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Panasonic GM5 versus Canon G1 X Mark II

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM5 and the Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark II are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in September 2014 and February 2014. The GM5 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the G1X Mark II is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on a Four Thirds (GM5) and an 1.5-inch (G1X Mark II) sensor. The Panasonic has a resolution of 15.8 megapixel, whereas the Canon provides 13 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their size, their sensors, their features, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison: Panasonic GM5 vs Canon G1 X Mark II

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Panasonic GM5 and the Canon G1 X Mark II is provided in the side-by-side display below. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are presented. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter. You can also toggle the display to switch to a percentage comparison if you prefer that the measures are being expressed in relative terms (in this case, the camera on the left – the GM5 – represents 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Snapsort Panasonic GM5 vs Canon G1 X Mark II
Compare GM5 versus G1X Mark II top
Compare GM5 and G1X Mark II rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon G1 X Mark II is considerably larger (45 percent) than the Panasonic GM5. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the GM5 nor the G1X Mark II are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the G1X Mark II has a lens build in, whereas the GM5 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can find an overview of optics for the GM5 and their specifications in the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the GM5 gets 220 shots out of its DMW-BLH7 battery, while the G1X Mark II can take 240 images on a single charge of its NB-12L power pack.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Panasonic GM5» 3.9 in 2.4 in 1.4 in 7.4 oz 220 n Sep 2014 749- i
Canon G1 X Mark II« 4.6 in 2.9 in 2.6 in 19.5 oz 240 n Feb 2014 799 i i
Canon G16« » 4.3 in 3.0 in 1.6 in 12.6 oz 360 n Aug 2013 549 i i
Canon G1 X« » 4.6 in 3.2 in 2.6 in 18.8 oz 250 n Jan 2012 799- i
Canon T1i« » 5.1 in 3.9 in 2.4 in 18.3 oz 400 n Mar 2009 799- i
Canon XSi« » 5.1 in 3.9 in 2.4 in 18.5 oz 500 n Jan 2008 799- i
Olympus E-M10 II« » 4.7 in 3.3 in 1.9 in 13.8 oz 320 n Aug 2015 799- i
Olympus E-M10« » 4.7 in 3.2 in 1.8 in 14.0 oz 320 n Jan 2014 699- i
Panasonic G7« » 4.9 in 3.4 in 3.0 in 14.5 oz 350 n May 2015 649- i
Panasonic FZ1000« » 5.4 in 3.9 in 5.2 in 29.3 oz 360 n Jun 2014 899- i
Panasonic GH4« » 5.2 in 3.7 in 3.3 in 19.8 oz 500 Y Feb 2014 1,499- i
Panasonic LX100« » 4.5 in 2.6 in 2.2 in 13.9 oz 300 n Sep 2014 899 i i
Panasonic G6« » 4.8 in 3.3 in 2.8 in 13.8 oz 340 n Apr 2013 599- i
Panasonic GM1« » 3.9 in 2.2 in 1.2 in 7.2 oz 230 n Oct 2013 749- i
Ricoh GR II« » 4.6 in 2.5 in 1.4 in 8.9 oz 320 n Jun 2015 699- i
Ricoh GR« » 4.6 in 2.4 in 1.4 in 8.6 oz 290 n Apr 2013 799- i

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

 

Sensor comparison: Panasonic GM5 vs Canon G1 X Mark II

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color depth than smaller pixel-units 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 Panasonic GM5 features a Four Thirds sensor and the Canon G1 X Mark II an 1.5-inch sensor. The sensor area in the G1X Mark II is 16 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 2.0 and 1.85. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3.

Panasonic GM5 and Canon G1 X Mark II sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the Panasonic GM5 offers a higher resolution of 15.8 megapixel, compared with 13 MP of the Canon G1 X Mark II. This megapixel advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 3.77μm versus 4.49μm for the G1X Mark II). However, it should be noted that the GM5 is a somewhat more recent model (by 7 months) than the G1X Mark II, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that partly offset its pixel-size disadvantage.

GM5 versus G1X Mark II MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for most 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 GM5 has a notably higher overall DXO score than the G1X Mark II (overall score 8 points higher), which gives it an advantage in terms of imaging quality. This advantage is based on 0.6 bits higher color depth, 0.9 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.3 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.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Panasonic GM5» Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60p22.111.772166
Canon G1 X Mark II« 1.5-inch 13.0 4160 31201080/30p21.510.858158
Canon G16« » 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60p21.011.723054
Canon G1 X« » 1.5-inch 14.2 4352 32641080/24p21.710.864460
Canon T1i« » APS-C 15.1 4752 31681080/20p21.711.566363
Canon XSi« » APS-C 12.2 4272 2848-21.910.869261
Olympus E-M10 II« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p23.112.584273
Olympus E-M10« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.812.388472
Panasonic G7« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34484K/30p----
Panasonic FZ1000« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.111.751764
Panasonic GH4« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34564K/30p23.212.879174
Panasonic LX100« » Four Thirds 12.7 4112 30884K/30p22.312.555367
Panasonic G6« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p21.311.563961
Panasonic GM1« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60i22.311.766066
Ricoh GR II« » APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.613.7107880
Ricoh GR« » APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.613.597278

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the GM5 provides a higher frame rate than the G1X Mark II. It can shoot video footage at 1080/60p, while the Canon is limited to 1080/30p.

