Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1 hands-on



It was back in September, when Panasonic officially announced the Lumix DMC-CM1 smartphone – camera hybrid. Yes, you read that right – we can't call the CM1 just a smartphone with a potent snapper, and anyone who lays their eyes on it would agree – the device is obviously meant for photo aficionados who barely get what they desire from their smartphone's camera, and looks to wow with a huge 1” lens, and a plethora of functions that can't be found on a handset.

The Lumix DMC-CM1 has been available in Europe for a while now and Panasonic is getting ready for a US launch, thus – the camera handset can be found at the ongoing CES 2015 expo. We got some time with the CM1 for a hands-on, so here's our first impressions with the device.

Design


The Lumix DMC-CM1 is styled very akin to an actual camera, rather than a smartphone, and feels even more so, due to the leather-like material wrapping around its body, the bulky lens, and the ring around it, which is a wink towards a lens focus ring, but is actually used to adjust the many settings within the camera app. Basically – the phone reminds us of Panasonic's DMC-GM series of mirrorless cameras.

Aside from the faux leather in the middle, the CM1 has plastic sides, made to look like brushed aluminum-like material, which feel nice in the hand. It has 4 physical buttons – power, volume rocker, camera On switch, and an enlarged shutter key, all placed along its right side (if we still consider the display to be the device's “front”).

Display


The Lumix CM1's sports a 4.7” display with a FHD (1080 x 1920) resolution, resulting in the crisp pixel density of 469 PPI. For our limited time with the device, we found the screen to have nice, natural colors, and good viewing angles.

Interface


Panasonic ships the CM1 with Android 4.4 KitKat on board, and it appears the company didn't want to do anything crazy with it, as we were greeted by a purely vanilla Android menu. Of course, the camera app is vastly different, as it has to make full use of the handset's camera sensor, and add plenty of options for the target users – namely – hardcore photography fans, who will demand a large amount of options and customizability.

Processor and Memory


The DMC-CM1 lags behind a bit in hardware, as it sports the quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801, clocked at 2.3 GHz and coupled with 2 GB of RAM. The SoC is still a performer, and considering the fact that Panasonic chose not to bog down Android with custom skinning, or a bucket of features, it performs snappy and smooth.

Now, unfortunately, Panasonic equipped the CM1 with only 16 GB of internal memory, which we find to be way too low, considering what the device is meant for. Yes, it is expandable via micro SD up to 128 GB, but still – there's nothing like internal storage.

Camera


The CM1 offers the most potent camera on any smartphone – a large 1” Leica lens, with an adjustable aperture of F2.8 – F11.0, and a 20 MP resolution MOS sensor promise a lot of detailed shots and the camera app makes full use of the opportunities the hardware provides. The lens ring is used as an adjustment tool for whatever setting you have selected in the app – shutter speed, ISO (goes from 100 to 25,600), focus, and others. The snapper can capture images in RAW format, for those who like to post-process their pictures and need the most detail available to do so, and is capable of recording 4K video.

Expectations


We were going to call the Lumix DMC-CM1 a Lumia 1520, or Galaxy K Zoom alternative, however, its price-tag places it (or at least – should place it) in an entirely different category. Namely – the device will cost around $1,000 which is definitely way more than anyone would be willing to shell out for a 32-bit KitKat handset these days. Therefore – the Lumix's camera should really, and we mean – really deliver, if it is to succeed at what it's trying to accomplish – to be the handset of choice for photography amateurs, hobbyists, and hey – maybe even professionals.



Related phones

Lumix CM1
  • Display 4.7" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 20 MP / 1.1 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 801, Quad-core, 2300 MHz
  • Battery 2600 mAh

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19 Comments

1. juandante

Posts: 679; Member since: Apr 23, 2013

Now Kodak is in the game, I am waiting to see more and more competition in the smartcamera niche, as for now the only thing missing for me in a smartphone is a monster camera and better Audio DAC/Mics (for recording videos/conferences, and also to listen high quality music), lets not forget Nokia which was RIPed by Micro$money, but will be back in one year, and RIP-back Micro$money with their 3% share Failing Platform.

4. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

Lets not forget that even in a pure android phone discussion you still cannot forget about MS. Which i find more funny than anything, if anything you are their biggest marketing person, after all they did take 3rd place after apple and sammy this christmas... On a side note for the actual article. The price... Dear lord wth. For that price...just dont know. Should have sprung for a higher mp count or something, or more internal ram. 16gb is indeed low.

