Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1 review

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Lumix DMC-GM1 is the smallest mirrorless camera on the market, especially when used with collapsible 12-32mm kit lens or with Panasonic and Olympus pancake prime lenses. Despite that, it is a full featured interchangeable lens camera stuffed with loads of features and some of them are really unique like 1/16000 shutter speed, completely silent operation, time-lapse and stop-motion video and many more. It uses micro 4/3 lens mount what means it accept around 40 lenses from Panasonic and Olympus with full auto-focus support.

GENERAL SPECIFICATIONS

  • Announced: 2013.
  • Type: Mirrorless
  • Dimensions: 99 x 55 x 30 mm (3.88 x 2.16 x 1.2″)
  • Weight: 204g (with battery)
  • Sensor: 4/3 CMOS, 16 MP (4592 x 3448 pixels)
  • ISO range: 200 – 25600
  • Image stabilization: No
  • Dust and moisture protection: No
  • Flash: Built-in pop-up flash
  • Continuous shooting: 5 fps
  • LCD screen: 3″, 1,036,000 dots, tilt-able, touch sensitive
  • Memory card: SD, SDHC, SDXC
  • Battery: Li-Ion
  • Video: 1920 x 1080 @ 24p, 1280 x 720 @ 60p
  • Connectors: USB 2.0, micro HDMI, Wi-Fi built-in


CONSTRUCTION AND HANDLING

As mentioned before, Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1 is the smallest mirrorless camera on the market. It can fit in almost any pocket and only lens makes it bigger than classic compact cameras with fixed lens. It comes with 12-32mm collapsible lens which is really tiny and comparable to Panasonic and Olympus pancakes in size. It even rivals Sony DSC-RX100M2 in size what is magnificent since it has larger sensor and interchangeable lens.

It is available in three color combinations: all black, black and silver and silver and orange. Build quality is excellent: GM1 has magnesium-alloy shell and aluminum top and bottom plates.

There are relatively few of external controls since the camera can be controlled via touch LCD. If you do not like touch interface it can be turned off and controlled via buttons but it will require a lot of presses to get to some options. Buttons are quite small and not particularly usable for users with large palms and fingers but this is to be expected from a camera this small. They also have very short travel when pressed and this is a problem for anyone using the camera; I regularly accidentally pushed a multi-way controller when actually only rotating control dial. It is something GM1 users will simply have to get used to.

GM1 still has external mode dial what is a time-saver compared to some Sony NEX cameras where a simple change from aperture to shutter priority mode requires entering and navigating the menu system.

Pop-up flash unit is built-in. It has a small range of 4m but it can be tilted upward to mimic bounce. Due to the short range, bounce is useful only in closed environments with low ceiling; still it is a feature that will allow you to get lighting quality very few cameras could (for example there is not a single one DSLR on the market with a built-in flash that can be bounced). Kudos to Panasonic for that.

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4 thoughts on “Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1 review

  1. Pingback: Christmas 2015 digital camera shopping guide | Camerahoarders.com

  2. Wow, thanks for the fast answer, I appreciate that!

    Okay I think that the GM1 will be my choice. I’ve seen that you also reviewed those lenses you speak of so I’ll consider the 15mm 1.7 and the 45mm 1.8 as additional extras for low light situations.

    Of course they push the price up high but as you will surely agree, when buying a camera with an interchangeable lens system, it would be a shame not to use it… ;-)

    Thanks and regards,
    Artur

  3. Hello Ivan,

    i’ve stumbled upon your review of the GM1 on youtube and wanted to check your website aswell to read the full review. Really nice website actually! :-)

    I’m seriously thinking about getting myself a GM1 but I am not sure whether (or how much) it outpasses the Sony RX100M2 (that would be my second option) in terms of low light shooting.

    I’m mostly interested in taking pictures during evening hours or even at night. What I’ve read so far is that generally the bigger the sensor, the better low light images and less noise you can expect from the camera. Would you confirm that?

    I also thought about getting a APS-C camera like the Fuji X-M1 but I really love the compact size of the GM1 (I have quite small hands haha) and that’s why it currently stands on top of my rankings.

    Thanks for any support and cheers,
    Artur

    • With the kit lens on GM1 (slow aperture F/3.5-5.6) you have no business shooting in the dark. RX100M2 has F/1.8-4.9 – quite good at the wide end, but slow again on the tele so pretty much forget about portraits or using zoom at all in low light. Now, if you get yourself a proper prime lens for GM1 like 15/1.7, 20/1.7 (walkaround use) or olympus 45/1.8 (for portraits or more subject isolation) GM1 is way above what RX100M2 can deliver both in low light shooting and subject separation (shallow DOF). And it still has bigger sensor (yes, bigger sensor really is better in low light).

      It’s not only low light capability you need to think about, it’s also low light auto focus and in this regard GM1 is once again better in my opionion, it has really snappy auto focus. Also it has touch screen so you can easily change AF point anywhere in the frame just by touching it (RX100M2 needs to be changed by multiple presses on the buttons) so this is one more thing to be considered.

      Alltogether, I would go for GM1 with 15mm 1.7 and olympus 45/1.8 lenses. Yes, it is more expensive with these two lenses but photography is not a cheap hobby. :)

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