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Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1 Review

December 2013 | By Allison Johnson
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Not quite a day after Sony made its announcement of two mirrorless cameras with full frame sensors, Panasonic unveiled something of a very different shape: the Lumix DMC-GM1, a pocketable camera with a 16 megapixel Four Thirds sensor. It uses the same Micro Four Thirds mount that its much larger Olympus and Panasonic siblings have been using for years, but at introduction will be sold with a specially designed 12-32mm F3.5-5.6 kit zoom sporting a smaller diameter for the GM1's especially diminutive form.

Panasonic GM1 specification highlights

  • 16MP Live MOS sensor
  • Built-in Wi-Fi (no NFC)
  • 3.0-inch, 1036K dot touch-sensitive LCD
  • 1080 HD video recording at 60i/30p
  • Built-in pop-up flash
  • 1/16,000 maximum shutter speed (with all-electronic shutter)
  • Focus peaking
  • Picture-in-picture magnification for manual focus
  • Micro HDMI output
  • Magnesium-alloy shell with aluminum top and bottom plates

Micro Four Thirds made its debut in 2008 with the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1. The G1 was DSLR-shaped, with a handgrip and built-in viewfinder, but smaller and lighter than its other interchangeable lens peers at the time. Not long afterwards Olympus joined the party with the PEN E-P1, which was smaller and rangefinder-shaped. From there, the Micro Four Thirds platform split into roughly two camera styles - those that looked like DSLRs (mostly the preserve of Panasonic) and those that didn't (mostly those made by Olympus).

Understandably, in those early days neither manufacturer seemed entirely sure whether the platform would catch on more to step-up beginners or more advanced photographers looking for a lighter second camera, so they tried to appeal to both. Panasonic's first rangefinder-style model, the GF1, was a hit with enthusiasts, but Panasonic engineers quickly steered succeeding models away from that crowd toward the beginner set with simplistic control layouts and easy access to automatic exposure settings. The introduction of the button-and-dial-encrusted-GX1 marked a renewed focus on the enthusiast crowd, but by that time other manufacturers had a lot to offer that segment of the market.

So what's the 'State of Mirrorless' today? Rangefinder-style mirrorless cameras have enjoyed some popularity among enthusiasts, and the Olympus OM-D E-M5 and E-M1 have proven MFT cameras have real potential as serious alternatives to mid-range and semi-pro DSLRs. Their smallness as compared to DSLRs is no longer Micro Four Third's sole selling point - they've just become really good cameras that happen to be smaller and lighter. At the same time, compact enthusiast cameras with large sensors are becoming popular too. A fixed zoom lens no longer denotes a major sacrifice in image quality in a post-Cyber-shot RX100 world.

This is the enthusiast camera market that the Panasonic Lumix GM1 enters, donning the title of smallest interchangeable lens camera to date (by Panasonic's reckoning). It boasts the same 16 megapixel CMOS sensor as the GX7, with muted retro design cues borrowed from the same camera. The GM1 uses the familiar Micro Four Thirds mount and it is introduced alongside a new 12-32mm F3.5-5.6 with a retractable design that is specifically designed with a small enough diameter to fit neatly onto the camera body, which is barely taller than the lens mount itself.

It would draw obvious comparisons to the Pentax Q-series, the other miniature interchangeable lens system, but the Q7 uses a definitely compact-camera-sized 1/1.7" type sensor. The GM1 could also be compared to the Sony Cyber-shot RX00 II, both priced at $750 US at introduction and targeting roughly the same group of users. That camera offers a 1" type sensor that's big for a compact but nowhere near the size of a Micro Four Thirds sensor, as well as a fixed zoom lens. However, the Q7 and RX100 II seem most similar to the GM1 in terms of size and target audience, despite their smaller sensors.

Specifications compared to Pentax Q7 and Sony RX100 II

  Panasonic GM1 Pentax Q7 Sony RX100 II
Sensor 16MP, Four Thirds 12MP, 1/1.7" BSI CMOS 20MP, 1"-type BSI CMOS
Sensor size (mm2) 225mm2 42mm2 116mm2
Lens Mount Micro Four Thirds Pentax Q Fixed
Zoom range (kit or fixed, 35mm equiv.) 24-64mm 23-69mm 28-100mm
LCD 3.0-inch 1036K-dot fixed touch screen 3.0-inch 460K-dot fixed 3.0-inch 1229K-dot tilting
Viewfinder option None OVF accessory EVF accessory
Raw shooting Yes Yes Yes
Connectivity Wi-Fi None Wi-Fi with NFC
Video capture max. resolution 1080 60i, 30p 1080 30p 1080 60p, 60i
Stabilization In lens - Mega O.I.S. Sensor-shift IS Optical Steady Shot
Dimensions 98.5 x 54.9 x 30.4 mm (3.88 x 2.16 x 1.20") 102 x 58 x 34 mm (4.02 x 2.28 x 1.34″) 102 x 58 x 38 mm (4.00 x 2.29 x 1.51″)
Weight 274 g (0.60 lb / 9.60 oz) 200 g (0.44 lb / 7.05 oz) 281 g (0.62 lb / 9.91 oz)

There are any number of ways to slice and dice the information in the table above. In some respects, the GM1 seems to be miles ahead of the cameras we're comparing it against but in other ways there's an advantage to the Sony or the Pentax. The GM1 offers compatibility with a great many lenses (the Pentax Q 'system' is small and arguably not very 'serious' and the RX100 II's lens is fixed), but it lacks an accessory port or hot shoe. It offers 1080 HD video, but the specification falls short of the RX100's 60p offering. Such is the nature of the current enthusiast market - lots of options, and no clear leader in any single respect. And depending on how you look at it, the GM1 is poised to really shake things up.

The above chart shows just where the GM1 stands in terms of sensor size. Its Four Thirds sensor is head and shoulders above the Pentax Q7, and larger than the RX100 II's 1" type chip.

Enthusiasts also tend to be interested not just in the maximum aperture of a camera's lens, but also the size of its sensor, as depth of field control will depend on those two characteristics. Though the GM1 has a larger sensor than the Sony RX100 II, it doesn't really offer better depth of field control, and the RX100 II's ability to zoom out to a 100mm equivalent focal length gives it a little bit of an advantage in blurring backgrounds.

The chart above shows each camera's corresponding kit lens (or fixed lens) and its equivalent maximum aperture at wide and telephoto. Equivalent apertures tell you how the lens compares to a full frame lens with similar characteristics - much as the more familiar 'equivalent focal length' does.

It is certainly true that the GM1 represents a new feat in Micro Four Thirds - not just smaller and lighter than a DSLR but truly pocketable. Does that dramatic size reduction compared to previous M43 offerings come at the expense of features or performance? And does the GM1 come up short in handling and user experience just to nab the title of 'world's smallest'? Read on to find out.


If you're new to digital photography you may wish to read the Digital Photography Glossary before diving into this article (it may help you understand some of the terms used).

Conclusion / Recommendation / Ratings are based on the opinion of the reviewer, you should read the ENTIRE review before coming to your own conclusions.

Images which can be viewed at a larger size have a small magnifying glass icon in the bottom right corner of the image, clicking on the image will display a larger (typically VGA) image in a new window.

To navigate the review simply use the next / previous page buttons, to jump to a particular section either pick the section from the drop down or select it from the navigation bar at the top.

DPReview calibrate their monitors using Color Vision OptiCal at the (fairly well accepted) PC normal gamma 2.2, this means that on our monitors we can make out the difference between all of the (computer generated) grayscale blocks below. We recommend to make the most of this review you should be able to see the difference (at least) between X,Y and Z and ideally A,B and C.

This article is Copyright 2013 and may NOT in part or in whole be reproduced in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from the author.

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Comments

Total comments: 347
123
Neodp
By Neodp (7 months ago)

Cheap, over priced, toy.

1 upvote
Gravi
By Gravi (7 months ago)

make up your mind. is it cheap or overpriced? it cant be both ;-)

21 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (7 months ago)

no one says manufacturing cost is over priced.

0 upvotes
SulfurousBeast
By SulfurousBeast (7 months ago)

Stupid Comment

2 upvotes
Jimmy jang Boo
By Jimmy jang Boo (7 months ago)

DPR,

What do you mean by ergonomics and handling? BTW, I've handle the Q7 and the GM1; to give them the same rating in ergonomics and handling is flat out preposterous. So please explain, what do you mean by ergonomics and handling?

2 upvotes
Revenant
By Revenant (7 months ago)

They mean the physical handling (balance, grip, placement of buttons and dials, etc.) and the user interface (accessibility of important settings, menu system, touchscreen interface, etc.). All very subjective things, really.

1 upvote
Jimmy jang Boo
By Jimmy jang Boo (7 months ago)

I not so sure they mean what you and I mean, because if they do, then there's no way they could rate those two cameras the same in that respect.

1 upvote
Valiant Thor
By Valiant Thor (7 months ago)

The review conclusion is incorrect where it states that the video tops out at 1080 30p. The video actually tops out at 1080 60i with Image Sensor Output of 60p and is equal quality or better than the GH3. It also shoots 720 60p which is what I use mostly anyway.

3 upvotes
binauralbeats
By binauralbeats (7 months ago)

Incredible engineering. Really shows what's possible with m43.

6 upvotes
inorogNL
By inorogNL (7 months ago)

that;s the strenght of this system, having two so different manufacturers making cameras and lenses with same mount

0 upvotes
locke_fc
By locke_fc (7 months ago)

Why the ludicrous 1/50 sync speed, Panasonic? Why???

3 upvotes
areichow
By areichow (7 months ago)

Presumably a side effect of their implementation of the electronic shutter?

0 upvotes
kpaddler
By kpaddler (7 months ago)

No it can't be, GX7 has electronic shutter and 1/320 sync. It could be limit of the new stepper motor design??

Comment edited 47 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
Gravi
By Gravi (7 months ago)

yes I was surprised by that. it almost made me send back the GM1 once I found out.

0 upvotes
Revenant
By Revenant (7 months ago)

kpaddler is right. It's the new smaller shutter assembly that sets the limit to the flash sync speed.
Imaging Resource describes the trade-offs that Panasonic had to make, in order to make the camera so small. Read the section "Tech Insights: Making it smaller, and the consequences thereof" about halfway down this page:

http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/panasonic-gm1/panasonic-gm1A.HTM

3 upvotes
Dimit
By Dimit (7 months ago)

This little thing is amazing! With a shoe for external evf would be-should be-camera of the year.It's a winner..no.2,nevertheless.
For those who really know,the unexpected surprise is RX10!!..more than A7/A7r.

3 upvotes
jdu_sg
By jdu_sg (7 months ago)

The point in the review about the focus mode is pretty funny when you consider this quote from the G1 review, and that they changed it on the G2 :

The left shoulder of the camera is home to a slightly pointless focus mode dial (when we saw prototypes of the G1 we begged panasonic to put something more useful - such as ISO or even shutter speeds - on this dial).

0 upvotes
chadley_chad
By chadley_chad (7 months ago)

This reminds me of the days Sony brought out CyberShot U and everyone went 'WOW' ... then rushed out and bought one because they just couldn't believe such tech could be put into a case so small!

0 upvotes
chadley_chad
By chadley_chad (7 months ago)

OMG!!!!

Bearing in mind I own a NEX C-3, 5R, 6 and an RX100 (i.e. I'm used to small camera's), I just saw the GM1 in John Lewis today and I'll say again, OMG ... HOW SMALL IS THIS CAMERA!

This thing is so small it looked like a toy and I had to ask if this was indeed the GM1 or some normal shrunken P&S.

