Some Lumix GM1 impressions from SF FireSideCamera/Panasonic event

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Raist3d
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Some Lumix GM1 impressions from SF FireSideCamera/Panasonic event
10 months ago

Hello those interested in the GM1-

Yesterday Panasonic/FireSide camera teamed up here in San Francisco to do a walk about with Giulio  Scioro- a progressional photographer that does a lot of work with GH3 and has done some of the Panasonic promotional shots.

They brought pretty much the whole current Lumix m43/rds line, my main interest was the GM1, but I got some commentary on the other models.

First, huge thanks to Giulio which was a phenomenally nice, approachable guy, and gave me some interesting thoughts about a couple of aspects of a photographer and approaches in dealing with clients and managing expectations. We talked about a couple of very specific things but it was very useful (more on that at the end).

So on to the GM1 - The GM1 as it's known is tiny.  I own both the Pentax Q and Q7, the GM1 is not as small as the Q but almost, the Q7 is just barely bigger, though that size difference goes away once you put the lenses in.

The GM1 kit lens feels pretty well made for what it is. Enough resistance to change its focal length.  The camera feels sturdy.

For some reason Panasonic chose as interface as we know from the pictures the buttons+wheel "Canon powershot" arrangement.  I have to say I am not a fan of this because as you press a button, you are touching that wheel and it just doesn't feel quite right (in general, any camera).

On the GM1, this wheel and button area is *tiny*. Tinier than usual and I felt it was a bit annoying to touch.  Actually on this one the wheel was very hard to turn and I found myself going into white balance a lot when I just wanted to adjust aperture- but this GM1 was a pre-production model and some things may have been not working right, which makes sense.

My only concern here is, if in a real world end model the wheel will eventually become more resistive or "age that way" over time, making for this situation. I hope not because I can say right now that is an instant deal breaker for me.

The Auto Focus with the kit lens is *ridiculously fast*.  Like hyper fast.  In good daylight you can pretty much point, snap and it will have focused and snapped. The only other experience similar to that I remember is the Em5 with the Olympus standard kit lens which is also pretty darn fast.

I was surprised a bit since the lens is so compact but yup, looks like Panasonic did a little gem of a kit lens.  When I looked at the pictures later, they were all pretty darn sharp- another surprise about the optics. Given this, it makes to me the price of the GM1 kit more reasonable. Good lenses cost money, and I will take a better lens any day over something that is so so.

One big question I had is how the Gm1 feel/look if I attached the Panasonic constant F2.8 35-100 lens. The lens is obviously bigger diameter wise than the body- but it did not feel as horrible as I thought it could be, so that's another point.  I am particularly interested in this combination because it's one of the focal ranges I am using the most on the Pentax Q when shooting out there with its 06 tele photo zoom.

The focus with that lens was pretty fast though not the hyper warp fast of the kit lens- but that's fine, not slow at all.

The camera does indeed use a new battery (ugh) and those batteries are pricey.  Will be a bit of time until 3rd party batteries come out.  So another consideration in adding to the price (maybe $100 USD for two batteries).

I knew that Panasonic was working on a telephoto zoom for the GM1 keeping it at roughly the same size of the body, and Giulio told met hat effectively so, there's a prototype or mockup and will be an F3.5 to F5.6 but will have about the same diameter of the other kit lens which is actually pretty small. The range will be a 35-100 which is nice.

Sure, it's F5.6 at the end but it will be small and probably a high quality lens.  Wish Panasonic did a smaller say, 135mm-175mm equivalent range prime at F2.8 if possible while keeping it small.  That would probably convince me pretty quick to consider it.

As it is, I will just wait until it's out and try it again with that wheel. I wished Panasonic had used buttons instead and be clever on where to add another dial.

On other cameras-

Panasonic GH3- was smaller than I expected though I had seen it before behind glass, but does not beat grabbing one.  I have to say it does feel pretty nice.

Panasonic G6- this was a surprise.  It's a small camera but looks real nice and most importantly, holds very nice. I think if I was going to go GM1, I would be tempted to buy something like this, preferably the next revue when they put the GM1/GX7 sensor in it since it's relatively cheap and I would dare to shoot paid work with it due to the way it looks (i..e  not the tiny GM1).

On other subjects -  I came to the event with my Pentax Q7 and it garnered more attention than I expected. Giulio and I were talking about how if I would dare to say shoot a wedding with a GM1 or the Q.  I boiled it down basically to the image I would project to the client if I did that, and I felt I needed a bulkier camera (say GH3, EM-1, K-5, Fuji X) because of the image it would project to them using such small camera.

Which is where it got more interesting. He basically told me "show them your portfolio and go by 'this is what you are hiring me for'- don't bring the camera in.  If you are going to let the client set that expectation you may as well end up buying a Phase One camera back system" (paraphrased).

I was already past the "you would need a big camera" to do that projection- I think I would be fine with a size of Fuji X/EM1/GH3.  In fact I have shot most of my weddings with the Olympus E-420 and E-620 which are fairly small as it is.  But I wasn't at the point of crossing it to a new level of smaller camera like the GM1 or Q7.  There were a couple more aspects to this, and that was interesting.

So watching the Gm1 with interest as the new Panny-Leica pancake + full black body come out. I still like the handling of the Q much better though.

Would be funny to see a GM1 driving one of my 4/3rds (not micro) lenses.

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Raist3d/Ricardo (Photographer, software dev.)- I photograph black cats in coal mines at night...
“The further a society drifts from truth the more it will hate those who speak it.” - George Orwell

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