Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM5 – EVF
The key addition the Panasonic Lumix GM5 makes to the Lumix GM1 blueprint is the electronic viewfinder. It sits at the very edge of the camera, and provides 100 per cent field-of-view coverage.
With 1166k-dot resolution, it offers reasonable sharpness and Panasonic claims it offers 100 per cent of the colour range. However, like other elements of the GM5 it does feel like a slight compromise. Its view is fairly small and just getting your eye to it while making any sort of alterations to settings feels awkward.
We found the Lumix GM5’s EVF to be something you’ll go to when the rear LCD fails you, rather than a go-to composition tool. And that’s a shame.
It does at least offer a proximity sensor, meaning the GM5 automatically switches between the rear screen and EVF as needed. There’s also a function button on the backplate to let you do so manually if required.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM5 – Screen
Is the screen up to the task on its own? One interesting change Panasonic has made this year is to make the rear display 16:9 rather than 4:3, despite the camera having a 4:3 aspect sensor. This means that when you shoot at full resolution there are black bars to the left and right of the screen, making your view smaller than it is on the GM1.
We did wonder who this move was for exactly: for video shooters, or those so accustomed to phone cameras that 16:9 stills shooting seems the norm?
Aside from this, the Panasonic Lumix GM5 display is perfectly good. It offers 921k-dot resolution, and therefore pretty good sharpness.
As with most LCD screens, it starts to falter in bright daylight – at which point we switched to the EVF – but otherwise it’s perfectly fine for composing your shots.
It’s a touchscreen, too, letting you pick focus points and alter settings should you find using the physical controls a bit awkward. That’s where its flexibility ends, though. The Lumix GM5 offers no screen tilt or articulation; it’s fixed.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM5 – Features
In order to get down to this diminutive size, Panasonic also left a flash out of the Lumix GM5’s body. Instead you get a little unit in the box that slots into the hot shoe in the top plate.
This seems a fairly sensible compromise, but the GM5 doesn’t make full use of the shoe. For example, there’s no mic port, so you can’t use it to mount an external microphone.
The camera also only goes half-way in terms of wireless features. You get Wi-Fi, but no NFC. You can transfer photos to a phone, but pairing the two up is a slightly more manual process. Using Wi-Fi in a camera remains a somewhat fiddly process at the best of times, so it’s not the greatest loss, if a little disappointing in a fairly expensive camera.
Given the limitations of the small EVF and crop-happy rear display, it’s good to see the Panasonic GM5 do its bit to make manual focusing easier. It supports focus peaking, which is where the camera highlights the in-focus edges of an image to let you see much more clearly where the focus lies. There’s a curious mix of convenience and inconvenience to the GM5, but this is at least one positive to mention.
It’s once again offset by pretty poor battery life, though. Even by Panasonic’s own figures the camera will only last for 210 shots off a charge – and having to carry around a spare does reduce the attraction of owning a camera this small.