The lens may protrude more than the RX100 but the thing is SO tiny, I can easily see this fitting in a trouser pocket ... or even hung like a bloody charm on a belt!

All I'll say is, when the price gets low enough, I think the RX100 will have to go ... and as per other posts, if they'd have made this thing with a fixed f1.8 or below lens (or can at least offer one as an option) then Panasonic ... take my money!

People ... just go see one in the flesh!!!

7 upvotes
Valiant Thor
By Valiant Thor (7 months ago)

I agree. Got one a few weeks ago. It obviously has some limitations but man, I and a number of reviews found the video to be better than the GH3! The kit lens is excellent but I am also using it with the Lumix 12-35 HD X Power O.I.S. lens. Wow . . .

1 upvote
Marcos Villaroman
By Marcos Villaroman (7 months ago)

Just to be clear: what's wrong with your RX100 that you would sell it?

0 upvotes
chadley_chad
By chadley_chad (7 months ago)

The biggest problem with my RX100 is a lack of tilting screen. Yes, it's been addressed with the mark 2, but I don't have the £500 required to make the upgrade. Its also slow on the zoom and a 1.4 lens wouldn't go amiss, but that aside its a lovely camera and the only reason I would look to move to this Panny comes down to its physical and sensor size.

I also own a number of NEX models which are also small in the pocket; and because this is cold Britain, I don't walk around in shorts so pocket wise, the RX100 gets left at home a lot. Hardly use it then which is a shame, but I don't want to sell as its handy to have in my arsenal of cameras (despite the fact the money would come in handy!)

0 upvotes
LarryLatchkey
By LarryLatchkey (7 months ago)

Tbh, I don't find the E-P5's JPEGS more attractive. Apart from the lower noise level the Olympus shows much more artefacts (both NR and contrasty edges/sharpening). Even at ISO 3200 I think the GM1 renders e.g. the little brown feathers (bottom left) or the pencil drawings better (to my taste). I've always preferred luminance noise to NR smudginess.

The other thing that strikes me is how soft the E-P5 is at base ISO compared to the GM1! Look at the marble paper or the 'Fröhlich' drawing. Is it the JPEG engine or is the Olympus lense this bad!? Respectively: is the Panasonic lense this good!? If I don't want the camera (don't think I like the handling), I think I want the lense...

0 upvotes
LarryLatchkey
By LarryLatchkey (7 months ago)

Will we hear more about the quality of the lense?

0 upvotes
stivebelb
By stivebelb (7 months ago)

i like it

1 upvote
photobeans
By photobeans (7 months ago)

Panasonic did something amazing here. The body of a true small point and shoot with a m43 sized sensor. Now, please release one with a fixed 1.8 or f2.0 lens.

3 upvotes
Dolan Halbrook
By Dolan Halbrook (7 months ago)

Why bother with the fixed lens? You can go out and buy any number of nice fast primes for m43 right now and not be stuck with a single focal length. I don't think making it fixed lens would make it that much smaller, unless you were thinking retractable fixed lens like the GR. Personally I think the 14/2.5 would be a great match.

0 upvotes
Alexis D
By Alexis D (7 months ago)

Wish the kit lens could be a smaller 12-25mm.

0 upvotes
ThePhilips
By ThePhilips (7 months ago)

The 12-32 is about the size of Oly 2.8/17mm. It's ridiculously tiny. If you go even smaller, you would have problems mounting/dismounting it, because fingers wouldn't have enough surface to grip on.

0 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (7 months ago)

> because fingers wouldn't have enough surface to grip on.

I'd prefer large aperture lenses but but it isn't difficult
mounting a needle to a syringe.

0 upvotes
Cane
By Cane (7 months ago)

It may fit in a pocket, but with a lens it becomes a weird shape, like "hey, are you happy to see me". I really don't care how small the body is if it has a protruding lens, as it defeats the point of the small body to begin with.

4 upvotes
photo perzon
By photo perzon (7 months ago)

Good point. The pocket has to be a jacket pocket, where the fluff hides the girth. Not a pant's pocket!

0 upvotes
chadley_chad
By chadley_chad (7 months ago)

Yes, but seriously, having seen it today, this thing is SO small, I honestly believe it will fit in a pocket (lens up) ... and as daft as it sounds, could even be clipped onto clothing like a charm ... its that tiny!

Having seen it today, I was amazed!!!!

1 upvote
kpaddler
By kpaddler (7 months ago)

Con: Focus mode dial not especially useful

Don't use it then! Nobody forces you.

I don't like the grip on omd EM1, should it be a knock against it???

There others who appreciate it.

1 upvote
ThePhilips
By ThePhilips (7 months ago)

> Don't use it then! Nobody forces you.

You should have read the review, instead of jumping to "conclusion".

In review the complain is that there are very few external controls. And some external controls - namely the focus dial - are of extremely limited usefulness, compared to the missing ones. Panny either should have put there more useful function or allowed the dial to be reconfigured.

8 upvotes
kpaddler
By kpaddler (7 months ago)

I had read the review. And I did not find the point valid there either.

Obviously, panny decided to not to put too many physical control on the camera. The two most important control factors in any camera are exposure and focus controls. This camera has decent exposure contorl, and that focus switch covers the focus control.

I can go on and wish for 5 other things about the interface, but then that would be a very different camera than this design. That is what these reviewers don't understand. You don't wish everything on every camera that you see. And very personal preferences don't make a universal necessity.

And, the reviewers don't even bother to understand the features that the thing does have, yet, they make conclusions. eg. the video quality limitation.

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 3 minutes after posting
1 upvote
abluesky
By abluesky (7 months ago)

I don't understand how the percentage translates to a gold (or silver) award...?

5 upvotes
areichow
By areichow (7 months ago)

here we go...

6 upvotes
Cane
By Cane (7 months ago)

You do realize the color of the award awarded is not scientific, right? There's not a team of scientist and actuaries on this.

