In praise of the Panasonic GM5 - Small, Light, with EVF

Discussion in 'Open Gear Talk' started by Bruce McL, May 7, 2017.

  1. Looking for a small, light camera with an EVF? How about one with interchangeable lenses? When I’m looking, the first place I go is “Camera Feature Search” on dpreview.

    Camera feature search: Digital Photography Review : Digital Photography Review

    Click on Interchangeable lens cameras, then go to screen and viewfinder and click on Electronic. For size and weight, Click down on Physical and start to move the weight slider to the left. When you get down to 250 grams there is only one camera left - the GM5.

    When I was shopping for my GM5 I was also considering an all in one camera. Changing the check box from All Interchangeable lens cameras to All fixed lens cameras brings up 8 cameras at 250 grams or less, but I was looking for a 1” sensor or larger camera. Clicking on Sensor and selecting all 1” or larger sensors will knock all of the cameras out of that weight range.

    However, with an all in one camera, you don’t have to add extra weight for the lens. The GM5 plus 12-32 kit lens is 281 grams.. So, slide the weight slider over to the next stop, 400 grams. Still selecting for 1” sensor and above, you see 1” cameras with EVF from Sony, Panasonic, and Canon.

    All of the under 400 gram 1” sensor cameras with EVF seem like nice cameras. I have looked at RAW files from a few of them, and I would be OK with the image quality. Still, none of them are lighter than the GM5 plus kit lens. And none of them have an effective sensor size as big as the GM5. I think the 12-32 kit lens on the GM5 is a step above the IQ you get with a 1” sensor camera. The LX100 has a great lens and comes close to using as much sensor as the GM5, but it is 112 grams heavier, which is over 1/3 of the weight of the GM5 + kit lens.

    There is a lot I like about the GM5, but I am not fond of the color and tonality of the Adobe Standard camera profile. Making and using my own camera profiles has made this camera a lot more enjoyable. There are also Huelight profiles available, which I have not used but have read good things about.

    Huelight Camera Profiles

    Another potential negative I should mention is the viewfinder. I use it all the time and don’t have any problems with it, but I can imagine some people might want something better. It’s not very big, and the IQ is not that great. I wear glasses and I appreciate that I can see the entire EVF screen with with my glasses on, unlike other EVFs I have tried.

    At the time I bought my GM5, the price was much lower than the Sony RX100 series or Panasonic LX100, which made my buying decision easy.

    Even at current prices, if you are looking at the small, light 1” sensor cameras with EVF, I encourage you to keep the Panasonic GM5 in mind. You get small, you get light, you get a relatively big sensor, and you get the option to add lenses. For example, I have had a lot of fun with fisheye lenses on the GM5. Below you will see two fisheye photos, followed by three with the 12-32 kit lens.





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  2. Chris2500dk

    Chris2500dk Top Veteran

    Dec 22, 2011
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    I really wanted to like the GM5, it seemed to tick all my boxes, small and light, EVF, good kit lens, good prime options.
    I have it with the 12-32mm kit lens, the 42.5 mm f1.7 and the 35-100mm f4-5.6.

    It's just not for me I guess. I find it very fiddly to operate, and with the kit lens on I don't really find it much better than my RX100 (but it's a lot thicker), while with the 42.5mm it might as well have been a larger body because the lens is so (relatively) large.

    That being said, if you want interchangable lenses an EVF and a tiny camera body, as Bruce said this is your best bet.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  3. Biro

    Biro Super Moderator

    Aug 7, 2011
    Jersey Shore
    I have the GM1. Only three lenses are ever mounted on it: the 12-32mm zoom and the two early pancake primes - the 14mm f/2.5 and the 20mm f/1.7.

    Because of the control set up, I use the GM1 primarily as a high-quality point and shoot. I occasionally use aperture- and shutter-priority.

    I wouldn't mind a GM5 with the EVF and improved external controls. But I waited too long. Prices have gone up and the only unused examples that I can find are red. That, and I also have the GX85.
  4. The GM5 is a small camera. I started with even smaller, shirt pocket sized point and shoots, so I don't mind that. Those who are working their way down from SLRs and DSLRs may find it too small.

