DPReview Gear of the Year - Part 2: Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1

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16MP sensor | 3.0-inch touch screen | Built-in Wi-Fi | 12-32mm F3.5-5.6 collapsible kit lens

Most cameras find their way to our office in a medium-sized cardboard box. The Panasonic Lumix GM1, rather stealthily, arrived in a small, rectangular FedEx box usually reserved for point-and-shoot deliveries. And that alone says a lot about the GM1, a Micro Four Thirds camera so tiny that we asked ourselves more than once while preparing the preview, "Does this really have a Four Thirds sensor in it?" 

Panasonic Lumix GM1: What I Love

  • 16 megapixel Four Thirds sensor 
  • Wi-Fi connectivity
  • 3.0-inch touch screen
  • Great companion to compact primes like the 20mm F1.7
  • Mode dial and other external controls
  • Textured leather-like finish, magnesium alloy frame and aluminum hardware

It struck a chord with me particularly, since it seemed to be a weird mashup of each of the cameras I’d previously reviewed for DPR. If you took the concepts behind the Pentax Q7, Sony RX100 II and Olympus E-PM2 and threw them in a blender, the GM1 might be the thing that comes out. 

Like a lot of hobbyist photographers I know, I’m in a struggle with my DSLR. I love the better high ISO performance and dynamic range it provides, but I hate lugging it around when I’m out and about. Consequently, it gets left at home a lot when I’m not Going Shooting. In different ways I enjoyed shooting with the Pentax Q7, Sony RX100 II and Olympus E-PM2, but for me personally, none of them quite hit the target of what I wanted in terms of size and capability. 

Lo and behold, the Panasonic GM1 crossed my desk in its point-and-shoot sized box. 

Micro Four Thirds cameras are no doubt smaller than their DSLR counterparts, but until recently none have been truly pocketable. The GM1, with either a 20mm pancake or its 12-32mm kit lens, actually fits into a jacket pocket. Even better, it fits into one of the larger compartments in my purse. It’s at my side and ready to shoot at a moment’s notice, and when I’m not shooting I don’t notice it.

It doesn’t hurt the GM1’s case that it’s a stylish little gadget. It fits easily in my purse, but I’m happy to attach a strap and carry it over my shoulder when I’m out and about. And though it doesn’t have the fancy dials of more advanced ILCs, it has what I need for casual shooting. The touch screen is responsive and I have everything I need organized in the Q.Menu. I can quickly get to exposure compensation, white balance and ISO, and make adjustments via the rear dial to aperture or shutter speed. Game, set, match.

Here’s where the GM1 is set apart from other cameras I’ve tested: I want to have it with me, even when I’m heading out of the apartment to run errands, or go to the coffee shop, and I don’t have any specific intentions of Going Shooting. I might just see a nice shot and the GM1 will get it. When I take my DSLR out on these kinds of trips, I'm acutely aware that it's there the whole time. 

A good camera is not hard to find. Most any camera in the GM1’s peer group is good, and will take good images in a lot of conditions. It's the way you intend to use a camera that makes a difference in how well suited it is for you. What sets the GM1 apart for me is that it’s good and it fits into my life and the way I take pictures on an everyday basis. Editor Barnaby Britton put it well in his Gear of the Year article when he said starting a camera review is like agreeing to take a trip around the world with someone you just met. The GM1 and I are at the beginning of our journey and there's still a lot of ground to cover, but so far we're getting along swimmingly.

This is part 2 in a series of articles where DPReview staff will be highlighting their personal standout products of the year.

Allison Johnson

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1 Sample Images

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1 Samples Gallery

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Comments

Total comments: 295
12
zodiacfml
By zodiacfml (5 months ago)

MFT fixed lens please.

2 upvotes
mister_roboto
By mister_roboto (5 months ago)

I have wondered why they haven't gone that route too. They could top the high-end fixed lens compact camera market.

3 upvotes
Andy Crowe
By Andy Crowe (5 months ago)

But then it wouldn't be an MFT camera, it would just be a compact camera with a 4/3" size sensor (like the Canon G1X has)

2 upvotes
Trollshavethebestcandy
By Trollshavethebestcandy (5 months ago)

Who cares about the name of the camera if it does not have the mount. Are we photographers and gear geeks or name nazis?!?!?!?!?! a 2/3rds size x100 minus the viewfinder would be a cool niche product.

2 upvotes
ageha
By ageha (5 months ago)

Panasonic cares because it makes no sense.

0 upvotes
zodiacfml
By zodiacfml (5 months ago)

@mister_roboto

Exactly.

0 upvotes
Eleson
By Eleson (5 months ago)

This article, Barneys, Shawns on the A7...
I just love them! Saying so much more than a test image where everyone and their brother tries to find arguments for their pet peve.
Thanks!

To lift it a notch or two, add a second opinion to for instance the a7 write up, preferably from someone with a totally different view.
And allow it to be views and opinions!

1 upvote
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (5 months ago)

Glad you like them! They're fun to write.

1 upvote
SirSeth
By SirSeth (5 months ago)

Good idea Eleson. Differing perspective articles would also be a nice read. I do like these personal perspective highlights in addition to the excellent technical reviews here.

2 upvotes
caver3d
By caver3d (5 months ago)

Good point. We need a second viewpoint on the GX7, as it definitely rates higher than the silver award from DPReview. That review irritated a lot of folks. And, yes, I have the GX7, so I know of what I speak.

