Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1 Review

February 16, 2015 | Mark Goldstein | Rating star Rating star Rating star Rating star


The Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1 is a 20 megapixel smartphone with a fixed 28mm f/2.8 Leica lens. Running Android 4.4.4 with Wi-Fi, NFC and 3G/4G connectivity, the Panasonic CM1 camera/smartphone features a large 1-inch MOS sensor and is capable of 4K video recording at 15fps, as well as Full HD recording at 30fps. The Lumix CM1 features a 4.7-inch Full-HD Touch screen with 6,220k dots, Venus image processing engine, manual lens control ring, full manual control over exposure, manual focus assist and focus peaking, both JPEG and RAW files, 16GB of internal memory and microSD card support. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1 costs around £799 / $999 and is available in silver/black.

Ease of Use

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1 is very much a device of two halves. From the front, it looks like a conventional compact camera, with Panasonic's Lumix camera name, a Leica-branded 28mm lens positioned over to the right, a textured leatherette finish, and a small porthole for the built-in LED flash. From the rear, it looks just like a regular smartphone, with a 4.7-inch screen and the familiar Android OS appearing when you turn it on.

With what feels like a higher proportion of plastic in the build than metal, the CM1's sleek and stylish exterior certainly looks the part, even if it doesn't actually feel quite so premium. There isn't a proper handgrip on its faceplate, just a leather-esque surface texture that helps a little when gripping the camera, which is a shame given the price, while the micro-USB and microSIM/microSD ports have flimsy covers.

The Panasonic CM1 boasts a 28mm fixed lens, which, as with most of the lenses on its extensive range of digital cameras, features the famous Leica name. Unlike some rival products, like the Samsung Galaxy K Zoom, and in order to keep the device relatively slim, the CM1 doesn't have a zoom lens and there's no optical image stabilisation system either. The wide-angle 28mm focal length is good for group shots of your friends and the inevitable selfie, as well as landscapes and cityscapes, and it also helps to keep the image quality high, but we did miss the versatility of a zoom lens. Note that the lens does extend out slightly when using the camera.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ70
Front of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1

The CM1 delivers a 20.2-megapixel effective resolution from a 1-inch CMOS sensor, which is physically about 7x larger than the sensor that you find in a standard smartphone and therefore promises much better image quality and greater depth of field. It's actually the same sensor that's found inside the FZ1000 super-zoom camera, which is testament to the emphasis that Panasonic are placing on the CM1 as a serious photographic tool.

Interestingly on this camera, the default still image ratio is 3:2, which gives us the full 20.2 effective megapixel image. If you want to opt for the 4:3 ratio usually provided as the standard on a digital camera, this results in a resolution squeeze down to 17.5 megapixels. There’s also the very welcome ability to capture Raw files or Raw files and JPEGs in combination. Since the latter option barely affected writing speed in the slightest thanks to the speedy Venus Engine processor, we chose it as our own personal default setting for the Panasonic CM1.

Commendably the CM1 has a full range of shooting modes for both beginners and enthusiasts, from the usual fully automatic modes to the regular creative quartet of manual, shutter priority, aperture priority and program modes. Just like on a regular enthusiast's camera, you can set the aperture and shutter speed either a via horizontal slider that appears along the bottom of the screen, or ore intuitively using the physical control wheel that encircles the lens, plus the exposure compensation, ISO speed (ISO100 to ISO25600) and white balance too. It's a well-thought out system that's much easier to use than comparable devices. There's even two customisable settings for easy access to your favourite setups, and a Panorama mode.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ70
Rear of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1

A palette-like icon indicates the extensive range of creative controls. These include our particular favourite of the saturation boosting ‘Expressive’ colour through the sepia tinted ‘Retro’ and the more white-ish if slightly clumsily named ‘Old days’, and include the more self explanatory High Key, Low Key, a slightly unnecessary ‘Sepia’ (given the previous Retro and Old Days options), Monochrome, more high contrast Dynamic Monochrome and grainy film-like Rough Monochrome, Silky Monochrome, the high dynamic range ape-ing ‘Impressive Art’, a separate High Dynamic setting, Cross Process, a vignetting Toy Effect, a more luridly saturated Toy Pop, Bleach Bypass, Miniature Effect, Soft Focus, ‘Fantasy’ – bathing everything in a light blue-ish wash (a it like we’ve left the camera on ‘daylight’ setting) – plus Star Filter, One Point Colour and Sunshine setting – the latter of which mimics a burst of sunshine intruding from the top of your frame, so enlivening rather dull shooting conditions with the haze of a summer’s evening.

