GM1 vs GM5: Is it worth it to upgrade to the GM5?

Last week, we compared the LX100 vs GM5, but what about current Micro Four Thirds owners contemplating an upgrade? This post could be a little premature as the GM5 hasn’t even been released, but as it sports the same sensor as the GM1, essentially just adding a hot shoe and live viewfinder – is it worth the upgrade from the GM1 to GM5, or even from the GF or GX series?

Let’s start with size, as for anyone considering the GM series – that should be an important consideration. Panasonic shows a slightly larger size spec for the GM5 98.5 x 59.5 x 36.1mm (vs GM1 98.5 x 54.9 x 30.4mm):

GM1, GM5, GX1, OMD EM5, Canon T4i Comparison
From Left to Right: GM1, GM5, GX1, EM-5, Canon T4i

GM1 vs GM5

Notable improvements from the GM1:

  • 1080/60p recording
  • Hot shoe
  • Live viewfinder

Other improvements:

  •  “Snap Movie Mode” for Vine and Instagram short movies
  • Panorama mode, as featured on the GX7
  • Improved AF and burst mode
  • The addition of the red color, though keep in mind Panasonic announced the blue and brown GM1 yesterday.

Comparisons:

  • It loses a built-in flash, but an external version comes bundled for attachment to the hot shoe.

Other:

One notable drawback that the GM5 shares with the GM1 is the 1/50th flash sync. Thus with flash photographers (like myself) it becomes increasingly difficult to use the GM5 outdoors, as it could be tough to even use it as a fill light, and of course little chance to get a shallow depth of field. So if you have the GX1, GX7, etc., who’s flash sync is a lot higher (1/160, 1/320 respectively) then the GM5 might not be a viable replacement – but it could be a perfect addition. But with the expected GM1 price drop is it worth it?

Price

If price is a factor, then this could be the decision maker. The Panasonic GM1 can be found on eBay for as low as $400 for body only, and about $500 bundled with the kit 12-32mm lens. Whereas the GM5 is likely to release later this month for $899. Are the aforementioned features worth an additional $400, when you could use that money and buy the Olympus 45mm 1.8 or Pan-Leica 25mm 1.4 for about the same price? You decide.

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