47 of 47 people found the following review helpful
on 25 August 2014
I bought this little camera because I generally carry a Nikon SLR and lenses around and I'm getting old and tired. Sometimes you just need a camera that is small and light and no hassle. I've had a series of compact cameras (Nikon, Canon, another Nikon and a Fuji) and was always faced with a dilemma: Do I take the compact, knowing that the pictures will be little better than my smartphone, or the SLR for great pictures but backache and the inability to carry much else (my camera bag is a rucksack with the body and 4 lenses in it). Problem has been solved. I knew this Lumix was good from the reviews I had read, but nothing prepared me for just HOW good it is. I've just come back from Norway where I put both cameras through their paces. With its micro 4/3 sensor the image quality is as good as my Nikon DX format. I'm not kidding. Just as good. The lens is actually slightly better than my Nikkor zooms, although as I expected not quite as sharp or fast as the primes. It focusses SO fast that I didn't miss a single shot. Ever. It's so quiet that I was able to take stealth pictures normally only possible with a phone. The "silent" mode is absolutely silent. It's tiny. Not quite shirt pocket size because the total depth including lens is about 55mm but jacket pockets definitely fit and with the included neck strap it weighs almost nothing on the shoulder too. I've been using an iPhone for video because the Nikon is pretty poor for that, but this GM1 shoots terrific video with a very good stabilisation system too. The 12-32 lens has roughly the same angle of view as a 17-55mm on a Nikon DX format SLR - that's fairly wide to a short tele (portrait) so no long tele I'm afraid. But I've just cropped some shots today and the sharpness and lack of noise is fantastic. So cropping up to about 50% is perfectly safe.
Any negatives? Yes: Battery life is short. I got a day out of it but only just. It ran out one day by late afternoon. I'm adding a spare battery now. It's go a ton of optional settings and preferences which are a bit tricky to understand - the owners manual is not the best. However you can safely ignore these if you want to and rely on its various auto modes with manual exposure comp override. The flash feels a bit flimsy so I'm nervous about that but functionally it's superb and there are slow flash and flash compensation settings. You can even tilt the flash head with a finger for bounce.
So I'm delighted with the GM1. It's becoming a serious alternative to lugging the SLR around, and when I don't need the longer focal lengths or fast access to manual settings I think I'll be leaving the Nikon at home!
117 of 120 people found the following review helpful
There is one overwhelmingly major reason for choosing the GM1 over other M43 cameras, and that is size. I have heard people bemoan the lack of an eye-level finder, small buttons, lack of grip, flip-out screen, hotshoe etc - but that is missing the point entirely. If you need those, there is plenty to choose from already. This is the one for the ones who like a camera that is as small as possible without compromising on what is the most important thing: image quality.
Ever since I sold my Canon 5D in favour of a Panasonic G1 some years ago, it was the smaller size that was the main allure of the then rather fresh-faced micro four thirds standard. I still felt the occasional need for a more compact take-everywhere camera, trying the Sigma DP1, the Canon G10 and, more recently, the Sony RX100. The latter I found rather disappointing, raving reviews notwithstanding: burnt-out highlights, high ISO noise, so-so lens, and 20 are too many megapixels for a camera that doesn't really resolve more than 12 megapixels of detail. I quickly sold it again.
Enter the Panasonic GM1, and it is the best of both worlds. It is light, it is small, and can be brought along in situations when I'd never bring my - in comparison rather bulky - Olympus OM-D E-M5.
The GM1 is also the quietest camera I've ever used. In fact, it is absolutely soundless in silent mode, and I have to look at the screen to verify that it actually took a picture.
Another thing to like is the spot-focus, zooming in on the focus spot on the screen to verify accurate focus. My first proper camera had split-screen focusing, and so I am still used to putting my focus spot in the centre of the frame, then recomposing for the shot. For the more tactile photographer, one can just touch the screen to focus anywhere too.
And I am sure the whopping 1/16,000 (yes, that is 1/16,000, not 1/1,600) shutter speed will come in handy on a bright, sunny day.