The final shooting option discovered with a further turn of the virtual mode dial is the scene settings, of which there are 22 here, including the likes of Silky Skin and ‘Sweet Child’s Face’, Vivid Sunset Glow, Glistening Water, ‘Cute Dessert’ – from which it would appear obvious that this camera has originated in Japan (!) – and finally, a Monochrome option.

Shooting video is started by pressing the red video button, which starts recording according to the five settings that you've chosen in the Video menu. There isn't too much creative control on offer - you can choose a Photo Style, change the metering mode, and set the i.Dynamic and i.Resolution options. In terms of the video modes on offer, the CM1 can shoot 4K footage at 15fps, Full HD at 30fps, 720p at 30fps, VGA at 30fps, and 1:1 at 30fps. While its impressive that the CM1 can even recored 4K video, the 15fps frame rate lens it a rather staccato feel that won't be to everyone's liking, plus the camera takes a while to process the footage after you've finished recording, locking up the device.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ70
Top of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1

Also in evidence is the usual Panasonic ‘Quick Menu’ bar. Selectable from this are 12 different settings, including the Photo Style settings, which here range from the default ‘Standard’ setting to Vivid, Natural, Mono(chrome), Scenery, Portrait, and Custom options, flash modes, which include forced flash, auto, always on and forced off, video record quality, image size and format, drive modes, metering, focus modes, Af modes, GPS, HDR and the various touch settings. All in all, the CM1's range of options is as extensive as you'd find on any comparable Panasonic camera.

On the back is an impressive 4.7-inch Full-HD Touch screen with 6,220k dots, and the CM1 runs the Android 4.4.4 KitKat operating system, rather than the latest Android 5.0 Lollipop variant. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1 measures 135.4 [W] x 68.0 [H] x 21.1 (Body 15.2) [D] mm, which means that it can easily be stored inside a trouser pocket, and weighs a manageable 204g.

Located on the top-plate is a tiny power button. Hold this down for the first time and the Lumic DMC-CM1 springs into life, only taking around 1 second to turn on and display the Lock screen. Even better, there's a dedicated Camera switch which bypasses Android and goes straight to the camera app with even less delay - this is one of the best smartphone that we've tested for jumping in and out of the camera mode. As you'd expect from such a photography-centric device, the CM1 also boasts a dedicated shutter-release button, in addition to being able to take a picture by touching the rear screen.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ70
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1 In-hand

A half-squeeze of the tactile shutter release button and a central highlighted AF point appears in green along with the customary confirmation 'bleep' that the user is free to go ahead and take the shot. Do so either by using the shutter release button or with a tap of the screen and in default single shot mode a full resolution, Fine (top) quality image is committed to either the built-in 16GB memory or an optional micro-SD card in one to two seconds, which is impressive.

Pressing the soft Home button fires up the Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1's default Android screen, which displays the time and date, allows you to perform a Google Search, includes icons for the various Google Apps and Play Store, and two Panasonic icons for the camera and album apps. Having the ability to connect to a wi-fi network or cellular data if using as SIM card, then edit your images and video with Instagram or any one of hundreds of other Android apps, and then upload them to your favourite online network quickly becomes compulsive and makes the traditional process of downloading to a computer seem laborious and old-fashioned.

With the 4.7-inch screen swallowing up the entire backplate of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1, there are very few other physical controls. There's a microSD card slot (up to 128Gb capacity), a recessed hoop for attaching a wriststrap, a headphone port, volume control buttons, and the aforementioned shutter release, camera and power on/off buttons. Note that there's no screw thread for a tripod, which is a shame. Also note that the battery can't be removed, so charging is most definitely done in-camera, although you can eke out a respectable 350 shots when using it as a camera.

