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Panasonic Lumix G9 Expert Review

Panasonic Lumix G9 Expert Review - We review the new Panasonic Lumix G9, Panasonic flagship 20mp Micro Four Thirds camera with interchangeable lenses, high-speed shooting, and 80mp high-resolution mode.

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Panasonic Lumix G9 in Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera



Panasonic Lumix G9 (14)

The Panasonic Lumix G9 is Panasonic's latest flagship photographic Micro Four Thirds camera and features a 20mp sensor, 5-axis image stabilisation, 60fps continuous shooting, 4K video recording, and a large electronic viewfinder with 3.6m dot resolution. The G9 will be available for £1499 body only, £1669 with Lumix G 12-60mm f/3.5-5.6 lens, or £2019 with Leica 12-60mm f/2.8-4.0 lens, and available to buy 1st January 2018.

Along with the G9, Panasonic has also announced the new Leica DG Elmarit 200mm f/2.8 OIS lens, which will be available to buy 1st December (£2699 includes 1.4x teleconverter, which becomes 560mm at f/4). 

Panasonic Lumix G9 Features

Panasonic Lumix G9 (2)

The Panasonic Lumix G9 is Panasonic's flagship photo camera, designed to compete with the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II, Fujifilm X-T2, Nikon D500, and others. The Panasonic Lumix GH5 remains the flagship hybrid video/photo camera. The Panasonic Lumix G7 and G80 will remain on the market and continue to offer high value for money.

The camera offers high-speed shooting, at up to 60fps at full resolution, with fixed focus, and up to 20fps continuous shooting with continuous AF, using an electronic shutter. Using the mechanical shutter, the quickest continuous shooting speed is 12fps. 

Dual I.S 2 - The camera has a 5-axis sensor-shift system, and combined with optical image stabilisation gives up to 6.5 stops of image stabilisation. It is designed to work with both wide-angle and telephoto lenses and works with both stills and video recording.

There is an updated Venus image processing engine, designed to give improved noise reduction performance for more detailed images at higher ISO speeds, compared to the GH5. This should also provide more natural skin tones, with improved gradation. The sensor has an Anti Reflective (AR) coating, for improved detail retention, and clarity. Panasonic says that the camera now has 25% wider dynamic range.

Panasonic Lumix G9 (10)

The camera body has been designed for photographers, and as well as a magnesium alloy weather-sealed body, there is a joystick control on the rear to quickly change the focus point. There's a new mode dial on the top left, with a drive mode dial underneath. A FN (function) lever can be found at the front, letting you switch quickly between 2 different customisable shooting modes.

There's a new night display mode – which can be used for the screen or EVF or both (customisable). It makes the display black and red, making it more discreet in low-light shooting. 

Panasonic says that the autofocus (AF) has been improved, with the camera giving the World’s fastest 0.04s AF speed, with improved AF accuracy for moving subjects while tracking, and a 480fps readout speed.

In addition to the usual focus modes found on Panasonic Lumix cameras, and faster AF, there are some new AF modes:

  • AF point scope
  • Vertical/horizontal focus switching
  • Loop AF point

The camera features customisable focus scenarios, designed to help you choose the right focusing options for the specific type of shooting you are doing. 

Panasonic Lumix G9 (7)

There's an 80mp multi-shot mode, which combines 8 shots in-camera giving you an 80mp raw and/or JPEG image. This works in the same way as the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II, moving the sensor at a sub-pixel level to capture more detail, as well as full-colour information for each pixel. 

Wi-Fi is built-in to allow remote control of the camera. With low-power Bluetooth v4.2, you can connect to a smartphone or tablet whilst reducing the amount of power used.

Panasonic Lumix G9 Battery Grip (2)

Accessories: a battery grip is available, the DMW-BGG9E priced at £309, which is also weather-sealed, and if you pre-order the G9, you will get a free battery grip. A larger eye-cup is available for £17.99, and a large shoulder strap, priced at £44.99.

