Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM5 Review

October 22, 2014 | Gavin Stoker |
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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.

Buy any camera from the likes of Panasonic or Sony and we know pretty much what we are going to get as a default: bright, colour-rich images with plenty of saturation straight out of the camera, with the result that standard JPEGs require very little if anything in the way of post processing straight out of the camera. We can literally point and shoot and get perfectly acceptable images – no messing about. Perhaps what the Panasonic offers more than anything is the choice of how we shoot – eye up to the viewfinder or holding the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM5 at arm’s length to take a shot, with differing results, though the limited zoom lens reach (if we’re talking the bundled 12-32mm at least) means that we have to get in fairly close and personal whatever we’re shooting in order to fill the frame.

Whatever the setting exposures are even with the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM5 left to its own defaults, and though there may be the spectre of purple pixel fringing rearing its head between areas of contrast in an image on occasion, this is only on really close inspection, when you’re actively seeking fault. There is a little distortion and a touch of the fish-eye type effect at maximum wideangle setting on the 24mm equivalent lens, but again this is only really noticeable when deliberately seeking it out.

In terms of low light shooting, yes we are getting image noise the higher we creep up the scale but even at top whack ISO25600 equivalent we’re not getting totally unusable results. And this despite the smaller Four Thirds sensor at the heart of this model when compared to the typical APS-C chip in competing electronics brands including Sony and Samsung.

Noise

There are 8 ISO settings available on the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM5. 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 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

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)

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

Flash

The flash settings on the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM5 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)
flash_on.jpg flash_on1.jpg
   

Red-eye Reduction

Red-eye Reduction (100% Crop)

flash_redeye.jpg flash_redeye1.jpg

Night

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM5'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)

night1.jpg night1a.jpg