Panasonic Lumix G DC-G9 Mirrorless Camera: A Focused Review

Panasonic Lumix G DC-G9 Mirrorless Camera

PANASONIC LUMIX G9 4K Digital Camera, 20.3 Megapixel Mirrorless Camera...
  • Professional photo and video performance 20 3-Megapixel (Plus 80-megapixel high-resolution Jpeg/raw in-camera image)...
  • Rugged splash/freeze proof design Durable magnesium alloy body withstands heavy use out in the field and is freeze proof...
  • Class-leading dual image stabilization 5-axis Dual image stabilization corrects all lenses including classic lenses not...

In the ever-on-going debate of mirrorless or DSLR cameras, there are pros and cons to each side. The Panasonic Lumix G DC-G9 20.3 MP Mirrorless Ultra HD Digital Camera - 4K - Black - Body Only attempts to close that gap. Is it a good fit for you?

In this article, we will take a look at this camera to answer that very question. Is it close enough to a DLSR to satisfy the lens and accessory happy photographers while still being less bulky and better in low light situations for the mirrorless fans?

By getting to know the camera, it’s features and limits; we will have a better idea if it is the bridge in the debate that is so desperately needed. Panasonic has no doubts, but there is a non-biased approach to a camera review needed. We will provide such a review.

Panasonic Lumix G DC-G9 20.3 MP Mirrorless Ultra HD Digital Camera - 4K - Black - Body Only Design

The Panasonic G9 is closer in size and shape to a DSLR camera. It has a huge, deep grip and a wide body to house the LCD screens. The body also has a deep leather-type texture that aids in grip.

The bulky style of the G9 merges the space between the larger. More complex DSLR bodies, less feature-rich mirrorless styles. That, coupled with the top mount LCD makes the G9 stand out.

The illuminated screen shows the current status and settings and is one of only a couple mirrorless cameras even to have it. The G9 is often compared to the Panasonic GH5, which in the world of mirrorless cameras reigns as one of the best video capture cameras available.

The G9, however, takes away some of the lusters of the GH5 by having better quality (and focus) on stills while still maintaining great aptitude for video.

Features and Options

Let’s take a look at the features and options of the Panasonic Lumix G DC-G9. While it is touted by many customers and professionals as the best mirrorless camera available, you can make the call for yourself.

Dimensions

3.8x5.4x3.6 inches

Weight

1.3 pounds (body only)

Display Type

LCD

Touch Screen

Yes

Screen Resolution

1.04 million pixels

Memory Card Slots

2

Outputs

USB 3.0, HDMI, 3.5mm audio, 2.5mm audio

WiFi

Yes

Flash Mount

Hot Shoe

Pict Bridge

Yes

Memory Card Compatible

Secure Digital, Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC), Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC)

Megapixels

20.3

Video Frame Rate

Up to 60fps

Image Sensor

Live MOS

ISO Settings

100 – 25600

Video Resolution

3840x2160

Batteries Included

Yes

Cold Resistant

Yes

Audio Recording

Yes

Self Timer

Yes

Self Timer Delay

10 Seconds

Shutter Speeds

60 – 1/32000

Image Sensor Size (HxV)

13x17.3mm

Face Detection

Yes

Brightness Control

Yes

Image Resolution

5184 x 3888

Exposure White Balance Modes

Incandescent; cloudy; flash; daylight; shade; 2500K - 10000K

Features and Details

When looking at a professional grade camera body, you need to know (and understand) what is going on with all the features it has. This section will detail the most prominent and/or confusing aspects of the Lumix G9.

1. Electronic Viewfinder

The Lumix G9 electronic viewfinder may be the best in the industry. The megapixels and magnification are two of the essential aspects of a viewfinder, and the G9 isn’t lacking. With an overall 3.68 million dots, it makes for clear images. The magnification at 0.83x is the largest magnification on the market. Even the popular Fujifilm X-T2 only has a magnification of 0.77x.

The view panel also has a near-instant on power-up cycle and 120fps refresh rate. This is more than double of any other mirrorless on the market as of this writing. This refresh rate and quick-on eliminates ghosting and tearing of the image and what you see is what you get.

 If there is a downside to it, the removable viewfinder cup isn’t the snuggest of fits. It has been reported to slip out of position, that cause issues with blocking sensors.