Image Quality

All of the sample images in this review were taken using the 20 megapixel Fine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 8Mb.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1 produced images of good quality during the review period. The 1 inch, 20 megapixel MOS sensor used in the Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1 produces noise-free images at ISO 100-800, with limited noise and colour desaturation starting to appear at ISO 1600. ISO 3200 exhibits quite visible noise, smearing of fine detail and colour desaturation, and ISO 6400 is even noisier, although still usable for small prints. The fastest settings of ISO 12800 and 25600 are best avoided altogether.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1 suffered from obvious chromatic aberrations, with purple fringing effects appearing in high contrast situations. The built-in flash worked well indoors, with no red-eye and adequate exposure. The night photograph was excellent, with the maximum shutter speed of 60 seconds allowing you to capture plenty of light.

Macro performance is very good, allowing you to focus as close as 3cms away from the subject. The images were a little soft straight out of the camera at the default sharpening setting and ideally require further sharpening in an application like Adobe Photoshop, or you can change the in-camera setting if you don't like the default results. The Picture Styles allow you to quickly and easily customise the look of the camera's JPEG images, while Intelligent D-range is an effective feature for capturing more detail in the shadows and highlights, as is the HDR mode.


There are 9 ISO settings available on the Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting.


ISO 100 (100% Crop)

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

iso100.jpg iso100raw.jpg

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

iso200.jpg iso200raw.jpg

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

iso400.jpg iso400raw.jpg

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

iso800.jpg iso800raw.jpg

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

iso1600.jpg iso1600raw.jpg

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

iso3200.jpg iso3200raw.jpg

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

iso6400.jpg iso6400raw.jpg

ISO 12800 (100% Crop)

ISO 12800 (100% Crop)

iso12800.jpg iso12800raw.jpg

ISO 25600 (100% Crop)

ISO 25600 (100% Crop)

iso25600.jpg iso25600raw.jpg


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 some further sharpening in a program like Adobe Photoshop. You can change the in-camera sharpening level via the Picture Adjust menu option.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

sharpen1.jpg sharpen1a.jpg
sharpen2.jpg sharpen2a.jpg

File Quality

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100 has 2 different JPEG image quality settings available, with Fine being the highest quality option. Here are some 100% crops which show the quality of the various options, with the file size shown in brackets.

Fine (8.55Mb) (100% Crop)

Standard (3.98Mb) (100% Crop)

quality_fine.jpg quality_normal.jpg

RAW 22.5Mb) (100% Crop)


Focal Range

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1's fixed lens provides a focal length of 28mm in 35mm terms, as demonstrated below.



Chromatic Aberrations

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1 handled chromatic aberrations fairly well during the review, with some obvious purple fringing present around the edges of objects in certain high-contrast situations, as shown in the examples below.

Chromatic Aberrations 1 (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations 2 (100% Crop)

chromatic1.jpg chromatic2.jpg


The Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1 offers a Macro setting that allows you to focus on a subject that is 3cms away from the camera when the lens is set to wide-angle. The first image shows how close you can get to the subject (in this case a compact flash card). The second image is a 100% crop.


Macro (100% Crop)

macro1.jpg macro1a.jpg


The flash settings on the Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1 are Auto, Forced On, Always On, and Forced Off. These shots of a white coloured wall were taken at a distance of 1.5m.

Forced Off - Wide Angle (28mm)

Forced On - Wide Angle (28mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64


The Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1's maximum shutter speed is 60 seconds, which is great news if you're seriously interested in night photography. The shot below was taken using a shutter speed of 1.6 seconds at ISO 200. 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 (100% Crop)

night1.jpg night1a.jpg

Intelligent Dynamic

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1's Intelligent Dynamic setting adjusts the exposure setting to record more detail in the highlights and shadows, with three strengths available - low, standard and high.



intelligent_dynamic_01.jpg intelligent_dynamic_02.jpg



intelligent_dynamic_03.jpg intelligent_dynamic_04.jpg


The Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1's HDR setting automatically takes and combines three differently exposed shots to record more detail in the highlights and shadows.



hdr_01.jpg hdr_02.jpg


Picture Styles

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1 has 6 preset Picture Styles, with Standard as the default setting.



picture_styles_01.jpg picture_styles_02.jpg



picture_styles_03.jpg picture_styles_04.jpg



picture_styles_05.jpg picture_styles_06.jpg

Sample Images

This is a selection of sample images from the Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1 camera, which were all taken using the 20 megapixel Fine JPEG setting. The thumbnails below link to the full-sized versions, which have not been altered in any way.

