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Panasonic GM-1 Worlds Smallest Mirrorless System Camera: First Look

Panasonic GM-1 Worlds Smallest Mirrorless System Camera: First Look

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Tiny Micro Four Thirds Camera

October 17, 2013

Panasonic has put high-quality images at the fingertips of snapshooters and photo enthusiasts alike with the GM-1, a miracle of miniaturization.

It's official: At a teeny 3.88x2.16x1.2 inches and featherweight 0.38 pounds (body only), the Panasonic Lumix GM-1 ($749 with kit lens at Adorama), introduced today, is the smallest and lightest interchangeable-lens camera in the world. Impressively, it eclipses the previous champion of interchangeable lens miniaturization, the Pentax Q10, while using a larger sensor. The Panasonic GM-1 has a 16MP Micro Four Thirds sensor that measures 17.3x13mm, a touchscreen interface, and a full set of features typically found on much larger cameras.

The Panasonic GM-1 and accessories can be pre-ordered now from Adorama. Orders will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Credit cards won't be charged until orders ship.

Who it's for:

  • Snapshooters stepping up from smaller-sensor compact digital cameras and smartphones
  • Photo enthusiasts who want a pocketable camera with advanced picture-taking capabilities

Even though the GM-1 is roughly 20 percent smaller than its big sibling, the recently-announced Panasonic GX-7, it offers a full menu of features to satisfy demanding enthusiasts as well as simple controls that will put high-quality image-making at the fingertips of even the most inexperienced shooter. How did Panasonic make the camera so small? The company says they optimized the layout of internal electronic components with high-density mounting, resulting in a savings of around 30 percent of the space normally taken up by the circuit board.

Panasonic GM-1 vs. Panasonic GX-7

Since Panasonic took great pains to compare the GM-1 to the recently announced GX-7, we decided to highlight several key features to show the similarities and differences between the two models.

GM-1 Highlights

  • Smallest Mirrorless System Camera In The World
  • Reinforced Metal Alloy Body
  • Redesigned, miniaturized circuitry
  • 16MP Micro Four Thirds Sensor, ISO range 200-25,600
  • Built-in Wi-Fi
  • 3-inch, 1.036k Dot Touchscreen Monitor
  • RAW and JPEG
  • 1080p HD video up to 30fps
  • Adorama price: $749 with lens

GX-7 Highlights

  • Magnesium alloy body
  • Hot shoe for External flash
  • Hi-resolution eye-level electronic viewfinder
  • Tiltable 3-inch, 1040k dot touchscreen monitor
  • 16MP Micro Four Thirds Sensor, ISO range 200-25,600
  • RAW and JPEG
  • 1080p HD video up to 60fps
  • Adorama price: $998

Panasonic GM-1: In Depth Look

The Panasonic GM-1 is the latest model to join the Panasonic Lumix line of interchangeable-lens compact digital cameras and besides being the smallest kitty in the litter, it also features cutting edge technology. We've seen most of it before, but not in such a tiny package.

The GM-1 shares the same 16MP sensor as the GM-7, and offers an extensive variety of AF functions, such as Low Light AF, Pinpoint AF, and One-shot AF, which can be employed to handle a variety of shooting situations. The camera is controlled via a 3-inch touch screen LCD monitor; users touch the screen and it snaps to focus—and takes the picture.

Video choices include 1080p at 60i and 50i, recording in AVCHD and MP4 format with stereo sound via a built-in mike. There's also a 24p video, which produces a cinema-like look. Full-time autofocus and tracking autofocus is available in video recording.

The GM-1 also is equipped with Wi-Fi connectivity, allowing users to transfer images directly to their smartphones and tablets; users can also control the camera from the Wi-Fi devices via a downloadable free app from Panasonic. Ergonomically, the GM-1 features a leartherlike grip for easier hand-holdability but if that isn't enough, there's also an optional Hand Grip DMW-HGR1, which makes the grip somewhat larger.

Features for Beginners

Panasonic's iA (Intelligent Auto) mode supports beginner-level photographers by giving them a variety of shooting-assist functions. This is a key feature since a camera this size may find an eager audience among snapshooters. Beginner-oriented features include new Intelligent Handheld Nightshot and iHDR (Intelligent High Dynamic Range) in addition to AF Tracking, Intelligent D-range Control, Intelligent Scene Selector, Face Recognition and Intelligent ISO Control. The Intelligent Handheld Nightshot generates a glamorous night scenery with optimum illumination by multi-layering the images shot consecutively even without using a tripod. With the iHDR, max. 6 images consecutively shot at different exposure levels can be overlaid to produce a single composite picture without whiteout (over-exposure) or blackout (under-exposure) in difficult lighting situations.

