Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1 Review

4.5
December 3, 2013 | Gavin Stoker |

Image Quality


All of the sample images in this review were taken using the 16 megapixel Fine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 7Mb.

It's when it comes to image quality that the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1 earns its spurs and part justifies that asking price, which is always nice. Faced with a series of dull days on which to take our test images, we went for the photographer's favourite of photographing still life and close ups, as well as falling back on a hefty use of the Panasonic's Expressive effects mode, which added punch and a flattering warmth to the images whilst keeping results the right side of realistic.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1's 12-32mm kit lens proved impressively sharp for one so relatively small, maintaining detail across the frame and also enabling us to achieve some attractively shallow depth of field effects, even though the maximum f/3.5 aperture is neither particularly bright or fast. We almost managed to fool ourselves on occasion that some of our shots were up there with the output of a DSLR and kit lens that your (manufacturer's suggested) £629.99 would otherwise buy you. But of course the fact that the GM1 will, unlike said camera, fit in your pocket makes it a real candidate not just for street photography and the like, but a tool that you'll always want to have with you.

In terms of low light photography, whilst that maximum lens aperture of the supplied lens isn't especially bright as mentioned, we do have several night shooting modes to choose – seven in fact – plus a fairly extensive ISO range to manually select, backed up by both Auto ISO and ‘intelligent' Auto. However, with surprisingly usable results at both ISO3200 and ISO6400, it's really only ISO12800 and ISO25600 you'd want to stay clear of unless pushed. In fact that is a neat way to sum up the GM1's imaging performance: ‘surprisingly good'.

Noise

There are 8 ISO settings available on the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting, with JPEG on the left and RAW on the right:

JPEG

RAW

ISO 125 (100% Crop)

ISO 125 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 12800 (100% Crop)

ISO 12800 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 25600 (100% Crop)

ISO 25600 (100% Crop)

Sharpening

Here are two 100% crops which have been Saved as Web - Quality 50 in Photoshop. The right-hand image has had some sharpening applied in Photoshop. The out-of-the camera images are a little soft at the default sharpening setting, and benefit from further sharpening in a program like Adobe Photoshop. You can also change the in-camera sharpening level by tweaking the Photo Styles, with five different settings available.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

   

Flash

The flash settings on the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1 are Auto, Auto/Red-eye Reduction, Forced Flash On, Slow Sync./Red-eye Reduction and Forced Flash Off. These shots of a white coloured wall were taken at a distance of 1.5m.

Flash Off (24mm)

Flash On (24mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64
   

Flash Off (64mm)

Flash On (64mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

And here are some portrait shots. As you can see, neither the Flash On setting or the Red-Eye Reduction option caused any amount of red-eye.

Flash On

Flash On (100% Crop)
   

Red-eye Reduction

Red-eye Reduction (100% Crop)

Night

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1's maximum shutter speed is 60 seconds and there's also a Bulb option for exposures up to 4 minutes long, which is excellent news if you're seriously interested in night photography. The shot below was taken using a shutter speed of 1/15th seconds at ISO 6400. The camera takes the same amount of time again to apply noise reduction, so for example at the 15 second setting the actual exposure takes 30 seconds.

Night

Night (100% Crop)

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