Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM5

      Photo Review 8.7

      In summary

      Photographers looking for a take-everywhere camera should give the GM5 kit serious consideration, particularly if they already own a Panasonic M4/3 system. The same applies to digicam owners looking to upgrade to an interchangeable-lens camera, particularly if the size and weight of a DSLR is daunting.

      The camera with its compact kit lens makes a great combo for street photography.


      Full review

      When Panasonic released its Lumix DMC-GM1  just over a year ago, many people wished it had a viewfinder. That omission is addressed in the GM5, which was announced in mid-September and is now available in Australian camera shops. The built-in EVF, which has a resolution of more than a million dots, is the main feature that distinguishes the GM5 from the GM1. Otherwise, its monitor screen has slightly lower resolution, although not enough to make an impact, and the GM5 lacks a built-in flash.  


      The three colour options available for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM5 in Australia. (Source: Panasonic.)

      Like its predecessor, in Australia, the GM5 is offered in three colours: totally black plus orange-red and black and camouflage green with silver top plate and trim. Some countries don’t offer the green version.


      Angled front view of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM5, black version, with the 12-32mm lens. (Source: Panasonic.)

      In Australia, the GM5 is being sold with the Lumix G-Vario 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH. MEGA O.I.S. lens, which we reviewed with the GM1 in January 2014. A twin lens kit which adds the Lumix G Vario 35-100mm f/4.0-5.6 lens is also being offered for an RRP of AU$1,399.

      Who’s it For?
       Essentially, the GM5 is targeted at the same group of photographers who were attracted by the GM1: buyers looking for a pocketable, large-sensor camera with P, A, S and M shooting modes and interchangeable lenses. With its 12-32mm kit zoom lens, the new camera is small enough to slip into the pocket of a pair of slacks (but probably not jeans) and will easily fit into a jacket pocket.

      This lens has a few limitations. It retracts and must be extended before the camera will power-up. It can only focus to within 20 cm of subjects at 12mm and 30 cm at 32mm and neither the lens nor the camera has a dedicated macro setting so they aren’t ideal for tight close-up shots.

      Like the GM1, the GM5 is more likely to appeal to owners of Micro Four Thirds (M4/3) cameras, although it could be a good choice for digicam users who are looking to expand their photographic horizons with an interchangeable-lens camera that’s smaller than an average digicam. There are plenty of lenses to choose from among the Panasonic and Olympus offerings and an increasing number of third-party lens manufacturers.

      It could also be handy as a second, more compact, body for owners of Panasonic’s larger, SLR-style cameras, such as the GH4. But owners of Olympus CSCs will find it less attractive since it lacks in-body stabilisation, which will affect their ability to use longer lenses.

      Finally, with an all-up weight of 281 grams (including battery, memory card and 12-32mm lens), the GM5 is small and light enough to be carried by a drone and its Wi-Fi capabilities enable pictures to be taken with a connected smart device (provided it’s within range). It’s not as light as a typical action camera but a lot more versatile and provides much higher resolution for shooting still pictures.

      Build and Ergonomics
       The GM5 is slightly larger than the GM1, which remains in Panasonic’s inventory (for the time being) and about seven grams heavier. Most of the size differences are in the height and depth of the body (required for the EVF); the GM5 is almost 5 mm taller and a bit more than 5 mm thicker than the GM1.


       Front view of the GM5, green version, showing the supplied flash attached. (Source: Panasonic.)

      Aside from the viewfinder, the main difference between the GM5 and GM1 is the flash. It’s built into the GM1 but supplied as a bundled extra with the GM5, which is equipped with a hot-shoe to accommodate it.


       Top view of the GM5 showing the new hot shoe for the bundled external flash. (Source: Panasonic.)

      The bundled flash has a bit more power than the GM1’s built-in one, but neither is capable of lighting up an average sized room. Aside from the new hot-shoe, the control layout on the top panel is the same as the GM1’s.


