Monday, September 15, 2014

Panasonic GM1 vs GM5

I was looking at the Panasonic GM1 within the last two weeks.  It is an interesting camera body, having the power of micro Four-Thirds in the smallest possible body.  With an adapter, it can even use various lenses from other systems, and for me, my current Four-Thirds mount lenses.

GM1 with Four-Thirds Leica 25mm f/1.4
GM1 with Panasonic/Leica 15mm f/1.7

I stopped myself from buying it, just because the GM5 was rumored to be released soon.  Today, they made that announcement and the GM5 should be available in November.  I'm even more interested because it is an improved model, which includes a hot shoe and an EVF.

Why is this important?  I live in a very sunny part of California and using the rear display works fine in a store but not necessarily during a very sunny day.  Trying to see my smartphone or tablet display is nearly impossible, though I've become very good at taking photos using muscle memory.  Even if the EVF of the GM5 has the rainbow/tearing effect that plagues the GX7 for some people, it's better than not having an EVF at all.

The lack of a tiny built-in/inbuilt flash to make room for the EVF is okay, since they've included a hot shoe, so that you can now use the included flash or another, more high-powered model.  The GM1 has no such ability to use an external flash unit.

Being able to take 1080/60p video is a worthy enhancement, though I haven't seen anything about 25p or 50p.  Those in PAL areas may be disappointed.  It's possible the press releases I've seen were tailored for each country.

Of course, the GM5 kit is more expensive than the GM1 kit--US$899.99 vs $759.99, I believe was the price I was quoted at the store.  (I have no desire for the 12-32mm lens but the pre-orders seem to be stuck with it.  There are still no Panasonic/Leica 15mm f/1.7 kits.)

Update 2014.10.10: Adorama has the GM1 and kit lens for $597.99 and you get a $100 Adorama gift card.  Getting the GM1 for just under US$500 seems a great deal to me.  It's still tiny and functional.  The deal makes the GM5 seem more expensive but I can't (for me) discount the usefulness of the EVF and flash hot shoe.

Update 2014.11.30: I was waiting for the GM5 and suddenly, I found that the GH4 was both available and $200 off.  Since I bought the GH4, I have to postpone my purchase of the GM5.  In-between, I'll probably buy the 15mm f/1.7 lens because having a low(er) light wide(r) lens would be good, given that my only other such lens would be the Leica/Panasonic 25mm f/1.4 shown in the photo.  That works fine on the GH4, including the aperture ring,  but it's not always wide enough for skate park shots.

Update 2015.04.03: Adorama currently has deals on the GM1 in blue and in orange with a US200 gift certificate, effectively making the cost US$500.  That certainly sounds like a good deal, if you were on the fence about it.

Update 2015.10.18: Panasonic currently has a US$200 instant rebate on the GM5, making it roughly US$700 with the 12-32mm kit lens until October 24th.  I keep thinking about it, but I've taken the GH4 into a restaurant within my backpack.  I don't really go without a camera bag of some sort.

Update 2015.11.29: Currently, Adorama is selling the GM5 for about US$400 off.  That's a great deal.  There is a rumored GM7 but I believe adding 4K video to such a small body will be a disaster.  They might increase the size of the body somewhat, as they did from the GX7 to GX8, but I don't expect a minimal change to work.

I really want the GM5 but I've spent a bit of money on other equipment.  The GM1 has been reduced, as well, but in sunny environments, there is nothing better than a viewfinder, even one that isn't optimal.

Update 2016.06.19: Got the GM5 at a Mike's Camera store tent sale.  US$399.99 was a good price, and I got the 42.5mm f/1.7 Power OIS lens at the same time but with US$100 instant rebate.

The tiny battery will require that I have another 14 batteries, if I plan to do much with it.  I was looking for a way to carry it and I put it into the soft case for the 42.5mm f/1.7.

The viewfinder is unusual, but in sunny California, I'll need it and I can adapt to most any equipment.  The shutter release is not where my finger expected it.  It isn't exactly an action camera anyway.  I need to get a wrist strap for it.  Set up was about the same as for any other Panasonic camera body, once you switch it from the Intelligent Auto position on the dial.

There is more here.

GM5 with Olympus ZD 35-100mm f/2.0

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