Panasonic GM5 Image Quality Comparison

Below are crops comparing the Panasonic GM5 against the Panasonic GX7Fuji X-M1, Olympus E-PL7, Sony A6000 and Sony RX100 IIII. All of these models sit at relatively similar price points and/or categories in their respective product lineups as advanced enthusiast or professional-level cameras.

These images are best quality JPEGs straight out of the camera, at default settings including noise reduction and using the camera's actual base ISO (not extended ISO settings). All cameras in this comparison were shot with our very sharp reference lenses. Clicking any crop will take you to a carrier page where you can click once again to access the full resolution image as delivered straight from the camera. For those interested in working with the RAW files involved, click these links to visit each camera's respective sample image thumbnail page: Panasonic GM5, Panasonic GX7Fuji X-M1, Olympus E-PL7, Sony A6000 and Sony RX100 III -- links to the RAW files appear beneath those for the JPEG images, wherever we have them. And remember, you can always go to our world-renowned Comparometer to compare the Panasonic GM5 to any camera we've ever tested.

NOTE: The Panasonic GM1 and GM5 share the same imaging pipeline (including sensor and image processor), as such, in our testing, we found no discernible difference in the image quality between the two cameras. Instead of just having a link over to our Panasonic GM1 Image Quality Comparison page, we've recreated the crop comparison tables below, substituting in crops from the Panasonic GM5 as well as updating the comparison cameras to newer models and adjusting the commentary accordingly. The Print Quality Analysis performs identically to the earlier GM1 as well.

Panasonic GM5 versus Panasonic GX7 at base ISO

Panasonic GM5 at ISO 200
Panasonic GX7 at ISO 200

The GM5 shares the same sensor and processor as its larger sibling, the GX7, and as such we would expect these to be virtually identical in image quality. Both cameras look quite good and sharp here at base ISO, bringing out the subtle details of our test target. Since the GM5 is substantially smaller and less expensive than the GX7, the similarity in image quality should make it a very appealing option of advanced photographers.


Panasonic GM5 versus Fuji X-M1 at base ISO

Panasonic GM5 at ISO 200
Fuji X-M1 at ISO 200

The X-M1, with an MSRP of $800, is the most affordable of the Fuji models to sport an APS-C-sized version of its highly acclaimed X-Trans sensor. In this comparisons, the Fuji produces sublime image quality in the first two crops, and brings out subtle details in our red fabric swatch while losing out in the pink fabric detail. The smaller-sensored GM5, while having just slightly less detail in some areas, takes a more even approach in handling all areas well.


Panasonic GM5 versus Olympus E-PL7 at base ISO

Panasonic GM5 at ISO 200
Olympus E-PL7 at ISO 200

In this face-off between two Micro Four Thirds competitors, the E-PL7 has more aggressive default sharpening than does the GM5, and it shows here with crisper overall detail, especially in the mosaic tiles. But as we've seen in other recent image comparison tables, this aggressive processing often yields mixed results as ISO rises.


Panasonic GM5 versus Sony A6000 at base ISO

Panasonic GM5 at ISO 200
Sony A6000 at ISO 100

The A6000 has an APS-C sensor with roughly 35% more surface area on which to gather available light than does the GM5. Here at base ISO, both camera display an excellent level of fine detail, though the increase in sheer resolution from the A6000 makes detail more apparent. We also give a slight nod to the A6000 for its better rendering of the mosaic and red fabric swatch.


Panasonic GM5 versus Sony RX100 III at base ISO

Panasonic GM5 at ISO 200
Sony RX100 III at ISO 125

As opposed to the A6000 with its larger sensor, the RX100 III has a sensor about half the size of the GM5, and yet sports roughly 4 more megapixels of resolution. With its back-lit technology it does a very good job here at base ISO, though the GM5 extracts cleaner fine detail from the mosaic. Both cameras are quite evenly matched when it comes to the red fabric, though the pink fabric goes to the GM5.

 

Most digital SLRs and CSCs will produce an excellent ISO 100 shot, so we like to push them and see what they can do compared to other cameras at ISO 1600, 3200, and 6400. Recent advances in sensor technology have made ISO 1600 look a lot more like ISO 100, but there are still cameras whose quality starts to fall apart at this setting. We also choose 1600 because we like to be able to shoot at least at this level when indoors and at night.

Panasonic GM5 versus Panasonic GX7 at ISO 1600

Panasonic GM5 at ISO 1600
Panasonic GX7 at ISO 1600

Once again, and as expected, these two siblings perform nearly identically in the image quality department. Both do a fairly good job for this ISO but show some noise processing artifacts in the bottle crop, lose some fine detail in the mosaic tiles and have a tough time resolving contrast and detail in our target red fabric swatch.


Panasonic GM5 versus Fuji X-M1 at ISO 1600

Panasonic GM5 at ISO 1600
Fuji X-M1 at ISO 1600

As predicted, this is where the larger sensor and X-Trans technology of the X-M1 pulls away from the GM5. The bottle crop from the X-M1 is amazing, and there is still some good detail in the mosaic tiles and the red fabric swatch. However, as it did at base ISO, the X-M1 curiously loses out on the detail in the pink fabric swatch, which is an odd twist on an otherwise solid performance.


Panasonic GM5 versus Olympus E-PL7 at ISO 1600

Panasonic GM5 at ISO 1600
Olympus E-PL7 at ISO 1600

The aggressive sharpening at default cameras settings allows the E-PL7 is extract more fine detail in these images, but with the price of some unwanted artifacts starting to show up -- such as the granulated noise in the bottle crop and the pink fabric swatch. The GM5's approach to default noise reduction is more even-handed, so it would be helpful to view the two compared in RAW format with manual sharpening applied.


