Thinking about GM1 as a "Pocket Camera"

Discussion in 'Panasonic Cameras' started by exakta, Dec 25, 2015.

  1. exakta

    exakta Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 2, 2015
    I'm very happy overall with my OM-D E-M10 but there are times I wish I had a true "pocket camera" like the Canonet G3 I carried in my film days when I wanted to leave the OM-1 home. Current compact cameras have lousy image Q and too much shutter lag to be useful.

    The GM1 with the 12-32 is the right size, has similar image Q to the E-M10, can use the Oly lenses in a pinch...all good stuff. The current $400 blowout price is reasonable...I had considered the $300 Pen PL6 but it's not small enough without paying extra $$$ for a pancake lens.

    It's the cons that I'm wondering about. I'm still not happy using screens outdoors. There's only the onboard flash and the slow sync speed makes it almost useless for fill in bright light. No IS with my other lenses. Of course, if I really use it as a fixed lens pocket camera instead of a second body then only the lack of a finder really matters.

    Looking for opinions and experiences from GM1 owners using it as a pocket camera.
    • Like Like x 1
  2. Tom_Chan

    Tom_Chan Mu-43 Regular Subscribing Member

    Aug 19, 2013
    Palo Alto, CA
    The first thing that comes to my mind is a Pana LX100 since you mentioned fixed-lens and screen but unfortunately the price tag is quite a bit above $400.

    Edit: with the current sale LX100 is $700 with $200 gift card from both Adorama and B&H; GM5 is $470 without gift card.

    Sent from my Nexus 5 using Tapatalk
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2015
  3. budeny

    budeny Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 4, 2014
    Boulder, CO
    I liked my GM1+12-32 when I had it - perfect camera to take for occasional shooting or "just in case". My only complains are about control wheel which is pain to use and WB button that I often pressed with my way to hold the camera.
    Last month I upgraded it to GM5, so those went away, but now I often inadvertently move AF wheel to MF when using camera in tight case and I miss GM1's one hand back focusing ability.
    To be honest, GM1/5 is little big for true pocket camera (think jacket, not jeans), but in my case it is also my backup body for important trips and ability to change lenses is great option - Sigma 60mm is frequent companion in second pocket.

    My accessories list: : Lowepro LP36439-0WW Dashpoint 20 (Pepper Red) : Camera Cases : Camera & Photo
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2015
  4. pellicle

    pellicle Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 10, 2010
    Southport, OzTrailEYa

    A worthy goal, but you should expect that some of the features would go missing. Such as screen only shooting, difficult ti use dials, more restricted shooting style.

    After all something must be sacrificed to make if small ... certainly size.

    I disagree, the Panasonic LX-5 and 7 are quite good, almost hard to pick from my GF1. Shutter lag is not actually shutter lag but AF lag, so a quick flick to manual focus will cure that. The LX have a cunning zone focus sustem built-in.

    Personaly if i didn't already have my GF as a pocket-ish camera the GM would be my first choice.

    My self i think it comes down to expectation management. You say "use the lenses in a pinch" but to me its "use the lenses no iffs or butts about it"

    The reason you have cited for wanting a pocket camera is to have high quality with you. We all know the camera you have is better than the camera you left at home, so to me its a minor thing to adjust your shooting style and operation methods to the compact camera to reap the benefits.

    The LX-7 is also selling now for under 300 and has a well regarded fast lens. And it is probably a bit more pocketable
    Panasonic LX7 Review - LX7 Overview

    Merry Christmas
  5. phigmov

    phigmov Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Apr 4, 2010
    I use the E-PM1 with the P20 - works a treat. Pop the P12-32 or P14 in a spare pocket and you've got the wide end covered and a little zoomy-ness if required. Only the old 12MP sensor but its fine for casual pics (suspect the E-PM2 would be way better in low light). Also a cheap combo for a night on the turps, er, town - no worries about breakage/spillage/scratches.

    <are you listening panasonic?!> Just wish Panasonic would rework the P20 with faster AF</are you listening panasonic?!>
  6. battleaxe

    battleaxe Mu-43 Top Veteran

    I agree the GM1 is more of a jacket camera & not pocket(unless you pair it with the body cap lens). But, that said for something that size it's amazing how fast and good the quality is. I'm coming from a GF3 in the m4/3 world(and currently also own a Fuji X-E1) and it's amazing how usable ISO3200 now is compared to the GF3. My only gripe is the aforementioned flash-sync and the small-ish battery. But, seriously that size makes you almost forget about it's faults.
  7. rezatravilla

    rezatravilla Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 7, 2013
    Reza Travilla
    Have been using GM1. It's not pocket camera size. Indeed the body is small but the lens kit makes it bigger. But if you put BCL lens 9mm, it fits your pocket.

    Still RX100 is the best walking around pocket camera.
  8. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    I do not own the GM1, but I do have the GF7, a Ricoh GR, and had an E-PL5 as "pocket" cameras. The term "pocket" is somewhat personal in definition, and picking a pocket camera is going to be a series of compromises. The GF7 w/12-32 is small, but not really pocketable like the GR. But, it is very small and it is an interchangeable lens camera. It does not have an EVF, but it does have a tilt screen which allows waist level shooting. The GR is an amazing camera with outstanding IQ, but no EVF (among other features). The GM5 will get you an EVF, but is about the same size as the GF7. If you need an EVF, and want truly pocketable, then Sony's RX100's (Mk III and IV) should be on your list if you do not mind a 1" sensor.

    Good luck,

  9. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    Personally I'd never buy a camera again without an EVF. I hate that "stinky nappy/diaper" stance and of course in bright light they're almost unusable. The GM5 is a nice option, but the EVF screen is small and the buttons are fiddly.

    Personally, I've given up on very small cameras - the usability compromises are just too much. I now use my "old" E-M5 with the 12-32 or sometimes the 17 (must pickup a 14 or 20 sometime). It fits fine into my laptop bag/cycle bag/messanger bag and that's good enough. The E-M10 mki is pretty cheap these days and that's even smaller. With all these cameras you get a decent screen, two control wheels and good usability.
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2015
    • Agree Agree x 1
  10. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Legend

    every time I buy a daily pocket camera, I find I never use it. If I care about image quality or subject enough to bring a camera, then it's my main camera I bring. If I don't, then I forget to bring a camera at all and I end up using my phone for random stuff. The phone is the only cam I ALWAYS have in my pocket. And honestly, what are you going to just happen upon where a slow aperture, short kit zoom is going to be the difference maker.
    • Agree Agree x 3
  11. PeeBee

    PeeBee Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Sep 17, 2012
    Following my move from P&S to ILC in 2011, I found that I often missed the convenience that P&S has to offer. Pocketable, no lens swapping, no lens cap, but I've never been motivated by P&S image quality. I tried using my EPM1 with a pancake as my pocketable solution, but I found the fixed focal length limiting and still had to faff around with the lens cap. I also found the EPM1 IQ to be inconsistent due to shutter lock issues.
    A few months ago I decided to take a fresh look at compacts, and after several days of internet research, I bought myself a Panasonic LF1 (I've always liked Panasonic cameras but couldn't stretch my budget to a LX100). I wasn't impressed by the IQ or EVF quality, so I returned it and bought a mk1 RX100. The Sony is a revelation. It's by no means perfect, I've had to sacrifice the EVF, but the LCD screen is one of the brightest I've seen. The user interface has it's quirks and the handling isn't great, but in terms of pocketable image quality and operational speed, it certainly meets my requirements. I get pin sharp indoor / low light shots that I couldn't even dream of with the EPM1. The 1 inch sensor is more prone to blowing highlights than m43 and it doesn't handle noise as well as the EM-10 (though it's better than the EPM1). The newer models address some of the Mk1's shortcomings, but the original is still a very competent performer despite it's age.
  12. exakta

    exakta Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 2, 2015
    Thanks for the replies.

    What bugs me about compacts today is it means small sensors, which was not the case in the film days...both the Canonet and OM-1 were 35mm and the shots I got with the Canonet were just as sharp as those with the OM-1. Today compact means tiny sensors which immediately hobbles the IQ.

    I already own a Fuji X10 which is a fantastic carry-around camera except for one thing, the sensor. It's 1/4 the area of m43 (4x crop). I've made 16x20 prints with it but IQ drops quickly as soon as you raise the ISO. Despite the smaller sensor the X10 is the same size as the E-M10! See for yourself!

    Today there are very few cameras like that old Canonet, a fixed lens camera with a large sensor. The reason I got into m43 was for a larger sensor without the bulk of DSLRs and the first few low light shots I did convinced me it was the right decision.