    Fortunately I was able to buy new (and green!) when prices were at their lowest. The GX85 is the closest thing Panasonic makes now to the discontinued GM5. It does weigh twice as much though.

    Here's the green GM5 with a no-name 8mm fisheye attached. This setup weighs less than 400 grams and I'm still able to get it in my jacket pocket.

    Last edited: May 7, 2017
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  5. davidzvi

    davidzvi Veteran

    Apr 18, 2014
    The GM5 (owned 2 plus a GM1) are fun little cameras. I sold my last one when I got my GX85. I also had an LX100 at the time and thought the common batteries between the GX85 and LX100 would be more convenient (which it was). But in the end they were just too similar so I sold off the LX100 as well. I look at the GM's whenever one comes up for sale on the various boards, but I have a Fuji X70 filling the small camera roll right now so I really don't need it, really don't need it, really don't............
    • Funny Funny x 2
  6. dougpayne

    dougpayne Veteran Subscribing Member

    Oct 17, 2012
    Sebastopol, CA
    C.D. Payne
    I have a GM5, Nikon 1 V2 and J5, Canon G9X, and Fuji XQ1. Of these I use the Canon G9X the most because it fits in my pocket and has slightly better IQ than the XQ1. All are good cameras capable of excellent results. I'd rate the V2's EVF as better than the one on the GM5. The Nikon 1 cameras benefit from that line's superbly sharp lenses. My four-lens Nikon 1 J5 kit in the carry bag weighs under 3 lbs.
  7. Biro

    Biro Super Moderator

    Aug 7, 2011
    Jersey Shore
    My brother, a longtime Nikon SLR and DSLR guy, now swears by Nikon 1's. Virtually all of his photography these days is with the V2. One reason for that is his interest in video. The sharp lenses and fast autofocus are other reasons. But his D7000-series DSLR languishes in the closet most of the time.

    My brother just picked up a $700-plus underwater housing for a J2 from B&H, which was closing them out for well under $100. At that savings, he'll pick up a J2 body on eBay. He and many others hope the Nikon 1 isn't dead as some believe or speculate.

    Sorry... I didn't mean to hijack this thread.
  8. That’s OK. Nikon’s 1 System certainly belongs in a discussion of small and light cameras.

    The Nikon 1 J1 was my first mirrorless camera. There were a lot of enthusiastic people in the 1 System forums back then, but I never warmed up to my J1 with kit lens. Looking back, if I knew then what I know now I would have enjoyed the camera more.

    If I had stayed with the series, the 6.7-13 lens would be nice to have. Still, going back to my original post, the V2 with no lens is heavier than the GM5 with the 12-32. On the other hand, the Nikon 1 S2 is quite a bit lighter than the V2, which shows that making a light 1” ILC is not impossible for Nikon. Back in the early 1 Series days It seemed to me that light weight did not have a high priority in the 1 Series.

    I hope that Nikon can keep the 1 Series alive. Introducing a new high end camera body would make a lot of fans and owners very happy.
  9. I still have my J1 and V1, but I sure have a hankering for a J5. I'd also like some more lenses. But... I dont think Nikon is going to do anything useful with the 1 system. And, in Australia at least, they are maintaining their ridiculously high prices. Can't get any 1 stuff at a reduced price except sometimes at Ryda... occasional refurbs.
  10. davidzvi

    davidzvi Veteran

    Apr 18, 2014
    On one of my many sell off and buy backs I looked hard at the J5 since the price was more reasonable and they're finally using the 20mp chip. Just couldn't do it in the end.
  11. ivoire

    ivoire All-Pro

    Dec 3, 2011
    chicago burbs
    I like the GM5 a lot. Great with the compact lenses for biking. And then I'm using it with a modified grip and the Oly 12-40 f2.8 pro lens as backup when wandereing with the EM5 Mkll and 40-150 f2.8 pro lens
  12. dougpayne

    dougpayne Veteran Subscribing Member

    Oct 17, 2012
    Sebastopol, CA
    C.D. Payne
    I recently sold my GM5. I'm a nut for small cameras, but that one was just too small and fiddly for me. I wouldn't have minded the smallish screen if the EVF had been better. You have to give credit to Panasonic for the miracle of miniaturization though.