2 upvotes
DPReview Staff
By DPReview Staff (7 months ago)

The award is not based on the number. It is an award given to indicate how well the reviewer liked the camera overall. (I'm going to save this as a snippet so I can copy it in as needed.)

11 upvotes
Albino_BlacMan
By Albino_BlacMan (7 months ago)

You should just put that snippet under the award so you don't have to paste it into discussions after every review

10 upvotes
AbrasiveReducer
By AbrasiveReducer (7 months ago)

The gold/sliver makes me think of the Olympics, just more more subjective. "He didn't run as fast as the other guys but the judges really liked him".

6 upvotes
Tonkotsu Ramen
By Tonkotsu Ramen (7 months ago)

or maybe you should start using an award system that makes more sense?

so you don't need to explain every time? it should be something that is commonly understood.

2 upvotes
MDGColorado
By MDGColorado (7 months ago)

The problem with the score is that it looks objective but it isn't. Most if not all of the factors that contribute to it are themselves subjective. The number is really kind of useless IMO.

0 upvotes
areichow
By areichow (7 months ago)

Subjectivity is the problem with any review. Fortunately, DPR isn't the only one who does reviews. It behooves you to read reviews from a handful of sources, compare the numbers side by side (spec'd and measured), and play with one in person, if possible. This is sort of how it works. If you can't figure this out, it is probably a bad idea to spend more than $150 on a camera.

0 upvotes
locke_fc
By locke_fc (7 months ago)

@AbrasiveReducer: That made me laugh!

0 upvotes
Tonkotsu Ramen
By Tonkotsu Ramen (7 months ago)

@areichow

What kind of response is: "well there are other reviews/websites.."

Since we're on THIS website, we're discussing THIS review and the rating system that goes with it. Is that hard to understand or what?

1 upvote
abluesky
By abluesky (7 months ago)

Hey - sorry if its a dumb question. I just got confused when I see cameras with 80% and no award and them cameras with 70% and some award.

So the percentage is an attempt at objective criteria and the award is how well the camera was liked. Got it. Thanks!

0 upvotes
Revenant
By Revenant (7 months ago)

The problem is that people don't read the page where the scoring system and the awards are explained, before they read the reviews. The score is a weighted sum of many sub-scores covering different aspects of the camera. The award is a personal "editor's choice" based on user experience and personal preferences. It takes into account things that aren't easily assigned a number, and therefore not covered by the scoring system.

0 upvotes
tipple
By tipple (7 months ago)

Have read several reviews and looked at many sample photos: this camera can produce some very good photos. For those looking for "perfection" in a camera,: probably isn't going to happen. It's called tradeoffs. If manufacturers produced the "perfect camera" then what would be left to tempt you to buy? This is what makes the world go around. If you like it, buy it: if you don't like it, don't buy it. It's all in the eye of the beholder. This camera with a llm its deficiencies can still produce very good photos.

0 upvotes
brownie314
By brownie314 (7 months ago)

Well, a "perfect" camera cannot and does not exist. Perfect would mean that it satisfies everyones needs simultaneously. So it isn't that camera manufacturers are holding back this secret, "perfect" design - it is the case that it cannot exist in the real world. Small electronic devices are always a tradeoff between size, power and useability. Smaller is easier to carry, but fewer control points. Bigger is harder to carry, but has more opportunities for control points. And don't forget about sensor size - this is a whole other topic, that should not get started here.

2 upvotes
Cipher
By Cipher (7 months ago)

Canada only gets the black one. I want the orange model. Please Panasonic...make it available here.

1 upvote
ThePhilips
By ThePhilips (7 months ago)

And the white version seems to be limited to Asia: not available in NA and EU.

0 upvotes
G1Houston
By G1Houston (7 months ago)

How well does its Face Detection work?

This is an important feature for the parents who use it to track and photograph our kids, but it has not been properly tested. To measure face detection, may be you could have someone standing from a camera at 5-6 ft, walk around and turn the face slightly away from the camera a few times while the camera continue to take pictures. Later you analyze the pictures for the keep rates.

I became aware of this matter during a recent test of a GH3, during which I was surprised to learn that its face detection in still photography just did not work as well as those in the GH1 and E-PL5, which I have owned and used for many years. Someone here confirmed my experience with the GH3, although if you search the internet, no one ever tested the face detection, except to tell you that it has it and that its singe area AF is impressive (which mine was). Is this a QC issue or did Panasonic water it down in GH3? Dose it work better in GM1 and GX7?

Comment edited 55 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
Allison Johnson
By Allison Johnson (7 months ago)

I used it a little bit during the course of the review and it worked as well as I expected. It's very reliable at shorter distances of maybe 2-3 feet. It does alright at the 5-6 foot distance you've mentioned, better if you're zoomed in on a subject but not very well at wide angle with a busy background. With a subject's face turned away from a profile to three quarters in view it's hit or miss. I'd say overall it's good for portraits, but results will vary with moving subjects at greater distances.

2 upvotes
G1Houston
By G1Houston (7 months ago)

Thanks; this is how the GH3 worked. With E-PL5, however, even when my kids look away, it will switch to auto area AF and more or less lock on to the head. With the GH3, or GM1, it seems, it has a greater tendency to lock on the shoulder or the background, if they are more contrasy than the partially hidden face. The face detection in the GH1 also seems to work better, although it is a much older camera.

0 upvotes
JEROME NOLAS
By JEROME NOLAS (7 months ago)

Not bad but not good enough...I'll pass and wait for built in short zoom.

1 upvote
ThePhilips
By ThePhilips (7 months ago)

Why wait?? RX100ii is already available.

4 upvotes
Roman Korcek
By Roman Korcek (2 months ago)

You can glue the lens to the body and voila!

0 upvotes
Josh SZ
By Josh SZ (7 months ago)

The glass in the lens is not that large but the lens external diameter is pretty big. It makes the body + lens looking unballanced.

