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Panasonic Unveils `Smallest’ ILC

Newark, N.J. – Panasonic said it will ship in mid-November what it is calling the world’s smallest mirrorless compact system camera.

The pocket-sized Lumix GM1 ($749.99 suggested retail with 13-32mm f3.5-5.6 kit lens) packs many of the same core features and picture quality as the flagship Lumix GX7, but its body is roughly 50 percent smaller, or about the width and height of a playing card. The walls of the magnesium alloy body are also made thinner to significantly reduce camera weight.

Panasonic’s GM1 also presents a cost savings to photo enthusiasts. For comparison purposes, the GX7 carries a $999.99 suggested retail price for the body only.

The GM1 includes the same 16MP Micro Four Thirds Digital Live MOS sensor and Venus Engine image processing systems as the GX7, resulting in very similar still-image picture quality. It also captures Full HD 1080 resolution, but only at 30p and 60i frame rates. It doesn’t have the 60p frame rate of the GX7 to reduce internal heat.

The diminutive camera also omits the sensor-based image stabilization feature of the GX7, but does work with Panasonic’s lenses with built-in opticial image stabilization.

The camera also features a 3-inch 1,040,000-dot LCD viewscreen, but lacks the GX7’s added electronic view finder. It also omits a hot shoe, but includes a newly designed built-in pop-up flash, built-in stereo mic, and fast AF system.  

The GM1 includes WiFi connectivity with PCs and smart devices, but omits NFC linking.

The tiny camera will accept all of the Lumix G series lenses, although a special optional bracket grip is added to more comfortably handle some of the largest lenses in the family.

The GM1’s 13-32mm kit lens is the first in a new series of special GM lenses that are designed to be more compact. To reduce its size, the lens omits a manual focusing ring, in favor a touch-screen focus slider control.

The GM1 will only be sold as a kit, but the 13-32mm lens ($349.99 suggested retail) will be offered as a standalone for other Lumix G series cameras. However, the touchscreen manual focus function will not work with non GM1 cameras at launch.