Panasonic GM5 and battery self-discharge

I bought a GM5 new back in the day and later sold it thinking it could be replaced with a Sony RX100. It couldn’t and I’ve regretted that sale ever since, so a couple of months ago I came across one in nice condition and with the original metal 12-32 at a good price and bought it.

It works perfectly and has the usual awful battery life I remember from my original so no surprises there. However it also depletes the battery - a lot - while not in use. Now I know all cameras do this to some extent but my little GM5 does it with a vengeance; switched off and unused it will more or less flatten a fully charged battery in a week or two, and I don’t remember my original behaving like that. Oh - and it behaves exactly the same with both original Panasonic and third-party equivalents.

Any GM5 owners see this behaviour or is it just mine?

Normally when the camera is powered off, the battery inside a camera will supply power to maintain the system date. If the internal battery has been consumed before (e.g. there might be no battery inside the camera for a while), the battery will also recharge the internal battery.

AFAIK the above might not consume much energy.

I keep battery inside every camera no matter it will be used or not, to keep their internal battery alive. IMHE usually a fully charged battery could remain >50% after a few months.

They are G1, GF3, GX1 (not really in active service) and GX7 & GX850 (my back up cameras). I am very sure my major cameras GX85 and G85 are the same. Sometimes I might have no shooting for a few weeks (like the rainy seasons now), they never empty my batteries.

Therefore, the behavior of your GM5 should not be normal. I suspected that either the electronic inside your camera might start to give up, or your battery is no longer healthy.

If you have no other healthy battery to test, might try to keep your GM5 power on, no sleeping to see how long the battery can go. If it could survive 2~3 hours, likely your battery should have no problem.

1 Like

Thanks for that. I already tested the batteries (they’re fine). My GX9 and G100 behave as expected, it’s just the GM5 that I need some other user feedback on to assess whether mine is behaving normally or not. As I wrote earlier it works perfectly and it’s battery life while in use is exactly as I remember (not great) but it’s “switched off” use seems a bit odd.

I’m not worried about it but it’s a bit annoying to have to recharge the battery before use when it has been unused for just a few days. I do have spares but only one Panasonic original battery that I prefer to use whenever I can.

The internal batteries do eventually die, and some of the third party batteries can swell up over time, making them difficult to remove. It should normally take weeks for a fully charged battery to go completely flat, although I agree that GM5 battery capacity isn’t wonderful. IME it’s worth having at least two batteries, plus a USB charger if they’re still findable; I got one from a German ebay seller years ago.

1 Like

The internal battery seems fine - it keeps the clock alive overnight without a battery in the camera - and I agree about third party batteries which is why I use them only as backups for the single original battery. I wanted to buy Panasonic spares but the price is eye-watering so I settled for a reputable third-party brand I’ve used before.

As a side note I have a genuine Panasonic DMW-BCT12 USB charger that came with a used GX9 and it works really well with the GM5 batteries as well as the larger ones used in the GX9/G100/etc. I also have the original mains charger that came with the GM5 but it’s slower and less convenient so I don’t tend to use it.

It may be imagination but the GM5 seems to be behaving a bit more normally now so perhaps it was left unused for a prolonged period before I bought it and has taken a little time to recover from the deep(-ish) discharge of the internal battery. Time will tell :slight_smile:

Thank you for the USB charger info; I might try to follow it up, depending. I have two semi-deceased GM5 bodies, and am waiting on parts from Aliexpress before attempting repairs; the local official repair agent claimed Panasonic no longer had GM5 parts, and that interaction has made it very unlikely I will ever buy another Panasonic product. (Long story, not finished yet.)

Probably no help to you, but I’d look at grabbing a G100 before they disappear. Modern-ish 20MP sensor, with a lovely EVF and a very nice rear screen. I’ve got 2 now that I paid $500 Au for, brand spanking new. Image quality indistinguishable from my G9 as fast as I can tell. Then you have warranty, access to accessories and so on. Just a thought

I already have a G100 and it has its virtues as you describe, but a GM5 replacement it is not. Fortunately my GM5 seems to be responding well to a bit more exercise than it got from its previous owner (he sold it because he didn’t use it) and it shows none of the signs of well-known failings of the internal battery and rear control dial. It was also cheap for a GM5 in such good condition with a low(-ish) ~7000 shutter count, especially as it came with a rather good original metal 12-32 with perfect glass and only superficial cosmetic imperfections.

Yeah, you’re right. The G100 is a handy improvement. DFD. A reasonable grip. Better battery life (I think) Still has excellent build quality as far as I can tell, but still super light. I swore I’d never be a multi body user/convert, but here I am, one with my PL9mm, the other with my Siggy 30 or PL25 1.4, and my PL15 thrown in the bag just in case. Throw in my PZ45-175 if I think I might need a bit more focal length, and you still have a very very capable but super light and compact travel kit

Back in my film days I almost always carried two cameras to avoid changing lenses and usually - but not always - they also were different models with different abilities useful in different conditions. I’m still doing it sometimes, and I bought the G100 originally to supplement the GM5 but I ended up using it more as a lightweight alternative to the GX9 when using small lenses; I don’t like its handling with bigger ones. It’s a nice camera though and a real bargain.

There’s no perfect camera but the inexpensive Panasonic cameras I currently use come very close for me; each has its pros and cons but nothing that prevents me from enjoying using them, something I can’t say about some other brands I’ve used that are generally much more popular. I must be in a minority :wink:

1 Like

Ha ha ha. Same here. I’ve ended up with all the Panasonic cameras that the forums hated. Initially. My first foray into m4/3 was with the GX8, which got soundly spanked by photography forum members. Absolutely hammered at release. I loved mine. Brilliant camera. Still have it. It was the reason I sold my Canon full frame kit.
Then the G9 was released. To near universal forum condemnation. For it’s size and weight. I lasted about a week, and bought one. Absolutely love it. Still have it, still use it. Another brilliant camera. Bomb proof, ergonomically perfect for me, plenty capable.
Then along came the G100. Once again howls of derision from the forums, I was a bit wary of the slow mechanical shutter and sync speed, that’s turned out a non issue. I bought one as a bit of an experiment -I now own two.
Oh and before my jump to m4/3, I bought a Canon EOS M. The original mkI. That the whole world despised. The camera that got me interested in mirrorless. Can you see the pattern here?

Oh, there’s a pattern all right! It always amuses me that so many of the complaints are from armchair reviewers who have never even seen the camera they criticise so strongly; the shutter mech of the G100 is a perfect example. I had already used cameras with this shutter for years (the GM5, for example) so I knew I had no problem with it as I don’t use fill flash in daylight, but I’ve read all sorts of nonsense about why it’s so bad. And as you discovered with the G100 it’s a non-issue.

My first mirrorless camera was the G1 and I still have pictures on my wall made with that camera. I shifted to Olympus after getting terrible warranty repair service from Panasonic, then migrated from micro 4/3 through APS-C (Sony, then Fuji - twice!) to Sony full-frame before returning to micro 4/3.

It’s been an interesting if expensive journey but it’s good to be back home.

1 Like