Part 1 – Initial review
I have been very lucky and have won an opportunity to review the GM1 over the next few months. I knew the camera was going to be good because the initial prelaunch press reports in the photography magazines all gave it the thumbs up and glowing praise for the image quality. I’ll keep the reviews to what I experience and demonstrate points with images. PLEASE bear in mind that all the images in this review are as they were taken and are posted without any post processing.
I have had the GM1 about two weeks and although the menu is the same logical layout you find on the G series cameras I feel I haven’t even scratched the surface of what this wonderful little thing can do.
There are the usual traditional creative manual controls and custom menus that enthusiasts will be familiar with. Plus 8 Artistic filters and 23 pre-set scene modes. There are interesting features I am not familiar with in particular within intelligent auto ‘plus’ mode, a dedicated option to shoot handheld at night. It takes a series of photos and selects the sharpest bits from each image to build a single best sharp image from those selected sharp bits.
You have probably heard the old adage “Good things come in small packages” this is trying to convey the premise that the size of something good should not be a meaningful factor with regard to how good a thing is. However with the GM1 the good things are in a small package and being small in size is the principle significant factor.
With my hands taking a large in a glove size you would think that I would struggle with the petit size of the camera body but surprisingly it actually feels quite natural to hold and handle. Granted I am only using two fingers and a thumb of my left hand to hold the camera and the same on my right hand to operate and brace the camera for a shot. So far I’m not actually catching the function buttons by accident, unlike on my G6. To be fair there are fewer physical button to press with many of the function buttons accessible via the touch screen.
It is compact enough to easily fit in the top pocket of my jacket, a true portable camera. However to get such a compact size certain features have been sacrificed but not quality I am happy to report. Indeed, the images seem equal to if not better than the ones from my G6. The camera has a metal alloy body which feels solid and robust for its diminutive size. The most obvious omissions are the hot shoe, rear viewfinder and articulating screen.
No hot shoe – no problem – just be more creative and really when you think about it carrying external flash equipment kind of defeats the objective of being light and pocket sized portable. The internal pop-up flash is tiny with a sync speed of 1/50sec and has a guide number of GN4. Don’t expect it to overpower ambient daylight but it will provide fill lighting and even trigger a manual slave flash if required.
- Image 1: Flash with ambient light
- Image 2: Flash without ambient light
- Image 3: Flash used as a trigger to fire a slave flash
The consequence of a slow sync speed in strong ambient light is you still get motion in the image. If you can cut down on ambient light it enables the flash to freeze any motion.