The iA Plus mode lets users adjust defocusing area in the background, exposure compensation and white balance for more flexible control.

The Scene Guide offers 23 sample pictures shot by professional photographers. Users can choose the one closer to the situation they are going to shoot and optimum parameters for shooting the scene will be automatically set. Furthermore, shooting procedure, technical advice and recommended interchangeable lens for the scene can be shown for users to learn photography.

More about the Sensor

The DMC-GM1 incorporates 16.00-megapixel, large Digital Live MOS Sensor complying with Micro Four Thirds system standard that achieves both higher resolution and higher sensitivity image recording with less noise. The photodiode in each pixel is enlarged thanks to the adoption of cutting-edge Semiconductor Fine Technology to improve color saturation by approx. 10%, according to Panasonic, and the redesigned on-chip lens enhances light condensation to achieve approx. 10% higher sensitivity. Not only these, noise generation is minimized in both pixel circuit and digital signal readout circuit to provide better S/N ratio by approx. 25%.

The image processor Venus Engine features its advanced noise reduction systems. By extending the control level of noise, controllable area of noise is expanded by approx. 64x in size. This makes it possible to remove large block of noise which was formally hard to detect and helps produce clear, smooth image especially for the nighttime scenery. In addition, the Multi-process NR (Noise Reduction) works in two separate steps allowing even finer control over noise level. The texture of noise itself, regardless of the noise size, is improved with this deliberate control, which is resulting in the reproduction of smooth human skin even in high sensitivity recording.

Furthermore, the optimum design of newly adopted Detail Reproduction Filter Process enhances the limit resolution by max. 3% and the contrast of middle to high range by max. 5%. Plus, the advanced Intelligent D-range Control offers wider dynamic range while maintaining the smooth gradation thanks to the high-precision signal processing. Suppressing both blocked shadows and blown highlights, every part of an image – from dark to bright – is faithfully reproduced. The combination of the Digital Live MOS Sensor and the Venus Engine achieves approx. 10% finer detail reproduction, making it possible to capture clear image even in low lit situations and allows max. ISO 25600.

The DMC-GM1 complies with image recording in RAW. The bundled software SILKYPIX Developer Studio 4.1 SE allows dramatically higher quality image development from RAW to JPEG. Even the images shot at high ISO setting can be produced sharply with minimum noise. This software also enables high quality JPEG processing, that lets users to adjust images in 16 bit data and re-develop it into JPEG with minimum deterioration of image quality.

Autofocus Wonders

All cameras of LUMIX G, and DMC-GM1 adopt Contrast AF for its focus system. Compared with the Phase difference system AF, the Contrast AF boasts higher accuracy especially in shooting with bright lens with small F value. The DMC-GM1 features high-speed Light Speed AF, making it possible to capture even the fast-moving subject clearly. Not only the accuracy but also the speed of AF in DMC-GM1 surpasses the high-end DSLRs with Phase difference. The camera and the lens exchange the digital signal at max. 240 fps to minimize the time to focus. The DMC-GM1 realizes the high speed burst shooting at 5 fps in 16.00-megapixel and max. 40 fps using an electronic shutter. Also, AF Tracking enables consecutive shooting to capture moving subject in sharp focus at 4.0 fps.

The Low Light AF, which is popular in LUMIX G DSLM cameras, is incorporated making it possible to set focus on the subject more precisely in such as moonlight even without AF assist lamp. It further enhances the performance to work in -4EV lower lit situations, which is as dark as starry sky with no other light source.

With the Pinpoint AF, users can magnify the target area to set focus by 5x by just touching it on the monitor. Magnification using dial is also available and this can be selectable from 3x to 10x enlargement by 0.1x step. Picture-in-picture display is available and the magnification ratio of in-frame picture is selectable from 3x to 6x seamlessly, which enables users to set precise focus on the target point while seeing the whole image composition. The One-shot AF enables using AF even in MF mode by just pressing the Fn (Function) button to set rough focus on the subject and you can go back to MF just to adjust precise focus.


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