Side-by-Side

We can tell you all day long how small the GM1 is, but until you see it next to another camera it's hard to truly appreciate just how small it is. On seeing it next to another camera of roughly the same size, you'd be forgiven for second guessing the GM1 - does it really fit a Four Thirds sensor in there? We checked - it does.

Compared to the Panasonic GF6, LX7, Pentax Q7 and Sony RX100 II

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF6
Pentax Q7
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 II
The GM1 is undoubtedly small, and manages to beat all but one of the cameras compared above in terms of sensor size.

The GM1 is remarkably close in size to the RX100 II. With its 1"-type sensor the RX100 II and predecessor seemed to be incredible feats of engineering, so the GM1's trick of fitting an even larger sensor in roughly the same camera body is very impressive. Of course, the GM1 needs a lens attached whereas the RX100's lens is tucked neatly alongside the compact camera body, but they're roughly similar in size and shape. Their control layouts are similar as well, with rotating compass dials, a smattering of control buttons and a dedicated video start/stop button in roughly the same location next to the thumbrest on each camera.

The Q7 is a bit more 'chunky' by design than slim-and-sleek enthusiast compacts like the RX100 II. It's a little wider and deeper than the GM1, but includes a nice handgrip built-in whereas the GM1's will need to be purchased separately. The Q7 also offers a handy command dial behind the mode dial, something not present on the GM1. They offer similar compact-camera-style control layouts, though the GM1 has a compass ring dial that the Q7 lacks.

It's easy to see in the graphic above that the GF6 is designed to court beginners. The GF6's top and back panels are sparsely populated with buttons, while the GM1 by comparison looks more obviously catered to a slightly more sophisticated audience - the exposure and focus mode dials are dead giveaways.

The thing that the GM1 lacks as compared to the Q7, RX100 II and virtually every other enthusiast compact is an additional control ring. Its touch screen seems to be aimed at filling that role in providing that extra level of access to exposure settings. Depending on your comfort level with touch screens in compact cameras, this may be a reason to think twice about the GM1, if you envisage yourself making lots of settings changes.

Size aside, physically the GM1 falls somewhere in between the simplistic GF-series and enthusiast compact LX-series. It retains a small mode dial, something Panasonic has intermittently left of its more beginner-friendly appearance. Without all of the LX7's real estate, it offers fewer direct controls, but aims to provide just enough to be enticing to a more advanced user.