Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1 Camera Review – Travel Photography

Last Updated on 12/01/2020

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1 Camera Review – Travel Photography

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1 Camera Review

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1 Features

For those who like the specs, this Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1 Camera Review highlights an impressive suite of features:

  • Weight: 7.2 oz / 204 g
  • Size: W 98.5 x H 54.9 x D 30.4 mm
  • 16MP Live MOS image sensor
  • 1036K-dot touchscreen LCD screen
  • Silent electronic shutter, max. shutter speed of 1/16000s
  • Full 60i/50i HD video recording
  • High-speed Light Speed AF system
  • Focus peaking
  • RAW support
  • ISO range of 125-25600
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There’s also some great features you wouldn’t expect on such a tiny body, including a pop-up flash, which many other models don’t include—ideal for those night-time travel snaps, as long as your subject is nearby.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1 Camera Review

When I decided to travel the world for a year, I realized I’d need to invest in a quality camera—one that would take capture my memories and produce photos of wall-quality. I perused the DSLRs in my local photography shop, but it dawned on me that they were so bulky and cumbersome, whichever one I chose would take up a large section of my 32L rucksack. I was packing exceptionally light and didn’t want to take to make my small bag heavy. So I did a ton of research and discovered the CSC, before ultimately settling on the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1.

What is a CSC?

The Compact System Camera (CSC) is the little sister of the DSLR, also known as Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera (ILC) or Hybrids. With the DSLR’s mirror and viewfinder removed, the “compact” in CSC was born. In 2008, Panasonic introduced the Lumix GM1 as the first CSC with a DSLR-sized sensor, an electronic viewfinder, and interchangeable lenses. While some CSCs are less compact than the early days, the CSC retains the same high-quality images as the DSLR but at relatively tiny sizes.

How do I choose which CSC for traveling?

With so many CSCs to choose from, it’s hard to know which way to turn, especially when you’re going on long-term travels or backpacking. But when it comes to traveling, there are some essential things you need in a camera:

  • Small
  • Lightweight
  • Durable
  • Great image quality
  • Easy to use
  • Good battery life
For those who like the specs, this Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1 Camera Review highlights an impressive suite of features

Why choose the DMC-GM1?

Of all the CSCs, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1 really leaps off the shelf thanks to its minute size, incredible quality, good looks, and reasonable cost.


Perhaps the biggest selling point of the GM1 is its ridiculously small size. At just 54.9mm tall and 98.5mm long, it’s one of the smallest CSCs available. It’s not much bigger than a pack of cards, and half the size of most DSLRs. This means it won’t take up much room in your travel backpack and can be discreetly carried in a day bag without needing an enormous, obvious camera bag.


What’s more, it only weighs a staggering 204 grams, which is less than a can of coke! This translates to not weighing your bag down, and not adding excess hand luggage weight, which is ideal when you’re traveling with a rucksack and avoiding going over hand baggage allowances.


Likewise, when you’re traveling potentially difficult terrains, you need a camera that’s durable and hard-wearing. Unlike some other CSCs, the GM1 is pleasantly solid and resilient. It took a few bashes (even being dropped on the floor face-first by a hotel cleaner!) and came out the other side with more character. I always keep my camera inside a waterproof dry sack when it is in my bag which protects me from accidents.

The only trouble I encountered was an apparently common problem with the model—the outer ring of the kit lens is stuck to the aluminum inner barrel using a glue that seems to wear off when the camera is exposed to excessive heat, like when you’re traveling through hot countries for months on end. It’s not ideal, but clicking the lens back into place resolves the problem temporarily, a double-sided sticky tape seems to be a better long-term solution.

Image quality

Considering its size, the GM1 packs a powerful punch in terms of image quality. With a 16-megapixel sensor, it offers exceptional quality photographs that can be reprinted to large sizes, meaning your travel photos can last a lifetime. The optical stabilization and wide-angle setting are added bonuses, especially when you’re trying to capture wildlife and landscapes. Plus the silent shutter means taking close-ups of wildlife won’t scare them off.

Easy to use

The GM1 is refreshingly easy to use, even for a first-time CSCer. There’s a smart touch screen, simple dials, and the auto mode covers most basic requirements. It does help to have a skim-read of the manual first, as the menu has a plethora of options hiding some wonderful tools. For example, the 9-box gridlines really help with framing photos and ensuring the thirds balance, and the “spirit level” type line ensures your pictures are level, saving time on editing them later.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1 Camera Review


Not that it’s very important for traveling, but when you’re spending in excess of £300, you want the end product to be easy on the eye. The leather-effect finish has an almost retro feel to it, and the metal buttons and magnesium alloy body are super smart. It’s really one of the prettiest cameras on the market.


The kit lens is the Lumix G VARIO12-32mm (24-64mm equivalent) f/3.5-5.6 Asph. MEG O.I.S. pancake zoom lens. With its Micro-Four Thirds lens mount, you can buy interchangeable lenses from Panasonic or other brands who do Micro-Four-Thirds.

Battery life

The battery is a reasonable 230 shots, but you can grab a spare battery for around $40-$50, which is well worth the investment. You can also get a portable power bank which to recharge on the go.


The GM1 is perfect for travelers as it’ll capture those beautiful travel moments that you want to remember for a lifetime. It’s simple to use even if you’re new to photography and hardy for those challenging terrains. It won’t take up much room in your bag and weighs next to nothing. It also has handy WiFi connectivity so you can quickly upload your pics on the go. It can take a photo within a second of being switched on and takes a shot every half a second, meaning those once-in-a-lifetime moments will be captured forever.

If you are on the fence about getting one and have just finished reading our Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1 Camera Review, just get one!

So long as you have done your research first, you won’t regret it.

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8.8 Total Score
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1 Camera Review

For those who like the specs, this Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1 Camera Review highlights an impressive suite of features

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This article has been written and/or edited by Andrew N. 20+ years of hiking, mountaineering, and camping experience, with access to all the latest outdoor gear.

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