Some of you may recall I purchased a Panasonic GM1 and wrote a quick review that you can read here. I sold both my GX7 and GM1 and replaced both of them recently with a used Panasonic GM5. 

My small pocket rocket imaging device

My small pocket rocket imaging device

Why the switch from GM1? Two big reasons. First the control dial on the GM1 has been replaced with buttons and a separate thumb dial for better control. Second the GM5 has a small built in EVF. These two features make the camera much more enjoyable to use, at least to me!

So why exactly do I own the GM5 when I have a much better camera in the Olympus EM1? Simple...the size. I can throw this in my bag or my jersey pocket when I ride my bike and not even know I am carrying a camera. The standout feature of this camera is without a doubt it's size and with its new features mentioned above it makes it all more capable and enjoyable as a picture taking device.  

In reading back over the review of likes and dislikes, pretty much 100% is still the same with exception of the last bullet point.  Here is what I wrote over a year ago about the GM1. 

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 compensation and aperture priority mode but I end up pushing it while rotating it causing one of the other functions. Drives me crazy.

Sure I still have quibbles like no in camera RAW processing, poor battery life, crappy Wi-Fi compared to the competition and a really small tunnel vision EVF. But to me the experience of shooting the GM5 matches the expectations i have when I pick it up. Honestly not a lot of cameras do that for me.  It's also so unobtrusive to folks, especially kids.

Both the lenses in this picture will be replaced soon. The 17mm Oly f1.8 will be sold and replaced by the Panasonic Leica 15mm f1.7. This will give me better external control with the aperture ring. The 45 f1.8 Oly will be sold and replaced with the Panasonic 42.5 f1.7 ASPH so that I have in lens image stabilization at that focal length. 

But much like I wrote in my GM1 review I love it and carry it with me everywhere. That's the point. Here are a few pics to share from the last month of shooting. If you have questions about the GM5 please feel to email me at GNAT at LIVE dot COM 

Hope you enjoy the pics.   


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