Boasting a 16-millon-pixel-sensor, interchangeable lenses and Wi-Fi in a palm-sized body, is the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1 the perfect balance between image quality and pocketability? Read the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1 review...
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1 at a glance:
- 16-million-pixel, four thirds-sized Live MOS sensor
- Micro four thirds lens mount
- 3in, 1.036-million-dot TFT LCD touchscreen
- Lumix G Vario 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6 Asph Mega OIS kit lens
- Sensitivity range of ISO 200-25,600 (125-25,600 auto extended)
- Comprehensive Wi-Fi connectivity
- Street price around £629 with kit lens
- See sample images taken with the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1 review – Introduction
While compact cameras score over DSLRs with regard to portability, they can’t compare in terms of image quality. A mix of lightweight, compact design and decent image quality is therefore a balance that camera manufacturers are keen to get right, and it seems that Panasonic has made good progress towards achieving this. The company’s new Lumix DMC-GM1 is a tiny micro four thirds compact system camera with impressive specifications. Essentially, it is the redesigned inner workings of Panasonic’s top-end Lumix DMC-GX7 in a body that fits in the palm of your hand.
The company has identified its target market as 22 to 40-year-old young (and not-so-young) professionals – the kind of people who want a camera they can keep with them all the time to photograph their lifestyle and the things that happen around them. Equally as important is image quality and the ability to share these images on social media. With a 16-million-pixel sensor, interchangeable lenses and comprehensive Wi-Fi functionality, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1 fulfils the criteria exceptionally well.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1 review – Features
Inside the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1 is a four thirds Live MOS sensor with a resolution of 16 million pixels. This sensor has dimensions of 17.3x13mm, which is bigger than the 1in sensor found inside the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 II compact camera, but smaller than the more common APS-C-sized sensor. The GM1 can record images in both JPEG and raw file formats and these images are processed by Panasonic’s own Venus Engine.
The specification of the camera is very similar to the Lumix DMC-GX7. However, the GM1 lacks some of the GX7’s functionality, such as bulb shooting, Near Field Communication and full HD 60i movie recording, although it has the great benefit of being significantly smaller. With the dimensions of the camera body measuring just 98.5×54.9×30.4mm, it is by far the smallest micro four thirds system camera we have ever seen.
Announced alongside the GM1 was a brand new lens in the form of the Lumix G Vario 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6 Asph, which has Mega OIS image stabilisation built in. This lens was specifically designed for the GM1 to tie in with the small, lightweight, ‘take anywhere’ ethos behind the camera, and it comes as the standard kit lens.
Weighing 70g and protruding just 24mm from the lens mount when not extended, the lens really is lightweight and compact. Turning the zoom ring extends the barrel and makes it operational. With a micro four thirds crop factor of 2x, the lens is equivalent to 24-64mm on a full-frame camera. Some users might find this short range a little restricting, but for landscapes and portraits it is more than adequate. One slight disadvantage is that the lens does not feature a focus ring, so manual focus can only be altered using on-camera controls.
In terms of connectivity, the GM1 boasts one of the most comprehensive Wi-Fi functionalities of any camera currently available, via the Panasonic Image App (available for both iOS and Android devices). When connected to this app, it is possible to share images or videos directly with a smartphone or tablet – which is fairly standard with most Wi-Fi-enabled cameras – but it goes a step further by enabling full remote wireless shooting via a smart device. In-app manual controls are unrivalled, and allow every setting, including aperture, shutter speed and ISO, to be changed without ever touching the camera.
A pop-up flash is built into the GM1, with a guide number of 4m @ ISO 100. It is reasonably powerful and will be sufficient for casual portraits.
Also featured are 22 different filter effects, along with time-lapse and stop-motion animation modes, so the GM1 ticks all the right boxes for the creative photographer. Importantly, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1 has a built-in intervalometer, which is programmable in-camera (see Time-lapse, for more information on time-lapse mode).
Image: Using the remote shooting function enabled by Wi-Fi allowed me to capture images at angles that would usually be very difficult to achieve