order.

    When adapting lenses that have significantly larger coverage than sensor size, one can expect that body flare can become significant and that an appropriate lens hood will be beneficial. This 28mm lens was intended to be "wide angle". In normal Micro 4:3 usage (full sensor) it is roughly a "standard lens" (56mm) and in 4K video for the Yi-M1 it becomes a 78.4mm equivalent short telephoto. For these latter uses, "narrower" lens hoods become appropriate. But all the light from the designed "wide angle" coverage is coming into the body. Depending on how well "baffled" the body is, light can then be reflected onto the sensor. The "56mm" equivalent use should be perfectly paired with a standard lens hood. The "78.4mm" equivalent use is harder to match. An 85mm lens hood might cause vignetting depending on how "tightly" it has been designed.


    Fotodiox PRO MD - MFT" adapter MFR # MD-MFT-P (~$60 US)
    As for the Fotodiox adapter, overall, the construction is based on two main pieces. The body of the device appears to be forged, and with minimal machining. The rear mount (to the Micro 4:3 camera) is part of the main body. It cannot be removed and can be considered unrepairable. The front "lens" mount is a separate fully machined piece. In theory, it could be repaired, but I doubt if the repair part will be made available. Overall, it is probably intended to be disposable. This is a problem with this device because the rear mount is not as tight a fit as I would have liked. I tried to "rock" the lens in the mount and it seems secure enough, but how long it will last will depend on how fast the black coating and the underlying metal might wear out. Oddly, a standard Micro 4:3 rear lens cap will not work on this mount. It is too lose and would easily fall off.

    The adapter has a tripod mount (which I believe can be removed, though I have not tried to do so), but the front-back length of the mount is short (about 19mm) and I think this could cause dangerous stress in use with long lenses.
     

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  6. VidThreeNorth

    VidThreeNorth TPF Noob!

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    Earlier I mentioned that I wanted to test the touch screen in cold weather. Due to a cold snap, I got a chance to run a test today at about 10:00 EST. Temperature was about -7C. I made a couple of 2-3 min 4K video clips using the "touch screen focus" -- a new feature with the new "Version 3.0-Int" firmware. There were no problems for this brief test. I cannot say more than that. I would take a second camera with me in temperatures below 0C anyway. Actually I always have second camera, so that is nothing special.
     
  7. Braineack

    Braineack Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    why? the sub-par quality images it produces?
     
  8. fmw

    fmw No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I didn't suggest that it would find a market with you or me.
     
  9. VidThreeNorth

    VidThreeNorth TPF Noob!

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    Well this puts me in an awkward spot because I seem to be the only one in this forum who has touched this camera, and I have not really paid it much attention -- not even as a video camera, and certainly not as a "still" camera which I take it is what Braineac is talking about. If you are talking about the 4K video capability, which is why I bought it, well, I would have to disagree. If used properly, it can produced some nice clips. Even there I only have a couple of real "work" clips (tagged for a specific project). Just about everything I have done has been testing.

    Let me take a moment and comment about my testing reports. I do not go out of my way to produce reports for this forum or anyone beyond me. I go out and test the equipment I have specifically to see if I can use it for specific uses. I make point form notes as necessary -- again it is all aimed at me and what I need to know. If I have information that I think will be interesting or valuable "here" (or elsewhere), then I do a little more work to try and turn my notes into something readable (with variable success). I might make an extra cropped file or resize file or two, but I rarely do more than that. The images I post are good enough to demonstrate something that I found out along the way. They may be flawed in other ways, technically or artistically, but they showed something specific that I needed or wanted to know.

    Take that "PA240002" file I posted Nov. 3. That image has so much noise some people might wonder why I used it. But personally, I can see the lens sharpness through the noise. I am used to having to evaluate equipment in this kind of situation. But if it was a situation where, if I were being paid to write a review, I would have waited for another opportunity and taken something better (not that hard really, I just needed a day with better lighting). But that's the point. I cannot take more time to make a special set of images for "other people". It would be nice if I had waited for another opportunity, but unless someone is paying me, I cannot afford the extra time. So, "good enough for me" is what I posted.

    And really, I do have a version of the picture I actually like. I like the wild collage of textures, and there is some subtle eye direction and movement. But that is after "processing", which mainly was getting rid of the noise....

    Braineack said:
    > fmw said:

    >> I think it will find a pretty good market in the U.S.

    > why? the sub-par quality images it produces?

    Here I would like some clarification. Are you writing about the still images in the main reports, or do you mean the stuff I posted "here"? Because, really, I haven't posted much in the way of still images at all. Mainly because I have not been using this camera for still images. Almost everything I have posted has been frame captures. And there I would have to say that a couple of the frames have shown the camera actually can do well for video. The 2K video of the "Creepy Crawlies" song turned out quite well, and I have received a couple of compliments from it. Then again, "taste" being what it is, I have had compliments and a couple of "likes" for the "James Blonde" clip, which is unarguably, "photographically poor".

    Also the 20MP "brick wall" file turned out really nicely -- if you like that sort of thing.

    As for the formal reports by DP and Image Resources, etc., mostly the JPEGs were done with old firmware, and Yi claims that the "ver. 3.0-Int" firmware does better. I do not recall having a JPEG file from the earlier firmware to make a comparison, so I will not be able to comment about that. I am hoping that one of the major reviewers will cover the Yi-M1 again with the latest firmware, so I can find out along with everyone else. I have just started taking still images with JPG+RAW set, but again, whether I get a good picture out of it in the near future is doubtful. I have little incentive to make the effort.


    About RAW:

    Now here, the Yi-M1 is about as good as it can be with a good sensor. If you stick a good lens in front of it, mostly you can get the same image you will get from a top end Panasonic (exactly the same sensor) or Olympus (from what I have seen, if it is not the same sensor, it is certainly not a better sensor). The only caveats are 1. if you are using auto-focus, the three camera brands work differently, and 2. there is no optical image stabilization (neither lens based nor sensor shift based) in the Yi -- only software (aka "digital") stabilization, and even then, not in either every situation.

    I will summarize this: For still images, from RAW it can, at least sometimes, be as good as the best you can get from a Panasonic or Olympus. From JPEG? I don't know, but they are claiming it is "better" now.


    fmw said:

    > I didn't suggest that it would find a market with you or me.


    Well, yeah, now that is a question isn't it? Exactly who is this camera good for? Actually, at version "2.0-Int" it was usable, and with practice, and careful use, I have been able to get a foot into the 4K video world. And at this point, that is all I want. I still prefer "Full HD". Also, the 2K (4:3 format) video has been a revelation for me. I do intend to use that capability.

    With version "3.0-Int", I am just now evaluating whether I am going to use it for more than that much.

    But would I tell a "beginner" to buy one of these? I think that having really good autofocus is important for a beginner's camera. Even with what I have seen so far on "3.0-Int" I do not think it is good enough for a beginner. But I need to do more testing to be sure. Right now I would recommend something else.

    But if it isn't a "beginners" camera, and it isn't an "experts" camera (which is where I am place you two), then that makes it a good camera for "me" and maybe not much more. Now, that's a really small market.

    Ok, well, maybe it has a good market as a "C-roll" 4K video camera in a general sense. If they can get some video people to try it out with the new firmware, they might actually have something here.
     

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