Coming To America: Hands-on & First Shots with the Panasonic CM1, world’s first 1” sensor smartphone


posted Monday, April 27, 2015 at 4:49 PM EST


First announced back at Photokina 2014 and for the French, German and then UK markets only, the Panasonic CM1 -- the rather ambitious combination of smartphone and a dedicated, large-sensor compact digital camera -- is making its way to the US market later this year. And we've now been able to get both hands-on and first lab shots with one of the first models to hit the US shores! 

Camera makers are trying to find ways to tap into the smartphone users' pockets, and the new Panasonic CM1 is a bold new experiment. What sets the Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1 apart is the fact that it marries a typical Android smartphone with a relatively huge 20-megapixel 1-inch CMOS sensor and a bright 28mm-equivalent f/2.8 Leica-branded prime lens.

A 1-inch sensor is very large by compact camera standards, and one which we've seen in other premium compacts like the Sony RX100-series, as well as large bridge zooms like the Panasonic FZ1000 and even ILCs like the Nikon 1-series. The fact that such a huge sensor is crammed into a relatively slim smartphone is rather intriguing, actually.

Panasonic CM1 • The world's first 1" sensor smartphone now coming to America

So if you're ready to dive into our hands-on walkaround please click here, and for anyone who'd rather take a sneak-peek first at a few image quality comparisons from our lab First Shots please read on! Because the CM1 shares the same sensor size as the vastly popular Sony RX100 series of cameras, we're including the Sony RX100 III in this initial selection of crops from our samples pages. Also included for a higher-end camera is the Panasonic GM5 with its Four Thirds sensor, which is roughly twice the size of the 1" sensors, and also the Canon S120, a popular point-and-shoot that represents a smaller 1/1.7" sensor, which is less than half as large.

These crops are at 1:1 to show the pixel level for a detailed comparison, and all are default in-camera JPEG settings, starting with the native ISO and then moving to ISO 800. Apparent differences in actual size are due entirely to the different sensor resolutions (not sensor size) and the subtle difference in the shooting direction apparent on the CM1 is due to it being a fixed lens, and therefore slightly wider than our typical lab test standard lenses. Click any image below to take you to a carrier page where you can access the entire full resolution image as well as the associated EXIF data.

[Editor's note: Our "First Shots" are usually only our Still Life target, but due to the unique nature of this product we wanted to go ahead and get you the majority of our lab samples.]

Native ISO

Panasonic CM1 • ISO 125
Sony RX100 III • ISO 125

Panasonic GM5 • ISO 200

Canon S120 • ISO 80

And now moving on to the more interesting and versatile ISO 800, which expands low light potential for many a needed shooting situation.

ISO 800

Panasonic CM1 • ISO 800

Sony RX100 III • ISO 800

Panasonic GM5 • ISO 800

Canon S120 • ISO 800

Stay tuned for more to come on the intriguing Panasonic CM1.

Panasonic CM1 Hands-on WalkaroundLab SamplesComparometer