0 upvotes
Eleson
By Eleson (5 months ago)

@caver, I think it's tricky to mix an objective review and one persons opinion as they are apples and oranges. Maybe if there was room for 3-5 lines from each reviewer involved in the test.

0 upvotes
tipple
By tipple (5 months ago)

I may only be a hobbyist and certainly not a dedicated pixel peeper but i can recognize very good images when i see them and the DMC-GM1 produces very good images, especial high iso images. Does it have every feature and perfect size? No! But it can sure take very good pictures in the right hand. There is not and probably will not be "the perfect camera" that has every feature and performance that if not every person or at least 99% of people want. It aint a perfect world.

1 upvote
Anastigmat
By Anastigmat (5 months ago)

I don't know how they pick gear of the year, but it is obvious that image quality is not an important criterion.

Comment edited 36 seconds after posting
1 upvote
Revenant
By Revenant (5 months ago)

I think they value IQ very highly. It's just that when IQ gets good enough for your needs, other considerations may be more important than even better IQ. Like for example, portability, ergonomics, or specific features that you want.

There are no criteria and no editorial stance behind these articles, they're just the staff members' personal opinions.

9 upvotes
Andy Crowe
By Andy Crowe (5 months ago)

This site isn't only for pros who go round everywhere with their massive EOS-1D C and L lenses, other photographers need different combinations of size vs image quality vs price.

2 upvotes
Acmespaceship
By Acmespaceship (5 months ago)

IQ is certainly not the key criterion for most camera buyers. If it were, we would all be shooting medium format. I guess things like price and portability matter.

7 upvotes
SirSeth
By SirSeth (5 months ago)

Did you mean image quality is not the only criterion? If so, well spoken. If not, well...

0 upvotes
ironcam
By ironcam (5 months ago)

Up to a certain point image quality is good enough for most people. And the look of the photo dominated by the subject, light and composition.

0 upvotes
white shadow
By white shadow (5 months ago)

The image quality from the GM1 should be way above "average" and should satisfy most people.

What's most interesting about the GM1 is it is a marvel piece of engineering and a cute camera to have. Despite some of its limitation like a slow flash syn of 1/50 sec and lack of possible external flash, its is quite capable.

Oh, its so chic and sexy just waiting for you to hold it in your hands. Sure, it will satisfy you too for the things you can do with it.

0 upvotes
millardmt
By millardmt (5 months ago)

Thanks Allison. I have no basis yet upon which to agree or disagree, but I am VERY enamoured of the camera's size and reported build.

Marc

1 upvote
AbrasiveReducer
By AbrasiveReducer (5 months ago)

I understand the significance of a camera being small and light enough to be with you vs. left at home but beyond that, come on. Will DPR be testing shirt pockets, vest pockets, tight jeans? How about the top 10 cameras for sitting on?

1 upvote
happypoppeye
By happypoppeye (5 months ago)

Thats a great comment because it clearly shows you don't understand the significance of a camera being small.

15 upvotes
Ben O Connor
By Ben O Connor (5 months ago)

I bought an E-PM1 body only (which was dead cheap! and brand new !!) and a sigma DN art lens 30 mm f 2.8.

Wishing to see this new collapsable lens (12-32) will be on sale as just itself.... That would help my photography and budget.

0 upvotes
bluevellet
By bluevellet (5 months ago)

You can do that in Europe and Asia:

http://www.43rumors.com/you-can-buy-the-new-panasonic-12-32mm-separately-in-europe-and-asia/#comments

2 upvotes
Treeshade
By Treeshade (5 months ago)

I agree that "pocketability" is more about jacket pocket than jeans pocket.I wouldn't put a 38mm thick, 281g RX100 into my jeans pocket. There are people who wear tight jeans, skirts, dresses... clothings without practical pockets.

1 upvote
WesternSage
By WesternSage (5 months ago)

Good writeup Allison. I too struggle with the DSLR vs not Going Shooting choice. This struggle is kind of ironic since I used to pack a Crown Graphic into the woods with three lenses and film holders full of T-Max and Velvia! But now even my D70 and SLT-A57 seem too heavy and bulky to take along!

The only thing I would miss on the GM1 is stabilization for the small primes, but the high ISO performance is getting so good with m43 cameras that it might not be as important in practice as I'm thinking.

5 upvotes
ThePhilips
By ThePhilips (5 months ago)

To me personally, the new lens - the 12-32 - is much much more interesting. Sadly it doesn't have the built-in lens cap.

0 upvotes
Robert Deutsch
By Robert Deutsch (5 months ago)

There's a Chinese company that makes a self-closing lens cap for the 14-42X. I have one; it works perfectly. I hope that they're coming out with one for the 12-36.

Bob

1 upvote
TFD
By TFD (5 months ago)

you must have and awfully big pocket.

0 upvotes
HappyVan
By HappyVan (5 months ago)

OP has expressed a personal preference. That's fine.

Just got to remember that the majority of DPR regulars are enthusiasts, not opportunistic snapshooters.

Versatility over portability. Depth versus weight.

1 upvote
abortabort
By abortabort (5 months ago)

While I agree wholeheartedly, the thing is DSLRS have been well and truly 'good' for quite a long time now. Do they get better? Sure. But they are usually just a further refinement of an existing design.

