With a 16-million-pixel four-thirds sensor and interchangeable lenses, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM5 packs a lot of punch for a camera that fits inside the palm of your hand. We put it to the test in our Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM5 review
Skip forward a year, and Panasonic has announced another new member of the Lumix G family, in the form of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM5. It’s not a successor to the GM1 – it’s a more advanced bigger brother with a few exciting add-ons, but is certainly a continuation on the theme of small and compact.
A few of these exciting additions include an electronic viewfinder, a slightly larger LCD screen and hotshoe. Of course, housing all of this means it isn’t as small as the GM1, but it still maintains a very compact size.
Inside the Panasonic Lumix GM5 is a four-thirds Live MOS Sensor with a resolution of 16-million pixels. This sensor is used in numerous Panasonic cameras, including the Panasonic DMC-GM1 and the more recent Panasonic Lumix LX100. Measuring 17.3 x 13mm across, it is bigger than the 1in-type sensors found in compact cameras, such as the Sony RX100 III or the Canon G7 X, but smaller than the APS-C sized sensors inside some DSLR cameras and CSCs. It’s very impressive to see a large-sized four-thirds sensor inside a camera with such a small form factor.
The GM5 has a native ISO sensitivity range of 200-25,600 and an extended setting of ISO 100. This is fractionally lower than the GM1’s extended ISO of 125. Images can be captured in either raw or JPEG format and the GM5 improves upon the shooting speed of the GM1’s 5fps, increasing it to 5.8fps in continuous shooting mode.
However, what really sets the GM5 apart from the GM1 is the electronic viewfinder, with its resolution of 1166k dots – great for composing images in bright conditions. As with the GM1, the GM5 has a 3in touch-sensitive LCD display, but instead of a 3:2 ratio 1031k-dot screen, the GM5 has a 16:9 ratio 921k-dot resolution screen. This means it is longer, making it better for shooting video than the GM1. Video can be recorded in AVCHD full HD with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 at a 60i frame rate.
As a kit, the GM5 comes with either a 15mm Leica lens or the Panasonic Lumix G Vario 12-32mm f/3.5-f/5.6 Asph with Mega OIS image stabilisation built in. This 12-32mm is the lens that made its debut alongside the GM1 to keep the camera compact. It’s the cheaper option, costing around £750 as a kit, while the Leica 15mm costs around £1049 as a kit. The Leica lens is able to take advantage of the improved 240fps AF readout, resulting in quicker autofocusing. There’s a choice of either black, or black and red, in the UK. However, we have seen variations of silver, orange tan and military green, which could potentially become available.
As with most recent cameras, the GM5 has Wi-Fi functionality. This allows users to send and review files on their smartphone or tablet via the Panasonic app. Also, the GM5 offers the ability to connect to a smartphone or tablet and control the camera using the linked device. Interestingly, though, the GM5 doesn’t have an NFC connection, which is mostly likely a trade-off for its small size. To keep the small form factor, the GM5 doesn’t feature a pop-up flash. Instead, it has a small external flash unit included in the box, which slides onto the hotshoe mount. This is also an advantage for using flashguns and other hotshoe-mounted accessories.
Other noteworthy features include highlight/shadow and focus peaking. Just like the GH4, the GM5 will highlight areas at the point of optimum focus to assist in achieving sharp focus manually. This is also previewed through the EVF, which is a big help as the EVF is quite small. The highlight/shadow feature allows users to apply a tone curve to adjust the shadow and highlight areas in brightness/darkness. This is perfect for manually manipulating the tonal range of the camera.