Panasonic Lumix CM1 review: Photographers, say hello to your next phone

editor’s Note: Updated with US availability.

Photographer, say hello to your next phone.

It is called the Panasonic Lumix CM1 and is considered a high-quality compact camera with a top-end phone squash. Its metal and leather-effect rubber body features a massive 1-inch sensor that delivers 20-megapixel photos, shoots in JPEG and raw, and provides full manual control of settings.

Panasonic does not officially consider it a phone, instead calling it a “communication camera”. I can see why – from the design of the thing to the wealth of its photography features, it is definitely a far more camera than phone. It works just like any other Android phone and supports 4G LTE for super-fast data speeds.

It has a 4.7-inch full HD (1,920×1,080-pixel) display, 2.3GHz quad-core processor and runs Android 4.4.4 KitKat software.

This is a powerful lineup of kits as a whole, so it’s probably no surprise that it comes with an attractive price tag.

It is now available in the UK for £ ७ ९९, although in very limited quantities. You can find it in Dixon, Harrods and Heathrow as well as Jessaps on Oxford Street in London – with only one left at the time of writing. The availability of specialty retailers and further in the UK or wider world is yet unknown. By mid-June, it began shipping in the US for $ 1,000. In Australia, the UK price will change to around AU $ 1,500.

With such a high price, it is easy to argue that it only makes more sense to use a regular Android phone and simply carry a better camera when you want to take the proper photos. In fact, for most of you, this would definitely be a better option. However, as I do, you almost always want to get away from yourself as you’re going about your life, but don’t always want to have extra camera equipment, the CM1 is a very welcome addition to your pocket. Will happen.

Panasonic CM1 as a camera

At the center of the CM1’s imaging prowess is a 1-inch image sensor, which is physically much larger than the sensor found in any other camera phone. By comparison, the iPhone 6 has a 1/3-inch sensor and even photography-focused. is Nokia Lumia 1020 There is a small 1 / 1.5-inch sensor. Sony’s stunning RX100 The compact camera also has a 1-inch sensor.

The larger the sensor, the more light it can take, resulting in greater clarity in shots and better performance in low light. This is why most smartphones, usually those with small sensors, will struggle to take good shots of your food in low-light restaurants. The CM1 sensor has 20 megapixels and uses Panasonic’s Venus image engine, which promises good noise reduction, clarity, and contrast.

The lens has the name Leica, which is reassuring. This is actually a Leica DC Elmarit lens (which you will find in other compact cameras), instead the ultra high-quality glass Leica puts in its own elite cameras, although you can expect it to be higher than the other Will be of quality. Camera phone lens. It has a focal length of 28 mm, which is not a particularly wide angle, so you’ll have to move around a bit while squeezing all your friends into the shot. It has a fast selectable aperture from f / 2.8 to f / 11.

Of course, such numbers make no sense if the resulting images look terrible. Thankfully though, this is certainly not the case with the Lumix CM1.

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Panasonic Lumix CM1 camera test, unedited (click image to view full size)

Andrew Hoyle / ClearTips

On this previously unedited shot of interesting looking fungi on a tree, there is a ton of detail and the f.2.8 aperture gave a gorgeous shallow depth of field. It is very well exposed between both the shiny icy backdrop and the dark tree bark.

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Panasonic Lumix CM1 camera test, unedited (click image to view full size)

Andrew Hoyle / ClearTips

Likewise, there is a pretty overall performance on this shot of my lamb lunch (it was delicious, by the way). On full screen, there are a lot of details to see, which means that there is a lot of scope to crop into the image if you want.

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Panasonic Lumix CM1 camera test, unedited (click image to view full size)

Andrew Hoyle / ClearTips

The clarity on the edges of these Holi leaves is very good and the shallow depth of field helps them to really stand out from the scene. The leaves themselves are a bit darker, though – the camera is more exposed to the bright background.

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Panasonic Lumix CM1 camera test, edit (click image to view full size)

Andrew Hoyle / ClearTips

The image was shot in raw, so there is plenty of room to lift shadows without reducing any quality, as you can see in this edited version.

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Panasonic Lumix CM1 camera test, unedited (click image to view full size)

Andrew Hoyle / ClearTips

You can see similar risk issues on this shot of my dog. The icy backdrop and sky were so bright that it fooled the camera for the entire scene, throwing the dog and the wall into the dark shadows. Capturing it for the camera is a very challenging scene.

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Panasonic Lumix CM1 camera test, edit (click image to view full size)

Andrew Hoyle / ClearTips

Like Holly, Lightroom has a lot of detail in the bright sky and shadows to bring under control for me, resulting in a much more impressive shot overall.

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Panasonic Lumix CM1 camera test, unedited (click image to view full size)

Andrew Hoyle / ClearTips

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Panasonic Lumix CM1 camera test, edit (click image to view full size)

Andrew Hoyle / ClearTips

Backlit by a bright window, before and after editing the shots of this wine bottle, shows how much information can easily be saved from CM1’s raw files without degrading the quality of the image.

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Panasonic Lumix CM1 camera test, unedited (click image to view full size)

Andrew Hoyle / ClearTips

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Panasonic Lumix CM1 camera test, edit (click image to view full size)

Andrew Hoyle / ClearTips

The top shot of this icy path looked great with no processing, even a similar exposure and attractive blue and orange sky. The edited version below really stands out, with a touch of shadow-lifting and white balance tweaking.

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Panasonic Lumix CM1 camera test, unedited (click image to view full size)

Andrew Hoyle / ClearTips

The CM1 has done a great job in highlighting the bright ice and black markings, resulting in a nice looking scene without any editing.

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Panasonic Lumix CM1 camera test, unedited (click image to view full size)

Andrew Hoyle / ClearTips

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Panasonic Lumix CM1 camera test, edit (click image to view full size)

Andrew Hoyle / ClearTips

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Panasonic Lumix CM1 camera test, unedited (click image to view full size)

Andrew Hoyle / ClearTips

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Panasonic Lumix CM1 camera test, edit (click image to view full size)

Andrew Hoyle / ClearTips

These evening landscape scenes have unfolded very well and require only minor editing to shine through.

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Panasonic Lumix CM1 camera test, unedited (click image to view full size)

Andrew Hoyle / ClearTips

In low light, the CM1 was still able to capture a satisfyingly sharp shot of my cat, with minimal image noise. Shooting in low light auto mode usually allows the camera to select a lower shutter speed, meaning that shaking or moving your subject will blur the shot (something for me when taking pictures of animals).

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Panasonic Lumix CM1 camera test, unedited (click image to view full size)

Andrew Hoyle / ClearTips

My Canon camera upside down on the pub table in low light also turned out great. The buttons have crisp details and an overall lack of image noise.

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