    Fuji X100 (APS), Sony RX1 (full frame) are really expensive but much more compact than DSLRs of the same format. In m43 there's really nothing outside the LX100 which is again the same size as the E-M10 not to mention much more expensive.

    That is what led me to look at the GM1 but I'm not hearing any love for the GM1 at all. Guess I'll stick with the X10 for now.
  13. SojiOkita

    SojiOkita Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 23, 2014
    I own an E-M10 and a GM1.
    I'm very satisfied with my E-M10, and I have mixed feelings about my GM1.

    The idea when buying the GM1 was: second camera, small, to be used with small lenses (12-32, 14, 20) and to take with me when I've not the space to take the E-M10.
    The good points about this is:
    - the 12-32 is a great lens on the E-M10 too
    - the GM1 is the smallest m43 body and is kind of cheap
    - image quality considering the size is great
    - it's a useful second body where I can mount exactly the same lenses than on my E-M10.
    The bad:
    - it's not really pocketable, so I leave it at home a lot more than planneed
    - I tend to like more the pictures from my E-M10, especially colors and especially in low light (I'm using RAW and Lightroom)
    - I tend to have a lot more missed shots with my GM1, I don't know why. Maybe it's just too light...

    I've thought about replacing it with something else:
    - an E-PL7 to get the same batteries and the same color than my E-M10... but the E-PL7 is way bigger than the GM1.
    - a compact (not a LX100 which is the same size as the GM1)... but I hate eletronic zooms, so I won't like using a compact. And there's no compact with a prime focal length that I find interesting (should be a 40-50 equivalent).
    Not perfect solutions either...
    So, I keep the GM1, I think that considering my needs it's the best solution for a second body camera right now.
  14. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    Might be worth waiting until Jan 6th - there might be some new Pens with EVFs. Doubt they'll be cheap though...
  15. exakta

    exakta Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 2, 2015
    Thx for the reply. That's one thing that is great about the X10 (and 20 and 30): fully mechanical manual zoom. The zoom ring is also the power switch, fantastic design.
  16. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    In my opinion, in m4/3rds world, the size of lens is crucial.
    My pocket camera is the old e-P1 with 17mm pancake.
    With the Lumix 20mm pancake it wasn't so pocketable, which was a shock!
    On my e-pL7 the 20mm is pocketable again ... such a fine line at that size.
    From my obviously gigantic pockets I expect the GM1 to handle the 40-150Pro no problem ;)
    (Best pocketable kit-zoomy solution with viewfinder : e-pL7, 12-32, VF-2 in other pocket.)
    • Agree Agree x 1
  17. NoSeconds

    NoSeconds Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    I love my GM1, it's the perfect compliment/backup body to my E-M1 and a great little camera in its own right for street photography.

    Ive never had a drama with not being able to see the screen in bright sunlight and I haven't been to many places in Australia with harsher sunlight and glare than the region where I currently live.

    I don't feel the lack of an EVF is a downside either, truth be told I hardly ever use the one on my E-M1. Most of the time I shoot from about waist level, braced against my body with the LCD tilted all the way up.
    • Appreciate Appreciate x 1
  18. ivoire

    ivoire Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 6, 2011
    Naperville, IL
    I like using mine with the 15mm bodycap lens. great pocketable street shooter. Set shutter speed, auto iso, just point n shoot.
    The menu system is cumbersome. setting up the on screen functions helps. as with any camera you have to decide if it meets your intended purpose. This isn't a great "all rounder" but its fun to use and easy to carry
  19. SojiOkita

    SojiOkita Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 23, 2014
    Yes, but the X10-20 (and it's worse for the X30) is not really smaller than the GM1.

    It's really difficult to get something really small (that you can take in a jeans pocket), really good, and with good ergonomics.
    There's always something missing.

    However, even if I found a really pocketable camera... not sure I will take it with me all the time. Phones get bigger and bigger and mine already take 1 of my 2 pockets... Having a camera in the other pocket would not be confortable...
    For now, when I don't have my GM1 with me, I use my phone... (which has a decent DNG output - the GM1 is way better, of course)
  20. exakta

    exakta Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 2, 2015
    Pants pocket has always been out of the question anyway...

    I don't take "pocket" too literal :D but I wish the X10 was smaller...the GM1 definitely is and better IQ to boot.
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