These cameras are interesting because they bring something new to the table.

Does this make them the outright best performing product? No. Does it make them the best IQ? No. But it does rank them pretty high on 'products that innovate within the market'.

14 upvotes
tolleknolle
By tolleknolle (5 months ago)

Marvellous, well-matured snobbery. The 8x10 crowd scoffed at Cartier-Bresson's puny little Leica along the same lines.

7 upvotes
ThePhilips
By ThePhilips (5 months ago)

"Just got to remember that the majority of DPR regulars are enthusiasts [...]"

You probably should visit the DPR forums without "SLR" in their name too.

DPR community is surprisingly diversified. But to notice that, you have step out a little bit out of your comfort zone.

6 upvotes
Treeshade
By Treeshade (5 months ago)

Opportunistic snapshooters carry small cameras.
Enthusiasts carry DSLR on shooting days, and small cameras on other days.
Only full-time photographers carry DSLR all day long.

Versatility could be achieved through a combination of lens and camera bodies.

6 upvotes
AbrasiveReducer
By AbrasiveReducer (5 months ago)

It's true that people looked down on 35mm "miniature" photography but that's because film quality didn't allow small cameras to approach what you could get with a 4x5, let alone 8x10. Nobody was suggesting capturing the decisive moment with an 8x10 camera or getting Ansel Adams quality landscapes from 35mm (although both have been tried).

0 upvotes
HappyVan
By HappyVan (5 months ago)

For abortabort,

DSLR is undergoing huge innovations. My D100 had only a 5-point AF system, The cheapo D5300 has 39-points. Canikon's DSLR sales have surged because they have added huge value to their cameras.

DSLR is a hugely important technological product. SLR annihilated the rangefinder. DSLR annihilated the medium format market. The D800 etc is finishing the job on digital medium format and even view cameras.

Smaller, better and cheaper.

For ThePhilips,

Actually, what I see are enthusiasts REGULARS who have upgraded from P&S or migrated from film.

For Treeshade,

There is a limit to versatility. That's why Sony choose APSC, not a smaller sensor. Not surprisingly, NEX is doing very well. See this about diminishing returns...

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/52489639

0 upvotes
Marcos Villaroman
By Marcos Villaroman (5 months ago)

The GM1 looks to be what I was hoping the GF5 would be. I'll be looking to buy one when it gets discounted in six to ten months from now.

6 upvotes
samhain
By samhain (5 months ago)

I'm gonna go ahead & coin the phrase 'teacup camera'.
'Purse camera' was the first thing that came to mind, but...

Call it what you will, this camera definitely strikes me as feminine & 'cute'.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
4 upvotes
rfsIII
By rfsIII (5 months ago)

Of course you mean "teacup" as a parallel construction to "teacup poodle" which is the smallest size of that estimable canine. Excellent analogy!

2 upvotes
Axibis
By Axibis (5 months ago)

..but will it bend? ;)

1 upvote
Ben O Connor
By Ben O Connor (5 months ago)

Thats the question? :D

0 upvotes
blohum
By blohum (5 months ago)

I'm assuming you meant "blend"! :)

3 upvotes
OneGuy
By OneGuy (5 months ago)

I like to read up on Nikon Df but GM1 is something I am actually thinking of getting. But I was looking for an answer to the ol' AF question. Is it better with 1.7/20mm lens? How much? I see some of your samples use the II version and -- come on, no comment on AF speed?

Is the lens protected well enough? I think it needs a wider (read noticeable) yet light and pliable shoulder strap (that could also be used for wrap-around protection in my daily regular bag).

0 upvotes
Prime_Lens
By Prime_Lens (5 months ago)

The AF speed and noise seems to have improved significantly.

http://www.amazon.com/review/R2ASCCYTCPFJ2

0 upvotes
uberzone
By uberzone (5 months ago)

I am sorry, but this is not correct. The auto-focus speed and noise have no improvement over the first version. The only thing that changed was the casing that went from plastic to metal. Regardless, this is still a fantastic lens and one I use often.

1 upvote
OneGuy
By OneGuy (5 months ago)

Glad to hear that, Prime. I understand Uber [alles?] that you are comparing I and II. I have I, but you are saying, and I agree, that the I and II should be very close in AF performance.

0 upvotes
TonyinJapan
By TonyinJapan (5 months ago)

The GM1 has a new menu option called: ‘Quick Focus’. I think this was created for the 20mm f1.7 in mind. What it does is constantly update the focusing on the lens, so that when you actually press the shutter button, it does not need to go through the whole motor motion which makes the lens slow – it speeds the AF up.

1 upvote
Prime_Lens
By Prime_Lens (5 months ago)

uberzone,
I am really hoping that you are wrong. lol
As I have been looking forward to get MK II.

The reviewer's video demonstration did show that the noise level was near inaudible(if not completely). I could hear not only his voice clearly but also ambient sounds. The sound of the focus motor could not be heard like I did with MK I.

0 upvotes
bcalkins
By bcalkins (5 months ago)

Don't all Panasonics have that? The GF1 and GH2 that I've used had Quick AF: "The GF1 also has a Quick AF function that begins focusing as soon as the user aims the camera to enable quick focusing"

1 upvote
Impulses
By Impulses (5 months ago)

Yeah they do.

