The Micro Four Thirds System pioneered by Panasonic remains the only system in the world of mirrorless cameras to have both smaller bodies and smaller lenses. Panasonic has attacked the market with a series of cameras aimed at different segments. The GH-series is for the semi-professional market and promises outstanding still and video photography. The G-series comes with a D-SLR look but is smaller and lighter. The GF (and GX) -series comes with a compact camera look and are similar to the PEN series from Olympus. The GM-series began in 2013 with the launch of GM1. It was the first in a line of ultra small compact mirrorless cameras from Panasonic. The GM1 has now been followed by the GM5. Don’t ask us where the GM 2, 3 or 4 disappeared!
The GM5 does not replace the GM1 but is, in fact, an addition to the GM range. It is currently the smallest mirrorless camera in the market with dimensions of 98.5×59.5×36.1mm. It is also smaller than Panasonic’s outstanding semiprofessional compact camera, the LX100. Th e GM5 differsfrom the GM1 in that it has an electronic viewfinder, a larger LCD screen, a hot-shoe and is bundled with a small fl ash which has to be attached to the body. In addition, the GM5 off ersFullHigh Definition video (although not 4K).
Design & Build Quality
The design and finish of the GM5 is extremely attractive. Panasonic off er this camera in black, silver and red finishes along with a 12-32mm pancake lens. This makes the camera both attractive and light weight. With the battery and a SD card, the GM5 weighs only 211g (body only) and 281g with the 12-32mm lens. Build quality is very good with the body being made from magnesium alloy and the top and bottom plates using aluminum. Given its size, the GM5 with the Pancake lens, is a pocketable camera.
Central to the GM5 is the 16 MP Four Thirds Live MOS sensor. This sensor has also been used in the LX100 and is larger than the 1” Type sensor found in premium compact cameras like the Sony RX100 III and the Canon PowerShot G7. Fitting such a large sensor into such a small camera body is indeed an engineering triumph for Panasonic engineers. The chart below gives the main features of the GM5 and compares it with the features of a top-grade compact camera like the Sony RX100 III as also the GM1:
What we liked was the inclusion of an electronic viewfinder with a resolution of 1.17 million dots (the GM1 did not have it), the 3” touch-sensitive LCD display, the ability to record Full High Definition in video and the boost in continuous shooting from 5 frames per second to 5.8 frames per second. Also the GM5 introduces a new snap movie mode and manual creative control when recording video.
On the negative side, the camera does not have a built in flash not does it feature NFC (Near Field Communication).