Panasonic GM5 vs Ricoh GR II
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM5 and the Ricoh GR II are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in September 2014 and June 2015. The GM5 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the GR II is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on a Four Thirds (GM5) and an APS-C (GR II) sensor. The Panasonic has a resolution of 15.8 megapixels, whereas the Ricoh provides 16.1 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 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM5 and the Ricoh GR II? 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 physical size and weight of the Panasonic GM5 and the Ricoh GR II are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The GM5 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the GR II is only available in black.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Ricoh GR II is notably larger (24 percent) than the Panasonic GM5. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the GM5 nor the GR II are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the GR II has a lens built 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 compare the optics available 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 GR II can take 320 images on a single charge of its DB65 power pack. The power pack in the GR II can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.
|1.||Panasonic GM5||99 mm||60 mm||36 mm||211 g||220||n||Sep 2014||749|
|2.||Ricoh GR II||117 mm||63 mm||35 mm||251 g||320||n||Jun 2015||699|
|3.||Canon G7 X||103 mm||60 mm||40 mm||304 g||210||n||Sep 2014||699|
|4.||Olympus E-M10 II||120 mm||83 mm||47 mm||390 g||320||n||Aug 2015||649|
|5.||Olympus E-M10||119 mm||82 mm||46 mm||396 g||320||n||Jan 2014||699|
|6.||Panasonic G7||125 mm||86 mm||77 mm||410 g||350||n||May 2015||649|
|7.||Panasonic FZ1000||137 mm||99 mm||131 mm||831 g||360||n||Jun 2014||899|
|8.||Panasonic G6||122 mm||85 mm||71 mm||390 g||340||n||Apr 2013||599|
|9.||Panasonic GM1||99 mm||55 mm||30 mm||204 g||230||n||Oct 2013||749|
|10.||Panasonic GX1||116 mm||68 mm||39 mm||318 g||320||n||Nov 2011||699|
|11.||Panasonic GH2||124 mm||90 mm||76 mm||442 g||330||n||Sep 2010||899|
|12.||Ricoh GR||117 mm||61 mm||35 mm||245 g||290||n||Apr 2013||799|
|13.||Sony RX100 IV||102 mm||58 mm||41 mm||298 g||280||n||Jun 2015||999|
|14.||Sony RX100 III||102 mm||58 mm||41 mm||290 g||320||n||May 2014||799|
|Notes: 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 GR II was launched at a lower price than the GM5, despite having a lens built in. 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.
The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and 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 associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Panasonic GM5 features a Four Thirds sensor and the Ricoh GR II an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the GR II is 64 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 2.0 and 1.5. The sensor in the GM5 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the GR II offers a 3:2 aspect.
With 16.1MP, the GR II offers a higher resolution than the GM5 (15.8MP), but the GR II nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.79μm versus 3.77μm for the GM5) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the GR II is a somewhat more recent model (by 9 months) than the GM5, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the GR II has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM5 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 200 to ISO 25600, which can be extended to ISO 100-25600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Ricoh GR II are ISO 100 to ISO 25600 (no boost).
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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 consideration, the GR II offers substantially better image quality than the GM5 (overall score 14 points higher). The advantage is based on 1.5 bits higher color depth, 2 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.6 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
|1.||Panasonic GM5||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60p||22.1||11.7||721||66|
|2.||Ricoh GR II||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/30p||23.6||13.7||1078||80|
|3.||Canon G7 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||23.0||12.7||556||71|
|4.||Olympus E-M10 II||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||23.1||12.5||842||73|
|5.||Olympus E-M10||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.8||12.3||884||72|
|6.||Panasonic G7||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||4K/30p||22.8||12.4||904||71|
|8.||Panasonic G6||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||21.3||11.5||639||61|
|9.||Panasonic GM1||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60i||22.3||11.7||660||66|
|10.||Panasonic GX1||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60p||20.8||10.6||703||55|
|11.||Panasonic GH2||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60i||21.2||11.3||655||60|
|13.||Sony RX100 IV||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.8||12.6||591||70|
|14.||Sony RX100 III||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.4||12.3||495||67|
|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 also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the GM5 provides a higher frame rate than the GR II. It can shoot video footage at 1080/60p, while the Ricoh is limited to 1080/30p.
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 GR II relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the GR II can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the GV-1. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Panasonic GM5, the Ricoh GR II, and comparable cameras.
|1.||Panasonic GM5||1166||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||Y||1/500s||5.8||n||n|
|2.||Ricoh GR II||optional||n||3.0 / 1230||fixed||n||1/4000s||4.0||Y||n|
|3.||Canon G7 X||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||6.5||Y||Y|
|4.||Olympus E-M10 II||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0||Y||Y|
|5.||Olympus E-M10||1440||n||3.0 / 1037||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0||Y||Y|
|6.||Panasonic G7||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||7.0||Y||n|
|7.||Panasonic FZ1000||2359||n||3.0 / 921||swivel||n||1/4000s||12.0||Y||Y|
|8.||Panasonic G6||1440||n||3.0 / 1036||swivel||Y||1/4000s||7.0||Y||n|
|9.||Panasonic GM1||none||n||3.0 / 1036||fixed||Y||1/500s||5.0||Y||n|
|10.||Panasonic GX1||optional||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||Y||1/4000s||4.2||Y||n|
|11.||Panasonic GH2||1534||n||3.0 / 460||swivel||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|12.||Ricoh GR||optional||n||3.0 / 1230||fixed||n||1/4000s||4.0||Y||n|
|13.||Sony RX100 IV||2359||n||3.0 / 1228||tilting||n||1/2000s||16.0||Y||Y|
|14.||Sony RX100 III||1440||n||3.0 / 1229||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y|
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The GM5 has a touchscreen, while the GR II has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.