0 upvotes
ThePhilips
By ThePhilips (7 months ago)

Unbalance is in the eye of the beholder.

Hint: Look at the weights of camera vs. lens. GM1 - 270g. 12-32 - 70g.

1 upvote
Roland Karlsson
By Roland Karlsson (7 months ago)

He has a point though. Modern lenses are often like that. Much larger diameter physically than is morivated by the glass. That you need some I understand, as it contains motors for focussing and aperture, but the size is often ridiculously large.

OK- I know 70 g is not much, but it in this case really means problems as the camera cannot be put conveniently on a flat surface.

0 upvotes
Laszlo13
By Laszlo13 (7 months ago)

Take the concept further Panasonic! I think the GM1 is a great off-shoot for m4/3. I see this as an additional camera to a serious kit, not a replacement. But instead of a fixed lens, it offers a lot more flexibility - and can pinch hit as a backup body as well.

Ideas for further development: Action cam
- Video - I understand the heat issue, but if solved, this could start to be a viable alternative to Go Pro, where more flexibility desired above absolutely compactness
- Weather sealed - I really don't understand why not all m4/3 products are weather sealed. The compact size lends itself to be hauled around on hikes, ski trips, etc.
- Lenses - the Leica 15mm will be great and expensive. I suspect lot of people would opt for a variety of less expensive fun lenses for this camera. The 35-100 mini zoom is great, so how about a small, cheap, ultra wide angle?

0 upvotes
MDGColorado
By MDGColorado (7 months ago)

"I really don't understand why not all m4/3 products are weather sealed." Because it adds cost and many if not most users don't really need it.

0 upvotes
superstar905
By superstar905 (7 months ago)

Conclusion - Cons
■Poor noise reduction
■JPEG rendering of yellows a bit washed out
■Electronic shutter can produce banding under artificial light
■Video resolution tops out at 1080 30p
■Default dynamic range settings produce slight highlight clipping
■Slow 1/50 flash sync speed

Don't know about you, but the cons I highlighted above should have carried enough weight to knock the award to silver. I removed the battery con but thats another one, you need 2 - 3 batteries to run this thing for an event at best.

5 upvotes
bluevellet
By bluevellet (7 months ago)

I only consider the flash synch speed to be "crippling".

The rest is either not very relevant, is a side effect of miniaturization or has a work-around.

1 upvote
superstar905
By superstar905 (7 months ago)

Agree regarding what is "crippling", however for a Gold award, I would think that the banding, video resolution, and flash syn speed to be enough to not warrant a Gold rating. Of course, my method is not scientific.

2 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (7 months ago)

maybe they should provide an optional battery grip,
like a conformal battery right at the place of the metal stick.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
DPReview Staff
By DPReview Staff (7 months ago)

Awards aren't 'knocked,' as they're not statistical.

4 upvotes
WeddingEtCetera Com
By WeddingEtCetera Com (7 months ago)

People pretend to be photographers but confuse quantity and quality. At the time of the film, we consumed one to two films a day. Now, if a photographer has not made ​​his 300 photos in the day, if he has not an enough noise reduction, he cries.
Poor little photographer...
The DMC-GM1 is a VERY GOOD Camera for a DOMESTIC use, and MORE...

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
9 upvotes
superstar905
By superstar905 (7 months ago)

I don't think anyone is saying its a bad camera, just relative to its peers, does it deserve Gold with the cons listed? Handcuffed video quality, no IBIS, banding, unusable slow flash synch speed. This camera is silver at best, but platinum for its design as a breakthrough.

1 upvote
pannumon
By pannumon (7 months ago)

Most of the cons are related to JPEG shooting. OK, there is banding in electronic shutter, but how many cameras actually HAVE electronic shutter? AFAIK, video quality has not been criticized, but rather the video specifications (there is no 1080 60p). Actually, that specification does not mean much. You don't make conclusions based on pixel count alone, do you? Panasonic video is known to be one of the best, if not the best on interchangeable lens cameras. The flash sync speed seems to be the only real con, but hey, there is a flash on that tiny camera!

1 upvote
Marty4650
By Marty4650 (7 months ago)

Perhaps the Gold Award was given because this camera is unique.

It is the smallest MILC camera ever made, even smaller than a Pentax Q, even though it has a sensor FIVE times larger! And there are over 40 AF lenses you can use with this camera, without needing any sort of adapter. Even the Sony 7r can't do that.

When you put it in the context of being something truly new and innovative, then the Gold Award is justified, and all those minor complaints fade into the background.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
4 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (7 months ago)

Awards are subjective - they reflect how much the reviewer enjoyed using the product. There's no intrinsic relationship between a camera's score and its reward.

4 upvotes
Richard Franiec
By Richard Franiec (7 months ago)

Thank you for explaining this for 1000 and 1 time.
Maybe a little disclaimer next to award logo would put all this pouting to rest?

4 upvotes
Revenant
By Revenant (7 months ago)

The flash sync speed is also an effect of miniaturization. The shutter assembly is smaller, and the shutter is controlled by a stepper motor instead of a spring.

0 upvotes
WeddingEtCetera Com
By WeddingEtCetera Com (7 months ago)

3 DMC-GM1 Video Samples for your Pleasure...

• https://vimeo.com/81744933
• https://vimeo.com/80144049
• https://vimeo.com/82305177

Cheers

2 upvotes
AbrasiveReducer
By AbrasiveReducer (7 months ago)

I love the small size. If it had better image quality, I'd buy one but I guess you still can't have everything.

1 upvote
Gesture
By Gesture (7 months ago)

How do the CONS justify GOLD. They seem pretty substantial stuff. Banding in artificial light, etc.

Comment edited 32 seconds after posting
6 upvotes
Jogger
By Jogger (7 months ago)

But, its small and has a touchscreen!

3 upvotes
SHood
By SHood (7 months ago)

Only if you use the electronic shutter indoors. This would apply to any large sensor camera that has an electronic shutter as an option. The shutter speeds required indoors should allow for the use of the mechanical shutter thereby avoiding this issue.

