- Exceptionally small camera
- Well built body with nicely laid out controls that maximize usability for a small camera
- Excellent rear LCD with touch capabilities that are smartly implemented
- Very good image quality with great dynamic range and good noise control
- Outstanding single shot autofocus is incredibly quick and extremely accurate
- Responsive camera with minimal lag and high frame rate burst modes
- Super quiet mechanical shutter and electronic shutter mechanism allows 1/16,000 second speeds
- Video is full featured and high quality
- Size comes at the cost of fewer direct controls and slightly more delicate handling
- Very slow 1/50s flash sync
- No flash hotshoe
- Continuous AF isn’t particularly good
- No in-camera RAW conversion
- Battery life is underwhelming
- WiFi connection is finicky and often failed when trying remote shooting (though you may blame the app vs the camera)
The Panasonic Lumix GM1 is all about size, and I have said many times in this review, it really is almost impossibly small. I’d read up on this camera quite a bit before I received it for review, and I still wasn’t prepared for how truly tiny it is.
In fact, the size made it so I had to remind myself of the true imaging power of the camera. When I was out in the early morning (see the first sample shot below), I had one point where I briefly had a thought skitter through my mind that the image quality was going to be less because of the small size…then happily remembered that I wasn’t actually shooting with a compact, but with a brand-new Micro 4/3 camera with a great sensor.
As a result of the small size, it almost makes sense to think of the GM1 as a sort of ‘super compact.’ It has all the benefits of an interchangeable lens camera, but all the size advantage of a compact camera. This is a camera that begs to be put in your pocket with the tiny (and excellent) pancake kit zoom or one of the other many outstanding and very small Micro 4/3 lenses. Putting the GM1 in a bag just seems like a waste of its talents. This is a camera built for carrying every day, and among pocketable cameras, it is perhaps the very best out there.
Panasonic may have minimized size, but they didn’t skimp on features. In fact, it has nearly every feature of the outstanding GX7 (reviewed here), with the exception of the EVF and in-body IS. The result is a tiny camera that packs a serious punch. Image quality is excellent, the controls are well thought out (though a bit cramped) and performance is outstanding. With the GM1 around, it would be very difficult to recommend one of the outstanding high-end large sensor compacts, especially given how good the included 12-32mm kit zoom is. (Read my review of the 12-32mm here.) Panasonic has made a very strong statement with this little gem.
(Click to enlarge)
14 thoughts on “Review: Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1”
The kit lens is 1.4 inches deep collapsed and 2.2 inches wide – a ratio of 1.57 to 1 a- an extremely thick pancake.
The kit lens is not that deep it’s 0.94 inches deep, and I believe that includes the bayonet mount. When mounted it’s no more than 3/4 inch deep.
It’s thicker than the 14/2.5 pancake (and the same diameter), but it’s no thicker than the 20/1.7 and many other pancake lenses.
Another nice review! Thanks for preparing it and for the sample images. I’m very impressed by the high ISO quality and am quite tempted by this camera.
I am really torn between the GM1 w/ 12-32mm kit and the GX7 w/ 14-42mm kit as a “pocketable” replacement of my old Canon Elph. Without being able to see either one in person, it is hard to get a good feel for whether the GX7 is too big or heavy to put in the pocket of my shorts or a light jacket. I really have no fears of the GM1 fitting, but am concerned the tiny form factor will be frustrating after awhile — one thing I didn’t care for on my 10 year-old Elph, especially after using Canon 1D bodies for paying jobs. Since you have used both cameras, do you think the GX7 is passable as a pocket camera, especially, if I pair with a smaller prime? Thanks.
The GX7, even with a small prime is considerably larger than the GM1. While I don’t have a picture of the GX7 next to the GM1, I can go close…here are pictures of the GX7 next to the GX1, and the GX1 next to the GM1.
The GX7 is just large enough to be outside of pocketable, unless you have a big pocket, while the GM1 is very easily pocketable. It’s not huge, though. The big problem for pockets are the grip and the protrusion of the rear of the EVF.