The 12-32 lens is designed for its diminutive size; it is not perfect optically. With the sun in the frame, one does get some flare, though I have seen worse before. Centre sharpness is good, but the corners are a bit soft. Then again, I have been using the Olympus 45mm f/1.8 a lot lately which has some of the sharpest corners of any lens I have used - and it is the perfect size to use on the GM1.
I like how they have made the kit lens start at 12mm rather than the more ubiquitous 14mm. It makes a big difference to the angle of view. In fact, had it been a 14-40 lens, I'd have been more pensive about buying it. I have owned the Panasonic 7-14mm lens, but found I mostly used it between 12-14mm - a range not covered by any of my other lenses. In fact, the GM-1 presented a good opportunity for me to sell my old 7-14mm to make my kit even lighter.
Panasonic's menu system is one I find rather user friendly. The control wheel and buttons are the same, though smaller, than on other Panasonic cameras. The size might bother some people, but for anyone used to writing texts on a smart phone, it is a doddle to use. One customisable function button might not be enough for everyone, but for me it just what I need to set ISO easily. The rest of my most used controls are conveniently accessed via the control wheel.
I have said a lot in this review about why the GM1 is the right camera for me. Because of its size, it is full of compromises - some of which might be unacceptable to certain photographers. I think the trade-offs are worth it for what you get in terms of portability and image quality.
For many M43 users it will be a perfect bring-everywhere second camera, for others, like myself, the only camera they will ever need.
83 of 85 people found the following review helpful
on 12 April 2014
I was looking to spend about £500 to buy a new camera which offered higher picture quality than I was getting from my Lumix LX7. As I use a camera mainly for amateur travel photography, compactness of design was a primary consideration, as was the weight. And a close secondary consideration was a 24mm wide angle field of view (in 35mm terms). And I also like a camera to be able to take filters without the ridiculous rigmarole required for the likes of the Lumix LX7 whereby stupid adapter rings have to be bought.
With this in mind, the options I considered were the Fuji XE-1 (currently available for £500, with 24-75 lens), Ricoh GR (fixed 28mm lens) and the Lumix GM1 (24-64mm lens). (Expressing the focal lengths in 35mm terms). I was drawn to the Ricoh because of its image quality (APS-C size image sensor & excellent lens), but ruled it our in the end because I really do use the 24mm wide angle field of view in a lot of my photographs via landscapes and indoor shots. And I was drawn to the Fuji because of its image quality too, again via an APS-C sized image sensor and a sharp lens, but ruled that out on size considerations. If the Fuji had a very compact lens design, say a 24-48mm (in 35mm terms) then I would have chosen it, but alas the 16-50 lens is too big for my needs. The one thing that really gets me down with any camera is when travelling with it becomes an exercise in camera transportation logistics, like when travelling through airports and on aircraft for example. Ditto when I'm out walking; I like a camera to be pocketable so that I can easily shelter it from rain showers without the need to hawk around a camera case or backpack.
So that left the Lumix GM1. Reading online reviews, its image quality was praised as much as its compactness. Plus I noted that it had a filter thread fitted as standard. That was my decision made - I purchased the GM1.
On first seeing the camera the first thing that strikes you is its incredible compactness - the Panasonic engineers have done an amazing job here. The GM1 body is far more compact than that of the LX7 (excluding the integrated LX7 lens). With the 12-32mm lens attached, the GM1 measures only 7mm more in depth (i.e. measuring from the back of the viewing screen to the front of the lens) than the LX7. Given that this extra 7mm includes the depth necessary to accommodate the micro4/3 interchangeable lens mount, I reckon that is pretty good going.
Shooting back to back images in RAW on the LX7 (1/1.7" sensor) and the GM1 and then processing them via DxO Optics 9 (only correcting CAs and purple fringing, no distortion correction) and then viewing the images on a laptop yielded the result I expected, i.e. images from the GM1 have much more bite and better toning/colouring compared to those from the LX7. No surprise there.
