GM1 First Impressions & Test

Started 2 months ago | User reviews thread
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AdamT
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GM1 First Impressions & Test
2 months ago

Often a "first Impressions" opinion is as valid as a long term usage report as it`s how someone may feel after first purchase so as my (used) GM1 arrived first thing, I thought I`d post mine about this tiny camera .. maybe useful to those thinking about the cam as a second body .. I can add to this as I go along

Firstly - Fuji have a lot to answer for with their cool black sophisticated boxes (which they nicked from Leica) as others are doing it now and Panny seem to have copied this with the GM1 box , it`s very snazzy compared to the G/GH/GF boxes of old with its cool pull out innter boxes ..

The cam comes with the lens attached (so buy a rear/bodycap-combo off E-Bay if you`re after splitting the kit) . this is the black version and it feels very light and although well put together , not as solid you`d expect for £550 UK for the kit (EG, the EOS-M is the reverse) - for some bizarre reason, the black lens on this one feels more solid than the silver shop demo one I handled (zoom ring less loose, extended parts less wobbly) .. the body feels like it`s all plastic bar the top panel, the card/battery door is the usual flimsy affair and the "command dial" rather undersized (though I`ve not pressed anything turning it like reviewers have) . Layout isn`t far different from my Nikon P330 (which has a top command dial but it`s useless in anything bar M mode) ..

Thankfully when shooting with the cam, I don`t feel like I`m touching the screen all the time and moving the AF point - this is what I hated about the EOS-M as I tend to leave cams switched on danglig from the wrist strap and on the M you couldn`t disable the touch screen whereas you can on the GM1 - of course the build quality is miles apart, the EOS-M is almost up to Leica-T standards of build, Like it was honed from a solid billet of metal - no good if the thing handles like a pig though .. the GM1 is just fine, much like my P330 if you were to totally disable the touch screen .. WHY did they put the rather useless AF mode dial on ? . a Command dial or even dedicated Exp-Comp dial would have been far more use on a cam this size .. Shame the flash doesn`t do the commander thing and that WiFi doesn't do NFC (WHY In both cases?)

Speed is excellent, AF seems faster than my EM5 and way faster than the ageing G1X I use as a silent work camera (this IS a Panasonic), love the silent shutter and 16,000th sec - means you can shoot portraits at F1.8 45mm in bright sunlight - another useful thing is the "2K" mode as I call it - 40FPS at 4Mp JPG, no need for the Nikon 1 series any more ! , it`s also fast and silent in RAW+JPG mode and has a decent buffer too ...

Soooo onto Image quality - people still moan about Panny JPGs but the colour has come on leaps and bounds, as has the High ISO performance and noise handling - I`m a RAW shooter and sadly Capture one still doesn`t support the GM1 so you have to use DNG converter, not ideal colour wise .. the sensor has a very weak AA filter but definitely has a higher noise floor than the Sony unit in the EM5 (noise in the skies etc), this reminds me of the G3, GX1 etc , I`ve not tried high ISOs , hopefully it`s just the noise floor.. even on DNG converter, I`m sure it`ll be fine though lacking the WOW colour I`m getting from the EM5 (DNG profile)

I`m less enthusiastic about the handling of the 12-32 but the optics are as good as people say , you just have to be careful that the OIS doesn`t cause a soft side now and again (moreso than other Panny OIS lenses) - it`s not decentered as its only on occasional shots, the lens does appear to have a slight curvy angle of curvature . Nice to see the sharpness is at both ends , not sure it`s as nice as the 14-42HD which has suprising Bokeh for a kit lens (tested it on the EM5 to make sure) but its a good un  ..

So far I`m looking at a very fast, very tiny & capable little camera, the handling of which is a lot better than expected - for me the cam is more suited to the 14mm as the cam can be pocketed when on (the 12-32 is as big as the 14-42HD when extended) .. if the high ISOs are anything like as good as the EM5, I can see this taking over at least partially from the G1X as silent work cam , the G1X is just about worn out anyway - compelling reasons being the stunning Video (with compact AVCHD format) and the ability to take the 45-150 or 45mm F1.8 when needed .

May change star rating after more longterm  usage..

Excelent for Kids & pets due to the speed , same for action and sports (40FPS !!) , landscapes and scenery not an issue though less than the EM5 due to higher noise floor, less for portraits due to the flash situation (and "as is" with the short kit lens) but it`ll be stunning in natural light with the 45 F1.8 - the lowlight is an assumation based on the EM5 (not tried that yet)  .. Flash photography with no commander mode or hot-shoe - the downer

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** Please ignore the Typos, I'm the world's worst Typist **

 AdamT's gear list:AdamT's gear list
Sigma DP1 Canon PowerShot G1 X Nikon Coolpix P330 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1
AdamT's score
4.0
Average community score
4.2
bad for good for
Kids / pets
excellent
Action / sports
excellent
Landscapes / scenery
great
Portraits
good
Low light (without flash)
great
Flash photography (social)
mediocre
Studio / still life
unrated
= community average
Nikon Coolpix P330 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1
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