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

Yongnuo seems to have a very unusual approach when it comes to cameras. Theyโ€™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.

Itโ€™s an Android-powered Micro Four Thirds mirrorless camera that takes regular Micro Four Thirds lenses, and itโ€™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 somebodyโ€™s actually gotten their hands on one and put it through its paces.

Yongnuoโ€™s history with cameras has been strange.

  • May 2018 โ€“ Yongnuo shows off a weird โ€œYN43โ€ lens adapter for smartphones โ€“ it takes EF mount lenses, but has a Micro Four Thirds sensor. This doesnโ€™t appear to have ever been released.
  • October 2018 โ€“ Yongnuo teases an unusual looking Android-powered camera that appears to take a Canon EF mount lens.
  • November 2018 โ€“ 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 โ€“ Yongnuo shows off the YN450 at CP+ 2019. It was expected to be released in China in April 2019, although that doesnโ€™t appear to have happened, either.
  • February 2020 โ€“ Yongnuo joins Panasonic and Olympus in the Micro Four Thirds System Standard group, along with Laowa and Mediaedge.
  • March 2020 โ€“ 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, itโ€™s been all quiet on the Yongnuo front. Iโ€™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 havenโ€™t so far. Now, though, it looks like there are ways to buy it for those based in China as the LTT video shows.

Itโ€™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 canโ€™t make phone calls), but itโ€™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 shouldโ€™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 itโ€™s right for youโ€ฆ Well, youโ€™ll have to watch the video and make that decision for yourself.

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

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