       Rear view of the GM5 (red version) showing the revised control layout and new thumb rest. (Source: Panasonic.)
       The main changes to the control layout have taken place on the rear panel, where the GM5 has a few buttons above the monitor screen plus a new control dial that wasn’t provided on the GM1 and a larger, more comfortable thumb rest. This makes it more comfortable to operate.  

      The viewfinder is small and a bit tunnel-like. But its resolution is high enough to provide the detail most photographers require. According to Panasonic, its colour gamut covers ‘almost 100% colour reproduction of the Adobe RGB standard’, which means colours on the screen should correspond with the colours you will get in your photos.

      An eye sensor on the right hand side of the eyepiece detects when you lift the camera to your eye and automatically switches between the monitor and EVF. Panasonic’s ‘Touch Pad AF’ facility lets users look through the viewfinder, while simultaneously touching the monitor screen with their thumb to set a focus point.

      New Functions
       Panasonic has introduced a new ‘snap movie mode’ that is designed to allow users to capture a sequence of clips covering an event in a format that is easy to share. With this setting, the camera will record the clips and assemble them into a video that can be uploaded to social networks.

      Users can choose from two-, four-, six- and eight-second clips and select a pull focus function (to keep the subject in focus while zooming) and choose from two transition fades between clips. The Colour-out setting fades from colour to monochrome, while the Colour-in setting does the reverse.

      Face and Eye Detection have been added to the autofocusing options available and the camera includes a memory bank for storing reference images for face recognition. Highlight and Shadow adjustment are also available, along with the regular Panasonic panorama shooting mode (which was missing from the GM1).

      The Creative Control mode includes 22 filter options, which are now usable in the P, A, S and M shooting modes. Users can compare pictures shot with and without filter effects on the monitor screen and choose the one they prefer.

      Most Photo Style and filter effect settings are usable in the normal movie mode. Scene presets that can be used in movie mode when the Low light mode is selected include Clear Nightscape, Clear Night Portrait, Artistic Nightscape, Handheld Night Shot and Scene Guide mode.

      The integrated IEEE 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi has been improved with the addition of a QR code display that can be scanned by a smart device for faster inter-connection. But the camera lacks NFC capabilities.Wi-Fi functionality is supported by the Panasonic Image App for iOS/Android smart-phones/tablets, which is available as a free download.  

      Most camera functions can be controlled remotely via a connected smart device and users can review shots on the device’s screen. Geotagging of images is also available using GPS data from a connected smart-phone.

      The GM5’s menu also provides a link to Panasonic’s web services via the Lumix Club at, which provides a single point for posting photos and video clips to external web services. Users can also upload images to the Cloud Sync. Service (which will hold up to 1000 pictures for 30 days after the transfer) or connect to a wireless access point via WPS using a push-button or PIN code or manual connection (which supports encryption). Wi-Fi Direct connection is also available.  

      Like the GM1, the GM5 provides four continuous shooting modes, two of them without live view. The fastest capture rate (Super high-speed) can record 40 frames in one second but requires the electronic shutter and is only usable with JPEGs.  

      The High-speed continuous shooting setting has been tweaked a little to enable the GM5 to support 5.8 frames/second (fps) capture in AF-S mode, up from 4 fps on the GM1. A maximum frame rate of 5 fps applies in AF-C mode. The buffer memory hasn’t changed since the GM1 and remains limited to seven frames when raw files are included (or about 38 JPEG frames).

      Some minor adjustments have been made to movie frame and bit rates but the GM5 supports the same AVCHD and MP4 /H264 formats as the GM1. Both formats provide the same high-resolution settings, with the top resolution/quality setting for the PAL region being 1920 x 1080 pixels at 50 frames/second, using progressive scanning.

      Aside from those changes, the GM5 supports the same user-adjustable controls as the GM1, including the ability to select the P, A, S and M modes and apply many of the Creative Control filters. Full-time AF, AF tracking and Touch AF are available in movie mode, the latter making it easy to apply rack focusing effects.