However, a lot of detail can be lost as a result of any distortion correction process, and the more distortion there is present then the more detail will be lost during the distortion correction step (irrespective of whether this is done in-camera or via post-camera RAW processing via a software package). Happily, uncorrected wide angle barrel distortion looks much better on the GM1 (with 12-32) than on the LX7. Online reviews have measured it (for the 12-32) at between 1% and 2% which if true is very well controlled indeed. In contrast, the Fujinon 16-50 uncorrected wide angle barrel distortion has been measured at 7.2% at 16mm (source: Photozone), which is colossal.
But obtaining nice sharp images at ISO 100 or 200 is only part of the story. What about when you need to take shots indoors or of stage performances, using available light? I do this frequently and this is where I run into problems with the LX7, i.e. image noise. With the LX7 I have to draw the line at ISO 400 (and that's when using DxO v9's excellent PRIME noise reduction processing). With the GM1, I'm not sure I would even bother with applying noise reduction to images taken at ISO 400. Plus, going further up the ISO scale, I find that image detail holds up very well at ISO 800, 1600 and 3200. I find images shot at these ISOs and then noise reduction processed via DxO 9's PRIME to be exceptionally good - amazingly so. The GM1 sensor is very well and very sensibly designed in this respect. I would much rather have 16Mp and high ISO usability than 20/24Mp and see luminance noise creeping in at ISO 200/400. It is a very sharp and very low noise sensor indeed - a brilliant piece of engineering.
My initial feeling was to stop short of the euphoric hype of saying that the GM1 equals the best image quality that APS-C has to offer because I doubted it would yield images as sharp as those from the Ricoh GR and the Fuji XE-1, for example. And that may still be the case in reality - I don't know to be honest. But what I do know is that I have just got 20 images out of the Lumix GM1 (taken while out on a stroll around the Shropshire Hills) which are as good if not better than anything I have ever taken before, irrespective of sensor format (1/1.7 via Lumix LX7, 4/3 via Lumix GM1, APS-C via Canon 400D/Tamron 17-50 f2.8/Canon 70-200 f4 L IS) - beautiful sharp images, with no highlight burnout and lovely creamy tone depth. Superb. After taking these images, now more than ever, the GM1 is exactly what I wanted it to be, i.e. a very light and very compact camera ideally suited to travel photography, beautifully engineered around a magnesium alloy metal chassis and which provides an obvious step up in image quality and high ISO usability from my Lumix LX7, to the point where (to my eye) the image quality seems equal to what I'm used to seeing via decent quality APS-C kit. Not bad for something that slips into a coat pocket.
For now, I would say that Panasonic really have hit a sweet spot with the GM1 in terms of the trade off between compactness and image quality.
My advice to potential purchasers is to go take a look at the GM1 in the flesh, handle it in the showroom and take a few tests shot on your own memory card and see what you think. I'm very glad I did - I think me and the GM1 will be happy travelling companions for a few years to come. Highly recommended.
My advice to Panasonic is to make the LX8 as a cost reduced version of the GM1, i.e. with fixed 12-32mm lens and plastic chassis etc. That would jump you forwards beyond the 1in sensor competition which has prevailed against you in the fixed lens compact market and would also provide economies of scale due to common componentry across LX8 and GM1. And/or you could opt to produce a cost reduced CSC derivative of the GM1, like Fuji has done with its X-A1. Either way, in a nutshell, it is now essential to dump 1/1.7" now and go for 4/3 for the LX8.
42 of 44 people found the following review helpful
on 14 January 2014
Panasonic have been able to squeeze a top-of-the-line GX7 into an amazingly small space with this camera. I purchased it in mid-December, early in its life, and have not put it down since, as it fits just fine in my jacket pocket. The results I have obtained so far are really superb, and are easily the match of results from both my Canon and Nikon SLRs with some expensive lenses. I have even taken up 'pixel-peeping' to confirm my findings. Not only is the Micro-Four Thirds 12-32mm 'kit' lens extremely good, but I have now also obtained a 20mm F1.7 lens. Shots inside the local dimly-lit pub did not need flash, and the results were astonishing. No-one even noticed I was taking pictures of them!
As I very rarely use video, any limitations from the GX7 are not important to me, and I rarely use long-enough exposures needing bulb setting, so again no big deal. The only real drawback is that battery life is limited to about 230 shots, so an extra battery is a requirement
This camera is what MICRO Four Thirds is all about. Especially if you like street photography, because the subjects are not even aware of the camera pointing at them. I am now considering disposing of one of the SLRs.
