The Lumix DMC-CM1 4K Smart Camera Gets First Review

The Photokina trade show this year offered a few surprises such as the first 4K camera from Samsung – the NX1, and the Panasonic 4K smart phone, or smart camera if you’d rather call it – the Lumix DMC-CM1. Now, it may not be the first camera phone to feature a 4K video capture option, but the design, lens, and presentation certainly caught the attention of many. Sporting a fantastic Leica Elmarit f/2.8 lens, the Lumix DMC-CM1 seems more like a spy gadget out of a Bond film, than a smart device.

4K CM1 Panasonic 4K Shooters

We’re not quote sure exactly what it is, but here are some specs:

Lumix DMC-CM1 Features

  • 20MP 1-inch sensor
  • 4K Video
  • 28mm equivalent f/2.8 Leica Elmarit lens
  • 4.7-inch 1080p LCD
  • Qualcomm 2.3GHz Processor
  • 2GB RAM
  • 16GB internal storage
  • microSD expandable up to 128GB
  • Android 4.4 KitKat

And now, the Lumix DMC-CM1 4K device gets it’s first review by Pier-Yves Menkhoff. Check out the 4K footage he shot with the CM1 below.

Here’s what he had to say about his experience with the Panasonic CM1:

Does the DMC-CM1 is a camera with a smartphone function or a smartphone with a dual Photo & Film function ? Panasonic prefers the first option. So do I…
Our smartphone costs 900 € in France. Is it expensive ? We can think it. It is not in comparison with an iPhone. It becomes in front of a Panasonic DMC-GM5, DMC-L-X100, etc. complemented by a Smartphone like the Nokia Lumia 525. Anyway !!!

With this review, we will not cover here Smartphone appearance but rather the photo and film aspects. However, it is nice to precise that the DMC-CM1 is compatible with 3G, 4G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, etc. and compatible with any operator.

The DMC-CM1 is far from the iPhone universe. The appearance is almost “rustic”. It remains in the Panasonic philosophy. It impresses with its all round 200 grams for a size of 134 mm x 15.2 x 25.1 mm. The sensor is a MOS 1 inch with a resolution of 20 million pixels. Identical to the one of the Lumix FZ1000. About the lens, Panasonic continues its collaboration with Leica. It offers a focal length of 28mm with an aperture between F/2.8 and F/11. No optical zoom? Only a digital zoom 2 X. The processor is a Venus Engine type.

Those who already own a Panasonic camcorder or camera will not be disoriented. The menu is similar, in outline, to the one of the DMC-GM1, GH3, GH4, etc. Many modes are available : P, S, A, M, Scenes, and of course two automatic modes iA and iA+ called “Intelligent”. From the menu, we will find the AF/AE, Focus Peaking, Histogram, etc. modes. The Silent mode has not been forgotten.

The handling is nice. It is very “Photo” in contrast to the one proposed by Samsung, Apple, LG, etc. smartphone. We take a photo. We do not play. The DMC-CM1 offers the RAW format for the most discerning.

About Video, it is Bizance. The user has the choice between Full HD (1920 x 1080) 30p or 4K Ultra (2840 x 2160) 15p. The back of the DMC-CM1 is equipped with a 4.7-inch LCD touch screen.  For the storage, you have the choice between the embedded 16 GB or the SD or SDXC memory card within the limit of 128 GB.
The power has been entrusted to a 2600 mAh battery. In use, it is enough for a day in photo mode. It is not the same for the production of video. This is relativized by the time battery charge. Very fast.

Filming is less easy than taking a picture. The shutter is not “mixed” as with the GM1, GM5, GH4, etc. You have to press the “Record” function on the back screen. This forces to prevent shooting then restore its horizontality. Evidence that the DMC-CM1 is dedicated to the image, Panasonic has planned numerous accessories including a tripod adapter, a fisheye, a telephoto, a wide angle and a macro. We appreciate. However, experience shows that Panasonic accessories are not always easy to find in stores.

After two hours of shooting at the Louis Vuitton Foundation, this is the time of editing. The files are encapsulated MP4 only. There are some aliasings. But nothing insurmountable. The final image is appealing. It is quite close to the one I have compared with the DMC-GM1.

In the past, we’ve covered some other smart phones capable of incredible video performance (all things considered) which can even be used for professional work, such as the iPhone 6, and even a shoot-out between a smart phone and vs. a full blown full-frame DSLR!

It will be quite interesting the see how the compact 4K “pocket GH4” – the Lumix LX-100 compares to the 4K capable CM1. Both devices costs about the same, the LX-100 runs about $900 (okay, it’s a bit less expensive than the 900 Euro CM1) however regardless of the results of such hypothetical test, one thing is certain, the Lumix CM1 is a niche device for those who want to have a very capable and slick 4K device, which can also make phone calls, that fits in their pocket.


Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate partner and participant in B&H and Adorama Affiliate programmes, we earn a small comission from each purchase made through the affiliate links listed above at no additional cost to you.

Claim your copy of DAVINCI RESOLVE - SIMPLIFIED COURSE with 50% off! Get Instant Access!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.