Panasonic Lumix GM1 and 12-32mm Pancake Zoom
When the Sony A7 and A7R were announced, a lot of reactionary bloggers started sounding the death knell for Micro 4/3. Why, they said, would anyone opt for Micro 4/3 when you could get a body the same size as the OM-D E-M1, but with a full frame sensor? Well, price and the massive and awesome Micro 4/3 lens lineup aside, Panasonic came back with an answer the very next day. Size.
Sony may have shrunk the full frame camera, but it’s hard to shrink the lenses, and Panasonic proved that you could provide a quality interchangeable lens camera and make it extremely small. The new Panasonic GM1 is the smallest Micro 4/3 camera ever made (by a relatively big margin too), and the body is slightly smaller than Sony’s tiny RX100 compact camera. The camera is about as small as a Micro 4/3 camera can be made, as the height is equal to the size of the Micro 4/3 lens mount, with a slim and tiny body attached. They put the outstanding sensor from the Panasonic GX7 into this little body, so image quality should be outstanding.
To keep the overall size small, they also released a remarkable pancake zoom with a surprising wide end of 12mm. The Panasonic 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6 is nearly the size of the super-tiny Panasonic 14mm f/2.5 pancake lens. The result is a camera with excellent image quality that can easily fit in a jacket pocket.
The GM1 isn’t a cheaply built product either. Panasonic built it solidly of metal and provided as many direct controls as was feasible given the tiny size. The 12-32mm has MTFs that show it to be the best kit zoom released for the Micro 4/3 system, which is saying something given the excellent optics of the Panasonic 14-45mm. This is a camera that won’t cater to everyone, but certainly proves that Micro 4/3 can provide extremely small size while still maintaining excellent image quality.
5 thoughts on “Mirrorless News Roundup: October 2013”
I hear on the Sony lenses. The primes are pretty outrageously priced. On the other hand, the 24-70mm f/4 OSS really isn’t bad at all. That’s probably the best deal of the lot. I mean the Canon 24-70mm f/4 is $1500. That’s a $300 difference right out of the gate. If the quality if good. I’d be happy with that lens along with a few MF primes.
I think that zoom lenses are too big for A7 and A7r. Then fit the aspect ratio much better between camera and lenses for the Micro Four Thirds System, also there is more to a good camera than a large sensor, it is certainly not always an advantage with a large full frame sensor …..
Sounds like a dream camera, but although IQ sounds unbeatable, I still think the EM1 will have the edge for most people because of a much lower outlay to get a satisfactory package. Once prices get lower people like me might consider this one.
Another thing: The real influence of these cameras will be shown in their second or third imlepemtation, so I would say this series will come alive in two or three years.
Many have summed it up here, but I think it’s worth asking the question: what Sony has improved upon compared to the NEX line? Yes–they’ve taken the image quality to new heights (a category they arguably already led). But have they addressed the issues with the NEX line? I still see the same issue–lens choice. But now is price as concern as well?
In the big picture, FF will likely move mirrorless anyways. Sony has just managed to best Canikon to the task. So even if the Sony is wildly successful, what about when everyone else introduces their FF mirrorless option 1-2 years from now? Will the Sony be the best option in 1-2 years? Is this a camera that will stay at the top? Judging by it’s feature set and lens selection, I’m not sure it will. Just imagine a FF mirrorless Nikon that takes all F-mount. Would you chose the Sony then?
Alternatively, I believe the EM-1 will stay class leading (mirrorless cams) over this period because it offers a more complete camera experience, starting at lenses, and including 5-axis IBIS, weather sealing, viewfinder, and WiFi.
Just my $.02. Thanks for reading and thanks to Jordan for a nice write up on the new product season so far.
I love the Micro 4/3 system, shooting with the EM-5 and recently the GX7. THE GM1 could the the camera I always have with me but I have a lot of trouble dealing with the lack of a viewfinder.
What would really help this for me would be an accessory shoe on top so it would take an optical viewfinder. The GM1 with a PanLeica 25mm and a Leica 50mm Bright Line finder would be superb. Or if the 25mm was a bit large, the Panasonic 20mm would be smaller although 40mm finders are a little harder to find.