Canon M5 vs Panasonic GF1
The Canon EOS M5 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in September 2016 and September 2009. Both the M5 and the GF1 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are based on an APS-C (M5) and a Four Thirds (GF1) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 24 megapixels, whereas the Panasonic provides 12 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS M5 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon M5 and the Panasonic GF1. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic GF1 is notably smaller (18 percent) than the Canon M5. Moreover, the GF1 is markedly lighter (10 percent) than the M5. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the M5 nor the GF1 are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. Hence, you might want to study and compare the specifications of available lenses in order to get the full picture of the size and weight of the two camera systems.
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|1.||Canon M5||116 mm||89 mm||61 mm||427 g||295||n||Sep 2016||979||ebay.com|
|2.||Panasonic GF1||119 mm||71 mm||36 mm||385 g||380||n||Sep 2009||749||ebay.com|
|3.||Canon M50||116 mm||88 mm||59 mm||390 g||235||n||Feb 2018||779||ebay.com|
|4.||Canon 77D||131 mm||100 mm||76 mm||540 g||600||n||Feb 2017||899||ebay.com|
|5.||Canon M6||112 mm||68 mm||45 mm||390 g||295||n||Feb 2017||779||ebay.com|
|6.||Canon M100||108 mm||67 mm||35 mm||302 g||295||n||Aug 2017||499||ebay.com|
|7.||Canon SL2||122 mm||93 mm||70 mm||453 g||650||n||Jun 2017||549||ebay.com|
|8.||Canon M3||111 mm||68 mm||44 mm||366 g||250||n||Feb 2015||679||ebay.com|
|9.||Canon M10||108 mm||67 mm||35 mm||301 g||255||n||Oct 2015||499||ebay.com|
|10.||Canon T6i||132 mm||101 mm||78 mm||555 g||440||n||Feb 2015||749||ebay.com|
|11.||Canon T6s||132 mm||101 mm||78 mm||565 g||440||n||Feb 2015||649||ebay.com|
|12.||Nikon D5500||124 mm||97 mm||70 mm||470 g||820||n||Jan 2015||899||ebay.com|
|13.||Panasonic GX1||116 mm||68 mm||39 mm||318 g||320||n||Nov 2011||699||ebay.com|
|14.||Panasonic G10||124 mm||84 mm||74 mm||388 g||380||n||Mar 2010||499||ebay.com|
|15.||Panasonic G2||124 mm||84 mm||74 mm||428 g||360||n||Mar 2010||599||ebay.com|
|16.||Panasonic GH1||124 mm||90 mm||45 mm||385 g||300||n||Mar 2009||899||ebay.com|
|17.||Panasonic G1||124 mm||84 mm||45 mm||360 g||410||n||Sep 2008||599||ebay.com|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The GF1 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 23 percent) than the M5, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down.
The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon M5 features an APS-C sensor and the Panasonic GF1 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the GF1 is 32 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.6 and 2.0. The sensor in the M5 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the GF1 offers a 4:3 aspect.
With 24MP, the M5 offers a higher resolution than the GF1 (12MP), but the M5 has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.72μm versus 4.33μm for the GF1). However, the M5 is a much more recent model (by 7 years) than the GF1, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.
The resolution advantage of the Canon M5 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the M5 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30 x 20 inches or 76.2 x 50.8 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24 x 16 inches or 61 x 40.6 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20 x 13.3 inches or 50.8 x 33.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Panasonic GF1 are 20 x 15 inches or 50.8 x 38.1 cm for good quality, 16 x 12 inches or 40.6 x 30.5 cm for very good quality, and 13.3 x 10 inches or 33.9 x 25.4 cm for excellent quality prints.
The M5 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
The Canon EOS M5 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 25600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 are ISO 100 to ISO 3200 (no boost).
Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors. Both cameras use a Bayer filter for capturing RGB colors on a square grid of photosensors. This arrangement is found in most digital cameras.