0 upvotes
AbrasiveReducer
By AbrasiveReducer (5 months ago)

That's interesting about the quick focus. I wonder how it affects the battery life, though.

0 upvotes
TonyinJapan
By TonyinJapan (5 months ago)

Oh, didn’t know the ‘Quick Focus’ was on previous models too (only owned the GX-1 previously for a short time).

The GM1 does feel like one of the speediest AF mirrorless cameras on the market, especially with the Pana 25mm mounted.

Not sure about ‘Quick Focus’ and battery life yet. Definitely need a spare battery for this thing.

Comment edited 41 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Mattersburger
By Mattersburger (5 months ago)

Interesting grip - from where?

0 upvotes
abortabort
By abortabort (5 months ago)

That's the official one. It seems kind of on the pricey side though.

0 upvotes
caver3d
By caver3d (5 months ago)

Don't really need the grip.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
Deleted pending purge
By Deleted pending purge (5 months ago)

This is, in short, one very nice camera. Disregarding die-hard DSLR users, and also those which offer critical views without experience, I think we can agree that the best camera is the one that doesn't stay home. And big system cameras often stay home for various reasons: weather, weight, risk of theft, or something similar.
Considering a compact camera size, the term "pocketability" should undergo some closer definition. Which pocket is meant? Jeans coin/lighter or back pocket? Shirt pocket? All those cameras will surely fit windbreaker pocket, and any army-style jacket can partly accomodate even smaller DSLRs, not to speak of many a superzoom bridge model. Same goes for belt pokes.
So what's in the pocketability? Not much. Real photographers will take good photos with any camera (knowing their limitations), and others will botch with just about any size models anyway. A camera is, and always will remain, just a tool. The photos are the purpose.

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
8 upvotes
DT200
By DT200 (5 months ago)

Finally an interchangable lens camera that can compete with APS DSLRs for IQ and is as small as the RX100. Unlike the $1500+ camera bodies that some here like to talk talk about, this is the kind of camera that will attract former P&S owners and the largest majority of potential camera buyers. I am sure that many higher end camera owners may buy one as a backup because it is so darned portable too.

3 upvotes
Northgrove
By Northgrove (5 months ago)

A bit surprising choice, given that most of the m4/3 lineup is already compact enough for jacket pockets, while not even this one and a decent lens compact enough for jeans pockets. So then why get this one and unusually many compromises for a camera of its class?

A camera is more than its body alone and the m4/3 format puts limits on how small you can go. While you can keep trying to go smaller, the lenses won't. The lens in the photo is not even long, but still too long to make it pocketable. A very small body will also easier get front heavy early, even earlier than with a tele zoom lens on it.

I would understand an RX100/II better than this choice. It's truly pocketable, comes with a tiltable LCD, a hotshoe, and a lens to suit the body, all unlike this one. And about $100 cheaper when including a kit lens.

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 6 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
abortabort
By abortabort (5 months ago)

I kind of agree.

Last years E-PM2 was a really capable m43's body which I felt embodied the spirit of m43's by being one of the smallest around, which with a pancake prime wasn't much bigger than a Ricoh GR, but with faster AF and can take an EVF when you want it to. Also had IBIS and best of all was relatively cheap when m43's seem to be going more and more premium. But it was universally rubbished as being the 'P&S users m43's' or 'poor man's m43's', people just didn't see the size as important. Panasonic bring out the GM1 which is slightly smaller and basically rips off the Fuji XF1 design and people are going ga-ga over it. Sure it IS smaller, but it isn't small enough to make a difference from the E-PM2.

0 upvotes
caver3d
By caver3d (5 months ago)

And the RX100 II has a smaller sensor. The GM1 has the excellent GX7 sensor. And you can swap lenses if you prefer.

1 upvote
jkrumm
By jkrumm (5 months ago)

You must not mind bulgy pockets. : ) Seriously, my wife's EPM2 with the Panasonic 20mm 1.7 will fit in my coat pocket, but it does not fee so good there.

0 upvotes
oluv
By oluv (5 months ago)

can someone tell me how canon manged to squeeze such a compact 15-60/2.8-5.8 lens into the G1 X, and panasonic only managed a 12-32 3.5-5.6?

even if the lens was not fixed (as it is with the G1 X) i still think it could be made similar in size to the 12-32 or x14-42.

when we have a small camera like the GM1, there should also be more really small lenses. i would even welcome collapsible primes, if it would allow them to be pancake-flat. have a look at the 40mm/2.8 pentax pancake, which even covers a fullframe sensor.

1 upvote
Andy Westlake
By Andy Westlake (5 months ago)

The G1 X measures 117 x 81 x 65mm and weighs 534g. The GM1 is considerably smaller - with the 12-32mm it measures 99 x 55 x 54mm and weighs 274g.

As for really small lenses, there's already the Olympus 17/2.8 and Panasonic 20/1.7 and 14/2.5 pancakes, plus several only slightly-larger primes like the Olympus 45/1.8.

8 upvotes
oluv
By oluv (5 months ago)

i know the 45/1.8 for not being large, but it is the flatness of the lens that really makes the camera compact, not the diameter.

i think there are still some pancakes missing. the 14 and 20mm are certainly perfect, but the 25mm leica is too big, and could definitely be made flatter similar to the 20mm.
also longer focal lenghts could be flat, as the 40mm pentax pancake proves.