Key Features:

  • 20mp Micro Four Thirds Sensor, w/o LPF
  • 5-axis in-camera sensor stabilisation (up to 6.5 stops)
  • 3inch vari-angle touch-screen, 1040K dots
  • 0.83x magnification 3680K dot OLED EVF with 0.77x, 0.7x options, 120fps, 5ms (blackout free)
  • Top LCD screen (Large, backlight)
  • Improved Venus image processing engine
  • 225 AF areas, 0.04s AF speed (world’s fastest)
  • ISO100 (Low) to ISO25600
  • 80/40mp photo mode (raw/JPEG in camera)
  • 60fps / 20fps continuous shooting (full resolution, electronic shutter, AFS/AFC)
  • 12fps / 9fps continuous shooting (full resolution, mechanical shutter, AFS/AFC)
  • Shutter rated for 200,000 shots
  • 6K (18mp) photo at 30fps, 4K (8mp) photo at 60/30fps
  • Dual UHS-II SD slots
  • USB charging, USB tethering supported
  • Wi-Fi / Bluetooth built-in
  • Weather-sealed magnesium alloy body

Video Features:

  • 4K/60fps video (full-sensor), 8bit
  • FullHD 180fps slow-motion video
  • Fullsize HDMI out
  • Mic/headphone sockets

Panasonic Lumix G9 Handling

Panasonic Lumix G9 (15)

The Panasonic Lumix G9 has a very large electronic viewfinder (EVF) considering the size of the camera, giving a large 0.83x magnification, the largest in this class. The EVF looks slightly too large when on 0.83x magnification, as you feel you are having to move your eye around more to see the edges. Pressing the V.Mode button lets you choose between different EVF view sizes, 0.83x, 0.77x, and 0.7x magnification, as we've shown below. The EVF has a resolution of 3.68m dots, and has a refresh rate of 60 or 120fps. The rubber surround is large and gives a comfortable eye-rest. An even larger rubber surround is available as an optional extra.

0 83x Viewfinder 0 77x Viewfinder 0 7x Viewfinder
0.83x Viewfinder 0.77x Viewfinder 0.7x Viewfinder


The locking mode dial can be set as locked, or unlocked, and features 3 custom modes. Underneath this you can find a red ring, and then the drive mode dial. This includes 6K photo, focus stacking, as well as two continuous shooting modes, and self-timer modes.

Panasonic Lumix G9 (11)

Shooting with the camera, using the high-speed continuous shooting mode with the mechanical shutter, it's possible to shoot up to 600 JPEG shots using the 12fps mechanical shutter or 60 raw images, as shown in the video below. Using the electronic shutter, you can shoot 50 shots when using the 60fps continuous shooting mode (at full resolution).

The buttons on the camera are quite large, although some felt quite soft. There are three customisable function buttons on the back of the camera, with a further two customisable buttons on the front. In addition you can customise five on screen function buttons. There are front/top and back control dials, with a scroll wheel on the back giving you direct access to aperture and shutter speeds in manual mode. There's also a joystick on the back, which is within reach of your thumb, and can be used to set the focus point, or used to scroll through menu options. On the front of the camera, there is a new function lever switch, which can be used to choose different functions. The shutter release button is quite sensitive, and can take a little bit of time to get used to.

Panasonic Lumix G9 Customisable Buttons
Panasonic Lumix G9 - Customisable Function Buttons

The handgrip is very large for the size of the camera, giving you something good to hold on to. It feels excellent, with a soft rubber texture and a good thumb grip on the rear, with plenty of space for your thumb.

The focus point can be set to anywhere in the frame, letting you set the focus point to the very corners of the image. There's a focus switch to switch between AFS/AFF, AFC, and Manual Focus. If you use manual focus, then focus peaking, and a magnified view will help aid focusing, or you can press a button on the screen to get the camera to focus for you. Thanks to the 5-axis image stabilisation, the view on-screen or through the viewfinder is stable, which aids in focusing (and composing) the shot.

Panasonic Lumix G9 (1)

The menus are clear and logically laid out, with a number of different areas for photo, video, custom settings, setup, my menu, and playback. The My Menu section is where you can put your favourite settings and options, making it quicker to access these. 

The screen is clear with good colour reproduction, and the EVF and LCD screen both match each other for colour. The touch-screen can be used to set the focus point, and can also be used in the menus and in playback. Viewing angles are excellent, and the screen can be twisted forwards so you can see yourself if you're in front of the camera. You can display a dual-axis electronic level on the screen. Playback is extremely quick, with it possible to rapidly scroll through photos, even if you've taken thousands of images. 