6 upvotes
biomed
By biomed (7 months ago)

The banding is usually associated with shooting under fluorescent lighting that switches on and off at 60HZ or 120HZ for high frequency fluorescent lights. It does not occur with incandescent or natural light.

0 upvotes
Elaka Farmor
By Elaka Farmor (7 months ago)

I would be interested in the 2,4x teleconverter in video mode, not a word of it :-(

0 upvotes
Pedagydusz
By Pedagydusz (7 months ago)

I guess that it works like in the GX-7 or all the other current Panasonic cameras. If so, it works very well, from an amateur standpoint. Much better than the Olympus version that is very poor (in video mode).

1 upvote
ET2
By ET2 (7 months ago)

Funny DPR still did not include Nex-C3 with 16-50 in size comparison page

Why is that?

0 upvotes
ironcam
By ironcam (7 months ago)

Dunno, but here you go.

http://j.mp/19Vgc8e

2 upvotes
Jeff Keller
By Jeff Keller (7 months ago)

Probably since the NEX-C3 has long been discontinued :)

6 upvotes
ET2
By ET2 (7 months ago)

ironcam, that's not 16-50 lens

0 upvotes
Gesture
By Gesture (7 months ago)

$450.

5 upvotes
glaebhoerl
By glaebhoerl (7 months ago)

Would've really appreciated some pictures of some really big lenses on the GM1, just to see *just how* ridiculous it actually looks. I can guess that it looks stupid, but that's why I want to see it!

2 upvotes
ThePhilips
By ThePhilips (7 months ago)

The official web page of Four Thirds consortium has the matching simulation, were you can put any official compatible lens on any m43 camera:

http://four-thirds.org/en/special/matching.html

Resolution is unfortunately low, but better than nothing.

1 upvote
reinish
By reinish (7 months ago)

and your point is ?

or can we get photos of you wearing 10 sizes bigger trousers?

as opposite to you, camera will still produce excellent images despite looking out of balance

1 upvote
Andy Crowe
By Andy Crowe (7 months ago)

Just imagine holding the lens on its own, basically ;)

Comment edited 7 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
win39
By win39 (7 months ago)

Did I miss the evaluation of the LCD for seeing? Most any LCD is fine in the permanent twilight of the Pacific Northwest, but without a real viewfinder those of us in the sunnier parts of the world would like to know how useful the LCD might be. Not black in the sun like so many?

1 upvote
Allison Johnson
By Allison Johnson (7 months ago)

The LCD was okay in direct sunlight, not unusable, not really better than average. It is nearly impossible to see the level gauges in bright conditions since they're just narrow lines that change from yellow to green when alignment is correct.

0 upvotes
Robert Deutsch
By Robert Deutsch (7 months ago)

This may be the best review that I've read on dpreview: accurately describing the camera's pros and cons, providing enough information for the reader to make a sound decision, and not missing the forest from the trees.

Bob

6 upvotes
ThePhilips
By ThePhilips (7 months ago)

I have the irrational lust to get me one.

18 upvotes
bluevellet
By bluevellet (7 months ago)

YOLO

2 upvotes
HelloToe
By HelloToe (7 months ago)

"You Obviously Love Olympus" :P

3 upvotes
David Fell
By David Fell (7 months ago)

I also did and no regrets - love it!

0 upvotes
Peiasdf
By Peiasdf (7 months ago)

RX100 / RX100 II is just too much camera in such small size that it renders small mirrorless / EVIL camera like GM1 and Pantax Q pointless. Unless the intent is to use 20 f/1.7 or 17 f/1.8 with the GM1, everyone is better served by a RX.

10 upvotes
bluevellet
By bluevellet (7 months ago)

And yet the GM1 sells well.

14 upvotes
ragmanjin
By ragmanjin (7 months ago)

Unless you like using cameras with half-decent ergonomics or some pixel-level quality, in which case Sony is not the way to go. Tell me again, why was it the head of Sony U.S. was just fired?

Just love poking the Sony trolls. They're fierce.

6 upvotes
Bill Rees
By Bill Rees (7 months ago)

I agree regarding the RX100 and I have micro four thirds gear (E-M1, GH3, E-PM2) as well. I fail to see how the ergonomics of the GM1 are better than the RX100.

3 upvotes
RFC1925
By RFC1925 (7 months ago)

Pentax Q ergonomics are better. GM1 are as well for those who like to use a touch screen.

1 upvote
Robert Deutsch
By Robert Deutsch (7 months ago)

I have an Rx100 as well and hold it in high regard, but the GM1 is distinctly superior in IQ and flexibility.

17 upvotes
Jogger
By Jogger (7 months ago)

Using the touchscreen shutter is a great way to get blurry photos.. you are not even hold the camera properly. I dont know why people are so enthused about something that makes photos worse.

1 upvote
Demon Cleaner
By Demon Cleaner (7 months ago)

@Jogger. Perhaps the reason why they're so enthused about it is because their photos aren't blurry? Exactly how many GM1 owners have you personally visited to assess their files anyway? Scores I suspect, for you to be able to draw such a definitive conclusion.

4 upvotes
Andy Crowe
By Andy Crowe (7 months ago)

> Unless the intent is to use 20 f/1.7 or 17 f/1.8

or the 45mm f1.8 for portraits etc. That's the thing about an ILC, once you have the body you can continue to add new capabilities with new lenses, with a fixed lens compact you're mostly stuck with what's there.

3 upvotes
Cipher
By Cipher (7 months ago)

Problem with the RX100 is that you only get f1.8 at the wide end. Also I find the image stabilization to not be as effective as Panasonic's OIS.