1 upvote
ageha
By ageha (5 months ago)

The most important attribute is the IQ and the G1 X's lens has a bad IQ.

2 upvotes
oluv
By oluv (5 months ago)

where did you see bad IQ? have a look at the samples, it is pretty sharp, and certainly shaper than all mFT kitlenses so far.

1 upvote
mattmtl
By mattmtl (5 months ago)

" the 25mm leica is too big, and could definitely be made flatter similar to the 20mm. "

Could it? As I understand it, the 20mm owes some of its small size to Panasonic's willingness to correct geometric distortion (mostly barrel) in firmware. Leica is not willing to put its name on lenses that work that way. So you presumably could have a 25/1.4 pancake (somewhat bigger than the 20/1.7) but it's unlikely you'd get one with the Leica name on it.

1 upvote
Impulses
By Impulses (5 months ago)

Several Leica M43 lenses also correct for distortion in SW... I'm sure there's an optical quality vs AF mechanism vs max aperture vs physical size tradeoff regardless, most M43 lenses were made with size in mind. I doubt they made any of them larger just for the hell of it... ;)

0 upvotes
bluevellet
By bluevellet (5 months ago)

The lack of pancake primes is one of the great mysteries of m43. It's obvious there's a demand for those lenses and there's obviously gaps in the already great m43 lens lineup. For example, there's no cheap 25mm (50mm equivalent), one of the most used type of lens in photpgraphy.

Technically, anything between 12 and 30mm, slower than f2 and with some optical compromises (and then corrected partly by software) can be "pancaked" as far as I understand it. If that lens is below 300, it also hits the sweet spot.

Hopefully, the GM1 and hopefully other m43 cameras like it will encourage part of m43 lens development in that direction.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
mattmtl
By mattmtl (5 months ago)

"Several Leica M43 lenses also correct for distortion in SW.."

There aren't even "several" in existence: 45/2.8 macro, 25/1.4 and that's it so far. There is also a 15/1.7 announced.

Do you have any evidence that any of them correct geometric distortion in software?

0 upvotes
Andy Westlake
By Andy Westlake (5 months ago)

The 25/1.4 uses software correction for geometric distortion. Strange but true.

1 upvote
mattmtl
By mattmtl (5 months ago)

I stand corrected. But not especially surprised... Leica has long been all over the place on this matter.

0 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (5 months ago)

Another camera choice for "Gear of the Year" based mostly on convenience for walking around?

This new DPR theme of staff exaggerating DSLR size and the amount of effort it takes to shoot a DSLR is getting a bit old.

When you consider all the great cameras released this past year to have an untested, unreviewed camera that is Pentax Q tiny, and really TOO SMALL for even average sized hands is truly puzzling. Add the fact that it has no eye level viewfinder or the possibility to add one, makes this "Best of the Year" choice suspect at best.

If convenience for walking around and size/weight have become the new criterion for judging "the best of the best" cameras on DPR, I'll be inclined to seek out other review sites more focused on actual photography and less focused on ease of use and portability.

8 upvotes
ThePhilips
By ThePhilips (5 months ago)

"This new DPR theme of staff exaggerating DSLR size [...]"

Let me bring you up to date.

The new benchmark of the camera size is the invisible camera which takes zero additional space - because it is inside your phone which you carry around anyhow. P&S is dead - long live the P&S.

So yes, DSLR size, esp glass, is a huge limitation.

"I'll be inclined to seek out other review sites more focused on actual photography [..]"

Oh, we are again at the tired "only D800 can make a good photograph" argument already.

IMO, this days DPR is actually more focused on photography than ever. Less on camera gear - more on the rest of the photography. You get interviews with photog. You get accessories and software overviews. You get the shooting techniques articles. You get the articles about lighting and flash. And so on and so forth. More photography - less gear. Because most of the gear is good enough already.

42 upvotes
abortabort
By abortabort (5 months ago)

And we will glad to finally see the back of you. It's a good camera and these are personal (from each staff member) opinion pieces. The MOST interesting cameras to a bunch of camera reviewers are always going to be the ones that are a bit different, that AREN'T a big black slab that represent the latest, rather dull, evolutionary step in DSLRS with x more megapickles and y more focus points.

These are the cameras that are actually doing something interesting. They are also the category of cameras with the most flaws or poorly conceived designs, because they aren't made of years of honing the same slab into a better slab.

Go look at some DSLR test charts, you'll feel better.

7 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (5 months ago)

> Let me bring you up to date.

You are not bringing me up anywhere. If you think a smartphones with their extremely deep DOF and non-existentant possibility for selective focus, no viewfinder and few exposure controls is a proper photographic tool, then I'm happy for you. The overwhelming majority of photographers don't find smartphones to be useful outside of recording an event with a snapshot.

Nobody ever said "only a D800 can take a good photograph". But DPRs latest trend of exaggerating the importance of portability is getting tiresome at best. If the criterion for "Best Camera" is pocketability or convenience for walking around snapshots then they might as well choose the RX100 to win every year. Portability and size/weight are extremely low priorities for me and for most enthusiasts photographers who I know. YMMV.