The in-camera raw editing can be used to adjust settings, and fine tune your images, saving a new JPEG image. You can even use this to process high-resolution images that you've shot, so for example, if you shoot a 40 megapixel High Resolution photo (with JPEG and raw), and then later want to save it as an 80 megapixel JPEG image, this is possible, without having to process the image on your computer. 

The side access ports are easy to access, and you'll find microphone, headphone, HDMI and USB3 ports. On the front is a flash-sync socket, and on the same side as the SD memory card slots is a remote socket. The dual SD card slots are both UHS-II compatible.

Panasonic Lumix G9 (4)

The camera uses the DMW-BLF19 battery, which is compatible with the Panasonic Lumix GH5. The battery gives 380 shots (EVF), or 400 shots (LCD), which can be extended to 920 shots using the power saving EVF mode. The camera features USB charging as well as the ability to use the camera whilst powering it via USB. The optional battery grip will double the camera's battery life.



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Comments


pablophotographer 6 817 308
8 Nov 2017 2:17PM
It seems built ergonomically - it looks a bit Nikon to me Smile

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ChrisV Plus
11 2.0k 26 United Kingdom
9 Nov 2017 1:37PM
The Nikon comparison struck me too. Mind you I always thought the GH3 on were similar to Nikon - the top LCD and other tweaks simply underline the similarities.

I'm tempted by this, but can't help thinking it's a bit overpriced. It's not by itself by any means in that regard [it looks relatively cheap against the EM1 mkII]. I think Canon, Olympus and to a lesser degree Panasonic are all overpricing their higher end cameras. It's a disturbing trend that's tempting me toward Sony... and their over-priced lenses. Hmmm.
My slight concern is moving to the M43 sensor but so far from the images I've seen on this website and elsewhere, the IQ has not disappointed. For what it offers, I don't think it is overpriced. Thinking hard about making a pre-order, maybe tomorrow!
The recent addition of 6 test images here don't fill me with much confidence about IQ in respect of the sensor. Indeed, they seem like more of the same from M43. Perhaps I shouldn't be taken aback as this sensor measures 17.3 x 13 whereas that of the APS-C sensor measures 23.5 x 15.6, a difference of 38%. In addition, this is a 20 MP sensor that I'm comparing to a 24 mp APS-C sensor. But I did think/hope that maybe this G9 with an improved M43 sensor might just work for me. Now not so sure. I'll reserve judgement until sight of more test images.
joshwa Plus
7 826 United Kingdom
1 Dec 2017 8:58PM
Full review now live - with additional images added. We'll be adding even more images over the next few days.

You can find some other images here as well.
Niknut Plus
7 1.7k 76 United Kingdom
1 Dec 2017 9:11PM
Mmmmmm....I knew it !!....1500 !!!!.......it's saving grace is the IQ; very impressive !!

My G1 is smaller & lighter......& my Samsung NX30 is similarly lighter & smaller plus
a bigger (APSC) sensor...............sorry Panasonic I'll stick with what I've got !!.Smile
brian1208 Plus
14 11.3k 12 United Kingdom
1 Dec 2017 9:27PM
Does anyone know if it has "exposure compensation" when shooting in manual exposure with Auto ISO mode (as with the EM-1 mk2)

I realise its not true exposure compensation but I find it an invaluable functionality when shooting BIF and my water-sport work

I haven't been able to see if it's the case in any of the reviews I seen so far (could have missed it of course Smile )
lemmy 10 2.7k United Kingdom
2 Dec 2017 3:58PM

Quote:Does anyone know if it has "exposure compensation" when shooting in manual exposure with Auto ISO mode (as with the EM-1 mk2)


My GH5 does so the G9 will.
joshwa Plus
7 826 United Kingdom
3 Dec 2017 7:31AM
Hi Brian, yes it does allow exposure compensation in manual mode,
Thanks
Josh
ChrisV Plus
11 2.0k 26 United Kingdom
4 Dec 2017 12:05PM
The price is a bit of a weird one. It is competetive among its immediate MfT peers, but looks very expensive against some [arguably] equivalent APSc models including Fuji and Sony's flagships in that format.

