Lumix GM1 User Review by Colin Freeman Part 3

I’ve mentioned before about how the GM1 camera body is only as tall as the lens ring fitting and when the GM1 is on my Manfrotto tripod the barrel of the lens just about sits on the tripod mounting plate. This means that it is too tight and is difficult to change lenses whilst the camera is attached to the tripod. This almost cost me dearly one night when photographing Caernarfon castle in the dark. I was composing the shot below when I noticed a pair of herons night fishing along the shore line. You can still see one of the herons in the shot below.

As the herons stand still whilst fishing I decided I may get a sharp enough image in the dim light. I went to swap the 12-32 for my 45 – 150 but as the lens and tripod is such a tight fit I ended up dropping my 12-32. Luckily it had a soft landing and no damage was done but it could have so easily been a disaster. So a lesson learn – always take the camera off the tripod to change the lens, put your camera rucksack under the tripod to catch any falling lens and remember to buy an extension plate to raise the camera body so the lens sits at a normal height that gives the barrel of the lens some clearance.

Caernarfon-Castle-3

The GM1 performed flawlessly and the level of detail and resolution is super. A did you know:- the 12-32mm was set at f/18 – you get a star burst effect from street lighting and other bright light sources at these high apertures.

Caernarfon Castle 1 Caernarfon Castle B & W

As you can tell I’m a fan of low light and night time shots. When most people are packing up their camera gear and going home, I’m getting mine out and setting up.

I did try the camera out in the day in the forest area near Llanrwst. There is a twin waterfall with tree trunks at the base of the falls and they are covered in moss. There is a good photo to be had in there somewhere but I was having one of those days where you know there is potential for a really good photo but you just can’t find it. I’ll just have to go back another day to find it.

You appreciate the light weight and compact size when you have to do things like cross small streams on slippery stepping stones or trek any distance.

In summary:

The small size and low weight is ideal for trekking any great distance or crossing difficult terrain and features like the artificial horizon are fantastic (no more crooked horizons). The images are as good during the day as my G6 and better when using a high iso setting. The auto-focus is quick and accurate so the kit lens 12-32mm is great for landscapes even though it does not have any manual focus ring. However the lack of a view finder when the sun is out is a real pain. Standing contorted trying to shade the screen must look amusing to passers-by: “Mummy is that man the hooded claw without the cape” – “No dear it’s just a photographer trying to shade the lcd screen of his camera”.

Also, the flip side of the camera body being so small is the lack of clearance for the lens on my good tripod and after my lens drop scare I need to re-evaluate the GM1 to tripod situation. I have seen reviews saying the battery doesn’t last long but I can’t say it was ever an issue for me. Yes I did have to change the battery but not that often that it became a problem and when you think about it those of us that once used film had to make a change every 36 shots or so, taking over 200 before having to make a change is a non-issue for us.

Big thank you Colin for your time and effort in reviewing the LUMIX GM1. You can view all of Colin’s shots in his gallery here

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