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Date: 17/10/2013 | By: Heather

The new Panasonic Lumix GM1 was announced but did anybody notice?


The new Panasonic Lumix GM1 was announced but did anybody notice?

If a tree falls in the forest, does anybody in the photography world notice?

Well, if the proverbial tree is the Panasonic Lumix GM1 and the forest is all the flurry surrounding Sony’s first mirrorless full frame interchangeable lens cameras, the A7 and A7r, then we probably only heard a couple of branches crack.

We love Panasonic dearly, but they really couldn’t have picked a more inconvenient date to announce their new and rather innovative mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, the smallest, lightest and most compact of all Micro Four Thirds cameras to date. It was only yesterday that Sony took the world aback with the A7 and A7r, and most photography aficionados still haven’t quite recovered from the buzz.

Of course, Panasonic probably decided the announcement date far in advance, so let’s blame bad luck rather than poor decision making!

The extra-small and compact Panasonic Lumix GM1

The Panasonic Lumix GM1 is the first model in Panasonic’s new premium compact line, designed to compete with similar high-end compacts like the Sony RX100 II.

panasonic lumix gm1-2
The new Panasonic Lumix GM1

Why is it considered premium? Well, it has the same 16MP Live MOS sensor found in the high-end Lumix GX7, a sturdy all-magnesium alloy body (which you can apparently stand on without it breaking), ISO 200-25600 with the option of an extended 125 ISO, an incredible 1/16000 shutter speed, focus peaking, Full HD 1920 x 1080, 60i/50i recording in AVCHD and MP4, a tilt and touch 3″ LCD screen, two dimensional noise reduction and built-in WiFi to name a few important features.

The fact that the GM1 is so compact will make it a very interesting option for both enthusiasts/professionals looking for a convenient second or third body for informal shooting, and newbie photographers. 

There are two reasons Panasonic was able to make the camera so compact. First, they integrated a motor instead of a spring into the shutter design, thereby reducing the size of the unit by 80%. Furthermore, they eliminated the frame that supports the sensor in other MFT cameras. Instead, the sensor is now directly attached to the main unit frame. For a more technical explanation, you can visit the official Panasonic press release.

Panasonic knows all too well that low-end compact cameras are on their way out and smartphones are taking over. In fact, it has been rumoured that Panasonic will step out of the low-end compact camera business altogether. There is little doubt that now they will focus all their efforts on premium compacts such as the GM1 and high-end mirrorless cameras such as the GH3 and GX7.

The design looks even more retro than the GX7 and the similarity to the Fujifilm X-M1 is quite obvious.

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Fujifilm X-M1 vs Lumix GM1

And what about the two new lenses?

Panasonic has also announced two new lenses for its Micro Four Thirds system.

The first is the Lumix G Vario 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6, an all-metal kit lens that comes with the GM1. It is supposedly the smallest zoom for MFT and delivers the highest quality amongst all MFT standard zooms. Though it lacks a manual focus ring, you can still manually focus using the touchscreen.

The second is the Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7. This lens is the fourth prime signed by Leica for the MFT mount. It has a 30mm equivalent focal length on a full frame sensor and could be a great companion for street photography. There are actually three viable options now for that focal range: the Olympus M.Zuiko 17mm f/1.8, the Lumix 20mm f/1.7 and now the Leica 15mm f/1.7. As we can see, the MFT lens system is continuing to expand and add more lenses to its line-up. Later on, Lumix/Leica should also release the already announced 42.5m f/1.2 which could end up as one of the best portrait lenses for the system.

Is the Panasonic Lumix GM1 a camera you’d be interested in? What are your thoughts about the creation of yet another G line?

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About the author: Heather Broster

Heather Broster was born in Canada, has lived in Japan and Italy but currently calls Wales home. She is a full-time gear tester at MirrorLessons. You can follow her on Google+, Twitter or Facebook!

  • Mathieu

    The Micro Four Thirds system has the most complete set of lenses, no questions about that;) I think it is too early to judge the new Sony full frame system. It is true that they haven’t really developed good zoom lenses for the Nex series and have only a couple of interesting primes, but things might change with the A7/A7r. People interested in these cameras are mostly professionals, and professionals are needy:) Yes a f/4 constant zoom can seem disappointing but it will be the equivalent of a f/2.8 zoom on M43. There will always be some kind of compromise if we want a compact system. Personally, what I think Sony needs to do is release good and fast primes. With a good variety of zeiss fast prime lenses, these cameras will certainly be more appealing.

  • michael

    I noticed. I have my order in to B&H.

    The Sony cameras look fantastic, and there will be exactly two lenses available at launch, neither particularly fast. Also, since the new Sonys are full frame, any fast, stabilized zooms will be heavy enough to neutralize the initial weight savings over Nikon or Canon. You just can’t beat physics when it comes to large apertures. Notice that the proposed higher end zooms are both f/4, not 2.8.

    Also, after owning a couple of Sony NEX cameras I realize that I don’t trust the company to put out the kinds of lenses – quality, fast primes – to go with the excellent cameras. I’m jumping ship to m43.

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