Regular readers will know that I typically carry some kind of camera nearly everywhere I go, which I usually refer to as my "little camera". That "little" camera has changed often throughout the years, and has included the Olympus PEN E-P1 (posted about here and here), the LUMIX GF1 (posted about many times, but here and here and here and here are some favorites), and the Fuji X100 (posted here and here and here). These days however, as a LUMIX Luminary, I'm back to the LUMIX line and am currently sporting the GM1.
The GM1 comes with a little 12–32mm (14–64mm equivalent) zoom lens, with a variable aperture of 2.5–5.6, which itself isn't particularly special. It's small, light, and capable enough, but if you want great quality from a great lens, and not from what's basically a "point and shoot" lens, then you'll want to replace it. Since the GM1 is a micro four thirds camera, just like the rest of the current LUMIX interchangeable lens cameras, you can put any lens you want on this thing.
The lens I choose… is the Panasonic Leica SUMMILUX 15mm ƒ/1.7 lens. That's a 30mm equivalent (for micro four thirds, always just double the focal length to get the full-frame equivalent focal length).
For me, this is a fantastic every-day focal length. I'm also a big fan of the 25mm ƒ/1.4 lens, however I've found the 15 to be better suited to my style of shooting.
That SUMMILUX 15 is incredibly sharp, offers very shallow depth of field (I often have to remind myself to stop down, as I regularly find myself shooting wide open when too close, and end up with too little in focus!)
One of the other things I love about this camera (OK, this is on all LUMIX and most cameras in general) are the "art" modes. Sure they are often totally overused and just plain silly, but there are a few modes in a few occasions that do look cool. Bleach Bypass, Impressive Art (great name), and Silky Monochrome are a few of my favorites.
I always shoot in RAW+JPEG mode. Usually all I ever want/need is the JPEG, and since I am either dialing in a look using an art mode or simply by adjusting the colors and curves the way I like in-camera, my photos are ready to go as they are shot.
The only reason I even bother with the RAW on this camera is for the "what if" moment. If I happen to shoot something that I decide later I want to process differently, or if it needs rescuing. I'd say at least 99% of my RAW files from here are never even viewed. I import into Aperture as a RAW+JPEG pair, with the JPEG on top, and only reveal the RAW if I need to.
At a 30mm equivalent focal length, this is clearly not a sports shooting combination, but the GM1 does offer a very fast 10 frames per second (fps), and if you're willing to sacrifice resolution, you can get 40 fps (!!) in the "super high speed" mode for a 4 megapixel image.
The image below is actually a slide show; let it load to see it rotate through.
Overall, I adore this camera. As you can see from the very top photo, I've rigged it up on my shoulder bag on a carabiner so it's super easily accessible. I've found over the years that if the camera is put away — even just inside this bag — it's much less likely to get used. But once it's there, hanging, my hand is often on it, and I can pick it up to shoot with the bag hanging off the bottom in a pinch, or in another second unhook it from the biner and go.
I've also added the little grip to it, which I really like. It does take up the tripod socket and it does have to be removed to get to the card or battery, but that grippy little thing feels great in your hand, and the solid aluminum bottom adds some welcome heft to the camera. Overall the camera feels very solid to begin with, especially with the SUMMILUX lens on it, but when you add the grip it all becomes very tank-like.
The last thing I'll mention is the built-in WiFi. All LUMIX cameras have this now, and it's so cool. Since this is my carry-everywhere camera, I mostly use it to transfer photos to my iPhone so I can post on my Instagram account. But you can also use it to control the camera. The screenshot below is controlling an FZ1000, not this GM1, but it all looks the same.
As you can clearly see, I love this camera. Now, it may seem funny that I'm touting my love of this GM1 shortly after the LUMIX GM5 was announced — but this is what I currently have, and I think it's fantastic. No doubt the GM5 will be even more amazing, so if you like what you see here, definitely check out the new model.
If you have any questions about this camera, feel free to ask in the comments, or on twitter and I'll do my best to answer them for you!