In this role, the camera kicked out frames that will allow me to make technically perfect A2 prints and has done significantly better in this regard than the X100 and its 23mm prime. That camera’s lens has field curvature and is actually better at the edges wide open and at f2.8 than it is at f4-5.6. It superb again to f8 and f11 due to DOF. Shooting at altitude from a helicopter window, I am completely sure that the X100 would not have produced such crisp detail at the edges in so many shots and the AF would have annoyed me no end. At 12MP I would also have been losing out on a little detail even in the centre of the frame at A2, for closely inspected prints. The tiny GM-1 is definitely comfortably outperforming the Fujinon legend in this capacity. It’s also much smaller and lighter. Equally importantly, the AF and shutter are both so responsive with the GM-1 that I could compose and shoot very accurately the instant everything came together on screen, which was so important considering the rough ride. I set the aperture at f6.3, so that I would not be significantly into the diffraction zone when shooting at the wider end, but would benefit from a touch of stopping down towards the long end of the zoom range. This lens tends to drop a little in edge performance right at 32mm, although at 28 and 30mm, its super-crisp.
In Lightroom, the files have proved nice and flexible and I really cannot complain. I’ve been able to create the look I was after and I know that I can put together a really solid spread of A2 images, should I wish to, with the potential to go a little bigger with some. In comparison, the best of the A7R images naturally hold a good deal more detail, but it takes a very large print to see it. For what I am doing, the GM-1 is the better camera for most of the frames that will contribute to the series. The A7R was not as fast and responsive on the shutter button and although plenty good enough, just didn’t feel as instantaneous.
With the special deals out there on the GM-1, there is a good chance I will buy a second body, with a few primes so I can keep a prime on one and the zoom on the other. In the UK, the silver GM-1 seems to be well discounted and can be picked up for £489, with £100 cash back and a free leather case worth £59. That means you get the camera plus zoom for £330, while the zoom retails at £299 on its own.
This camera, plus a couple of primes (I will almost certainly purchase the 15mm f1.7 Panasonic Leica, the Olympus 25mm f1.5 and possibly the 45mm f1.8) would be my desert island outfit. Light enough to carry around when you ‘cannot be bothered to be serious’ but seriously good enough for when inspiration hits you and you start taking photos that matter. The point is that it is there with you when you want it, but you can be completely confident that it will deliver. I believe the only way this camera could be seriously improved (within package size limitations) would be to give another stop or two of dynamic range.
This little camera is the best bang for the buck of any camera I have ever purchased. How they crammed such performance into a cigarette box I don’t know, but I am glad they did.