Panasonic GM5 versus Sony A6000 at ISO 1600

Panasonic GM5 at ISO 1600
Sony A6000 at ISO 1600

Apart from the resolution disparity, both cameras do well with fine detail at this higher ISO. The GM5's bottle crop appears grainier than the A6000's, but fine detail in the mosaic crop on the other hand looks fairly even between the cameras. The fabric swatches displays the strongest difference. The GM5 looses a lot of detail in the red fabric, while retaining a fair amount in the pink fabric. The A6000 in contrast attempts to display more detail from the red, but the NR processing really introduces noticeable splotchiness in the pick fabric.


Panasonic GM5 versus Sony RX100 III at ISO 1600

Panasonic GM5 at ISO 1600
Sony RX100 III at ISO 1600

This is where the 1-inch-type sensor of the RX100 III starts to lose ground. It beats out most other non-ILC compacts currently on the market, but can't hold stride with the GM5's much larger sensor as ISO rises. However, with the red fabric, the RX100 III does display slightly more detail in the red fabric, though both cameras struggle to truly resolve the detailed leaf pattern.

 

These days, ISO 3200 is a very viable shooting option for most good cameras, so let's take a look at some comparisons there.

Panasonic GM5 versus Panasonic GX7 at ISO 3200

Panasonic GM5 at ISO 3200
Panasonic GX7 at ISO 3200

And again, the same sensor and processor on these two cameras produce virtually identical results, both yielding significant noise reduction artifacts in the bottle crop and losing a lot of detail in the mosaic tiles and red fabric swatch.


Panasonic GM5 versus Fuji X-M1 at ISO 3200

Panasonic GM5 at ISO 3200
Fuji X-M1 at ISO 3200

Here the X-M1 doesn't out-pace the GM5 nearly as much as at ISO 1600, which is curious to note. There is more detail in the mosaic tile, but the other two crops yield fairly similar results between the two and, yet again, the X-M1 curiously loses outright on the pink fabric.


Panasonic GM5 versus Olympus E-PL7 at ISO 3200

Panasonic GM5 at ISO 3200
Olympus E-PL7 at ISO 3200

Splotchiness from default noise reduction starts to really take a toll here on the E-PL7 images, especially in the mosaic crop. We see more noise in the GM5's bottle crop, while the E-PL7 looks very clean. Both cameras, however, struggle with the fabric swatches, with the E-PL7 notably so with the pink fabric.


Panasonic GM5 versus Sony A6000 at ISO 3200

Panasonic GM5 at ISO 3200
Sony A6000 at ISO 3200

At ISO 3200, the A6000 has a bit less apparent noise in the bottle crop than does the GM5. It also produces a much softer rendering of the pink fabric swatch. The GM5 is certainly not perfect here by any means, but kudos to it for standing up so well against two good APS-C cameras at ISO 3200!


Panasonic GM5 versus Sony RX100 III at ISO 3200

Panasonic GM5 at ISO 3200
Sony RX100 III at ISO 3200

This ISO is tough terrain for a 1-inch sensor. It's not terrible like many traditional compact cameras are, but still better to keep it at ISO 1600 and below for sharper results.

 

Detail: Panasonic GM5 versus Panasonic GX7, Fuji X-M1, Olympus E-PL7, Sony A6000 and Sony RX100 III.

Panasonic
GM5

ISO 200
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Panasonic
GX7

ISO 200
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Fuji
X-M1

ISO 200
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Olympus
E-PL7

ISO 200
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Sony
A6000

ISO 100
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Sony
RX100 III

ISO 125
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Detail comparison. Fine detail is fun to look at, and often yields far different results than the comparison tables above. As is often the case these days, Olympus cameras tend to dominate this table. The A6000 also looks quite sharp. The RX100 III sensor size limitations are quite obvious here, while the two Panasonics and the Fuji turn in reasonably good performances, though obviously losing much ground to the E-PL7 for overall sharpness.

 

Panasonic GM5 Review -- Print Quality

Note: The image quality between the GM1 and GM5 are practically identical, and as such, the print quality does not differ here either. We printed some samples from the GM5 to verify, but the below print quality analysis is the same as on the Panasonic GM1.

Very good 24 x 36 inch prints at ISO 125/200; a nice 13 x 19 at ISO 1600; a good 4 x 6 at ISO 12,800.

ISO 125/200 prints are quite good at 24 x 36 inches, with nice detail and rich colors. Wall display prints are possible up to 30 x 40 inches.

ISO 400 shots look very good at 20 x 30 inches, retaining good detail throughout our test image.

ISO 800 prints are good at 16 x 20 inches. Typical softening in the red channel begins to occur here, as is the case for many cameras we test.

ISO 1600 makes a nice 13 x 19 inch print, with only mild softening in the red fabric and minor noise in flatter areas.

ISO 3200 tends to be the turning point for many 4/3rds cameras, as is the case here, and requires a reduction to 8 x 10 inches due mostly to noise in flatter areas.

ISO 6400 prints a very good 5 x 7. 8 x 10s don't quite pass out official "good" standard, but are not bad for less critical applications.

ISO 12,800 yields a good 4 x 6 for this ISO and sensor type.

ISO 25,600 prints are not usable and this setting is best avoided when possible.

The Panasonic GM5 turns in a solid performance in the print quality department, and as expected, it yields prints similar to its acclaimed cousin the GX7, which shares the same sensor and processor. These sizes are what we have come to expect out of good micro 4/3rds cameras, and the GM5 certainly doesn't disappoint. Note that the biggest decrease in quality occurs at ISO 3200, so it is best to stay at ISO 1600 and above if you intend to print above 8 x 10 inches.



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