The question you’re left pondering upon first being presented with the LUMIX CM1’s design and specs list – with its giant 1″ 20-megapixel sensor and Leica lens – is whether Panasonic has created a devilishly thin digital camera with smartphone capabilities, or whether they’ve crammed a capable Android smartphone with astounding digital photography features? Whichever the case, the Panasonic Lumix CM1 unveiled at Photokina 2014 acknowledges and solidifies the convergence between categories.
Inside the retro-styled body a 1″ MOS sensor similar to those used inside Olympus and Leica’s Four Thirds System cameras is partnered with a manual focus ring 28mm f/2.8 Leica lens. This means the CM1 is capable of capturing 4K video and RAW video files. Despite the Lumix CM1’s camera body shape – complete with a textured synthetic leather back further selling its retro cred – the unit’s 21mm thickness means a viewfinder was an impossibility (for comparison, the Samsung Galaxy S5 is 8.1mm in thickness).
Instead, a 4.7-inch 1080p screen allows for framing and image review, while Android 4.4 KitKat handles all smartphone features, relying upon the 2.3GHz quad-core Snapdragon processor and 2GB of RAM for what should offer sufficiently snappy performance. The CM1 ships with only 16GB of onboard storage (and disappointingly only a modest 2,600mAh battery), but a microSD card slot means storage can be expanded with additional 128GB and switched out whenever needed.
With all good news comes some bad news: Panasonic plans to only release the Lumix CM1 initially in France and Germany in December for an estimated 900 euros (about $1,164), test markets before the possibility this very tempting design arrives stateside some time in 2015.