      Sensor and Image Processing
       Both are the same as the GM1’s, which is carried across from the GX7. Details of file sizes can be found with our review of the GX7.

      Playback and Software
         Playback modes are similar to those in other G-Micro system cameras and include single-image playback, index display of 12 or 30 thumbnails, Calendar display, Zoomed playback (up to 16x), Slideshow (duration & effect is selectable) and Category or Favourite displays. Playback mode also supports playback of video clips and 3D images (the latter requiring a 3D TV set).

      The software bundle supplied includes PHOTOfunSTUDIO 9.6 PE for Windows (for organising photos and video clips), SILKYPIX Developer Studio 4.2 SE for RAW file development (Mac and Windows) and a 30-day trial of the Windows-based LoiLoScope for editing videos. Multi-lingual versions of the user manual are supplied on a separate disk.

      Readers who (like us) consider the SILKYPIX converter an application that is only usable as a last resort when nothing else is available will be glad to hear the latest version of Raw Therapee (V. 4.2.16) is compatible with RW2.RAW files from the GM5. It’s available as a free download from

      When we conducted our tests, Adobe Camera Raw, our preferred raw file converter, did not support raw files from the GM5. Consequently, we used Raw Therapee to convert the camera’s raw files into editable 16-bit TIFF format for our Imatest analysis.

       Subjective assessments of image files from the review camera showed them to be similar to those from the GM1. Plenty of detail was recorded and images were sharp and reasonably colour accurate, with a slight tendency to emphasise reds and purplish blues. This was confirmed by our Imatest tests, which showed it to be mostly a result of JPEG processing. Raw files converted with Raw Therapee were close to colour-neutral.

      Metering was as accurate as we found with the GM1 and up to expectations for G-series cameras. The default Standard setting in the iDynamic mode delivered well-balanced highlight and shadow detail, even in quite contrasty situations.

      Autofocusing was fast and accurate in most situations, particularly when the touch screen was used to set the focus position. No significant slowing was evident when shooting in low light levels or while panning while shooting stills.

      Imatest showed both JPEG and RW2.RAW files could meet expectations for a 16-megapixel camera with optimal lens settings. Resolution held up very well with both file types across the camera’s sensitivity range, as shown in the graph of our Imatest results below.


       Long exposures taken in dim lighting showed little visible noise right up to ISO 6400, even without noise reduction processing. By ISO 12800 granularity was noticeable in test shots and its visibility increased at ISO 25600, where some image softening was evident. Shots taken at this setting were just printable at up to snapshot size.

      The supplied flash performed no better than the GM1’s built-in flash. Shots were under-exposed at sensitivities up to ISO 1600 and slightly over-exposed at ISO 25600. Colour reproduction was better than the GM1 produced. Sharpness and contrast had declined noticeably by ISO 6400.

      White balance performance was similar to the GM1’s. The auto setting failed to correct warm cast from incandescent lighting but almost conquered the green cast of fluorescent lighting (although a slight residue remained). Flash shots were completely corrected. No in-camera correction is provided for fluorescent lighting but manual measurement produced natural colour reproduction for it and the colour bias of the incandescent lights.

      Video quality was similar to the GM1’s and generally very good, although we experienced some persistent artefacts when recording AVCHD clips with the 1920×1080 at 50i/17Mbps setting. (No other settings produced any problems.) Two examples of the problem are reproduced below.


       Soundtracks were generally very clear with more stereo presence than we expected from the small in-camera microphones. Clips showed no interference from focusing and zooming and the wind-reduction filter did a good job of suppressing wind noise.

      Our timing tests were conducted with the same 16GB Panasonic SDHC Class 10 UHS-1 card as we used for the GM1. The review camera powered up in approximately one second, although an additional second was needed to unlock the lens to make it ready to shoot.   The average capture lag of 0.15 seconds was eliminated when shots were pre-focused.

