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Panasonic Lumix G9 Review

The Lumix G9 is the newest and most advanced mirrorless camera from Panasonic. It joins the Lumix GH5 as the company’s flagship model in this category.

Even though the Panasonic GH5 is the company’s most stills-oriented flagship camera to date, many people still consider it to be primarily a tool for videographers, even though it offers many photographic functions.

On the other hand, the launch of the Lumix G9 is intended to end this predicament. Although it shares many of the exact specifications as the GH5, it provides a more significant number of features tailored to still photographers’ needs. However, it does so at the expense of some of the more advanced video features that most intended users are not likely to require.

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Panasonic Lumix G9 Features

Because the Panasonic Lumix G9 is equipped with the same 20.3-megapixel Micro Four Thirds Live MOS sensor as the Panasonic Lumix GH5, no low-pass filter is present in any of these cameras. And if a resolution of 20.3 megapixels isn’t quite enough for you, the G9 also has a new High-Resolution mode that can produce files at an equivalent resolution of 80 megapixels.

This works by merging eight photographs that have been shot in fast succession, with minor sensor changes between each one—because of this, using this mode requires using a tripod, which is not needed when utilizing some competing technologies.

Panasonic Lumix G9 Build Quality

The design of the Panasonic Lumix G9 takes a somewhat different path than that of the GH5, which succeeds. It appears to have proportions that are slightly slumped over, probably because the shutter button and grip are elevated, while the sharp-edged pentaprism rests a little bit lower.

The addition of a top-plate status LCD is the most noticeable alteration to the design. This feature is prevalent in high-end DSLRs, but the expensive Leica SL is the only other mirrorless camera with one. Even though mirrorless designs have generally rejected the top-plate LCD, it is lovely to see one on the G9 since it makes it simple to take a fast peek at all the basic shooting settings.

Panasonic Lumix G9 Autofocus

The GH5 and the Lumix G9 have an autofocus coverage of 225 areas, covering the bulk of the frame but not extending to the frame’s corners. The sensitivity of the focusing may be adjusted down to light levels as low as -4EV, and the G9 utilizes the Depth from Defocus (DFD) autofocus technology developed by Panasonic.

While other manufacturers of mirrorless cameras have moved toward adopting hybrid autofocus systems that use both phase-detection and contrast-detection AF technologies, Panasonic has decided to stick with using contrast-detection autofocus exclusively.

Although it is reasonable to assume that this method will result in a slower autofocus acquisition compared to competing cameras, it does not appear to be affected in practice. In our tests, it achieved an acquisition speed of 0.04 seconds, which is a very modest gain over the 0.05 seconds achieved by the GH5. It didn’t leave us lacking for anything, and even in low light, it could lock on without any problems.

Panasonic Lumix G9 Performance

The Lumix G9 can shoot at a lightning-fast 20 frames per second with full continuous autofocus; however, this number may be increased to an astounding 60 frames per second if the subject is not tracked.

That is a significant improvement from the GH5’s 12fps (9fps with AF-C), and it is also feasible to pull still shots out of 4K and 6K video using the Photo mode in any of those resolutions. However, it is possible to extract single 8MP and 18MP photos from correspondingly 4K 60fps and 6K 30fps film. This may make these modes less appealing now that the G9 can record at such rapid speeds.

Panasonic Lumix G9 Image Quality

The image quality produced by the Panasonic Lumix G9 is outstanding, and it is, without a doubt, the most impressive performance we have witnessed from a camera based on the Micro Four Thirds standard.

The absence of an optical low pass filter enables the 20.3-megapixel chip to give excellent detail even when working at lower sensitivities. It is pretty challenging to differentiate between the results produced by the G9 and those made by a similar APS-C competitor.

In addition, Panasonic has put a lot of effort into improving how colours are rendered. As a result, the JPEG files produced by the G9 have colours that are considerably more true to life and seem more natural than those produced by previous Lumix cameras.

When looking at raw files, there is just a little suggestion of luminance (grain-like) noise in the middle-range sensitivities, but you have to look pretty closely to see it. The results are excellent over the whole ISO range.

