Reviewing the Yongnuo YN455 Camera

It was the recent bevy of new m43 lens announcements from Yongnuo that reminded me of their Android based m43 camera body that they introduced in the midst of Covid.   I watched the many YouTube reviews but none of them had actually used the camera but instead relied on hyping the manufacturer’s marketing bullets.  Once again I am reminded of the monumental abuse of Internet bandwidth by some videomakers.   Not only do they often say nothing of value, it takes several minutes to say it.  A well written blog is efficiency.

Aparently, Yongnuo has no plans to sell the camera outside of China so they were unwilling to provide a review sample.  I ordered one from a Hong Kong camera store as a compromise to my stance of not to buy Made in China products, if possible.   But the differences between Hong Kong and China are diminishing daily.

The camera body was introduced for a price of $600 USD but inflation in the intervening two years has raised that closer to $750 USD.  You may recall the earlier Yongnuo 450 which was the decidedly ill advised m43 Android camera with an EOS lens mount.  The company addressed many of the design criticisms and physically the 455 shows promise.   It appears to be quality constructed but with a surprising size and heft that is dominated by a 5×3″ hinged rear screen.  Since the 20MP camera is really a thinly disguised Snapdragon 660 SoC smartphone running Android 10, one might excuse the need for a large screen as well as the existence of only two (2) physical buttons since all camera functions are accessed via the Android interface.    The 455 does feature a new handgrip, remarkably similar in size to that found on the OM-1.  And even more remarkably, the 455 weighs 40 grams more than the OM-1.   I used to have the Lumix CM1 which was a smartphone that had a very good Leica branded camera with a 1″ sensor.    This is where I thought Yongnuo was headed until I saw it beside my Lumix GM1, my take anywhere all the time camera that perhaps best espouses the m43 ethos.   You can see where this review is going.

I was able to change the language from Chinese to English in the Android System which instantly improved the camera experience.  With a Nano SIM card inserted, there is a luxury of connectivity options: WLAN, WiFi, Bluetooth and USB but once again I could not get the basic USB connection to work.  My image transfers occurred via Bluetooth.  There is a generous 64GB of memory built in with a little over 50GB available for image storage from the factory and a slot for  a 256GB microSD card is available.  There is a standard tripod threaded hole on the ventral surface along with an unusual USB OTG (on the go) socket for which I have no compatible cables and from which I suspect the USB file transfer actually occurs.  The only supplied cable was a generic USB-C for which recharging is performed on the 2nd USB port on the left side of the body.  There is the ability to mount an unpowered and supplied hotshoe on the dorsal surface.

All the camera functions are accessed via the rear touchscreen and the design is decent, but a little hard to read. Surely with this much screen geography, why are the fonts not larger?  Especially the ones that run across the top of the screen that show critical settings.  The left side image shows that when AF is enabled, that is all that is enabled.   There is absolutely no ability to select focus points in the FOV.  None.  On the right image – there are all the expected shooting modes and aperture, ISO and EV adjustments can all be made. 
There appears to be about 100 focus points but none are selectable. What is confusing is that when the shutter release is depressed halfway to enable AF, the activated focus points appear to indicate what areas of the image are now in focus. But clearly the code is buggy because here we have the near corner of the wall and the far away coat rack both in focus and as a result the image is soft and nothing is in focus.
The best way to ensure every image taken is in focus, is to tap the screen to activate this large focus square and wait until it lights green before depressing the shutter release fully. Unfortunately you cannot choose a small focus square, only this large one which occupies the space of at least 4 small focus points.
Left using shutter release activated AF, right using tap the rear screen AF.  Since you cannot define the focus point, the camera decides for you what it likes to be in focus.  Not even the center of the FOV is the default focus point, it is apparently random. 
As above, showing the inconsistent AF in action.  AF is slow and hunts in the fashion of a poorly implemented contrast detect system.    The big screen is very difficult to view in strong daylight, even with the brightness turned to maximum.  Perhaps having the hinge attached at the bottom of the body instead of the top to allow it to swing down would give it a better ability to deflect ambient light.
Good image quality is possible. Taken at 400mm with 150-400mm f/4.5 Zuiko telephoto. But there is no sensor stabilization and no RAW files, only JPEGs.
Rain or snow, the severely underappreciated crossing guard. Nothing like this camera.

In addition to a terrible AF system, the camera fails to satisfy the standards of the m43 lens mount.  M43 manual focus lens like the Laowa 7mm f/2, 43rds lens using the MMF-1 adaptor and EOS lenses using a Metabones adaptor do not function at all on this body.   The error message displayed reads:  “The lens is not ready.  Please unscrew the lens to the proper position.”   Which is beyond cryptic.

And also in violation of the standards of the m43 lens mount, when a new lens is changed, the aperture does not default to the largest aperture of the new lens but maintains the last selected aperture.

It is hard to imagine the decisions that lead to spending millions of dollars to tool up and fabricate this camera when its market and audience is so unclear.  It’s not a camera for smartphone users because the thing is a brick.  It literally has the dimensions of a clay brick used in domestic residential construction with even a small to medium sized lens attached.    And it’s not for the serious photographer or dedicated m43 user because the poor AF system means that it cannot take full advantage of its interchangeable lens ability – the ability to use quality high focal length optics that will always be beyond the capabilities of smartphone based cameras.    Even the Yi M1 is a better camera.  A much better camera.   You can see my review from several years ago


  1. Thanks for the review. I always had a very important question about this camera? Is it possible to install gcam on it? It should change your experience totally. You can join one of the many channels on Telegram about gcam (google Cam) and ask for a version that works smoothly with Snapdragon 660 and Android 10. Or you can look for it on the xda-developer site. Then let us know 🙂


      1. Nobody can answer that question. But installing and trying different gcam apk files (there are hundreds to choose from) is worth a try 😉


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