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). Of the two cameras under review, the M5 provides substantially higher image quality than the GF1, with an overall score that is 23 points higher. This advantage is based on 2.2 bits higher color depth, 2.1 EV in additional dynamic range, and 1.3 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
|2.||Panasonic GF1||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||720/30p||21.2||10.3||513||54|
|13.||Panasonic GX1||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60p||20.8||10.6||703||55|
|14.||Panasonic G10||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||720/30p||21.2||10.1||411||52|
|15.||Panasonic G2||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||720/30p||21.2||10.3||493||53|
|16.||Panasonic GH1||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||1080/24p||21.6||11.6||772||64|
|17.||Panasonic G1||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||none||21.1||10.3||463||53|
|Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the M5 provides a higher video resolution than the GF1. It can shoot video footage at 1080/60p, while the Panasonic is limited to 720/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the M5 has an electronic viewfinder (2360k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the GF1 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the GF1 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the DMW-LVF1. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon M5 and Panasonic GF1 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|1.||Canon M5||2360||n||3.2 / 1620||tilting||Y||1/4000s||9.0/s||Y||n|
|2.||Panasonic GF1||optional||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|3.||Canon M50||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||10.0/s||Y||n|
|4.||Canon 77D||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||6.0/s||Y||n|
|5.||Canon M6||optional||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||9.0/s||Y||n|
|6.||Canon M100||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||6.1/s||Y||n|
|7.||Canon SL2||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|8.||Canon M3||optional||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||4.2/s||Y||n|
|9.||Canon M10||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||4.6/s||Y||n|
|10.||Canon T6i||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|11.||Canon T6s||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|12.||Nikon D5500||optical||n||3.2 / 1037||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|13.||Panasonic GX1||optional||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||Y||1/4000s||4.2/s||Y||n|
|14.||Panasonic G10||202||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.6/s||Y||n|
|15.||Panasonic G2||1440||n||3.0 / 460||swivel||Y||1/4000s||2.6/s||Y||n|
|16.||Panasonic GH1||1440||n||3.0 / 460||swivel||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|17.||Panasonic G1||1440||n||3.0 / 460||swivel||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.|
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The M5 has a touchscreen, while the GF1 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.The M5 has an articulated LCD that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in snapping selfies. In contrast, the GF1 does not have a selfie-screen.
The M5 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the GF1 uses SDHC cards. The M5 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the GF1 cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD cards.
For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Canon EOS M5 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Canon M5||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|2.||Panasonic GF1||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|3.||Canon M50||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|4.||Canon 77D||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|5.||Canon M6||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|6.||Canon M100||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|7.||Canon SL2||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|8.||Canon M3||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|9.||Canon M10||-||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|10.||Canon T6i||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|11.||Canon T6s||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|12.||Nikon D5500||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|13.||Panasonic GX1||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Panasonic G10||Y||mono / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Panasonic G2||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|16.||Panasonic GH1||Y||stereo / -||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|17.||Panasonic G1||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the M5 has a microphone port, which is missing on the GF1. Such an external microphone input can help to substantially improve the quality of audio recordings when a good external microphone is used.
Both the M5 and the GF1 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The GF1 was replaced by the Panasonic DMC-GF2, while the M5 does not have a direct successor. Further information on the features and operation of the M5 and GF1 can be found, respectively, in the Canon M5 Manual (free pdf) or the online Panasonic GF1 Manual.
So how do things add up? Is the Canon M5 better than the Panasonic GF1 or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS M5:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (24 vs 12MP) with a 44% higher linear resolution.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (23 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (2.2 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (2.1 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (1.3 stops ISO advantage).
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (1080/60p vs 720/30p).
- Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1620k vs 460k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (9 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More modern: Reflects 7 years of technical progress since the GF1 launch.
Advantages of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1:
- More compact: Is smaller (119x71mm vs 116x89mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (380 versus 295) out of a single battery charge.
