Test: Panasonic CM1, a Good Smartphone and a Good Camera

Its large sensor makes the best camera phone of the moment the cm1. But he is not yet at the level of the compact experts.

Test: Panasonic CM1, a Good Smartphone and a Good Camera

Panasonic lumix dmc – cm1: The promise

Unveiled at the photokina and presented at the end of october french press, panasonic cm1 is a nice ufo, a fantasy as he tries to bring together the best of smartphones top of range with the best of the compact experts. Successful merger or technical mirage? The answer in the test!

Panasonic lumix dmc – cm1: Reality

The choice of the color code of the device, bordered black leatherette of money, leaves no doubt as to the premium of the unit positioning. A bit recalling the galaxy note 3 by touch, the Panasonic CM1 is a beautiful camera and smartphone. But it is a notch below the iphone 6/6 + and the htc one m8, while metal and glass of their state. Even the most beautiful of plastics cannot match these materials. But panasonic has well-kept partition and this use of plastic offers a great advantage: A weight under control as the unit integrates a large 1 inch cmos sensor and a hinged optical. If panasonic had made use of glass and metal, the cm1 was much heavier and we would have complained. The choice of the japanese was so wise from the technical point of view, but when the goal is luxury, it should try to go all the way.

Thick, but not too much

Panasonic has managed to contain the thickness of its smartphone, but nonetheless, optics and its control around the optical wheel thicken the animal in a significant way. It is this thick which was however allowed the manufacturer to integrate a 28 mm f/2.8 – there is something for nothing! Once in hand the device is however much less bulky than any large sensor compact. Suffice to say that in the end saves lot of space compared to the smartphone combo + compact.

Autonomy of good quality

With 9:13 in communication, 9:03 in surfing 3g and 9 h 17 video playback, the lumix cm1 don’t you fall easily. In the middle top of the high-end smartphones, it offers a good autonomy considering that it integrates components photo more high-end than the competition. Its large 1 inch sensor consumes much more energy than smaller traditional photo sensor; same thing for its from venus engine imaging processor of the camera division that handles the raw mode and 4k video.

Photo: Champion of smartphones and app

As a smartphone, the cm1 wins hands down the prize for the best image quality. Matching a large sensor and a 28 mm f/2.8 lens allows it to offer snapshots of very high quality with good details competition – finally, it depends on the scenes as discussed below. He swished not up to iso 800, still good enough at iso 1600 and its raw files are usable at iso 3200. The colour rendering is not as natural as those of apple or nokia, but the raw mode offers a latitude unprecedented on smartphone. Compared to a nokia 1020 with 41 mpix, optics of the cm1 done a better job at full definition and the shots are more stung on the cm1.

Special mentions for the photographic, really well thought out application. Outcome of the know-how acquired by pana in the field of photography for almost fifteen years, this app is a pleasure to use for photographers who know a little, while beginners will have no trouble letting her fly shooting.

Limited 4k mode

Able to shoot full hd video, the cm1 manages also the 4 k. But in practice, with a rate of only 15 frames per second, this mode is more suited to slow plans, like a small video timelapse as a true action shooting. Too bad, but the technique is not yet ready, the components heating priori too when this rate is pushed to 30 frames per second.

Fortunately the classic mode full hd is powerful: You can climb up to 30 frames per second and the quality of encoding is very good even if you lose a bit of wide-angle. However, we would appreciate an update to modes at 50 or 60 frames per second, more suited to the action scenes.

Rise in iso: Better than a smartphone, less well than a compact expert

Surprisingly enough, 1 inch from 20 mpix sensor found in other devices from sony and panasonic (as the fz1000) does not have the same results in low lights. While this sensor delivers shots perfectly clean at iso 1600 with a rx100 mark iii and another pana fz1000, the jpeg of the cm1 limit is rather to iso 800. Beyond we prefer going through the digital negative, famous raw mode. No doubt the optical compromises and/or smartphones components are at the origin of this difference, but in any event the cm1 is a notch below the compact current experts. That we are reassured, is already a classic or two notches above of compact cameras and smartphones.

Analysis at 100% there are however the image processing algorithms are coarser than those of compact traditional experts. The smartphone is a device that is easy to update, it would be a good idea that panasonic is looking at this point in order to fix the best optics to ultimately improve the way software micro-contrastes.

At ease in the cropping

With such a definition, the cm1 facilitates the cropping, it’s the least we can say! In addition, its pixels are wider than those of the classic smartphones and benefit so more light. This allows it to offer more details and a better dynamic range – the ability to capture both details in shadows and highlights, the dynamic range. In a scene with a strong light, the quality gain is very clearly visible compared to an iphone, which destroyed details faster.

But this performance supplement does not have the same importance in all situations. In the compositions of several plans, bright optics and the large sensor allow, to some extent, to isolate a subject of mass a little. But in the case of a landscape, where plans are in the distance, only a 100% analysis gives him the advantage. A slightly less wide lens would allow him to better mark technical supremacy as we shall see.

28 mm: A questionable choice

At the intersection of technology and art, photography is a highly subjective topic. Such photographer like zooms, another fixed focal lengths, one wants to discrete devices, the other looks for large resistant housings, etc. The sum of these profiles and needs different induced inability to achieve a device perfect. This gives integrated, move on to the chosen focal length: 28 mm, either a wide angle. The problem with this choice of focal length, is that if she very adapted to the general public, a public expert would probably prefer a 35 mm a little tighter, and for different reasons. Firstly it deforms less while remaining wide. Then, it is one of the focal lengths queens of the report with the 50 mm. Finally, more a focal length is long and it allows to separate plans and create of beautiful impossible with a wide angle blurred backgrounds. So, if this 28 mm will suit the public in the manner of the iphone, a little more expert looking for a lens photographers fixed and a large sensor – as some fujifilm x100t in short! -could turn away from. Now it seems that the expert photographers seemed to be the target, no?