      Shot-to-shot times averaged 0.45 seconds without flash and 2.8 seconds with. High-resolution JPEGs took approximately one second to process on average, while RW2.RAW files were processed in 1.9 seconds and RAW+JPEG pairs in 2.1 seconds.

      Recording times and buffer capacities for the four continuous shooting modes the review camera offers matched Panasonic’s specifications.   The mode can record at 40 frames/second but is JPEG-only, while the High-speed mode captures records JPEG and raw frames at five frames/second. Live view is not available during either burst.

      Processing a burst of shots taken with the Super high-speed took approximately nine seconds. A burst of 10 JPEG frames taken in the High-speed mode took 3.4 seconds to process.

      With RW2.RAW files in the, the camera slowed after seven frames, which were captured in 1.2 seconds. It took 5.5 seconds to process this burst. The same frame rate and buffer limit applied for RAW+JPEG pairs but it took 9.6 seconds to process this burst.

      The middle and low speed settings record at four and two frames/second respectively with live view supported during capture. Both settings are available for bursts of RW2.RAW files and the buffer limit is seven frames. JPEGs are processed on-the-fly and processing was completed within roughly a second of the last frame captured.

       Photographers looking for a take-everywhere camera should give the GM5 kit serious consideration, particularly if they already own a Panasonic M4/3 system. The same applies to digicam owners looking to upgrade to an interchangeable-lens camera, particularly if the size and weight of a DSLR is daunting.

      The camera with its compact kit lens makes a great combo for street photography. Unfortunately, it’s less comfortable with larger lenses and its limited battery capacity of around 200 shots/charge is lower than many digicams. In addition, the small body size and control buttons won’t suit photographers with large hands and/or limited dexterity.

      As with the GM1, the price of the GM5 kit could be a major hurdle. Even at street prices of less than AU$1000, it’s still quite a bit more expensive than the Olympus OM-D E-M10 or most of the Olympus PEN and Sony Alpha A6000 single-lens kits and the twin-lens kit for the Panasonic GF6. You pay a premium price to have an EVF in such a small camera body.



