Mirrorless Panasonic GM1: The Perfect Travel Companion

  By Chris Niccolls

I’m in the unique and understandably enviable position, as the host of TCS TV, to test and shoot the latest and greatest cameras to hit the market. If a photo project comes up I can borrow a camera out of the expansive inventory available at the store, from tiny point and shoot to medium format titan. So why then would I ever need to own my own gear?

Well, the issue soon became apparent. The only time I was actually taking photos was during the show, or for specific scheduled projects… I wasn’t taking photos for myself and I was missing a lot of important memories. I was restricted to my phone, like so many of us are, and the photos were poor in low light, with no creative control, or zoom. I knew I would need something I could always have with me. Compact enough to carry, but strong enough to take brilliant photos with full creative potential. Mirrorless digital cameras became the key.

The mirrorless camera has revolutionized our industry, a hybrid of image quality and compactness. It’s often said the best camera is the one you have with you, and this statement is true, yet until now the image quality of said cameras has been lacking. Photography is becoming even more enjoyable without the usual compromises, thanks to the mirror-less market.

And so from all the cameras that I’ve personally tested, and all the cameras I’ve personally sold, I chose one very unique companion. I found a Panasonic GM1 and have never looked back. It’s the ultimate combination of manual

capability, large sensor image quality, and absolutely minimal carry-anywhere compactness. Panasonic’s micro four thirds sensor is slightly smaller than an APS-C design but the image quality difference is minimal and the subsequent space savings is priceless. Besides APS-C mirror-less cameras may be small, but the lenses to go with them must be somewhat bulky to cover the larger sensor. The GM1 addresses this with a tiny but incredibly sharp 12-32 kit lens, and access to the largest selection of lenses available, all of which are substantially smaller and lighter than the competition.

On my most recent trip to Hawaii the GM1 did something for me which no other camera could before. It accompanied me everywhere. With the instant accessibility that only a smartphone can provide, it captured every image and memory I wanted to remember. Despite its diminutive proportions it worked perfectly with all photo accessories. I was constantly using polarizing and neutral density filters exactly like I would on larger SLRs. I found myself able to use smaller, lighter, and way more convenient tripods. I could remotely control and fire my camera via wifi on my phone. And at the end of the day, I could wirelessly download and share my photos on Twitter and Instagram. This entire experience was liberating. I am now convinced that convenience can be a key part to creativity.

The only changes that would make the GM1 even better are the inclusion of an electronic viewfinder, and a moreintuitive way of changing aperture and shutter speed. Cue the new GM5 and this is exactly what you’ll get. The touch screen autofocus is responsive and the GM5 shoots almost six frames per second so action shots are easy. I can think of no other camera on the market that gives interchangeable lenses, manual control, high image quality, and pocketable size, in such an enjoyable package.

The Panasonic GM series of cameras really offer a unique opportunity to have a full featured capable camera with the convenience of a point and shoot and truly can be taken with you everywhere you go. The smartphone revolutionized photography by making it an integral part of our daily lives, and now the Panasonic GM cameras bring creative control to our daily lives in the same way.


The Camera Store TV recently conducted a shootout between the Panasonic GM1 and the Sony RX100 Mark II. Click here to see the Panasonic GM1 in action!