Panasonic Lumix G9 Expert Review - Performance

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Panasonic Lumix G9 Performance

The performance section is where we look at the image quality performance of the camera. Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.


Speed - We took a number of shots to test the camera's responsiveness, from switch on to first photo, shot to shot, focusing speed etc. We take a number of shots and then use the average to ensure accurate and consistent tests, making it easy to compare with other cameras.

Shutter Response <0.05secs
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response 0.1secs
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response  0.1secs
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo 0.74secs
Shot to Shot without Flash 0.125secs
Shot to Shot with Flash N/A
Continuous Shooting - JPEG
(shots before slow down)
10fps (600 shots - mechanical)
60fps (50 shots* - electronic)
18-19fps (50 shots* - electronic, AF-C)
Continuous Shooting - Flash N/A
Continuous Shooting - RAW 9fps (94 shots - mechanical)
60fps (50 shots* - electronic)
19-20fps (50 shots* - electronic, AF-C)


Panasonic specifications say that using the electronic shutter you can shoot at: 60fps AFS (Fixed, single focus), and 20fps AFC (Continuous AF), and we managed to shoot at 60fps with single AF, and nearly 20fps with continuous AF. Using the mechanical shutter it should be possible to shoot at 12fps AFS, or 9fps AFC. You can also set the camera to a "Pre-burst" high-speed continuous shooting mode, that will start shooting / recording images before you've pressed the shutter button. *50 shots before stopping. Tested using a Panasonic UHS-II SD card.

 

Panasonic LEICA DG ELMARIT 200mm f/2.8 POWER O.I.S Sample Photos

Sample Photos - In good light, the colour and detail recorded by the camera is excellent. We were also impressed by the high success rate when photographing quickly moving subjects, such as the squirrels in the photos above and the camera focuses successfully even when they were in the shadows, rather than in the sun. To record images with increased dynamic range, you can use the HDR mode as long as the camera is set to JPEG only (not raw). You can also use the iDynamic setting or adjust the Highlight / Shadow curve. Different Photo styles can be chosen, including Standard, Vivid, Cinelike V, Cinelike D, and more. These can be customised, with options to adjust contrast, sharpness, noise reduction, and saturation. In Monochrome, you can set the Colour Tone, as well as choose a Yellow, Orange, Red or Green filter.

 

Panasonic Lumix G9 Lens test images

Lens Performance - There are options to correct for vignetting (shading compensation), and diffraction (diffraction compensation), and the camera automatically corrects purple fringing and distortion in-camera for both JPEG and raw images. We used the Leica 25mm f/1.4, Leica 12-60mm f/2.8-4.0, and Leica 200mm f/2.8 lenses with the G9. We were particularly impressed by the sharpness and levels of detail possible from the Leica 200mm f/2.8 lens. Focus was quick, and reliable, and when face detection was selected, this ensured accurate and quick focus on the subject's eyes.

High Resolution Mode (40/80mp)

The "High Resolution Mode" is accessed through the photo menus, and you can choose between 40mp or 80mp images. You can shoot in Raw, Raw/JPEG or JPEG. There's also the option to record a normal shot at the same time, and set the shutter delay (which defaults to 2 seconds). The highest ISO speed available for this is ISO1600, with ISO100 being the lowest. 

This mode takes 8 shots, using the electronic shutter, and moves the sensor at a sub-pixel level to take photos in-between the pixels, for additional detail. The camera also takes a number of photos with each pixel recording full colour information (Red, Green, Blue), so as to counter the detail lost from the Bayer filter found on camera sensors. To use this mode, a sturdy tripod is recommended, and if there are any moving objects in the image, then these won't always look right in the resulting photo. The camera will automatically merge the photos together in the camera.

 

Panasonic Lumix G9 ISO test images

ISO Noise Performance - The standard ISO range available is ISO200 to ISO25600. ISO100 (Low) is also available, but records lower dynamic range. For the lowest noise and best detail possible we would recommend using ISO100 to ISO1600, as images have low levels of noise and good levels of detail. For lower light situations ISO1600 to ISO6400 still provides good results, although noise increases and detail is reduced. At ISO12800 noise levels become strong and we would recommend avoiding this setting if possible, although results may still be useful if resized and used on the web. ISO25600 is best avoided as noise is high, and detail is low. Noise reduction can be set from -5 to +5, and we took these shots on default settings.

Noise compared to the competition...

