Shrink­ing the cam­era

The new mir­ror­less Mi­cro Four Thirds cam­era from Pana­sonic takes minia­tur­i­sa­tion to new heights.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - TECHNOLOGY - By TAN KIT HOONG bytz@thes­tar.com.my

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.

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