Quite honestly, apart from old school mechanical cameras with whirring gears and the general mechanical loveliness that came with them, I find cameras, well, a bit dry. I’m much more interested in pictures, but will admit that some cameras really do get under my skin and excite me.
I have a fairly large amount of film equipment that is currently being thinned out and a few digital additions are being made to the camera cupboard. It’s a gradual, but fairly major overhaul of what I want to own and why. Out went some mechanical Leicas (that hurt) and in came the Sony A7 and A7R, followed days later – and quite unexpectedly – by the Panasonic GM-1. I am not one to buy cameras out of impulse, but this was about as close as I have every come. I checked out the specs, checked the interface and key features and then made off with the camera like a man on the run (after paying, of course).
I won’t say much at this point other than state that I parted with £600 of my own money in a blink when I’d joined all the dots up and realised how perfectly this camera scratched a long-standing itch. As great as the Sony A7/R is to use, it requires some thought and you tend to be a little more engaged in the task in hand. The GM-1 is different. It’s a fast, great handling cigarette box sized camera (with yo-yo sized lens) that, for me, is an absolute pleasure to use. Its fast, silent and allows you to work with particularly low levels of thought. This appeals to me at times and sometimes I actually need it. Photography can become a bit too serious and all consuming at times, like most passions!
This is not to say the GM-1 is not a serious camera, because it most definitely is. The files are superb (more about that later), but it’s hard to resist the urge to pick it up and take photographs. When it slips into your coat pocket with such ease, you can also be sure that you will have a potent tool close to hand when it matters.
I am going to review the camera, but for now will just leave you with a few images from a quick spin around the small office-fortress that is currently my home (in Kabul). Hopefully you’ll see something in those images that gives insight into the experience of using it….
You can read Part 1 of the full review here: Panasonic GM-1: Introduction and In Use.