The reported shutter speed information refers to the use of the mechanical shutter. Yet, some cameras only have an electronic shutter, while others have an electronic shutter in addition to a mechanical one. In fact, the GM5 is one of those camera that have an additional electronic shutter, which makes completely silent shooting possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (risk of rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (risk of flickering).
The Panasonic GM5 and the Ricoh GR II both have an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the GM5 and the GR II write their files to SDXC cards. Both cameras can use UHS-I cards, which provide for Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s.
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 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM5 and Ricoh GR II and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Panasonic GM5||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|2.||Ricoh GR II||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|3.||Canon G7 X||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|4.||Olympus E-M10 II||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|5.||Olympus E-M10||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|6.||Panasonic G7||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|7.||Panasonic FZ1000||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|8.||Panasonic G6||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|9.||Panasonic GM1||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|10.||Panasonic GX1||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Panasonic GH2||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Ricoh GR||Y||mono / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Sony RX100 IV||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|14.||Sony RX100 III||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
The GR II is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Ricoh. In contrast, the GM5 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). There has not been a direct replacement model for the GM5 from Panasonic. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Panasonic and Ricoh websites.
So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Panasonic GM5 or the Ricoh GR II – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Reasons to prefer the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM5:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/30p).
- Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5.8 vs 4 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
- More flexible: Accepts interchangeable lenses, so that lens characteristics can be altered.
- More compact: Is smaller (99x60mm vs 117x63mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in September 2014).
Arguments in favor of the Ricoh GR II:
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (14 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (1.5 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (2 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (0.6 stops ISO advantage).
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1230k vs 921k dots).
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/500s) to freeze action.
- Ready to shoot: Has an integrated lens, whereas the GM5 necessitates an extra lens.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (320 versus 220) out of a single battery charge.
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More modern: Was introduced somewhat (9 months) more recently.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the GR II is the clear winner of the contest (14 : 9 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera. 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 Panasonic GM5 and the Ricoh GR II place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera and Best Prime Lens Compact Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the GM5 or the GR II perform in practice. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.
This is where reviews by experts come in. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear 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.||Panasonic GM5||3.5/5||+||..||77/100||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||749|
|2.||Ricoh GR II||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2015||699|
|3.||Canon G7 X||4/5||+ +||..||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||699|
|4.||Olympus E-M10 II||4.5/5||+ +||..||80/100||5/5||5/5||Aug 2015||649|
|5.||Olympus E-M10||4/5||..||..||80/100||5/5||5/5||Jan 2014||699|
|6.||Panasonic G7||4/5||+ +||..||80/100||5/5||4.5/5||May 2015||649|
|7.||Panasonic FZ1000||4/5||+ +||..||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2014||899|
|8.||Panasonic G6||4/5||+ +||..||..||5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2013||599|
|9.||Panasonic GM1||3/5||+||..||78/100||5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2013||749|
|10.||Panasonic GX1||3/5||+||..||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Nov 2011||699|
|11.||Panasonic GH2||5/5||+ +||..||79/100||4.5/5||5/5||Sep 2010||899|
|12.||Ricoh GR||5/5||..||..||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2013||799|
|13.||Sony RX100 IV||4.5/5||+ +||..||85/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jun 2015||999|
|14.||Sony RX100 III||5/5||+ +||..||82/100||4.5/5||5/5||May 2014||799|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
- Canon 450D vs Ricoh GR II
- Canon 6D vs Ricoh GR II
- Leica M-E Typ 240 vs Panasonic GM5
- Leica V-LUX Typ 114 vs Panasonic GM5
- Nikon D2Xs vs Ricoh GR II
- Nikon D3300 vs Panasonic GM5
- Nikon D90 vs Ricoh GR II
- Olympus E-PL9 vs Ricoh GR II
- Panasonic GF3 vs Panasonic GM5
- Panasonic GF6 vs Ricoh GR II
- Panasonic GF7 vs Panasonic GM5
- Panasonic GM5 vs Pentax K-5
Specifications: Panasonic GM5 vs Ricoh GR II
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||Panasonic GM5||Ricoh GR II|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||Micro Four Thirds lenses||28mm f/2.8|
|Launch Date||September 2014||June 2015|
|Launch Price||USD 749||USD 699|
|Sensor Specs||Panasonic GM5||Ricoh GR II|
|Sensor Format||Four Thirds Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||17.3 x 13.0 mm||23.7 x 15.6 mm|
|Sensor Area||224.9 mm2||369.72 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||21.6 mm||28.4 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||15.8 Megapixels||16.1 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4592 x 3448 pixels||4928 x 3264 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||3.77 μm||4.79 μm|
|Pixel Density||7.04 MP/cm2||4.35 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60p Video||1080/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||200 - 25,600 ISO||100 - 25,600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 25,600 ISO||no Enhancement|
|Image Processor||Venus||GR Engine V|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||66||80|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||22.1||23.6|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.7||13.7|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||721||1078|
|Screen Specs||Panasonic GM5||Ricoh GR II|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Viewfinder optional|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||1166k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||921k dots||1230k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Touch Input||Touchscreen||no Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Panasonic GM5||Ricoh GR II|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||no Peaking Feature|
|Continuous Shooting||5.8 shutter flaps/s||4 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||up to 1/16000s||no E-Shutter|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||Intervalometer built-in|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Panasonic GM5||Ricoh GR II|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||no NFC||NFC built-in|
|Body Specs||Panasonic GM5||Ricoh GR II|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||220 shots per charge||320 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||no USB charging||USB charging|
99 x 60 x 36 mm
(3.9 x 2.4 x 1.4 in)
117 x 63 x 35 mm
(4.6 x 2.5 x 1.4 in)
|Camera Weight||211 g (7.4 oz)||251 g (8.9 oz)|
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