 

Feature comparison: Panasonic GM5 vs Canon G1 X Mark II

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the GM5 has an electronic viewfinder (1166k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the G1X Mark II relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Panasonic GM5 and Canon G1 X Mark II in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras. If you need more detail on the specs, you can find comprehensive listings, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.

Core Features
  Camera Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec))
Build-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Panasonic GM5»1166 n 3.0 921 fixed Y 500 5.8 n n
Canon G1 X Mark II«- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 5.2 Y Y
Canon G16« »optical n 3.0 922 fixed n 4000 2.2 Y Y
Canon G1 X« »optical n 3.0 922 Swivel n 4000 1.9 Y Y
Canon T1i« »optical n 3.0 920 fixed n 4000 3.4 Y n
Canon XSi« »optical n 3.0 230 fixed n 4000 3.5 Y n
Olympus E-M10 II« »2360 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 8.0 Y Y
Olympus E-M10« »1440 n 3.0 1037 tilting Y 4000 8.0 Y Y
Panasonic G7« »2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 7.0 Y n
Panasonic FZ1000« »2359 n 3.0 921 swivel n 4000 12.0 Y Y
Panasonic GH4« »2359 n 3.0 1036 swivel Y 8000 12.0 Y n
Panasonic LX100« »2764 n 3.0 921 fixed n 4000 11.0 n Y
Panasonic G6« »1440 n 3.0 1036 swivel Y 4000 7.0 Y n
Panasonic GM1« »- n 3.0 1036 fixed Y 500 5.0 Y n
Ricoh GR II« »- n 3.0 1230 fixed n 4000 4.0 Y n
Ricoh GR« »- n 3.0 1230 fixed n 4000 4.0 Y n

The G1X Mark II is a current model that online retailers, such as amazon, will have in stock. In contrast, the GM5 has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the GM5 was succeeded by the ...

Review summary: Panasonic GM5 vs Canon G1 X Mark II

So what is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Panasonic GM5 and the Canon G1 X Mark II? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

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Advantages of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM5:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (15.8 vs 13MP) with a 10% higher linear resolution.
  • Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (8 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
  • More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (0.9 EV of extra DR).
  • Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/30p).
  • Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image framing and settings control.
  • More flexible: Accepts interchangeable lenses, so that lens characteristics can be altered.
  • More compact: Is smaller (99x60mm vs 116x74mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 7 months after the G1X Mark II).

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Reasons to prefer the Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark II:

  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 921k dots).
  • More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (4000/sec vs 500/sec) to freeze action.
  • Ready to shoot: Has an integrated lens, whereas the GM5 necessitates an extra lens.
  • Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
  • Sharper images: Has stabilization technology build-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in February 2014).

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the GM5 comes out slightly ahead of the G1X Mark II (8 : 7 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera.

GM5 08:07 G1X Mark II

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras is instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the GM5 or the G1X Mark II. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable. This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The table below summarizes the assessments of some of the best known camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). The detailed reviews can be accessed by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review scores
  Camera cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Panasonic GM5»Rec77/1005/55/54.5/5 Sep 2014 749- i
Canon G1 X Mark II«Rec77/1004/54/54.5/5 Feb 2014 799 i i
Canon G16« »Rec-4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Aug 2013 549 i i
Canon G1 X« »Rec76/1004/54/54.5/5 Jan 2012 799- i
Canon T1i« »HiRec74/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Mar 2009 799- i
Canon XSi« »HiRecHiRec4/55/54.5/5 Jan 2008 799- i
Olympus E-M10 II« »HiRec80/1005/55/55/5 Aug 2015 799- i
Olympus E-M10« »-80/1005/54.5/55/5 Jan 2014 699- i
Panasonic G7« »HiRec80/1005/54.5/54.5/5 May 2015 649- i
Panasonic FZ1000« »HiRec82/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2014 899- i
Panasonic GH4« »HiRec85/1005/55/55/5 Feb 2014 1,499- i
Panasonic LX100« »HiRec85/1005/54/55/5 Sep 2014 899 i i
Panasonic G6« »HiRec-5/5-4.5/5 Apr 2013 599- i
Panasonic GM1« »Rec78/1005/54.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 749- i
Ricoh GR II« »--4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2015 699- i
Ricoh GR« »-79/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Apr 2013 799- i

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. 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. An an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool. If you cannot find the camera you are interested in, kindly get in touch, and I will try to update the database with the necessary infos.

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