DPReview smartphone reviews are written with the needs of photographers in mind. We focus on camera features, performance, and image quality.

Introduction

It's been quite some time since Panasonic was a big name in the smartphone space, but the Lumix DMC-CM1, which was first announced at Photokina 2014, certainly is an appealing mobile device, especially to mobile photographers. That said, despite the CM1 having all the components and features of a smartphone, Panasonic describes it as a 'Communication Camera' in its marketing material. This does, to a degree, make sense. Looking at the CM1 and its spec sheet, it is quite hard to tell if this is a smartphone that puts a lot of emphasis on its camera or a digital camera with some bolted-on communication components. 

The camera specification certainly goes way beyond current conventional smartphones. The CM1's 1-inch 20MP CMOS sensor has the same dimensions as the chips in premium compact cameras such as Sony's RX100 or Nikon's 1 series, and is around seven times larger than the 1/3"-type sensors that are most common on mobile devices. The large sensor is coupled with an F2.8 Leica lens that offers an equivalent focal length of 28mm. Focus, aperture, shutter speed, ISO and white balance can all be adjusted manually via a mechanical click-wheel around the lens 'barrel' and the CM1 is also capable of recording 4K-video and Raw images. 

With its impressive camera specification and unusual design the Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1 is the closest thing we have seen to a true hybrid device and a unique product in the current marketplace. Read on to find out how it performed in our comprehensive testing.

Key Photographic / Video Specifications:

  • 20MP 1-inch CMOS sensor
  • 3:2 native aspect ratio
  • Leica DC  ELMARIT lens, 6 elements in 5 groups
  • F2.8 aperture
  • 28mm equivalent focal length
  • ISO 100-25,600 (in extended ISO mode)
  • 4K-video at 15fps
  • Raw capture
  • 1.1MP front camera

Other Specifications:

  • 4.7-inch 1080p display
  • Android 4.4
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon S801 quad-core processor
  • 2GB RAM
  • 16GB built-in memory
  • microSD cards up to 128GB
  • 2600mAh batttery

Our 10-page review

We've considered every aspect of the Panasonic CM1 camera with the photographer in mind. We examined the user interface of the native camera app and its special features. We experimented with the camera's performance when taking stills and video, and had a play with the device's many special feature modes. Click any of the links below for more information of specific functions and continue to our conclusion for a final summary of our findings.