If DSLR size was a limitation they wouldn't outsell all mirrorless cameras so dramatically. It is YOUR perception that DSLRs are large and heavy.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 4 minutes after posting
5 upvotes
rpm40
By rpm40 (5 months ago)

Give it a try man! You might enjoy the constraints of working with composition, finding the right scenes, and so on, even without the shallow DOF.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
10 upvotes
TEBnewyork
By TEBnewyork (5 months ago)

Why not wait and see ALL of their picks for the year before ranting about this pick. Did they say this was the best camera? NO. Does it serve some needs very well, YES. Did it break new ground, YES. Did you read what was written and that the writer still has a dslr? Gear of the year doesn't mean that it is the pinnacle of image quality. Would you say an iPad wasn't groundbreaking because a full laptop still had more computing power?

9 upvotes
KerryBE
By KerryBE (5 months ago)

marike6 - They are representing their personal choices. Different from absolute best of best claims. You have a lot of camera knowledge, why don't you create an article on your personal choices as a different persepctive?

4 upvotes
Olymore
By Olymore (5 months ago)

If Nikon had brought out a camera like the GM-1 I'm sure it would have got your approval.

3 upvotes
olypan
By olypan (5 months ago)

Exactly! marike6 gets upset whenever m4/3 is given positive press.

3 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (5 months ago)

> Exactly! marike6 gets upset whenever m4/3 is given positive press.

I'm not upset at all. I own two Lumix m43 cameras and they are excellent. But GM-1 as "Gear of Year" over the EM-1 or GX7 is a choice the majority of m43 users won't agree with.

1 upvote
rfsIII
By rfsIII (5 months ago)

Cameras are like chef's knives. Some chefs wield a scimitar in the kitchen, others prefer a standard 8-inch. What you find to be a perfect size will depend on the size and strength of your hands (and the nose-eye proportions of your face). I, for instance, have great hulking Frankenstein hands, so for me a lot of these little cameras are almost unholdable. If I had normal-sized hands, I would love a camera like this.
Chacun a son gout.

2 upvotes
mattmtl
By mattmtl (5 months ago)

"But GM-1 as "Gear of Year" over the EM-1 or GX7 is a choice the majority of m43 users won't agree with."

Personally I'm far more likely to buy a GX7 than a GM1, but I still think the GM is the more interesting technical achievement, if only by a slim margin.

3 upvotes
Eleson
By Eleson (5 months ago)

Thanks marike for informing us (and the dpr writers) that the writers opinions are wrong.

Can't you instead tell us all what they should like?
Then we can all adapt and live happily ever after.

3 upvotes
Beat Traveller
By Beat Traveller (5 months ago)

Except the 'Gear of the year' is not designed to placate what m43 users think, it's what the staff have felt made the biggest impact on them personally.

Not to mention that they've indicated a few of these will be coming, so your indignant scorn at the GM1 getting an award seems a little premature.

0 upvotes
Jogger
By Jogger (5 months ago)

Given the type of shooting DPR staffers do, i suspect all of the DPR Camera of the Year will be these types of street-shooting, hipster type cameras. If they asked the same of SI shooters or wedding photogs, I doubt something like the GM1 would make the cut.

8 upvotes
whtchocla7e
By whtchocla7e (5 months ago)

What's an SI shooter?

Did you mean CSI?

0 upvotes
Andy Westlake
By Andy Westlake (5 months ago)

SI = Sports Illustrated, presumably; a constituency likely to choose high end SLRs with a decent range of fast telephotos on offer. But these articles are personal picks of products we like - not 'best camera for sports shooters'.

Come to think of it, I doubt a huge proportion of our readers are professional sports photographers either.

Comment edited 6 minutes after posting
30 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (5 months ago)

> Come to think of it, I doubt a huge proportion of our readers are professional sports photographers either.

No but a huge proportion of DPR readers are DSLR shooters who have zero problems using their cameras for all types of photography including general shooting. Focusing so much attention on niche cameras like the GM1 by exaggerating the importance of portability for users doesn't seem like the most inclusive approach for DPR moving forward. But I'm just a reader and it's your website.

4 upvotes
Andy Westlake
By Andy Westlake (5 months ago)

@marike6: Once again you're making completely unfounded accusations. Nowhere is this article "exaggerating the importance of portability for users". It's entirely a personal opinion piece from Allison, written in the first person. Is that really so hard for you to understand?

33 upvotes
abortabort
By abortabort (5 months ago)

@ Marike6 - I can't count the number of times the readers of DPR have politely, then not so politely asked you to go away and not return. You do not represent them, in any way, nor will you ever.

Every single time your points are proven wrong you find some other little hole to spout your arguments against the writers of this website.

For the last time, stop saying you are going elsewhere and go!

18 upvotes
Jogger
By Jogger (5 months ago)

I get that most arent shooting sports for a living. But, having such a biased and narrow perspective on the camera market is tiring.

Its like tech blogs praising Apple products all the time because that is what they use... non-Apple products are given their own "awards" just to appease non-Apple users. Boring and predictable.

1 upvote
marike6
By marike6 (5 months ago)

@Andy Westlake
> Once again you're making completely unfounded accusations

The GM1 article above focuses on how convenient the GM1 is from a portability standpoint. ""I’m in a struggle with my DSLR" and "I hate lugging it around".

The previous "Gear of the Year" had a similar emphasis on portability and walking around with X100s.

