Panasonic GM1 review: First impressions of the truly “micro” Micro Four Thirds camera that took us by surprise


posted Thursday, October 17, 2013 at 12:02 AM EDT


Panasonic has introduced the first truly "micro" Micro Four Thirds camera with its diminutive yet powerful Panasonic GM1 -- the latest addition to the company's already healthy lineup of mirrorless cameras. If you’re a photographer who wants a camera in the size of a point-and-shoot, but with the flexibility and larger sensor of an interchangeable lens camera, then the Panasonic GM1 might just be the camera for you.

The GM1 is no slouch as it shares the stage with its bigger brother, the Panasonic GX7. In fact, the GM1 packs in almost all of the same imaging capabilities, with just a few compromises to accommodate its small size, namely the lack of an electronic viewfinder and an articulated LCD monitor. The Panasonic GM1 and GX7 share the same 16-megapixel Live-MOS sensor, Venus Engine image processor, fast autofocusing capabilities and expanded sensitivity up to ISO 25,600. The manufacturer claims the GM1 -- for all intents and purposes -- produces the same image and video quality as the GX7.

In our hands-on, first impressions review of the camera, IR publisher Dave Etchells goes in-depth with a look at some of the GM1's most technologically innovative features, such as its new shutter design and magnesium allow construction. He also touches on the technical reasoning behind some of the minor trade-offs that had to be made to produce such a small yet powerful interchangeable lens camera.


With it's compact size and powerful performance, the Panasonic GM1 should appeal to a wide range of shooters, from people who want an interchangeable lens camera without the bulk and weight of DSLRs to seasoned Micro Four Thirds owners who crave a small, secondary camera that provides similar image quality to their primary camera, as well as the flexibility to use all their existing MFT lenses. The GM1 should also make a excellent choice for step-up users looking to upgrade from their compact point and shoots, but who aren’t sure if a heavy DSLR is the best fit for them.

The Panasonic GM1, seen here with optional grip plate, and kit lens are nearly the same size, and price, as the Sony RX100 II.

Perhaps we shouldn't really consider the larger mirrorless cameras like the GX7 to be competing with the GM1, but rather the high-end compacts such as the Sony RX100 MkII. Users who have been considering the RX100 and RX100 II may want to give serious thought to this new contender. After all, the size of the GM1 is strikingly close to both RX100 models, however with the Panasonic you get a larger sensor and the flexibility of interchangeable lenses all for -- and here’s the kicker -- the exact same price.

The Panasonic GM1 is set to ship in November 2013 for US$749 (€699) with a new, specially designed compact 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6 lens. An optional grip plate attachment that gives the camera better purchase in the hand is tentatively priced at $99.

Dive into our in-depth first impressions Panasonic GM1 review here.

The GM1 shown here with the optional grip and larger Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 lens.

Announced alongside the Panasonic GM1 is the new LUMIX G VARIO 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH MEGA O.I.S. This new lens is being included as part of the GM1 kit and is a very small, compact zoom lens at just 24mm (0.94in) in length and only 70g (2.47oz) in weight. The lens features eight elements in seven groups in which there are three aspherical lenses and one ED element. When not in use, the lens can be manually retracted down a more portable, slimmer size.

As the name suggests, the new lens features Panasonic's MEGA O.I.S. image stabilization system, which is controlled via the camera body (no external switches). The new lens uses a 3-element group for the moving optical image stabilizing system as opposed to the single element in the older 14-42mm kit lens. The manufacturer says their newly designed actuator is more powerful and can move this heavier lens grouping for the stabilizer system.

The 12-32mm focal length range equates to a 35mm equivalent of 24-64mm, which is a nice, versatile range and perfect as a walk-around, general purpose lens. The stepper motor focus drive system should make for fast and quiet AF performance.

Currently, this lens in being sold as part of the GM1 kit, and there's no information yet as to whether or not it will be sold separately.

Place your pre-order with trusted Imaging Resource affiliates Adorama or B&H now: