Top positive review
59 people found this helpful
knowing that the pictures will be little better than my smartphone
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!