And I get that both "Gear of the Year" articles are opinion pieces (is the snarky tones really necessary?), but perhaps then "Gear of the Year" is not the best title since it doesn't adequately express the article's intent as an opinion piece. Just an observation that I'm not alone in making but no big deal.

@abortabort Nobody has ever asked me to go anywhere, and you have no right to speak to me that way. If you don't want to discuss these articles but prefer to robotically agree with and kiss up to the staff, that's your deal. I'm trying to understand what the fuss is about this teeny tiny camera. Do whatever you want but leave me out of it.

3 upvotes
abortabort
By abortabort (5 months ago)

@ Marike6 - No you aren't, you are trying to enforce your own opinions of what this website is and the content within it. You aren't 'trying to see what the fuss is about', you've already decided that it isn't for you, therefore shouldn't be for anyone else. This is NOT your column. Disagree all you like, but don't sit there and try to sway the writers that they shouldn't have written this - that isn't your place to say.

Looking at the rest of the comments here, it is pretty clear to me that you are in a minority of one.

I'm NOT telling you to go, I'm telling you that if you don't like what DPR do (and you NEVER do) AND constantly threaten to go elsewhere, why not actually go through with it? Your empty 'threats' are becoming more and more meaningless every time.

8 upvotes
Samuel Dilworth
By Samuel Dilworth (5 months ago)

Marike6: I like many of your comments, but you should whine less or whine better.

Of course size is one of the most important camera attributes, and has been at least since Barnack’s era. Only a particularly unimaginative type of reactionary thinks SLRs are good because they’re big. They’re good (albeit barely better than they were circa 2005) despite being big, and the sooner we get good small cameras the better.

4 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (5 months ago)

> Marike6: I like many of your comments, but you should whine less or whine better.

First of all, I'm not whining. I own two small Lumix cameras and have been a fan since the GF1. But choosing a "Gear of the Year" mostly based on small size and portability makes the assumption that ALL users have small hands and similar needs. Most m43 users I know would choose the EM-1 and GX7 BECAUSE of their size, grip, usability and ergonomics. What gear DPR chooses is not significant for me, but it does make the website a bit less interesting both for me personally and for people who don't prioritize small size. That's all. No big deal.

0 upvotes
Le Frog
By Le Frog (5 months ago)

Let me, then, introduce you to a class of users you don't know: when I was a 25yr old law student, I was happy to lug around my FE2+Nikkor50/1.8+24/2.8+Vivitar S.1+Metz45. I am 50+, I can't carry a cam round my neck, when in a pinstripe suit (which is always, when in town), and I don't have the stamina to carry it, when I am doing cross-country trekking (when on holidays). I want photography to be part of my life, not the other way round. The RX100 and the GM1 are the only cameras that come close to my needs (I just wish they had IBIS and more manual controls - there is enough room for more dials, if arranged as on the old Rollei35). By your standards, I presume, these cameras should not exist and deserve no credit, lest people like me sully the sacredness of (your conception of) photography, by shooting with anything but a smartphone. BTW when I learned photography narrow DoF was still considered bad, since it does not allow for 3-dimensional composition, or play with perspective.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 9 minutes after posting
4 upvotes
D1N0
By D1N0 (5 months ago)

Panasonic Lumix dmc-gm1. Me at camerastore.

I want a panasonic.

which one sir?

ehm.. lumix something

which one sir?

ehm d something.

which one sir?

the one they like at dpreview!

what's that sir?

2 upvotes
abortabort
By abortabort (5 months ago)

Hehe this gave me a giggle :)

Though seriously, what's one sexy camera name out there? Where's the stills equiv of 'RED Scarlet' or 'RED Epic', even 'Alexa' or 'Phantom'... nope we get DMC-GM1, D800E, OM-D E-M5

Leica's new naming scheme might come close, in a slightly boring German way.

1 upvote
Olymore
By Olymore (5 months ago)

Look on the bright side. You may have been asking for a Canon EOS Rebel XTI.

1 upvote
bluevellet
By bluevellet (5 months ago)

This is the first Panasonic m43 camera I'm interested with since the original GF1.

After the tempting GX7, Panasonic might be finally coming out of its shell.

10 upvotes
Samuel Dilworth
By Samuel Dilworth (5 months ago)

Agreed. Sometimes it takes a near-death experience…

0 upvotes
photo perzon
By photo perzon (5 months ago)

I already bought one on eBay in Hong Kong, a Black model! I intend to sell the slow kit lens and run it with the 20mm and the 14mm, but if the kit lens feels tight it will stay. I love the pop up bounce flash of the GM1.

If they build in the 20mm and the 14mm as built in primes it will be even smaller! Compete with Ricoh GR and Nikon A.

1 upvote
zigi_S
By zigi_S (5 months ago)

Really nice camera. I wonder if it could get smaller in the size department with a pancake zoom or maybe with a fixed lens.

0 upvotes
mattmtl
By mattmtl (5 months ago)

Doesn't the 12-32 count as a pancake zoom? It's about as tiny as possible.

As for a fixed lens, that would be an entirely different concept. I think it's possible we'll see something like that, if Panasonic decides to keep the LX series going. At this point there must be very little space in the market for a high-end compact with only a 1/1.7 sensor, so it will soon be time for Panasonic to either make a new LX with a bigger sensor or pull the plug.