But if you factor in the fact that preorders include the battery grip [309 separately] and the price seems a bit more palatable. If you need the battery grip.

Panasonic have quite a history of releasing expensive and street price then falling quite quickly [the GH series seems a bit of an exception to the rule with current models]. The battery grip thing suggest there may be discounts down the line. But there again I think Olympus did a similar thing with the EM1s and the price of those didn't dip that quickly - not substantially in any case.

Personally as a stills shooter who doesn't need tremendous speed, there isn't enough to entice me to upgrade from the bodies I already have [the EM1, 1 and GX8] at those sort of prices.
4 Dec 2017 2:46PM
Nice piece by ePhotozine but one comment I find mind-boggling.

"The price of the Panasonic Lumix G9 puts it into the professional area of the market, rather than enthusiastic amateur, and this could put some buyers off."

How can anyone, especially a review site that's reviewed other PRO cameras suggest that for a Pro body this is expensive? I shot all the Nikon pro bodies including the D4, D3, D2X etc. and all of them were priced 3X that of the G9. How can ePhotozine think this much technology in this small of a package is overpriced? Quite frankly a site like ePhotozine should be sharing their knowledge of how other professional cameras compare. When you compare the G9 to other bodies that are truly professional, the price looks extremely appealing. Prices of Nikon pro gear is actually one of the main reasons I moved to Panasonic. Lumix bodies are a fraction of what I used to spend for Nikons i used to make a living with.

Part of the problem many of the manufacturers are having, including Lumix, Olympus and even Sony, is they're giving us so much for so little, photographers forget what the heck we used just 5 years ago. There is no comparison and yet we get a comment like, "The price of the Panasonic Lumix G9 puts it into the professional area of the market". Yea, it does, at 3X's less than other pro bodies we used.
kbarrett33 New Member
United States
4 Dec 2017 4:02PM
Nice review, but I have to agree with Daniel. This camera with the capabilities that it has, is not priced too high. It just isn't. It seems to be priced correctly given the competition.
Niknut Plus
7 1.7k 76 United Kingdom
4 Dec 2017 4:11PM
Pity it isn't in the Christmas Draw ??????.......HINT, HINT !!.GrinGrinGrinGrin
ChrisV Plus
11 2.0k 26 United Kingdom
4 Dec 2017 4:50PM
Sorry Daniel, but it's just silly to say the G9 is in the same bracket as the D5, DXII, or A9 [or for that matter the A7III/D850]. It is more comparable to the D7500, the XT2 or the A6500 and it's more expensive than any of those. So yep it's an expensive camera in its marketplace.

I don't say you need to be shooting 35mm to be a pro, but if you're going to compare with anything you can hardly leapfrog the APSc competition. I think the EPZ comment is more than moderate and perfectly rational.
Two design issues that really frustrate me with Panasonic which they need to sort..

The menu system is horrible. The language is not always intuitive.

That bloody AF-S / AF-F switch. Just add an extra position on the switch dial, rather than forcing folk into the horrible menu. It's a fairly important difference for stills shooters in particular (who the camera is aimed at) and so when they are in a hide, at -5 with huge gloves on... an extra physical position on externally visible switch would be really handy.

At the moment you have to switch between auto select and single shot via a menu.

Fairly grim design.
joshwa Plus
7 826 United Kingdom
5 Dec 2017 8:55PM
From the review:

Quote:"The price of the Panasonic Lumix G9 puts it into the professional area of the market, rather than enthusiastic amateur, and this could put some buyers off*. However, there will be those that have the money and are happy to spend it on the camera, once the range of features available has been taken into consideration."


Quote:The Panasonic Lumix G9, is one of the fastest shooting cameras available, and is available at a very competitive price point...

* IE: The price is likely to put the enthusiastic amateur off, who wants to spend around 1000-1250.