       Image sensor: 17.3 x 13.0 mm Live MOS Sensor with 16.84 million photosites (16 megapixels effective)
       Image processor: Venus Engine
       A/D processing: 12-bit
       Lens mount: Micro Four Thirds
       Focal length crop factor: 2x
       Image formats: Stills ““ RW2.RAW, JPEG (DCF V. 2.0, Exif V. 2.3), RAW+JPEG; Movies ““ AVCHD (Audio format: Dolby Digital 2ch), MP4 (Audio format AAC 2ch); MPO (When attaching 3D lens in Micro Four Thirds system standard)
       Image Sizes: Stills ““ 4:3 aspect: 4592 x 3448, 3232 x 2424, 2272 x 1704; 3:2 aspect: 4592 x 3064, 3232 x 2160, 2272 x 1520; 16:9 aspect: 4592 x 2584, 3840 x 2160, 1920 x 1080; 1:1 aspect: 3424 x 3424, 2416 x 2416, 1712 x 1712; Movies ““ AVCHD: 1920×1080 at 50p/28Mbps, 1920×1080 at 50i/17Mbps, 1920×1080 at 50i/24mbps; MP4: 1920×1080 at 50p/28Mbps, 1920×1080 at 25p/20Mbps, 1280×720 at 25p/10Mbps, 640 x 480 at 25p/4mbps; 3D ““ 1824 x 1368, 1824 x 1216, 1824 x 1024, 1712 x 1712
       Image Stabilisation: Lens based
       Dust removal: Supersonic wave filter
       Shutter speed range: 60 to 1/16,000 second (minimum 1/25 second in movie mode)
       Exposure Compensation: +/-5 EV in 1/3EV steps (+/-3 EV for movies)
       Exposure bracketing: 3, 5, 7 frames in 1/3, 2/3 or 1 EV Step, Max. +/-3 EV, single/burst
       Other bracketing options: WB (3 exposures in blue/amber or magenta/green axis)
       Self-timer:   2 or 10 seconds delay plus 10sec, 3 images
       Focus system: Contrast AF system
       Focus modes: AFS (Single), AFF (Flexible), AFC (Continuous), MF plus Face/Eye Detection, Tracking, 23-Area / 1-Area / Pinpoint AF
       Exposure metering:  1728-zone multi-pattern sensing system with Multiple / Centre Weighted / Spot modes; range EV 0 – 18 (f/2.0 lens, ISO100 equivalent)
       Shooting modes: iAuto, iAuto+, Program AE, Aperture Priority AE, Shutter Priority AE, Manual, Movie, Custom, Panorama, Scene, Creative Control
       Scene presets: Clear Portrait, Silky Skin, Backlit Softness, Relaxing Tone, Sweet Child’s Face, Distinct Scenery, Bright Blue Sky, Romantic Sunset Glow, Vivid Sunset Glow, Glistening Water, Clear Nightscape, Cool Night Sky, Warm Glowing Nightscape, Artistic Nightscape, Glittering Illuminations, Handheld Night Shot, Clear Night Portrait, Soft Image of a Flower, Appetising Food, Cute Dessert, Freeze Animal Motion, Clear Sports Shot, Monochrome
       Photo Style: Standard, Vivid, Natural, Monochrome, Scenery, Portrait, Custom  
       Creative Control: Expressive, Retro, Old Days, High Key, Low Key, Sepia, Monochrome, Dynamic Monochrome, Rough Monochrome, Silky Monochrome, Impressive Art, High Dynamic, Cross Process, Toy Effect, Toy Pop, Bleach Bypass, Miniature Effect, Soft Focus, Fantasy, Star Filter, One Point Colour, Sunshine
       ISO range: Auto, Intelligent ISO, ISO 100 (Extended, ISO 200-25600 (adjustable in 1/3 EV steps)
       White balance: Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Shade, Incandescent, Flash, White Set 1, 2, Colour temperature setting (2500-10000K in 100K steps)
      Colour space: sRGB and Adobe RGB  
      Flash: TTL external flash (bundled), GN10.0 equivalent (ISO 200/m)
      Flash modes: Auto*, Auto/Red-eye Reduction*, Forced On, Forced On/Red-eye Reduction, Slow Sync., Slow Sync./Red-eye Reduction, Forced Off   (* For iA, iA+ only)
      Sequence shooting: Max. approx. 40 shots/sec. with electronic shutter (JPEG only); 5.8   shots/sec. with mechanical shutter
      Buffer memory depth: 39 JPEGs, 7 raw files, 7 RAW+JPEG
      Storage Media: Single slot for Memory Stick PRO Duo or SD/SDHC/SDXC memory cards; UHS-1 compliant
      Viewfinder: EVF with 1,166,000 dots, approx. 100% FOV, approx. 0.92x magnification, approx. 17.5 mm eyepoint, -4.0 to +4.0 dioptre adjustment, eye sensor (adjustable high/low sensitivity)
      LCD monitor: 3-inch, 16:9 aspect TFT LCD monitor with static touch control, approx. 921,000 dots, adjustments for Brightness (13 levels), Contrast (13 levels), Saturation (13 levels), Red-Green (21 levels), Blue-Yellow (21 levels)
      Live View shooting: 2x, 4x digital zoom, max. 2.4x Extra Tele Conversion, Level Gauge, Real-time Histogram, Guide Lines (3 patterns), Highlight display (Still image / motion picture), Zebra pattern (Still image / motion picture)
      Playback functions: Normal playback, 30-thumbnail display, 12-thumbnail display, Calendar display, Zoomed playback (Max. 16x), Slideshow (All / Picture Only / Video Only / 3D / Category Selection / Favourite, duration & effect is selectable), Playback Mode (Normal / Picture / Video / 3D Play / Category / Favourite), Location Logging, Clear Retouch, Title Edit, Text Stamp, Video Divide, Time Lapse Video, Stop Motion Video, Resize, Cropping, Rotate, Rotation Display, Favourite, DPOF Print Set, Protect, Face Recognition Edit, Picture Sort, Delete Confirmation
      Interface terminals: USB 2.0, HDMI, A/V output, terminal for RM-UC1 remote controller  
      Wi-Fi function: IEEE 802.11b/g/n, 2412 MHz – 2462 MHz (1-11 ch), Wi-Fi / WPA / WPA2, Infrastructure mode; QR Code Connection
      Power supply: 7.2V, 680mAh, 4.9Wh rechargeable lithium-ion battery; CIPA rated for approx. 210 shots/charge (rear monitor), 220 shots/charge (EVF)  
      Dimensions (wxhxd): Approx. 98.5 x 59.5 x 36.1 mm
      Weight: Approx. 180 grams (body only); 211 grams with battery and card