Sample RAW Images

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1 enables users to capture RAW and JPEG format files. We've provided some Panasonic RAW (RW2) samples for you to download (thumbnail images shown below are not 100% representative).

Sample Movies & Video

This is a sample movie at the highest quality setting of 3840x2160 pixels at 15 frames per second. Please note that this 25 second movie is 145Mb in size.

This is a sample movie at the highest quality setting of 1920x1080 pixels at 30 frames per second. Please note that this 25 second movie is 60.8Mb in size.

Product Images

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ70

Front of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ70

Front of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1 / Lens Extended

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ70

Side of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ70

Side of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ70

Side of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ70

Side of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ70

Rear of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ70

Rear of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1 / Image Displayed

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ70

Rear of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1 / Turned On


Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ70

Rear of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1 / Camera Mode

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ70

Rear of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1 / Camera Settings

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ70

Rear of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1 / Quick Menu

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ70

Rear of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1 / 4K Pre-Burst

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ70

Top of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ70

Bottom of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ70

Side of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ70

Front of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ70

Memory Card Slot


The Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1 is a brave and largely successful attempt to bring together the best features of a smartphone and a camera into one unified device, but a few niggles, late introduction to the market and the high price-tag may consign it to "nearly-ran" status.

Considering this is a first-generation product, the CM1 actually gets a lot of things right, both as a camera, which you'd expect from a camera company, and as a smartphone. Despite the glossy promotional photos, though, the CM1 isn't quite as premium in reality as you might expect, which is disappointing given the high cost of admission. It does much better as a dedicated camera, offering the most features and best image quality from any smartphone that we've tested thanks to a unique blend of large sensor, quality lens and years of photography know-how.

Still, we can't help wondering if Panasonic have already missed the proverbial boat. Beginners will probably be more than happy with the camera in their "regular" smartphone, while enthusiast photographers will probably be happy to carry both a smartphone and a traditional camera with more physical controls. The rather eye-watering price isn't going to help the CM1 either - at £799/$999, it costs more than both an iPhone 6 and a premium camera like Panasonic's own LX100, while not matching the high standards of either device in its own field.

At a time when compact camera sales are in freefall, Panasonic are cautiously dipping their toes into the smartphone waters with the CM1, which as their first phone for a long while is only on sale in limited numbers in a few countries. We think they need to be more bullish to succeed, both with distribution and crucially price - although we like the CM1 in isolation, ultimately we already have a smartphone and a camera that we wouldn't replace with the CM1, and we suspect that a lot of the CM1's target audience will feel the same. Recommended, then, especially if you're one of the few who don't already have a decent smartphone or camera, or if the price falls at some point in the future...

4 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Design 3.5
Features 4
Ease-of-use 4
Image quality 4.5
Value for money 3

Main Rivals

Listed below are some of the rivals of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1.

Apple iPhone 6 Plus

The Apple iPhone 6 Plus is the largest ever version of the most popular flagship smartphones of all time. Find out what it has to offer photographers by reading our Apple iPhone 6 Plus review, complete with full-size sample photos, test shots, videos and more...

Google Nexus 5

The new Google Nexus 5 is one of the cheapest flagship smartphones on the market, but also one of the most powerful and full-featured too, running the latest KitKat version of Android. But what kind of experience does it offer photographers? Read our Google Nexus 5 review to find out...

HTC One (M8)

The HTC One (M8) is a new flagship smartphone with not one, but two cameras, using the second one as a depth sensor that allows you to change the point of focus after taking a photo and achieve DSLR-like shallow depth-of field effects. Does this make the HTC One (M8) the best smartphone for avid photographers? Read our HTC One (M8) review to find out..


The LG G3 is a 13 megapixel smartphone with a revolutionary Laser Auto Focus that can take photos in a fraction of the time required by other phone cameras. Read our LG G3 review, complete with full-size sample photos, test shots, videos and more...