My guess is they'll pull the plug, because the GM1 as it is will fill most of that niche anyway. If they find room for a hot shoe and accessory port on the next GM, the niche will be completely filled. But, that's just a guess.

Comment edited 36 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Arc82
By Arc82 (5 months ago)

As an LX3 owners looking to upgrade this is the first ILC camera I've ever seriously considered. I also agree that between the LF1 and the GM1 there is no room for the old LX series. The GM1 is the LX9 as far as I"m concerned.

Also, would love to see a size comparison to an LX7... has to be very close.

0 upvotes
Andy Westlake
By Andy Westlake (5 months ago)

@ Arc82: There's a size comparison to the LX7 in the rollover in this page of our GM1 preview. The LX7 is slimmer, but the GM1 is lower and narrower.

0 upvotes
rtogog
By rtogog (5 months ago)

This camera looks very good. It will be very special if the lenses also small. The kit lens is small but still looks not proportional against the body. Give me some pancake lenses to represent classic focal lens as 24, 28, 35, 50, 105. It will be a killer for traveller.

1 upvote
Andy Westlake
By Andy Westlake (5 months ago)

Micro Four Thirds has compact (if not necessarily pancake) primes covering almost all of those (equivalent) focal lengths. Here's a list.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 36 seconds after posting
7 upvotes
deluk
By deluk (5 months ago)

"It will be a killer for traveller."
I'll read that as a negative. Do you really want to travel with 5 primes?

3 upvotes
abortabort
By abortabort (5 months ago)

12-32mm + 20mm + 45mm - all suitably small for the GM1 and together make a great little kit.

2 upvotes
Rob Bernhard
By Rob Bernhard (5 months ago)

@ Andy Westlake. FYI: the link you provided isn't returning the Olympus 75mm.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Andy Westlake
By Andy Westlake (5 months ago)

@ Rob. I'd like to say that the 75mm isn't in the search results because, at 150mm-equiv, it's longer than the primes asked for. But in reality, it's more likely a bug somewhere.

1 upvote
reginalddwight
By reginalddwight (5 months ago)

Bestowing the GM1 the title of Gear of the Year before getting an opportunity to test a production sample? Hmmm.....

1 upvote
Andy Westlake
By Andy Westlake (5 months ago)

What makes you think we don't have a production sample?

20 upvotes
reginalddwight
By reginalddwight (5 months ago)

Then I look forward to reading the review on the final product soon.

1 upvote
joejack951
By joejack951 (5 months ago)

From the the first lines of the page you had to click through to get to this article: "A lot of equipment passes through our Seattle and London offices, everything from high-end cameras to inexpensive accessories. A lot of it gets reviewed, but we can't cover everything."

I don't think they intend to review this camera.

1 upvote
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (5 months ago)

@ joejack951 - I'm not sure on what basis you're making that assumption...

1 upvote
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (5 months ago)

It would be perverse to not review a camera one of our team has chosen as their gear of the year. There will be a GM1 review.

4 upvotes
joejack951
By joejack951 (5 months ago)

My assumption was based on the comment I quoted. It sure seemed to hint at not reviewing these "gear of the year" items. Perhaps there's a different explanation for the inclusion of that comment though.

0 upvotes
vroger1
By vroger1 (5 months ago)

Used it at Photo-Expo- it's amazing for its size. I wish it had at least an accessory shoe for a V/F, which I always need. Perhaps the next version will. For M 4/3 it is remarkably small.I know they cannot please all of us- but a great many will fall in love with this little jewel.

Comment edited 44 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
NetMage
By NetMage (5 months ago)

I really want someone to create a ILC with viewfinder comparable to the Pentax 110 in size or my LX5 with EVF. Not interesting in a non VF camera - my iPhone is all I am willing to use for that.

0 upvotes
Optimal Prime
By Optimal Prime (5 months ago)

Hopefully we'll see the review soon. Right?

4 upvotes
JEROME NOLAS
By JEROME NOLAS (5 months ago)

I hope Ricoh have already a slimer version of this camera (drawing board) with fixed zoom 24-50mm, 2.8-4.0.

0 upvotes
88SAL
By 88SAL (5 months ago)

This is pretty small for the sensor size.

0 upvotes
technic
By technic (5 months ago)

Ricoh doesn't use m43 sensors AFAIK, so that would probably have to be an APS-C camera. Because of the sensor size and the f/2.8-4 you want, that lens would be a LOT bigger than the GM1 zoom ...

6 upvotes
abortabort
By abortabort (5 months ago)

Why would it have to be a LOT bigger? The Canon 22mm is just as tiny as m43's smallest f2 or faster primes. 24-50mm is only 2x zoom, on a fixed and retractable design this is entirely possible to be relatively small. Only f2.8-4. Yeah we see lots of stupid requests on the Internet about super fast long ranging zooms, but this one would be quite achievable. Oh and have a look at the Canon G1X to get a bit of an idea - covering a sensor between 4/3's and APS-C, about the same speed but higher zoom ratio. See, not so hard :)

1 upvote
HappyVan
By HappyVan (5 months ago)

OP has expressed a personal preference. That's fine.

Just got to remember that the majority of DPR regulars are enthusiasts, not opportunistic snapshooters.

Versatility over portability. Depth versus weight.

0 upvotes
Total comments: 295
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