Pocket Rocket-PANASONIC LUMIX DMC-GM5


L(11_2015_Pocket-Rocket)4Ergonomics:
The GM5 is a tiny camera; really small. Users with large hands may find the camera too small for their liking.

However, the controls are decent in size and readily accessible making for easy handling. The thumb rest on the rear of the camera is also conveniently positioned in order that the camera may be gripped securely. Admittedly, the viewfinder is small but remember that the GM1 did not have a viewfinder at all. The camera has both a mechanical shutter and an electronic shutter.

The stepping motor used in the mechanical shutter limits its maximum speed to 1/15000 sec. Again, the camera’s flash sync speed is restricted to 1/50sec. The camera’s electronic shutter takes over afterwards and extends the max speed to 1/16000sec. The lithium ion battery supplied with the GM5 sadly does not last very long and is good for around 150 to 200 shots. Please ensure that you have a spare battery readily available. On the positive side, we liked the eye sensor on the electronic viewfinder and the touch pad autofocus.

Performance:
Autofocus performance on Micro Four Thirds cameras is now excellent and the GM5 was no exception. Focusing was fast and precise and locked on to the subject even in relatively low light. We were also satisfied with the three metering modes on offer. On the continuous shooting front, using a Class 4 SD card, we could shoot 7 continuous JPEG L/F frames before the buffer filled up. A Class 10 SD card would obviously offer a better performance. Video quality was fine and smooth and the camera did not pick up either focusing or zooming noise during video. On the noise front, at 25% screen size, images were noisefree up to ISO 3200 and usable up to ISO 25600. At 50% screen size, images were usable up to ISO 6400 and at 100%, usable up to ISO 1600. Auto White Balance performed well under shade but produced a slight cast under other lighting conditions. This can, however, be removed easily during post processing.

The accompanying 12-35mm (24-64mm in 35mm format) f/3.5 – 5.6 lens has in-built image stabilisation. The lens produced sharp images and produced best results between f/4 and f/11.
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Value For Money
As is the case with many cameras in its range, Panasonic is yet to introduce the GM5 into the Indian market. However, our readers who travel abroad frequently will be interested to know that the camera is available with the 12-32mm lens at around 575 pounds which is equivalent to around Rs.55,000 which makes it fair to good value. |SP

FINAL SCORE                                    84.5%
Design and Build Quality                       18/20
Key Features                                      17/20
Ergonomics                                        17/20
Performance
Autofocus                                             5/5
Metering                                               4/5
Noise Control                                         4/5
Sharpness                                             4/5
LCD/EVF                                            3.5/5
Auto WB                                              4/5
Sub-Total                                         24.5/30
Value for Money                                   8/10

PLUS
• Wi-Fi
• Engineering marvel in terms of size
• Good build quality
• Very fast autofocus

MINUS

• Too small for some
• Tiny electronic viewfinder
• Battery life could be better
• No NFC

VERDICT
The GM5 is an attractive proposition. It is small, handles very well and produced excellent pictures and can be the beginning of a system since it is an interchangeable lens camera. If you go abroad and pick it up, you would not regret the choice.
H. S. Billimoria