I’m a photographer neither by training nor profession. I can, if I try hard enough, take a decent photo, if the subject is still enough, the lighting, kind, and the planets are aligned. I’ve never really enjoyed it, to be honest, but the Lumix GM1 is slowly starting to change how I feel about photography.
This is a tiny camera. My previous snapper was a tiny DSLR camera. Once I got my hands on this Lumix though, everything changed. I had no idea how I managed to be okay with carrying that beast of a DSLR in the past. The GM1 was only slightly bigger than my mobile phone, and only in a single dimension. If not for the interchangeable lens, it could slip very easily in the front pocket of even my tighter pairs of jeans, though a phone this pretty would be much better served by a strap and leather case.
The GM1 has a beautiful faux-leather finish that, paired with the brushed aluminum finish of the rest of the body looks absolutely retro-gorgeous. The dials and buttons are all at the top of the device, and click firmly into place, with no threat of accidental turning, even when the action gets intense.
The GM1 comes with a 16MP Live MOS sensor and is compatible with very many lenses already available in the market, making it one of the more versatile mirorrless cameras available at the moment. To save space though, the GM1 chose to leave out the hotshoe. This might be a bit off-putting for people, but bear in mind that this is meant to be a daily-carry type camera (albeit extremely capable) and not necessarily a piece of studio hardware.
The GM1 has no EVF, instead swapping it out for a generous three inch display. To keep from getting thicker than it has to be, it doesn’t tilt or swivel, which may require the photographer to really get into his or her craft and the awkward shooting angles necessary to complete it.
The GM1 also has Wi-Fi connectivity allowing you to instantly share your snapshots online, or immediately send the photos over to a workstation for editing.
User Experience: 4.0/5.0
First and foremost, the format is not intimidating. It’s smaller than many simple point-and-shoot cameras in the market, so you won’t feel like taking it out is a hassle, and only worth it for carefully planned shots. It is, at the same time able to hand complete control over to the user, much like any DSLR would. This gives you all the freedom you need to snap a shot worthy of a gallery wall. The pros have done it; we saw the results. Color reproduction was spot-on, and edges come out painfully sharp. Though the higher sensitivities do add a noticeable amount of noise, if you do your work, stay steady and pick the right settings, it will perform superbly.
Changing modes, adjusting aperture and shutter speeds were all achieved with no hair-pulling or cursing; something that is not par for the course when I’m at the tee.
I was very happily switching from indoor, to macro, to outdoor night shots and not missing opportunities a few minutes after I first got my hands on the device. The speed of the mirrorless action, ease of use and overall handiness of the device made sure I didn’t miss a single shot, even during the action of a mock fashion show set up by Panasonic.
At a price point of USD 750, or well into the PHP 30,000 range, I don’t think the GM1 is a bad buy at all. The abilities of the camera, the fact that it’s tiny and fashionable enough to carry every day, everywhere, and the number of compatible lenses at its disposal means you can buy this camera, use it often and not outgrow it, even when your skill increases.
If ever I finally give in and choose to pick a camera up for my own use, this will likely be the one I choose.
Also published in GADGETS MAGAZINE March 2014
Reviewed by Ren Alcantara