Five Stars to Panasonic for this little marvel.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 27 November 2014
I got this as I wanted the 12-32 lens for my GX7 but buying it with the camera meant the camera body itself was only costing me £110 over the price of the lens on it's own - so I have ended up with a GM1. Now, having used it I find I prefer this in many ways to the GX7 !!!
The camera body is tiny but sits easily in your hand and the lens is equally small. It makes taking pictures quickly and unobtrusively really easy. Once set up it doesn't need many changes apart from exposure ones if you wish. Yes, the buttons are small but what do you expect - it is meant to be tiny.
Image quality is identical to my GX7 (same sensor) and this lens is really quite astounding for sharpness given it's size. The noise levels from the Micro Four Thirds sensor are very good and noise + image quality generally is in a different league to images normally produced by cameras of this size.
It is incredibly quiet in operation and well made - it feels very solid indeed.
Yes, no EVF but a flash compared to the GM5. The batteries have not got as much life as a GX7 but although Panasonic ones are £60 Amazon has others for £7.50 each which are just as good. It uses the same battery charger as a GX7 but the batteries are thinner.
What else is there to say - if you want a really small camera with stunning image quality there is really no equal. The micro four thirds sensor is bigger than say that in a Canon G7X and better for low light photography. It fits in a pocket with ease but if you want to put other lenses on it you have that ability (though many will dwarf the tiny camera body). The lens is in 35mm terms 24-64mm. This is a good size for snaps and I would rather have a sharp 24-64 than a softer 28-80 or larger. This lens is much sharper than my 14-42 X lens.
Overall thoroughly recommended !!
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on 26 April 2014
I am a panasonic groupie, my last three cameras have been lumix but I found that they were a bit bulky when out for a walk or on the beach. I wanted something that was easy to fit in a pocket and yet better than the usual point and shoot. This is it, fantastic quality in the photos and easy to use in point and shoot mode.Some of the other facilities will take a bit of learning and the manual is a bit over facing but covers everything. Would recommend.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 9 March 2015
This is the best camera I've ever had. Before I bought this my favourite was my Nikon 1 J2, I've also owned a Sony NEX 5T and used my son's Nikon D3200. It's perfect for me because it's so tiny and people don't really notice it. I also bought the panasonic case for it, which gives it a better grip and adds about 1cm to the height (since the camera sits on top of a platform inside the case).
The lens is great but at 12mm has barrel distortion. The shutter is extremely quiet or you can put it in silent mode for the silent electronic shutter. I thought I would use silent mode all the time because I don't really like drawing attention to myself with shutter sounds but it's so quiet I don't mind it at all.
The touch screen is very responsive and makes changing the creative effects so easy since you just have to tap the upper left corner and it shows you the list of effects and the preview of it. This is what's great about mirrorless cameras - you can see the changes live on the screen. This camera is a dream if you love using effects and putting them on social networking sites/blogs. It also has wifi so I upload straight to the iPad and then use an app to further enhance effects or create a retro look. It's so much fun and I have created some stunning pictures this way. Granted you can do this with most cameras but this one is so small you can just put it in your pocket and use it instead of a phone.
To sum up I would say if you are serious about photography this probably should not be your main camera as you might prefer the handling of something larger with more physical controls, but if you are interested in a pocketable fun, creative camera you can always have with you then I recommend this one.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 20 November 2014
An awesome little camera. I use this when I go mountaineering or to gigs and also as a backup to my Olympus EM1. It fits in your pocket and I carry it every where with me safe in the knowledge that I can get professional results wherever I am!
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 19 September 2014
Bought GM1 from Amazon on the 22nd June 2014, very happy with camera and fast delivery from Amazon,but Panasonic are 90
days later still dragging their feet over £100 cashback and free case, despite my contacting them regarding this on 14th August
they have only acknowledged my letter by Email with no proper explanation for delay.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 13 July 2014
Great camera, pity Panasonic are so tardy in honouring their cash-back offer.