15. CanYouSeeTheLight

Posts: 1122; Member since: Jul 05, 2012

Nokia has had extremely better mics than the competition for years now, their HAAC microphones are truly something else.. I've enjoyed them so much on my M7 (HTC managed to snag some to use on the M7 but got sued for it and had to change the microphones on later units)

2. Kruze

Posts: 1285; Member since: Dec 30, 2014

This cameraphone is awesome, too bad it's only available in Europe right now. Hope Kodak will release something similar like this in the near future.

3. Desmortibus

Posts: 66; Member since: Apr 04, 2014

I have got this wonderful cameraphone in France two months ago and it is the most extraordinary piece of technology in the world. That camera is simply outstanding, most especially in low light situations !!!! I highly recommend the Lumix CM1....

5. Symon_Fleece

Posts: 351; Member since: May 30, 2014

Good phone but doesn't have xenon flash :(

6. Like-A-Sir

Posts: 67; Member since: Jan 08, 2015

true.

7. Desmortibus

Posts: 66; Member since: Apr 04, 2014

It's because you do NOT even need a flash... Trust me, I have NEVER used the flash even in the darkest scene conditions....

8. rsiders

Posts: 1988; Member since: Nov 17, 2011

That's probably because you've never tried to freeze movement during a night shot. Using the Lumia 1020 especially taking pics of the kids moving around without enough light to boost up the shutter speed, you absolutely need it.

12. sprockkets

Posts: 1612; Member since: Jan 16, 2012

Well it does have a flash doesn't it? I'm not going to say it is better but we are moving in the auto industry from Xenon to LED headlamps, and even on the lame Corolla they are very bright. LEDs probably will make it obsolete here too.

13. CanYouSeeTheLight

Posts: 1122; Member since: Jul 05, 2012

Comparing car headlights to camera flashes? Because they totally have the same room on a phone that they have on a headlight.....

16. sprockkets

Posts: 1612; Member since: Jan 16, 2012

The light aperture on the corolla isnt that big. Again, LED flashes keep getting brighter each generation.

10. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

Uhhh....no. I don't use flash half the time during night shots either. However. If anything freaking moves during a .5sec shot, there will be blurr. Also higher ISO isn't always without noise. Even on dslr's. When you can freeze a high speed moving fan, in pure darkness, with 200iso, xenon has proved its worth. Anyone thinking no flash is needed at night, is kidding themselves if there is any movement.

9. rsiders

Posts: 1988; Member since: Nov 17, 2011

If the quality is only slightly better than the Lumia 1020(owned one formerly) or Galaxy Zoom phones(I've never used one), the price will be one of the biggest drawbacks. I'm very curious to see what it will produce but I can buy two 1020s and a tablet for less than this.

11. duartix

Posts: 311; Member since: Apr 01, 2014

WTF? Hello, PA? What year is this? 2020??? "The DMC-CM1 lags behind a bit in hardware, as it sports the quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801, clocked at 2.3 GHz and coupled with 2 GB of RAM" The phone was announced about 2 months ago. S801 slow? I'm begining to wonder if you really tried it... And: "Yes, it is expandable via micro SD up to 128 GB, but still – there's nothing like internal storage." WHAT??? If you indeed were "considering what the device is meant for" you would know that there are MicroSD cards that are 10x faster (and about 2x cheaper) than what is needed to record 4K (typically @ 100Mbps) So, I dare you to gives a use case where you need more than 95MB/s speed. And please don't answer RAW VIDEO because you'll ridicularize yourself even more. Please focus on this product's use, and just bash it for the price or for the lack of a xenon flash, not for your ridiculous expectations.

14. CanYouSeeTheLight

Posts: 1122; Member since: Jul 05, 2012

I can imagine the surprise PhoneArena's staff would have when they find out that cameras that are meant for the same purpose as this have no internal memory. What a lame point PhoneArena...

17. milkboy54

Posts: 39; Member since: Oct 04, 2014

This is an interesting phone

18. PhotoPixel

Posts: 32; Member since: Feb 11, 2014

Guys PLS we want see camera test between Panasonic vs Nokia 808 and Xperia Z3!

19. milkboy54

Posts: 39; Member since: Oct 04, 2014

make it thinner and much cheaper

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