If you read the Value For Money section we state that it is cheaper than much of the competition.
ktog11 1 United Kingdom
6 Dec 2017 12:07PM
I'm always intrigued to see comments from people complaining about higher ISO performance, particularly as far as M43 is concerned, because I'd be very interested to know why/how often those people find themselves shooting under those conditions. I was a Pro photographer for over forty years, and we managed very well in film days with stocks that maxed out at ISO 1600 or less. If you really need super high ISO capabilities, then the Sony A7SII or Nikon D5 is probably for you, but in the realms of less specialist photography, I've found M43 to offer immense advantages.
6 Dec 2017 4:00PM
There is a New Discussion about these cameras at The Online Photographer Today ~ For my Tastes, this is a bit too much money for a small sensor camera. Also, as a Stills Photographer, I find more use with the Flip-Up LCD Screen Arrangement of the Fujifilm X-T2 and the Sony a6500. Plus the money difference is important to me. http://theonlinephotographer.typepad.com/the_online_photographer/2017/12/first-up-this-morning-ken-tanaka-has-enlarged-greatly-on-the-previous-post-about-the-new-harry-gruyaert-booksdont-miss-th.html
Cynog 5 United Kingdom
6 Dec 2017 7:29PM
Oh dear, I am seriously thinking about pre-ordering this camera, but the IQ does not impress at all.

Quote:Oh dear, I am seriously thinking about pre-ordering this camera, but the IQ does not impress at all.


Suggest you check out the images contained in the WEX promotional video - via this link - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OVVL3OJ32nk&t=1s

They do seem a lot better.
9 Dec 2017 10:17PM
I'd really appreciate some discussion of the CAF performance, which isn't addressed well above. My suspicion is that the hybrid phase detect system of the E-M1 Mark II is still probably superior for tracking, but the larger/higher-res viewfinder paired with the the AF-selection joystick is very enticing, especially given the high burst rate and dual UHS-II card slots (and the lower price compared to the Olympus...). If the AF were at least comparable I think that would almost make this camera a no-brainer for action photography within premium MFT cameras.

Really hoping for a future review (or an update to this one) that considers CAF performance critically.
banehawi Plus
13 1.7k 3781 Canada
12 Dec 2017 5:25PM
High ISO noise performance to me doesnt seem to be hugely improved compared to other 20MP Panasonic models. M4/3 still falls far short of the larger sensors in this respect.

IQ with the same sensor and lens as other Panny 20Mp will not be a lot different as far as I can tell.
brian1208 Plus
14 11.3k 12 United Kingdom
13 Dec 2017 7:01AM
High ISO performance is important for anyone who needs to shoot with high ISO, for a lot of us this isn't a requirement but low system weight, excellent focusing / tracking speeds and high sequential rate ability are (with Hi-Res capability as an added bonus)

Its a great time to be a photographer as there are now tools available to meet the needs of most of us (and I would suggest that most of the kit now available exceeds the abilities of many of those who use it Wink )

I regularly use my EM-1 mk2 shooting at ISO4000 for bad weather water sports and the results are usable (and the system copes with driving rain, salt spray and flying seaweed) so I am happy and am looking forward to replacing my 2nd body (G80) with the G9 for use with my PL100-400 - once the G9 has been around for a bit, had any bugs ironed out and the price drops a tad.

Thanks for the review
13 Dec 2017 3:55PM
With Panasonic, Olympus, Sony and Fujifilm, it really is worth waiting for all the "Bugs" of new cameras to get shaken out. The Cameras we have now is more than adequate for the work that most of us are doing. The new gear is great, but the price for "Soon to Be Outdated Camera/Computer Devices" is getting a bit too steep at $1700 to $3400 per body. Prices always fall, and with the slowdown of worldwide camera sales, the decrease will come rather quickly. Eventually even our cell phones will have 1 inch sensors. These are great days for picture makers!

Quote:With Panasonic, Olympus, Sony and Fujifilm, it really is worth waiting for all the "Bugs" of new cameras to get shaken out. The Cameras we have now is more than adequate for the work that most of us are doing. The new gear is great, but the price for "Soon to Be Outdated Camera/Computer Devices" is getting a bit too steep at $1700 to $3400 per body. Prices always fall, and with the slowdown of worldwide camera sales, the decrease will come rather quickly. Eventually even our cell phones will have 1 inch sensors. These are great days for picture makers!


I reckon this camera is competitively priced and that you might have to wait longer than you think for a price decrease, if at all - I think not. Moreover, it is being launched, at least in the UK, with the highly respected PL 12-60 at a reduced price, plus a useful battery grip thrown in. That's a pretty good package for those who it suits and I reckon there might be some conquest sales - folk moving to M43.

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