(news & commentary)
While we can't quite call it a pocket mirrorless camera, the new Panasonic GM1 with the collapsing 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS kit lens sure seems to come close. Other than more lens sticking out, the GM1 is actually smaller than Panasonic's own LX7 compact camera, which is saying a lot. It's smaller than the smallest Nikon 1. This thing is seriously small. And light, too. With battery and card we're talking 7.2 ounces. With lens, about 10 ounces.
Fortunately, it's also seriously designed, too. Panasonic, like everyone else, seems to be trying to move upscale at the moment.
There's plenty to like inside: the 16mp sensor of the GX7 has been brought over and the Imaging ASIC tweaked some more. The sensor is running at 240 fps for focus acquisition, much like high level cameras such as the Olympus OM-D models. The shutter has been extended to 1/16,000 of a second, though it has a slow flash sync speed. No phase detect capability, but I think this camera is more targeted towards casual shooting, where bast single shot focus acquisition is probably fine. Focus peaking is available. WiFi is built in.
We still have a 1m dot touch panel out back, which helps with getting the camera set up fast if you use Panasonic's quick menu bits if you don't want to use the function button. Somehow Panasonic managed to squeeze in a small flash, too, though there's no hot shoe.
This is basically Panasonic's Sony RX100 killer. I don't think it's going to kill the RX100, but it certainly does have plenty of upside: bigger sensor, interchangeable lenses, 24mm equivalent wide angle compared to 28mm (with the kit lens), faster focus system, and so on.
Once again, however, it appears that Panasonic is treating the US market as if it is radioactive, though. While the camera is available in four colors, we're only seeing one color available in the US. Moreover, we don't get the option of the 20mm kit and it's not yet clear if the lens will be available separately here.
That last is interesting, because a lot of folk didn't notice that Panasonic quietly added another pancake zoom to their lens roadmap, an unspecified 35-100mm. In other words, it looks like they're going to make lenses that are small, but in the US we may be restricted to getting them only through the kit. Which is a shame. Panasonic's MTF data for the 12-32mm show it as one of the best, if not the best, kit lenses so far produced for m4/3.
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