I haven't been blogging much here lately because I have been busy shooting. Not only have I been shooting my favorite camera, my Olympus EM1, but I have been shooting the new Panasonic GM1.  Here are my GM1 impressions, far from a formal review. 

Why the heck did I purchase a Panasonic GM1? Pretty easy response really and it is the standout feature of the GM1, it's size! Wow is this thing small. I can carry it everywhere. Really though I bought it for a single purpose, bike riding and bike packing. I needed something small and capable and I wanted something that was compatible with my existing lens kit. This really is the camera, along with its size, that I imagined when M4/3 was introduced. 


First here is my complete travel kit; GM1 camera, JB Camera Designs custom wood grip, Gordy wrist strap, Panasonic 14mm f2.5, Panasonic 20 f1.7 and my Olympus 45mm f1.8. This is just a beautiful, small and capable kit and all of it packs up small and is very light (I will weigh the whole kit at work and update this post) making it the perfect super light travel kit. 

Before I get into some of the details of the camera, I want to comment on grip. My friend JB makes these custom grips and sells them under the name of JB Camera Designs.  The website is brand new and I did find them on Amazon if you wish to purchase one there instead of direct. (I have no affiliation with Amazon). Without the grip I find this camera almost impossible to hold. I know others make grips as well including Panasonic. I know nothing about them. I just love the texture of quality wood and appreciate the hand crafted nature of this grip over the others I have seen. The grip has a cutout for battery and SDcard slot as well as a centered tripod thread. Nice. Looks good with my Gordy strap too.  Should age nicely. Really pleased. 

Now.....Onto the camera.   In short, it meets my needs exactly but just can't compete with the higher quality EM1. It's a perfect companion though. I often keep it handy with a complementary lens. 

Things I like 

  • Size - Love I can take it any where and get great high quality images
  • Image quality - Shooting RAW with some processing, I am very pleased with overall IQ
  • Touch screen focus point - Can quickly move focus area around. I have even done this while in motion while riding with my thumb. (see examples below). 
  • Finish - it is really built well
  • Electronic shutter with 1/16,000 max shutter speed - allows me to use bright lenses even in daytime. So far I have not run into any rolling shutter type issues.  
  • Wifi image transfer - quick to upload (when wifi works - see below in things a I don't like).  
  • Compatibility - love that I can use my existing m4/3 lens kit

Things I don't like

  • Size - sometime hard to handle without hitting buttons. Grip is required for me and that eliminates about 80% of my issues but I have been tempted to glue a Thumbs Up type grip to the top of the camera to give me a proper grip. 
  • No in camera RAW converter. I shoot raw but sometimes want wifi transfer and as I understand it I can not transfer RAW. This forces me to shoot RAW + JPEG. Not the end of the world.  
  • Wifi App - The program just stinks. Please just copy Olympus wifi functionality. Man does it just stink and right now I simply can't get it set up (after countless successful connections). I have read online of others having issues and panasonic customer service not being able to help them. Honestly almost makes wifi a non feature.  
  • Output - this might simply be Panasonic JPEGs compared to the punchy Olympus JPEGS that I am used too but they are dull. Not a big deal and that is why I shoot RAW but for quick uploads they are pretty flat feeling and require some work. 
  • Dial/4 way controller on back - seems I need to add compensation often to the images and the dial is really tough to up. It is easy to switch between compenstion and aperture priority mode but I end up pushing it while rotating it causing one of the other functions. Drives me crazy. Pondering the new Panasonic 15mm f1.7 with Aperture as a solution. 

So....Those are my first impressions after some quality time with the GM1. Let's get to some images and samples to illustrate what this camera is capable of. Hope you enjoy and if you have a specific question for me, please feel free to leave a comment and I will do my best to answer (as long as it isn't about video)! 

Thanks and enjoy.  

Lastly, I purchased the GM1 camera. The JB Camera Designs supplied me a grip for no charge. This was not done on the basis of a review, but because of a friendship.