- More affordable: Was released into a lower priced segment (23 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in September 2009).
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the M5 is the clear winner of the match-up (20 : 4 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. A professional sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon M5 and the Panasonic GF1 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the M5 or the GF1 perform in practice. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.
This is why expert reviews are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.
|1.||Canon M5||4/5||+||4/5||82/100||4/5||4/5||Sep 2016||979||ebay.com|
|2.||Panasonic GF1||..||85/100||..||69/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2009||749||ebay.com|
|3.||Canon M50||..||+||4/5||79/100||..||3.5/5||Feb 2018||779||ebay.com|
|4.||Canon 77D||4.5/5||..||4/5||82/100||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2017||899||ebay.com|
|5.||Canon M6||..||..||..||80/100||4/5||4/5||Feb 2017||779||ebay.com|
|6.||Canon M100||3/5||+||..||..||4/5||3.5/5||Aug 2017||499||ebay.com|
|7.||Canon SL2||4/5||+ +||4/5||78/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2017||549||ebay.com|
|8.||Canon M3||4/5||o||..||75/100||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2015||679||ebay.com|
|9.||Canon M10||..||..||..||..||..||4/5||Oct 2015||499||ebay.com|
|10.||Canon T6i||5/5||..||..||75/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||749||ebay.com|
|11.||Canon T6s||5/5||+||..||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||649||ebay.com|
|12.||Nikon D5500||5/5||+||..||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2015||899||ebay.com|
|13.||Panasonic GX1||3/5||+||..||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Nov 2011||699||ebay.com|
|14.||Panasonic G10||3/5||..||..||70/100||4/5||4/5||Mar 2010||499||ebay.com|
|15.||Panasonic G2||..||..||..||72/100||4/5||4.5/5||Mar 2010||599||ebay.com|
|16.||Panasonic GH1||..||+ +||..||72/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2009||899||ebay.com|
|17.||Panasonic G1||..||+ +||..||70/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2008||599||ebay.com|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
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Specifications: Canon M5 vs Panasonic GF1
Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.
|Camera Model||Canon M5||Panasonic GF1|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF-M mount lenses||Micro Four Thirds lenses|
|Launch Date||September 2016||September 2009|
|Launch Price||USD 979||USD 749|
|Sensor Specs||Canon M5||Panasonic GF1|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||Four Thirds Sensor|
|Sensor Size||22.3 x 14.9 mm||17.3 x 13.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||332.27 mm2||224.9 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||26.8 mm||21.6 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||24 Megapixels||12 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||6000 x 4000 pixels||4000 x 3000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||3.72 μm||4.33 μm|
|Pixel Density||7.22 MP/cm2||5.34 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60p Video||720/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 25,600 ISO||100 - 3,200 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 7||Venus HD|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||77||54|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||23.4||21.2|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||12.4||10.3|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||1262||513|
|Screen Specs||Canon M5||Panasonic GF1|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Viewfinder optional|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Viewfinder Magnification||.. x|
|Viewfinder Resolution||2360k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.2inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||1620k dots||460k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Fixed screen|
|Touch Input||Touchscreen||no Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon M5||Panasonic GF1|
|Focus System||On-Sensor Phase-detect||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||no Peaking Feature|
|Continuous Shooting||9 shutter flaps/s||3 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDHC cards|
|Single or Dual Card Slots||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon M5||Panasonic GF1|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||no MIC socket|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||no Wifi|
|Near-Field Communication||NFC built-in||no NFC|
|Bluetooth Support||Bluetooth built-in||no Bluetooth|
|Body Specs||Canon M5||Panasonic GF1|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||295 shots per charge||380 shots per charge|
116 x 89 x 61 mm
(4.6 x 3.5 x 2.4 in)
119 x 71 x 36 mm
(4.7 x 2.8 x 1.4 in)
|Camera Weight||427 g (15.1 oz)||385 g (13.6 oz)|
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