Panasonic has just wrapped the regional launch of their latest camera, the Lumix GM1. This mirrorless system camera marries beauty and brains; it's impossibly small and stylishly good-looking, and carries inside it the high-performance 16MP sensor of the higher-end GX7.
If you're wondering how small the GM1 is, it's slightly shorter and wider than a poker card. The new 12-32mm lens collapses inside itself for easier storage, and the body alone (without battery) weighs just 173g - this is a very portable item! To see how many more things the GM1 is smaller than, check out our previous hands-on session with the GM1.
Panasonic hasn't skimped on the materials. When you hold it, you feel it, the GM1 feels good in the hand and looks sharp. The GM1 has a magnesium alloy body, for comparison most entry-level DSLR cameras which are bigger (and costlier) come with plastic bodies. The leather is faux-leather but hey, no animals had to die for it.
We love how the Lumix GM1 is such a small camera but doesn't compromise with the image quality. The 16MP sensor inside is the same leading-class one from the GX7, which won both our HWM Platinum and HardwareZone Editor's Choice awards. Together with Panasonic's well designed and easy-to-use user interface, the touch-screen should help beginners and experienced users alike to get what they want out of the shot. The screen recognizes multi-touch, so you can not just tap but also pinch to zoom.
Panasonic also displayed some alternate designs, with unique colors and textures, for the GM1. The company said that if one of them proved popular enough, it could make it into actual production.
Also announced at the launch were two new lenses; a Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 and a Lumix G Vario 35-100mm, both to be released in 2014.
The one thing we'd pick on about the GM1 is the camera's small battery, it can handle about 200-odd shots per charge, which is below the compact camera average (to be fair, the Canon S120 and the Sony RX100 II also have meagre battery lives).
The Panasonic Lumix GM1 is already selling in Japan, and we've heard that the orange is the best-selling model. We can see why, it's gorgeous in real life. Panasonic says the GM1 will be coming to Singapore in the first half of December, with a retail price of S$999 (with the Lumix G Vario 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6 lens). For more photos and information of the camera, check out our first hands-on coverage of it.