The G9 almost matches the Olympus E-M1 Mark II for noise performance up to ISO3200/6400, however colour saturation on the G9 drops off quicker as the ISO speed is increased in comparison. The E-M1 Mark II also manages to produce better results at ISO12800 and ISO25600, whilst the G9 doesn't manage to produce as usable an image at ISO25600.

 

Panasonic Lumix G9 White-balance test images

White Balance Performance - Auto White Balance (AWB) gives a warm result under tungsten lighting, with the "AWBC" - Cool option giving a more neutral result. The tungsten preset gives a warm result. Under mixed lighting results are warm. Under fluorescent lighting, the auto white balance works well, and there is no fluorescent preset on the camera.

 

Panasonic Lumix G9 Digital filters

Digital Filters - The iAuto / (intelligent) Auto mode will automatically choose the best scene mode based on what the camera detects. There are 22 digital filter effects available.

6K/4K Post Focus - This takes a number of shots at different focus distances, which can then be selected in playback and saved as an individual image, or merged into a stacked image, and we've shown examples above. 6K/4K Photo - There are three options for this: Burst, Start/Stop, and Pre-burst which records frames before and after you've pressed the shutter button. If you choose 4K Photo, then you can shoot at 60 or 30fps, and 6K Photo shoots at 30fps.

 

Panasonic LEICA DG ELMARIT 200mm f/2.8 POWER O.I.S Other sample images

 

Video - Whilst the G9 isn't designed to be the ultimate video / hybrid camera, (for this, see the GH5), it does still have an excellent range of video features and options, recording 4K (UHD) video at 60, 50, 30, 25 and 24fps. The video is recorded as 4:2:0, 8-bit, and up to 150Mbps. You can use up to ISO12800 in the video mode. There are options for electronic stabilisation, "I.S. Lock", plus flicker reduction, time stamp, mic level, and more. There's a 10 minute limit for 4K video recording at 60/50fps, however, if you use a slower frame rate the limit is 29 minutes. Video quality is excellent with it possible to record stable video without the use of a tripod. Video recorded at ISO6400 in low-light looks good, with plenty of detail captured. If you do get more serious about video recording, then you'll find headphone and microphone sockets on the side. You can find additional videos on the ePHOTOzine YouTube Channel.


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Photographs taken using the Panasonic Lumix G9

Angry SkyBlack & White.Under Saltburn PierChilled CatIn Careal fieldThe FlyLower Pecca fallsBreakoutDouble DeckerCardinalAutumn backlighted leafs with Real sunraysDiving ternNoir film styleWinter portrait

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Comments


pablophotographer 8 1.3k 353
8 Nov 2017 2:17PM
It seems built ergonomically - it looks a bit Nikon to me Smile

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ChrisV Plus
12 2.3k 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
9 905 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
9 2.3k 80 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 16 11.6k 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 12 2.8k 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
9 905 United Kingdom
3 Dec 2017 7:31AM
Hi Brian, yes it does allow exposure compensation in manual mode,
Thanks
Josh
ChrisV Plus
12 2.3k 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.
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
9 2.3k 80 United Kingdom
4 Dec 2017 4:11PM
Pity it isn't in the Christmas Draw ??????.......HINT, HINT !!.GrinGrinGrinGrin
ChrisV Plus
12 2.3k 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
9 905 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 3 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 7 3 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
15 2.2k 4042 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 16 11.6k 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.
18 Dec 2017 9:06PM
The price is a bit steep for enthusiasts. I like it alot but its out of my price range, as others have said there is alot of good competition at this price, I canít see it selling well. Iíll wait for the price to fall... maybe.
srh 15 54 1 United Kingdom
20 Dec 2017 1:43PM
Any firmer dates on when in January it will be released yet?

Quote:Any firmer dates on when in January it will be released yet?


Anticipated date of sale in the UK is the latter half of January 2018
srh 15 54 1 United Kingdom
21 Dec 2017 11:35AM

Quote:
Quote:Any firmer dates on when in January it will be released yet?


Anticipated date of sale in the UK is the latter half of January 2018



I hope it's sooner than that!

One of the Admins on the UK Lumix Experience site has indicated it might start shipping to UK customers as early as the first week of January. We can but live in hope!!
24 Apr 2018 7:39AM
I've been using my G9 for a couple of months. It's proving to be an awesome cam. Love the speed and improved autofocus. Works well with my Godox lights.

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