3 upvotes
Le Frog
By Le Frog (7 months ago)

RX100 is indeed a better choice - if you don't need to go longer than 100 mm (equiv) and if you don't need a fast lens above 30/35 mm (equiv). Personally, I often go longer for portraits and architectural details, so I am leaning towards a GM1 + 20/1.7 + Sigma 60/2.8 combination (+ the 35/200 mm, when it becomes available), but I can see the argument in favour of the RX100. The Q is simply not in the same class, so I am not quite sure why it should be brought into the conversation.

2 upvotes
Loga
By Loga (7 months ago)

I don't get the point of his camera either. You can put the RX100 in your pocket. You can't really do that with the GM1, or just in a very unconvenient way. 'But you can put other lenses on the GM1!' - and you can put them on other similar bodies like the GX1, GX7, E-P5, E-PM2 etc. You can't really profit from a little smaller body, because finally you will put them into the same bag. But you will give up a better layout and user experience compared to a little bigger body.

I would not say that the GM1 makes sense just because it sells very well. I would not say the opposite too, based on selling.

I would say, it attracts people, but that's a different thing.

YMMV

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 1 minute after posting
4 upvotes
rikyxxx
By rikyxxx (7 months ago)

@Loga
which camera fits in which pocket is the most boring, pointless (and stupid) argument ever discussed on dpreview.

People (like you) expecting everyone dress the same dresses and puts cameras in the same "places" need just to look at reality.

0 upvotes
photo perzon
By photo perzon (7 months ago)

Gold review! I find the kit to be amazing.

3 upvotes
photo perzon
By photo perzon (7 months ago)

I bought a black model on eBay, also Henry's has it. Much more handsome.

0 upvotes
ragmanjin
By ragmanjin (7 months ago)

I always said the first camera I'd buy my daughter would be the Pentax Q, but now that this GM1 came along at the same size as the Q7 but with a bigger sensor and (presumably) better IQ, I'm conflicted...I could order the Q7 in Pink/Purple for her.
Or maybe I'll go for this and just get some colourful spray paint for it instead?
SOLD!

0 upvotes
audijam
By audijam (7 months ago)

GM1...

0 upvotes
bluevellet
By bluevellet (7 months ago)

I'd still consider the Pentax Q if your daughter was planning lots of telephoto shots. The Pentax zoom for that purpose is tiny and works much better on the camera than any m43 telephoto zooms on the gm1

The GM1 is better suited for wide-angle zooms (like the kit lens) and pancake primes.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
4 upvotes
manmachine242
By manmachine242 (7 months ago)

The game of the year: Find the yellow spot!

http://prohardver.hu/dl/upc/2013-12/213941_gm1_dof.thumb.jpg

0 upvotes
kecajkerugo
By kecajkerugo (7 months ago)

Some people saying that at higher ISO the quality is not top ......IT IS NOT TRUE. The quality is exellent! All th erecents cameras with APS-C and M43 sensors provide beatifull quality! Look at the ISO 6400 examples and compare to say 5 year old APS-C DSLRs and just see what was the technical progress in the sensors engineering. Stop saying this bull....T about the m43 sensor size disadvantage.

2 upvotes
Juhaz
By Juhaz (7 months ago)

Uh, if we have to compare it to 5 year old APS-C DSLR to not see the difference any more, that just proves that there IS a distinct disadvantage.

Technical progress can't close the gap unless other sensor sizes stop progressing. So why don't you compare it to a modern APS-C sensor at ISO6400 instead? Say, Nikon D7100... the difference is definitely there.

Yes, they all provide beautiful quality (I'd even include 1" sensors, how well RX100II can hold it's own is outstanding), but larger still has an advantage and always will. Whether that advantage is large enough to be important is for each to decide on their own, but it's there.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
3 upvotes
Andy Crowe
By Andy Crowe (7 months ago)

> Uh, if we have to compare it to 5 year old APS-C DSLR to not see the difference any more, that just proves that there IS a distinct disadvantage.

Actually he's comparing both modern m43 _and_ APS cameras to 5 year old APS cameras to point out all sensors are seeing improvements.

Plus comparing the D7100 to the GX7 it looks less than 1 stop behind to my eyes, which is what the size alone predicts

1 upvote
Jogger
By Jogger (7 months ago)

This should sell well in Japan. Rest of the world... not so much.

2 upvotes
Jorginho
By Jorginho (7 months ago)

America does not equal "rest of the world".

14 upvotes
mcshan
By mcshan (7 months ago)

@Jorgin, Where did Jogger say it was?

1 upvote
stevens37y
By stevens37y (7 months ago)

"We wouldn't expect the GM1 to produce amazing video, since its video spec falls short of the best in the class..."
EOSHD tested the video and got exactly the opposite result. They compared it to the GH3,BMPCC. Only the 50p/60p is missing probably because of the marketing.

Comment edited 37 seconds after posting
8 upvotes
ThePhilips
By ThePhilips (7 months ago)

"Only the 50p/60p is missing probably because of the marketing."

Many smaller cameras also lack 50p/60p because the small surface of camera body can't dissipate efficiently the heat off the CPU during video conversion. Same might apply to the GM1.

3 upvotes
Jorginho
By Jorginho (7 months ago)

Exactly. I think they only looked at the specs here....

0 upvotes
stevens37y
By stevens37y (7 months ago)

"small surface of camera body can't dissipate efficiently the heat off"
Pana LX7 is smaller and it can.

1 upvote
stevens37y
By stevens37y (7 months ago)

They say it uses pixel binning in video mode so the CPU might not be fast enough. Perhaps it will be hacked once.

0 upvotes
Lab D
By Lab D (7 months ago)

There is somthing about this camera that makes it very enjoyable and fun. I love carrying it in my (large) pocket and taking pictures with the perfectly silent shutter. Video is better than I need too. I know technically at higher ISOs the IQ is not top of the line, but this camera makes you not care because the output is good enough for most uses, and the "fun factor" drives you to use the camera more.
You will take this camera more places and do more with it.

