The $900 Panasonic Lumix GM5 remains still a small but pricey ILC, now with EVF

The small but notable change of swapping a built-in flash for an EVF is welcome, but the price...

Lori Grunin Senior Editor / Advice
I've been reviewing hardware and software, devising testing methodology and handed out buying advice for what seems like forever; I'm currently absorbed by computers and gaming hardware, but previously spent many years concentrating on cameras. I've also volunteered with a cat rescue for over 15 years doing adoptions, designing marketing materials, managing volunteers and, of course, photographing cats.
Expertise Photography | PCs and laptops | Gaming and gaming accessories
Lori Grunin
4 min read
Lori Grunin/CNET

Panasonic's most compact interchangeable-lens camera line -- the pint-sized GM series -- gets a refresh with the new Lumix DMC-GM5, which replaces the GM1. In the US it will generally come only in the kit version with the small 12-32mm lens and runs a fairly expensive $900. Other regions will also have different configurations. In Australia, it will come as a single lens kit with the 12-32mm lens for AU$1,099 or a twin lens kit with the 12-32mm and 35-100mm for AU$1,399. (UK pricing was not available at press time, but an approximate conversion would be £550).

Panasonic Lumix GM5: out with the flash, in with the EVF (pictures)

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What's different

  • Exchanged the flash for an EVF. This is the most notable change. Panasonic removed the built-in flash, instead bundling an external flash that fits in the hot shoe -- oh yeah, there's now a hot shoe -- and added a small EVF.
  • New feature. Panasonic added a new Snap Movie mode, which records short 2-, 4-, 6-, or 8-second videos suitable for uploading to social media services.

My take

I think I've said before that some miniaturization just isn't worth it. The GM5 may turn out to be a great camera, but it's relatively expensive for what you get. For example, the Sony A6000 is now cheaper than the GM5 will launch at, and it's not really that much bigger -- once you stick a lens on any of these they cease to be truly pocketable. Plus it offers, among other things, a tilting LCD and better battery life. I have a feeling I'll be recommending that people put their Panasonic-intentioned dollars toward the LX100 instead.

Comparative specifications

Nikon 1 V2 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM5 Sony Alpha A6000
Sensor effective resolution 14.2MP CMOS 16MP Live MOS 16MP Live MOS 24.3MP Exmor HD CMOS
Sensor size 13.2 x 8.8mm 17.3 x 13mm 17.3 x 13mm 23.5 x 15.6mm
Focal-length multiplier 2.7x 2.0x 2.0x 1.5x
OLPF No Yes Yes Yes
Sensitivity range ISO 160 - ISO 6400 ISO 125 (exp)/200 - ISO 25600 ISO 100 (exp)/ISO 200 - ISO 25600 ISO 100 - ISO 25600
Burst shooting 15fps
45 JPEG/n/a
unlimited JPEG/7 raw
(5fps without AF; 40fps with electronic shutter)
unlimited JPEG/7 raw
(40 fps with electronic shutter)
(mag/ effective mag)
0.47 in/11.9 mm
1.44m dots
100% coverage
None EVF
1.17m dots
100% coverage
0.4 in/10 mm
1.44 million dots
100% coverage
Hot shoe Yes No Yes Yes
Autofocus 73-point
phase detection
135-area contrast AF
Contrast AF
Contrast AF
179-point phase detection, 25-area contrast AF
AF sensitivity n/a -4 - 18 EV -4 - 18 EV 0- 20 EV
Shutter speed 30 - 1/4,000 sec; max 1/16,000 with electronic shutter; 1/60 x-sync, 1/250 sec x-sync with electronic shutter 60-1/500 sec.; max 1/16,000 sec with electronic shutter ; 1/50 sec x-sync 60 - n/a sec; max 1/16,000 sec with electronic shutter; 1/50 sec x-sync 30-1/4000 sec.; bulb; 1/160 x-sync
Metering n/a 1,728 zone 1,728 zone 1,200 zone
Metering sensitivity n/a 0 - 18 EV 0 - 18 EV 0 - 20 EV
Best video H.264 QuickTime MOV
1080/30p; 720/60p
AVCHD, H.264 MP4 1080/30p, 60i @ 24Mbps, 1080/24p @ 24Mbps AVCHD 1080/60p, 30p, 25p, 24p @ 28Mbps AVCHD 1080/60p @ 28Mbps
Audio Stereo; mic input Stereo Stereo Stereo; mic (via accessory shoe)
Manual aperture and shutter in video Yes Yes Yes Yes
IS Optical Optical Optical Optical
LCD 3-inch/7.5 cm
920,000 dots
3-inch/7.5 cm
Fixed touchscreen
1.04 million dots
Fixed touchscreen
921,600 dots
Flip-up touchscreen
921,600 dots
Memory slots 1 x SDXC 1 x SDXC 1 x SDXC 1 x SDXC
Wireless connection Optional
(via WU-1b Wireless Mobile Adapter)
Wi-Fi Wi-Fi Wi-Fi, NFC
Flash Yes Yes Bundled optional Yes
Wireless flash No No No No
Battery life (CIPA rating) 310 shots 230 shots 220 shots 420 shots
Size (WHD) 4.2 x 3.2 x 1.8 in
107.8 x 81.6 x 45.9mm
3.9 x 2.2 x 1.2 in
98.5 x 54.9 x 30.4mm
3.9 x 2.3 x 1.4 in
98.5 x 59.5 x 36.1mm
4.8 x 2.9 x 1.8 in
120 x 66.9 x 45.1mm
Body operating weight 9.8 oz (est.)
278 g (est.)
7.2 oz (est.)
204 g (est.)
7.4 oz (est.)
211 g (est.)
11.6 oz
330 g
Primary kit
£650 (est.)
AU pricing not available
(with 10-30mm lens)
£550 (est.)
AU$900 (est.)
(with 12-32mm lens)
AU$1,099 (with 12-32mm lens)
AU$1,399 (with 12-32mm and 35-100mm lenses)
UK pricing to be announced
(with 15-60mm PZ lens)
Release date November 2012 November 2013 November 2014 April 2014