Panasonic Lumix G9 Specs

Body typeSLR-style mirrorless
Body materialMagnesium alloy
Sensor
Max resolution5184 x 3888
Image ratio w:h1:1, 4:3, 3:2, 16:9
Effective pixels20 megapixels
Sensor photo detectors22 megapixels
Sensor sizeFour Thirds (17.3 x 13 mm)
Sensor typeCMOS
Color spacesRGB, Adobe RGB
Color filter arrayPrimary color filter
Image
ISOAuto, 200-25600 (expands to 100-25600)
Boosted ISO (minimum)100
White balance presets5
Custom white balanceYes (4 slots)
Image stabilizationSensor-shift
CIPA image stabilization rating6.5 stop(s)
Uncompressed formatRAW
JPEG quality levelsFine, standard
File formatJPEG (Exif v2.31)Raw (Panasonic 12-bit RW2)
Optics & Focus
AutofocusContrast Detect (sensor)Multi-areaCenterSelective single-pointTrackingSingleContinuousTouchFace DetectionLive View
Autofocus assist lampYes
Digital zoomYes (2x-4x)
Manual focusYes
Number of focus points225
Lens mountMicro Four Thirds
Focal length multiplier
Screen / viewfinder
Articulated LCDFully articulated
Screen size3″
Screen dots1,040,000
Touch screenYes
Screen typeTFT LCD
Live viewYes
Viewfinder typeElectronic
Viewfinder coverage100%
Viewfinder magnification1.66× (0.83× 35mm equiv.)
Viewfinder resolution3,680,000
Photography features
Minimum shutter speed60 sec
Maximum shutter speed1/8000 sec
Maximum shutter speed (electronic)1/32000 sec
Exposure modesiAutoProgramAperture priorityShutter priorityManual
Built-in flashNo
External flashYes (via hot shoe or flash sync port)
Flash modesAuto, Auto/Red-eye Reduction, Forced On, Forced On/Red-eye Reduction, Slow Sync., Slow Sync./Red-eye Reduction, Forced Off
Flash X sync speed1/250 sec
Drive modesSingleContinuous I/II6K PhotoPost FocusSelf-timerTIme-lapse
Continuous drive20.0 fps
Self-timerYes
Metering modesMultiCenter-weightedSpot
Exposure compensation±5 (at 1/3 EV steps)
AE Bracketing±3 (3, 5, 7 frames at 1/3 EV, 2/3 EV, 1 EV steps)
WB BracketingYes
Videography features
FormatMPEG-4, AVCHD, H.264
Modes3840 x 2160 @ 60p / 150 Mbps, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM3840 x 2160 @ 30p / 100 Mbps, MP4, H.264, AAC3840 x 2160 @ 23.98p / 100 Mbps, MP4, H.264, AAC1920 x 1080 @ 60p / 28 Mbps, MP4, H.264, AAC1920 x 1080 @ 30p / 20 Mbps, MP4, H.264, AAC1920 x 1080 @ 60p / 28 Mbps, AVCHD, MTS, H.264, Dolby Digital1920 x 1080 @ 60i / 24 Mbps, AVCHD, MTS, H.264, Dolby Digital1920 x 1080 @ 60i / 17 Mbps, AVCHD, MTS, H.264, Dolby Digital1920 x 1080 @ 23.98p / 24 Mbps, AVCHD, MTS, H.264, Dolby Digital
MicrophoneStereo
SpeakerMono
Storage
Storage typesDual SD/SDHC/SDXC slots (UHS-II supported)
Connectivity
USBUSB 3.0 (5 GBit/sec)
USB chargingYes
HDMIYes
Microphone portYes
Headphone portYes
WirelessBuilt-In
Wireless notes802.11ac + Bluetooth
Remote controlYes (wired or via smartphone)
Physical
Environmentally sealedYes
BatteryBattery Pack
Battery descriptionDMW-BTC13 lithium-ion battery & USB charger
Battery Life (CIPA)400
Weight (inc. batteries)658 g (1.45 lb / 23.21 oz)
Dimensions137 x 97 x 92 mm (5.39 x 3.82 x 3.62″)
Other features
Orientation sensorYes
Timelapse recordingYes
GPSNone

Panasonic Lumix G9 Verdict

The Lumix G9 is both Panasonic’s most excellent mirrorless camera to date and a fantastic all-around mirrorless camera thanks to its excellent image quality, ability to shoot at 60 frames per second (fps), refined handling, and abundance of sophisticated capabilities.

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