2 upvotes
samfan
By samfan (7 months ago)

I know it's really tiny and that's its selling point, but I do wish it would have an EVF port instead of that useless GN4 flash. Give it an EVF (port) and I'll be ready to declare it the most awesome digital camera in history.

3 upvotes
Lab D
By Lab D (7 months ago)

I wish there was an EVF option too, but the flash which may be weaker than many is not useless. It works well as a fill-in flash and can be tilted upwards to avoid those "flash shadows" .

0 upvotes
Jogger
By Jogger (7 months ago)

With a flash sync of 1/50, its pretty much useless for fill. Its only useful for low light situations where you need flash anyways.

1 upvote
Andy Crowe
By Andy Crowe (7 months ago)

I guess Panasonic figure the kind of people who prioritise an EVF over a flash are also the kind of people who would be buying a GX7 anyway.

Certainly for social snaps at night, unless you have a very fast lens they're going to look like crap without a flash ;)

0 upvotes
mpgxsvcd
By mpgxsvcd (7 months ago)

Why can't I compare it to other cameras in the conclusion part anymore?

1 upvote
HelloToe
By HelloToe (7 months ago)

Did you hit the Compare Mode switch at top-right?

0 upvotes
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (7 months ago)

Sorry about that slight glitch - it should now be working.

0 upvotes
mpgxsvcd
By mpgxsvcd (7 months ago)

I really like the GM1. However, I picked up an E-PM2 for $150 after I sold the two lenses it came with. Therefore, I simply couldn't justify spending $600 more dollars for basically the same performance.

I can live with not having the dials if it saves me $600.

4 upvotes
FRANCISCO ARAGAO
By FRANCISCO ARAGAO (7 months ago)

Finally a rational measurement (mm²) for sensors, hope the industry adopt it.

7 upvotes
LarryLatchkey
By LarryLatchkey (7 months ago)

Rather many cons for a gold award... Don't get it.

9 upvotes
Joe Ogiba
By Joe Ogiba (7 months ago)

The Canon 70D received a higher 83% Gold award and has even more cons at 10.

Comment edited 15 seconds after posting
4 upvotes
DPReview Staff
By DPReview Staff (7 months ago)

Cons are there not only to talk about things we didn't like, but also things people should consider that might make the otherwise good camera not fit for them. There is no formula for how many line items we include.

1 upvote
LarryLatchkey
By LarryLatchkey (7 months ago)

Thanks Shawn, I have to admit I had't read the review... actually I was mainly worried about the banding, but it seems it appears only as an exception.

0 upvotes
Jim T
By Jim T (7 months ago)

Enjoyed the review, I may just look into selling a couple of my older m4/3 cameras to purchase this little marvel. Only thing that mothered me about the review is the comment near the end of the Conclusion "Not so good for Fast action, telephoto shooting, very low light." I can see the fast action and low light issues, but I failed to locate the testing that assesses the telephoto performance. What's the problem putting the Lumix 100-300mm lens on this little body? I do this all the time using my GF3, can't see a lot of difference in IQ comparing the GF3 and GH1 results or handling. I am a big guy with fat hands/stubby fingers and holding the 100-300 just feels natural on a small body like the GF3 so can't see what the problem would be with the GM1. I'm really considering replacing the GF3 with the GM1 for my long zoom or telephoto shooting, but need a little more explanation as to why the GM1 isn't so good for telephoto.

0 upvotes
BarnET
By BarnET (7 months ago)

ain't that obvious
the 100-300 is huge and this is tiny. balance is completely off.
the 45-150mm should be fine though

0 upvotes
Cane
By Cane (7 months ago)

Really, balance? Balance is the biggest straw man in these forums. You that uncoordinated?

0 upvotes
Allison Johnson
By Allison Johnson (7 months ago)

A telephoto lens on the GM1 is very awkward, so much so that it just doesn't feel like something I'd want to do for any length of time, hence the comment. I'd be willing to put up with the balance issues for a couple of shots, but not any extended shooting with a telephoto lens.

2 upvotes
Le Frog
By Le Frog (7 months ago)

I don't see why an 100-300 on GM1 looks more awkward than a 400 prime on an APS-DSLR...

2 upvotes
Cane
By Cane (7 months ago)

Allison, why in God's name would anyone buy the smallest camera in the world to then put a telephoto lens on it to begin with. Would you buy a sports car to tow a boat? Makes zero sense. I realize everyone in DPR only shoots birds and squirrels, but you have to think you'd only buy a camera this small to use with a compact prime. And if for some reason you did, you just balance the lens as the body weighs nothing. Can you hold a lens? I think so.

0 upvotes
Jim T
By Jim T (7 months ago)

That's a subjective comment at best and shouldn't be inserted in a review in the way it is. Why on earth would anyone want to hold onto a camera without supporting a long lens. In my uses of the GF3 I find the 100-300 very comfortable to hold the lens in my left hand and only use my right hand to balance the torque of the zoom and to press the shutter. With these small cameras having a big zooms solves the problems with accidently pressing control buttons or random touch screen taps. The balance in fact in my opinion is perfect on the GF3 and would only better with the GM1. It's the lens that's being held not the camera with a big zoom. I put the Peak Design wrist strap thing on the left side of the GF3 around my left wrist keeping my right hand free. Unlike the GH3 where my right hand is preoccupied with support duties. I fully expect DPR's Conclusion for the full Sony QX100 review to say it is useless, based on the logic applied to the GM1 review and the Bad Balance brigade.

1 upvote
Steen Bay
By Steen Bay (7 months ago)

Another important 'Pro': The GM1 is immune to 'shutter shock', both if using the mechanical shutter with electronic first curtain (up to 1/500 sec), and also if using the silent electronic shutter. Think it should have been mentioned in the review (sorry if I missed it), because shutter shock seems to be a rather serious problem on many mFT cameras.

6 upvotes
Demon Cleaner
By Demon Cleaner (7 months ago)

Gear lust: engaged.

5 upvotes
Total comments: 347
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