Panasonic Lumix GM1 Review
Panasonic Lumix GM1 Review – Design
The key talking point about the Panasonic GM1 is its size, and to come up with the idea it's as if Panasonic's designers upended a lens, drew around the circumference of the Micro Four Thirds mount with a pencil and said that would be the height of the camera the body should be designed to.
This is no bad thing however, and thanks to it being so small it's lightweight, weighing a mere 204g (body only) that rises to just 274g when the G Vario 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6 MEGA OIS kit lens is attached.
The lens is bespoke to the GM1 and is superbly made with a smooth zoom ring that has to be rotated to extend the lens to its minimum focal length. Equivalent to 24-62mm, the lens protrudes from the front of the body but remains slim to ensure it easily fits most trouser or jacket pockets.
The metal-to-metal lens to body mount adds to the cameras high-end feel and soon after picking the camera up you get the sense Panasonic has paid close attention to its finish. There are no creaks from the GM1's body when its squeezed, while the durable magnesium alloy construction that's united with the faux-leather frontage puts it in a higher league of finish compared to its Lumix cousin, the GF6.
Due to the nature of its size, the body isn't littered with buttons. A mode dial offering full manual control is provided, as is a switch to control the autofocus mode (AF-S, AF-C, MF), with a customizable function button located within, which can be used to switch on Wi-fi as default. At the rear beside the screen there's a small thumb wheel to change settings or scroll through the menu, but for most commands the touchscreen can be used.
The Q.Menu gives instant access to important settings such image quality, drive mode and metering modes, while the central button within the thumb wheel loads the main menu, with white text appearing on black and bold icons positioned off to the side.
In the average sized hand, the GM1 feels small, meaning those with large hands or thick fingers could find it problematic to use. At times we found our thumb casually rested over the top of the screen, and this combined with the amount you rely on the touchscreen means the screen does need a wipe frequently to keep it fingerprint free.
There's no handgrip to wrap your fingers around either, and while this may have been done on purpose to preserve the minimalist styling, it certainly wouldn't have gone amiss. In an attempt to make up for the oversight, Panasonic has produced the DMW-HGR1 (£88) handgrip that attaches via the tripod thread, but this seems an exorbitant price of pay for what should have been included in the design or offered as an extra within the box.
The other compromise you have to make for it being so small is the lack of command dials to control aperture and shutter speed independently. If this is a preferable for your style of working, you may find the GX7's larger body and twin command dial design better for you.