Tuesday, 25 November 2014

The GM5 or the Personal Jewelry trend

Am I being unfair in treating such a powerhouse as the GM5 as a  Personal Jewelry item? 
Perhaps, but admit that at $ 999 (€ 800)  with the 12-32 it needs to be not a camera only but something you can display proudly. BTW if you buy it with the Leica 15/1.7 it will make even a bigger hole in your pocket. But it is a match made in heaven, which will bring you even bigger kudos.
I found the orange version even more gay and attractive, but here I am stopped by other considerations. Won't it attract too much attention in the street? Compare to the black GM5 :

Or the silver one with with the 15/1.7 (€ 1100)

The GM5 is v. similar to the GM1 I reviewed time ago, and which has not been discontinued:
There was an interesting comparison with a Canon dSLR:

The GM5 is slightly bigger than the GM1, probably because it now sports an EVF, but it is still a whole different proposition than an ordinary camera. It is the smallest ILS (EVIL) camera to do so. It has also some additional new features in its v. powerful engine, i.e.:

"The casual snap mode creates video snapshots of 2, 4, 6 or 8 seconds. Several different effects are included, including several fade in/out: black, white and color fades. We found the most interesting effect mode to be the rack focus feature, which allows you to select two spots using the touchscreen, then rack the focus from one to the other smoothly. The efect was pretty neat." Imaging Resource says.

The GM5 has also an enhanced panorama mode, integrated time lapse and some 20 ways to personalize Jpegs, what Oly calls Art Modes, so it is really a full blown art tool, despite the size. No need to go RAW, you modify the Jpegs in camera and see the effect in the EVF, even before shooting.

BTW I haven't found many reviews. You can try those:

Photography Blog, which is a full review

Imaging Resource here, which is a pre-review:

ePhotozine, a short review, here:

Plus you will find various interesting user reviews at the DPR's m4/3 forum. Owners are usually quite happy with the GM5, if not starry eyed.
Only complaint I heard was short lived battery (210 shots officially), slippery shape, slow flash synchro (1/50). I would probably keep it as a second camera anyway., and batteries are cheap and small, so hardly a problem. 

The beauty of m4/3 is being 'scalable', meaning you can use the same sensor size through different body sizes, so why not take advantage? I have a small equivalent, the E-PM2, that I bought for a song as a display unit. 

I use basically in Program and with either the P17/2.8 or the P14/2.5, without even looking at the screen since I have learned to frame by heart, and I don't want to attract undue attention in the street, by raising the camera to my eye.
By knowing my frame, and trusting the camera exposure I can approach a subject down to one meter, without him/her noticing.

The advantage the GM5 has is a real EVF, although some complained that it does tunnel vision. Never mind in the Summer it is probably a godsend , or when you want to frame exactly a landscape (with the E-PM2 I have my add on VF-2 for that).

Now to return to the initial concept let me show you some sylish variations of a German design studio of the GM1. I suppose they'll do the same with the GM5, if people enjoy them. Do you? Despite what some say a camera is not only a tool, but an object of enjoyment, and in fact the GM5 is both. So why not have some fun?

This is a concept by  WertelOberfell and 3D printing company Materialise .

Finally, if I had a stroke of luck I would buy the GM5 in kit with the Leica 17/1.7, which is a lens with a lovable rendering that I could use on both the diminutive GM5 and, say, my E-M5, for more serious shooting. 
That is where scalable comes into play again. the E-M5, contrary to the GM5 has a 5 axis IBIS, and that in landscape counts a lot. No need of a tripod. Just stop down and use shutter speeds down to 1/8!
No IBIS means that you'll need a v. firm hand with the GM5, and either add a rubber grip or use a tripod. Please notice however that the 12-32/3.5-5.6 kit lens is stabilized.

Nevertheless  I am a firm believer in v. small cameras. If Leica seize was the standard for small rangefinder in the 1950s, 60 years later electronics allows half the size for the same IQ. 
Watch out not to drop the GM5 on the floor, it is nowhere as sturdy as its ancestor. But it is pocketable, where the Leica never was. And you can still get a Leica lens in kit with it :)

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