2. Shutter Speed Plus Electric versus Mechanical

Panasonic G9 Autofocus Control

This camera is said to have the worlds fastest autofocus speed (which has 0.04s second acquisition.) This may be handy when you are trying to shoot an auto race or wild cheetah in the plains.

The burst speed comes maximum 60fps, which should make everyone happy in any event. However, it causes problems as you will use a single focal point and it can also suffer from low light flicker. You can adjust the burst speed, though, which is great and a 20fps should catch most motion you are after with clarity and consistency.

Switching to the mechanical shutter when needed, or if you enjoy hearing the clicking of the shutter as you snap pictures. What you will lose, though is the frames per second in autofocus. When the electric shutter is selected, you can maintain 20fps. However, this will drop to 9 to 12fps when using the mechanical shutter.

3. Dual Everything

The Panasonic G9 has dual modes and features. The first thing you will notice is the dual function or “Fn” lever. It is a two-position lever that will select between two quick-launch modes.

The drive mode is also a dual set up. Select between I and II, which adjust the shooting scenarios to fine tune to specific, predefined settings.

A position I set to electronic shutter with a 20fps burst and position II used for mechanical shutter at 12fps burst. The options are limitless and greater control over the shutter and settings.

The G9 also offers dual microSD card slots. Both of the slots are UHS-II compatible, which use both for 4k video or rapid fire 60fps stills.

 You can have a standard battery, that drain at about 400 images per charge. You can also choose to use the battery saving mode which allows for 920 images per charge.

4. Image Quality

Panasonic G9 Image

It is true that the Panasonic G9 uses a 20-megapixel Live Mos sensor that is the same as the GH5. Images aren't visually differentiated between the two.

However, the G9 has something the GH5 doesn’t: High-resolution mode. That will use the image stabilization to offset the sensor pixel by pixel which converts the image quality to an 80-megapixel shot.

The only problem here is that the camera must be motionless, which means the use of a tripod. Further, the subject of the shot must also be motionless. The slightest movement by either will ruin the entire picture.

5. Lens Quality

Lens selection is the most important attribute though. Regardless of the power or mega-pixel level of the camera. The good news is that the Panasonic G9 utilizes the Micro Four Thirds range of lenses and is even compatible with the Olympus lenses.

These include the high powered 200mm f/2.8 Leica. With this combination the clarity, distance, and focus are unbeatable. Sure, you will pay more for the set up as a whole, but the image quality will be the best.

The camera can ward off image noise and produce beautiful high-contrast shots. However, to truly get the most of the color palette you should opt to shoot in Vivid mode. This will enhance the colors and contrasts for a noticeable difference.

 The camera has a speed drawback in that there is no F100 setting; the minimal setting is F200.

Pros

No camera is perfect, despite what it offers or is capable of. However, we feel that for mirrorless cameras, the Panasonic Lumix G DC-G9 20.3 MP Mirrorless Ultra HD Digital Camera - 4K - Black - Body Only is at the top of the class. We really like:

  • Huge viewfinder with the best in class magnification.
  • Wide and varied selection of Micro Four Thirds lenses.
  • Modes for 4k video and as high as 6k still shots.
  • Extreme burst mode speeds.
  • Autofocus is lightning fast and highly capable.
  • Cons

    We can’t like everything, and even the most expensive on the market have drawbacks. The Lumix G9 is no different. You may find you don’t like:

  • Small sensor compared to the competition.
  • No secondary battery, even with large battery grip.
  • Viewfinder eyecup isn’t a snug fit, susceptible to loss.
  • There isn’t a super raw mode with post-focus abilities.
  • Pros

    • Autofocus Fast
    • Huge Viewfinder
    • Extreme Burst Mode Speed

    Cons

    • Smaller Sensor
    • No Secondary Battery
    • Removable Viewfinder Cup

    In Conclusion

    The G9 has the display, lowlight capabilities speed and video capabilities generally associated with Mirrorless models.

    Possibly the best viewfinder on the market, the highest magnification and ability to hold Miro Four Thirds lenses, including the 200mm f/2.8 Leica, it is quite capable of long distance, high-resolution images.

    The 4k video rivals all other Mirrorless models, including the dominant GH5. With Dual settings, dual memory card slots and dual battery options, the G9 is one camera that can handle just about everything, including high-speed burst shots at 60fps.

     While it isn’t perfect and does have a few drawbacks, these are minimized by the true capabilities, and in the right hands, the most stunning shots you have possibly ever seen.

    Quality

    Price

    Our Rating

    High

    Expensive

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