Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1 Review
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1 offers Wi-Fi for sharing photos wirelessly and taking control of the camera remotely. It offers access to a comparatively wide array of shooting settings in remote shooting mode, available for iPhone or Android users by way of Panasonic's free Image App.
The GX7 offered NFC for help setting up the connection between smartphone and camera, something the GM1 doesn't have. The slightly better news is that you'll only have to go to the trouble of entering a password once per device, and the GM1 will remember previous connections.
|The expanded display shows just how much control the GM1 offers during wireless shooting.||Options available via the Quick Menu include the ability to change aspect ratio, processing mode and video resolution.|
Transferring images to a smartphone is fairly straightforward. Initialize Wi-Fi on the camera, select the camera in the Wi-Fi settings on your smartphone and open the app. Confusingly, my iPhone continues to give a 'Connecting to camera' message while the camera seems to have already made the connection. You'll then decide if you want to send one or multiple images, make your selections and proceed with the transfer. The process is a little unintuitive but once you've done it a couple of times it's easier to repeat quickly. Setting up the connection to my iPhone to transfer images worked on the first try almost every time I attempted it, and became a feature I used regularly through the course of the review.
I can't say the same for the remote control feature. I only successfully set up a remote control connection to my iPhone a handful of times, running up-to-date versions of the app and iOS. I was only successful when I turned my phone off and on again, but once I broke that connection subsequent attempts failed. Two of my colleagues with iPhones (one running iOS7, one stubbornly refusing to update) had no problem connecting multiple times to the GM1 using the remote control function. Another colleague with an Android phone was also able to make a connection and use remote control without a problem. Make of that what you will.
In remote control mode, the options are mostly the same as with the GX7: You can touch the screen to focus or meter, or turn on touch shutter which will take a photo instantly. Unusually, settings such as white balance, ISO, focus mode can be adjusted, as well as aperture and/or shutter speed. If you're using a power zoom lens, that too can be controlled from the app. One thing you cannot do is switch exposure modes, which requires a trip to the 'real' mode dial.
You can also transmit photos directly from the camera to another device as they are taken. In addition to a smartphone, photos can be sent to a PC, 'web service' (such as Facebook, YouTube, Flickr), Panasonic's cloud service, or compatible televisions. In order to share photos to social networking sites or cloud storage, you must sign up for Panasonic's LUMIX Club, which is unintuitive to put it kindly.
The GM1's Wi-Fi features are at best awkward and at worst non-functioning. On the whole though despite a clunky interface, transferring images worked consistently and that's a useful feature indeed. Remote shooting, which worked reliably for the vast majority of people in our office (except me), offers a great deal of exposure and settings control. For a camera not solely aimed at the tech-savvy, the GM1 requires quite a bit of effort.