Of course, the GX7 will seem minuscule compared to a 1D series body. I shot Canon for years, and my last Canon was a 1DsII, so I know the size and weight well. The GX7 will feel light as a feather in comparison. While the GM1 is much more pocketable, the GX7 of course handles a lot better, especially with larger lenses…it also has a nice EVF and in body IS.
You could also consider the Olympus E-P5, which is a little in between the two in size, with similar IQ and great features. Well, it’s similar in size to the GX7, but doesn’t have those protrusions.
I have reviews of all of these on this site, to
Help in your decision. Good luck!
I don’t know much about the GM1 or GX7, but I use the similar Olympus EPM-2 as my travel , street photo and walk around camera.
I use almost exclusively the Panny 14 mm and Olympus 45 mm primeson this camera..
It has given me great results when visiting Stockholm and Barcelona, being fast, responsive, great Image Quality, small and handy.
I have no doubt that the Panasonic GM1 is as good or even better, than the the EPM.2, but don’t expect too much when it comes to manual control and handling compared to DSLR’s and bigger mirrorless cameras.
Tthey are in some way super point and shooters with great capabilities.
For more serious work I use the Olympus EM-1 but I also bring the EPM-2 for backup and general use, for instance shooting photos of audiences, bystanders and what ever might be of interest.
I recommend you should try both camera’s at at camera store and see how you feel about handling and build quality.
IF you like them ( and have the budget) buying both would be a great idea, I love my Combo !
Sometimes I found my GH3 big and I didn’t bring it along with me when I was going out, missing many pictures, so I started considering buying a capable compact camera to complement my bigger body and to carry it wherever I went for more casual photography; but then GM1 was announced, and I knew that it was exactly what I needed, so I preordered it (first time I do that) and waited.
I’m sure the person weighing the GX7 against the GM1 has already decided. I’ve got the GX7 and the GX1. I’m pondering the GM1 for travel, because I can use all my micro 4/3 lenses. But my point here will be a rave review of the GX7. It does in fact feel great in the hand. More than that, it is a miracle camera. I now shoot events entirely with the GX7. I used to use my Canon 60D, loving it, but it makes a big noise in church or in lectures. Now I’ve got the GX7, which can be perfectly quiet, and a couple of lenses which really pretty much equal my Canon primes in precision if not QUITE in DOF. (I’m using the 20mm pancake, the Olympus 45mm 1.8, and the Sigma 60mm 2.8.) This is one fabulous mind-blowing kit. The only thing I DON’T use it for now is sports. So here is a question for you all. The GX7 is a cut above the GX1. Should I just keep the GX1 body for travel, or upgrade to the GM1 sensor for travel? Any difference that you all are noticing?
I also possess a GX1 and a GX7 (main camera). I will keep my GX1 for safety reasons. Very often I use(d) the GX1 with the very nice electronic viewfinder, something that can not be done with the more compact GM1. I know in terms of quality the newer GM1 is a tad better than my GX1, but IMO the quality of the GX1 files is good enough, especially in RAW mode. And because I was never disappointed by the size of the GX1 I do not see the necessity to sell my old reliable companion in favour of the even smaller GM1. The only thing I really miss with the GX1 is this noiseless electronic shutter I can use with my GX7. Wow, that’s really great!
I’m afraid that you’ve not understood the GM1’s shutter correctly – which is hardly your fault because the issue is complex and Panasonic don’t explain. Yes, the GM1 does offer very high shutter speeds for exposure purposes – but they WILL not stop fast action as well as you think. This is because they are electronic shutter speeds and so prone to “rolling shutter” effects. The scene is effectively imaged a line at a time and if something is moving it can end up being captured as a series of mis-aligned slices. The result is that objects that should be straight can look bent like the cricket bat in this shot:
For similar reasons the front of a fast train might end up angled when it was really straight. You have to understand that eg 1/6000 is the time taken for a rolling shutter to expose a line of the sensor, not the full sensor. Misleading, I know.
So for action shots I’d stick to the mechanical shutter, which tops out at 1/500 sec.
Better explanation than mine:
…Great little camera, but not one I’d buy if I needed ultra-high shutter speeds to freeze action shots!