       Based on JPEG files:




       Based on RAW2.RAW files converted with RawTherapee V. 4.2.16:







       Auto white balance with incandescent lighting.


       Auto white balance with fluorescent lighting.


       Auto white balance with flash lighting.


      12mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/250 second at f/8.


      32mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/200 second at f/8.  


      2x digital zoom, 32mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/200 second at f/8.


      4x digital zoom, 32mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/160 second at f/8.


      30-second exposure at ISO 100, 24mm focal length, f/5.6.


      13-second exposure at ISO 800, 24mm focal length, f/5.6.


      5-second exposure at ISO 3200, 24mm focal length, f/6.3.


      2.5-second exposure at ISO 6400, 24mm focal length, f/6.3.


      2.5-second exposure at ISO 25600, 24mm focal length, f/13.


      Flash exposure at ISO 100, 32mm focal length, 1/50 second at   f/5.6.


      Flash exposure at ISO 800, 32mm focal length, 1/50 second at   f/5.6.


      Flash exposure at ISO 3200, 32mm focal length, 1/50 second at   f/5.6.


      Flash exposure at ISO 6400, 32mm focal length, 1/50 second at   f/5.6.


      Flash exposure at ISO 25600, 32mm focal length, 1/50 second at   f/11.


      Strong backlighting with 22mm focal length; ISO 3200, 1/30 second at   f/5.


      Backlighting, 18mm focal length; ISO 100, 1/500 second at   f/6.3.


      Backlighting; 15mm focal length; ISO 200, 1/320 second at   f/3.2.


      Close-up; 32mm focal length; ISO 100, 1/60 second at   f/5.6.


      Close-up; 32mm focal length; ISO 200, 1/125 second at   f/5.6.


      Handheld Twilight mode; 23mm focal length; ISO 3200, 1/5 second at   f/8.


      Portrait; 32mm focal length; ISO 2500, 1/80 second at f/5.6.


      Environmental portrait; 17mm focal length; ISO 1250, 1/60 second at   f/4.1.


      Sepia effect; 32mm focal length; ISO 3200, 1/40 second at   f/5.6.


      Street shot; 32mm focal length; ISO 100, 1/160 second at   f/6.3.


      Still frame from AVCHD Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) video clip recorded in 50p/28M mode.


      Still frame from AVCHD Full HD video clip recorded in 50i/17M mode.


      Still frame from AVCHD Full HD video clip recorded in 50i/24M mode.



      Still frame from MP4 Full HD video clip recorded in 50p mode.


       Still frame from MP4 Full HD video clip recorded in 25p mode.


       Still frame from MP4 HD video clip recorded in 20p mode.


       Still frame from MP4 video clip recorded with VGA resolution.



      RRP: AU$1099; US$900 (with H-FS12032 12-32mm lens)


      • Build: 8.8
      • Ease of use: 8.8
      • Autofocusing: 8.8
      • Still image quality JPEG: 8.5
      • Still image quality RAW: 8.8
      • Video quality: 8.5