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The Smartphone With The Biggest Image Sensor Yet To Launch On December 1

Today, Panasonic announced that it will start selling the Lumix CM1 in Germany and France, as well as the UK, a country which wasn't mentioned a few weeks ago when the company made its first Lumix CM1 announcement. It seems "high demand" pushed the company to offer it in some UK stores as well.

Panasonic recently took everyone by surprise by announcing the first phone ever to have a 1" sensor that is also accompanied by a Leica lens. To put its size in perspective, the 1" sensor is seven times larger than regular smartphones' sensors (1/3"). It's also twice as large as the Lumia 1020's sensor (2/3"), but with half the pixels, which means the Lumix CM1's pixels are four times bigger and they can capture more light. In comparison, the HTC One's "UltraPixels" were only 40-80 percent larger than other high-end smartphones at the time.

Granted, the Lumia 1020 also had an ace up its sleeve, by combining multiple pixels into one through a process called "oversampling," which helped increase the quality of the image. However, that also led to a lower resolution image of only 5MP. If you used oversampling, digital zooming wouldn't be of any use anymore, either. The oversampling process is also quite intensive from a computational point of view, which means the time from shot to shot is a few seconds long. That's too long for most purposes.

Panasonic Lumix CM1 photo sample

Panasonic's Lumix CM1 is also the first Android device to truly take photography to the extreme, beyond even the Lumia 1020. Until now, the only Android device that we could say did that was Samsung's Galaxy K Zoom series. However, that series is more focused on having powerful zoom capabilities than on having a higher image quality. It also had a sensor that's roughly half of the Lumia 1020's 2/3" sensor (1/2.3"), so it couldn't have beaten the Lumia 1020.

Panasonic has decided to position the Lumix CM1 more like a camera than a smartphone, from the design of the device to hardware controls. The company also calls it a "compact camera with smartphone technology."

Panasonic seems to believe it will have more success if the device is seen as a good compact camera that has all the features of a high-end smartphone and targets people who would want a camera anyway, than a smartphone with a disproportionately large camera sensor that targets smartphone users who want to take much better photos.

It's hard to say which strategy would work best until we see different devices battle it out on the market. On one hand, smartphone users may want to take better photos, but they aren't willing to compromise on the design of their phones. On the other hand, camera enthusiasts may not want to pay significantly more money for this device than they'd have to pay for a phone and a camera with similar specs, unless the convergence of the two has a particular appeal to them.

The Lumix CM1 will be capable of 20 MP stills, in both JPG and RAW formats, as well as 4k video recording (only 15 FPS, though, which is likely a limitation of its Snapdragon 801 SoC). The ring around the lens will allow manual control of aperture, ISO, shutter speeds and white balance. The device will be available in stores starting December 1. Official pricing hasn't been announced yet, but it's likely to cost around 900 euro.

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  • everlast66
    I don't believe them, I want this phone taken apart and the sensor measured.

    And yes, I know 1" sensors are not actually 1".
    Reply
  • Cons29
    that is a camera not a phone :)
    i find it weird using this as a phone with that huge circle right there. but then again maybe it will grow on you.
    i dont mind the thickness as long as it last for at least 2 days or maybe 3
    Reply
  • leeb2013
    that is a camera not a phone :)
    i find it weird using this as a phone with that huge circle right there. but then again maybe it will grow on you.
    i dont mind the thickness as long as it last for at least 2 days or maybe 3

    I'd want a 900euro phone to last more than 2 to 3 days. I'd expect 2-3 years
    Reply
  • fuzzion
    I believe Apple has a patent on this. Actually i believe apple has a patent on the word patent
    Reply
  • razor512
    What is taking them so long to just slap a APS-C sensor into a smartphone and allow users to swap lenses.

    Or just take something like a nikon D5300, and add a large rear touch screen, have it run android, and keep all of the other buttons so that you do not lose any of the DSLR controls, but simply get the benefit of a smartphone with your camera.
    Reply
  • may1
    14670877 said:
    What is taking them so long to just slap a APS-C sensor into a smartphone and allow users to swap lenses.

    Or just take something like a nikon D5300, and add a large rear touch screen, have it run android, and keep all of the other buttons so that you do not lose any of the DSLR controls, but simply get the benefit of a smartphone with your camera.

    Uh, ILCE-QX1

    Reply
  • leeb2013
    14670676 said:
    I believe Apple has a patent on this. Actually i believe apple has a patent on the word patent

    You will be sued for using their patented words
    Reply
  • allenmarkow10
    When taking your cellphone to bed with you, use this cool gadget that magically floats your smartphone bedside without any bolts, clips, or clamps. Best gift of 2014! Now on sale at Amazon http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0074U2MAK ,, !
    Reply
  • allenmarkow10
    When taking your cellphone to bed with you, use this cool gadget that magically floats your smartphone bedside without any bolts, clips, or clamps. Best gift of 2014! Now on sale at Amazon http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0074U2MAK ./
    Reply
  • gggplaya
    Oh man, i want this phone so bad!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I use my camera more than i use the phone, so based on duty cycle, my smart device should be more camera than phone.
    Reply