The Panasonic Lumix DM-CM1 has a serious issue that needs fixing (Updated)

Update: there has been a firmware update since april 13 (!) I wasn't aware of. In case you have a Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1 yourself, you can download it here (please read instructions first)

It's a small update - no Lollipop yet, although that has been promised for this month. This update:
- Added the tilt sensor adjustment setting.
- Performance and functional improvements and bug fixes.

I didn't have time to test if the .JPG improved in Manual has improved, will check very soon however. I can't understand why Panasonic doesn't send those who have registered at their site any information about software updates of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1. PS I just noticed the sw update had stopped for some reason - so after making dozens of shots, I discovered I was still working with the old software. To be continued :-/

Update 2: I just learned the update to Lollipop is expected by the end of this month or beginning of June.


In this post you'll see what I recently discovered in the results of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1. Considering the way I work with the device, it's quite a serious issue: the .JPG compression appears to be a lot worse when you use the Manual settings of the device.

In post like the previous ones (the reactions especially) you may have read I still prefer to work with the .JPG output of the devices I compare. Using the possibility to work with raw .DNG not only takes a lot more time, you'd have to spend money on (expensive) software like Adobe's PhotoShop or Lightroom and I do think a it will always be "unfair" to compare an original .JPG with one created with post-processed RAW output  

I do like to work with the Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1 on "Manual" because of all the extra settings the menu offers you. Yesterday in a garden, just for fun I tried the iA+ (intelligent Auto +) settings as well. Comparing the results I noticed the .JPG output in iA+ is way cleaner than what I get from Manual settings. I'll show you what I mean in crops from those examples. First, here's the scene I captured (with several smartphones, for future post maybe).

Crop from Manual, how I usually work

It's the kind of quality I more or less got used to, but always have been critical about. Here's a crop from the same scene, now captured in iA+

Do you notice the differences? Now there are many detais to see in this scene, so this afternoon I captured two more examples, also to make very sure the issue is actually there. Here's the first:

Here's the crop from the center, captured in Manual settings.

Here's the same crop from the same scene, captured in iA+

Check the grey tiles on top, the yellow paint of the doors... Could this possibly be since the result is a bit lighter? I even made a few shots with some exposure correction. This has -1/3 exposure, and the result is just as clean:

I've already been complaining about the .JPG output of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1, but this is seriously worrying. I'll give you one more, devastating example, the superclean surface of a Porsche...

You'll see there is an obvious problem rightaway in a crop of where I focused the shot, captured in Manual settings

Next, the version as captured in iA+.

Well... I think it's obvious that Panasonic seriously needs to fix this issue.

Now what
What does this mean to me? For one thing that I'll be working with the Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1 on iA+ only from now on, until this issue is fixed. When it seems to give a too bright result (as it often appears to do, one of the reasons I chose to work with manual, changing shutter times), I'll just use the exposure correction option. It would exclude making night shots, but somehow I do have the impression it doesn't effect longer shutter times as much (I'll need to check this later).

The second conclusion is more painful though - for both me and you, my reader... I've been capturing just about all of my recent shots - including the ones from Warsaw for instance - with the Panasonic in Manual settings. And to save space on my micro-SD card, I didn't capture a RAW file as well. Insert a swear here - I should have anyway!

Now, it's obvious my previous comparisons aren't worth much as far as the Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1 is concerned. We've been coming to false conclusions, based on what I offered you. It's embarrassing really. Why didn't I check this earlier? Why didn't anyone over at Panasonic notice the problem earlier? Why is it even there in the first place? When did this start? With a software update? Was it there from the beginning?

I'd like to ask anyone with the same device to check if they have the same issue. I'd like to apologize to you, my reader, for comparing defective results - I'm quite sure it would have influenced the outcome of my previous post from Warsaw. I feel stupid for not even saving RAW files as possible back-up. Generally speaking, I'll have to start over with the Panasonic. What an incredible letdown.

I'll share the original files on Flickr as soon as the service will allow me to. Since the last update of the page I have nothing but trouble uploading original files there. Since that's taking a considerable amount of time for some reason, here a folder on OneDrive with all originals shots.