Shrinking the camera
The new mirrorless Micro Four Thirds camera from Panasonic takes miniaturisation to new heights.
Panasonic has introduced the Lumix DMc-GM1, an interchangeable lens Micro Four Thirds camera that’s so small it not only fits in the palm of the hand, but is literally shorter in length and width than the apple iPhone 5/5s.
Despite the compact camera dimensions, the camera is actually a fully-functioning Micro Four Thirds camera and can accept all m4/3 lenses.
in terms of image sensor, the GM1 comes with the same 16-megapixel Live Mos image sensor as found on the more expensive and larger Lumix GX7. Panasonic has apparently managed to achieve this via a number of innovations within the camera itself — for one thing, the shutter mechanism has been shrunk by some 80% over the shutter mechanism found on the GX7.
The shutter mechanism features a combination of mechanical and electronic shutter speeds, allowing the camera to shoot with a maximum shutter speed of up to 1/16,000sec.
Despite the size, the GM1 is built of premium materials, with a combination magnesium alloy shell with aluminium top and bottom sections.
on the back is a 3in high-resolution 1036kdot touch sensitive LcD which allows for easy navigation of the menus and for shooting photos.
amazingly, the GM1 also manages to fit in a pop-up flash into the already tiny body of the camera and the hinge mechanism also allows for the flash to be repositioned using your finger to face the flash head upwards to bounce the light off the ceiling.
The camera also features a full complement of exposure modes, including Programmed autoexposure, aperture Priority, shutter Priority and Manual, as well as Panasonic’s iauto mode which intelligently gauges the scene and chooses autofocus and shooting modes to suit.
Every tiny camera needs a suitably tiny lens to pair with it, and the GM1 comes with an all-new 12-32mm f/ 3.5-5.6 kit lens (equivalent to 24-64mm in 35mm format) which has a retractable design to keep the size as small as possible when not in use.
This new 12-32mm lens does not have a focusing ring — manual focus is only possible by engaging manual focus in the menus and then using the touchscreen distance scale to focus. The GM1 shoots videos as well, of course, up to a maximum of 60-frames-persecond (interlaced) at 1,920 x 1,080-pixels in either MPEG4 or avcHD format.
Like many cameras in Panasonic’s current range, the GM1 comes with built-in WiFi (although without the easy pairing nFc feature).
With the Panasonic Image app installed on the smartphone (android and ios versions are available) the user can adjust shutter, aperture, tap to focus and snap photos using the smartphone as well as transfer images from the camera.
although we have yet to test the GM1 in lab conditions, we did get an extended hands-on at the launch event in singapore and from what we’ve seen the camera produces identical photo and video quality with the GX7.
The DMc-GM1 is in stores now for rM2,499 and is available in a basic all-black version, as well as in silver with black leatherette trim or silver with orange leatherette trim.
The GM1 with its new collapsible 12-32mm kit lens attached and 20mm f/ 1.7 II lens.