Samsung Galaxy Camera 2

The new Samsung Galaxy Camera 2 is half travel-zoom camera, half smartphone. Using the latest Android 4.3 operating system, the Galaxy Camera 2 also offers wi-fi and NFC connectivity along with a 16 megapixel sensor and 21x zoom lens. Read our Samsung Galaxy Camera 2 review, complete with full-size sample images and video...

Samsung Galaxy K Zoom

The Samsung Galaxy K Zoom is Samsung's latest attempt to fuse together a 10x compact camera with a smartphone. Can the Samsung Galaxy K Zoom really replace a standalone camera and smartphone? Read our Samsung Galaxy K Zoom review now to find out...

Samsung Galaxy S5

The Samsung Galaxy S5 is the latest edition of one of the most popular flagship smartphones of all time. Find out what it has to offer photographers by reading our Samsung Galaxy S5 review, complete with full-size sample photos, test shots, videos and more...

Sony Xperia Z3

The Sony Xperia Z3 is a new flagship waterproof smartphone that features a lot of cutting-edge camera technologies. The Xperia Z3 has a 20 megapixel sensor, 25mm fixed lens with fast f/2 aperture, 4K and 1080p video, sweep panoramas, a range of picture effects and Timeshift burst shooting. Read our in-depth Sony Xperia Z3 review now...

Review Roundup

Reviews of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1 from around the web. »

The Panasonic Lumix CM1 is a new smartphone that Panasonic are calling the "World's slimmest communication camera" - it is designed and made by the digital camera division of Panasonic, and features the Lumix branding, as well as slotting into the "Premium compact camera" section on Panasonic's website. The camera is the first smartphone to use a large 1inch 20 megapixel sensor, and the lens is a 28mm f/2.8 Leica lens, the first time a Leica lens has been found on a smartphone.
Read the full review » »

For a good two years now, the mobile sector has been determined to see compact cameras dead and buried. It all began with the Nokia 808 PureView and Lumia 1020, the avant-garde of the "expert camera phone" movement. Even Samsung, the smartphone market leader, has tried to get in on the action, with its Galaxy Camera and K Zoom, an Android smartphone with optical zoom. And that's not to mention Apple's iPhone, which, thanks to some dedicated apps and the usual Apple quality, has managed to wind up in the pockets of some world-renowned photographers. But while these manufacturers battle it out, adding megapixel after megapixel, optical stabilisation and laser autofocus to their 1/3" sensors, a brand new to the smartphone arena has produced something that looks set to really shake things up. Introducing the Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1.
Read the full review » »

Thanks to a string of strong camera releases that included the Lumix DMC-GH4, the FZ1000 and the LX100, Panasonic had a very positive 2014, delivering good-quality cameras in multiple categories with some class-leading innovation. Not a brand to rest on its laurels, Panasonic has now created what it calls a ‘communication camera’ – a device that marries a fully functioning Android smartphone with a slim camera. The camera features a large 1in sensor, like those found in Sony’s RX100 series and the Canon G7 X.
Read the full review »


Dimensions (Approx.) 135.4 [W] x 68.0 [H] x 21.1 (Body 15.2) [D] mm
Weight (Approx.) 204 g with Battery, UIM Card and microSD Memory Card
Display 4.7-inch Full HD LCD with Touch Screen (6,220k dots)
Camera Sensor 20.1 Megapixels 1-inch High Sensitivity MOS Sensor
Lens F2.8 / 28mm LEICA DC ELMARIT
Aperture F2.8-F11
Mechanical Shutter Yes
Manual Exposure A / S / M Mode
Image Processor Venus Engine
4K Video Recording 4K Ultra HD (3840 x 2160) 15p / Full HD (1920 x 1080) 30p
4K Photo Application 4K Pre-Burst / 4K PhotoCapture
Network OS Android™ 4.4 (KitKat)
CPU Qualcomm® MSM8974AB 2.3GHz Quad-core
Cellular LTE / WCDMA / GSM
Connectivity Wifi, Bluetooth, NFC, GPS
Memory Internal 16GB ROM / 2GB RAM
Card Slot microSDXC, up to 128GB
Battery Li-ion Battery Pack (3.8V, 2600mAh, 9.9Wh)

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