Panasonic has achieved something special with the Lumix DMC-CM1. It represents a new frontier for smartphone technology and the camera marks a clear improvement on what we’ve seen from the leading smartphone manufacturers.

Of course, there have been some compromises in order to keep the size of this device down. Some of those compromises (no optical image stabilisation) are more of an issue than others (lack of grip). But this model is only mark 1, and for the most part, it has been executed extremely well. The integration of smartphone and camera is the most convincing and seamless experience we’ve seen, and it surpassed our expectations.

If Panasonic can successfully deliver full smartphone functionality in a phone-a-like camera such as the CM1, it can’t be much of a leap to enable some of their other premium camera lines with this level of connectivity. It’s an exciting thought.

Wi-Fi and other connectivity options are already becoming standard for digital cameras. Now that Panasonic has demonstrated an effective way of producing a smartphone-enabled camera, I wouldn’t be surprised to see even more sophisticated communication cameras coming to market over the next couple of years. I also wouldn’t be surprised to see sensor size becoming the new megapixel race for smartphone manufacturers.

Can the CM1 replace your smartphone? The answer is yes. Is it capable of taking better pictures than the current best smartphones available? Again, the answer is yes, in some circumstances, it definitely is. For me, however, buying the CM1 comes down to whether or not you can afford it, and whether or not you are lucky enough to actually get your hands on one.

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