Basic Specifications
Full model name: Panasonic Lumix DC-G9
Resolution: 20.30 Megapixels
Sensor size: 4/3
(17.3mm x 13.0mm)
Kit Lens: n/a
Viewfinder: EVF / LCD
Native ISO: 200 - 25,600
Extended ISO: 100 - 25,600
Shutter: 1/32000 - 60 seconds
Dimensions: 5.4 x 3.8 x 3.6 in.
(137 x 97 x 92 mm)
Weight: 23.2 oz (658 g)
includes batteries
Availability: 01/2018
Manufacturer: Panasonic
Full specs: Panasonic G9 specifications
20.30
Megapixels
Micro Four Thirds 4/3
size sensor
image of Panasonic Lumix DC-G9
Front side of Panasonic G9 digital camera Front side of Panasonic G9 digital camera Front side of Panasonic G9 digital camera Front side of Panasonic G9 digital camera Front side of Panasonic G9 digital camera

Panasonic G9 Review -- Hands-on Preview

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Click here to jump directly to William's Hands-on First Impressions!

Panasonic G9 Review -- Product Image

Panasonic has no shortage of experience in the digital camera business. It's been 16 years now since the company first kicked off its Lumix camera line with the simultaneously-launched LC5 and F7 compact cameras in late 2001, and close to a decade since the late-2008 launch of its first mirrorless model, the Micro Four Thirds-format Lumix G1. Now, the company brings that experience to bear with perhaps its most exciting camera yet, the Lumix G9, offering much of what impressed us in the more video-oriented GH5 while handily outperforming that camera in the still imaging department, and in a smaller, less expensive body, to boot.

A ground-up redesign with friendlier ergonomics and the best Lumix image quality ever

Following in the footsteps of the popular G7 and G85 (which, in some markets, was actually known as the G8), the Panasonic G9 is a ground-up redesign aimed at significantly improving both handling and image quality. Based around the GH5's 20-megapixel image sensor with, as is typical these days, no resolution-sapping optical low-pass filter, and with its output handled by the latest-generation Venus Engine image processor, the DC-G9 is said to offer the highest still image quality of any Lumix camera to date!

In particular, Panasonic is promising that the Lumix G9 will best its predecessors with greater detail and lower noise levels, especially as the sensitivity ramps up, as well as with more effective sharpening, better suppression of ghosts and flare, plus better color control, which should prove especially noticeable in skin tones and blue skies.

Panasonic G9 Review

And if you need even more detail with relatively static subjects, the Panasonic G9 also debuts a clever resolution-enhancing multi-shot mode akin to those seen in recent models from its Micro Four Thirds-partner Olympus, as well as in some Pentax DSLRs and the recently-launched Sony A7R III mirrorless camera. Panasonic's High Resolution mode, much like that used by Olympus, captures a total of eight shots in a couple of seconds, and then combines them for saving in RAW or JPEG formats. The final result is an 80.6-megapixel image which packs in significantly more detail than can be captured in a single shot at the camera's native 20.2-megapixel resolution.

A brand-new, much-improved body with SLR-like ergonomics and a take-anywhere nature

Of course, while image quality is key to a good camera, it's not the first thing you're going to notice when you take it out of the box. Compare it to its predecessors and the Panasonic G9 really grabs your attention with its completely new magnesium-alloy body, which is now not only splashproof and dustproof, but also freezeproof to 14°F (-10°C) too. Its chunkier handgrip up front and much more generous eyecup on back are the most obvious differences from earlier models, but it also sports a whopping 30 dedicated controls, up from 22 in the G85.

Panasonic G9 Review

The new chassis sports much-improved ergonomics and more than a few new features, with a generously-sized top-deck status LCD, an intuitive rear-panel joystick for AF point selection, and a triplet of dedicated white balance, ISO and exposure compensation buttons within easy reach of your shutter finger. It also features a lockable mode dial which sports a total of three Custom positions, one up from the G85's two positions. And there's a new front-deck function switch which allows you to quickly toggle back and forth between groups of seven different functions.

The rear-panel LCD is essentially unchanged from that of the G85. Its got a 3.0-inch diagonal, and a resolution of 1,040kdots. It's still attached to a side-mounted tilt/swivel mechanism, our favorite among many different LCD articulation mechanisms on the market for its added versatility, making it easy to get shots high in the air or low to the ground, regardless of their orientation.

Panasonic G9 Review

The Panasonic G9's new viewfinder offers class-leading magnification

And when you look even more closely, you'll find some less obvious improvements around the Panasonic G9's body, including dual UHS-II rated SD card slots, and an uprated electronic viewfinder that's still OLED-based with a manufacturer-claimed 100% coverage, but now sports a more generous 3,680kdot panel resolution, 0.83x magnification (35mm-equivalent) and 21mm eyepoint (from the viewfinder lens). That's as compared to 2,360kdots, 0.74x magnification and a 20mm eyepoint in the G85.

And the new finder also allows not just a blackout-free, user-selectable 60fps or 120fps refresh rate (the latter with an impressively minimal lag of just 0.005 seconds), but also allows control over magnification in three steps, should you wish to do so, perhaps because you want to hold your eye a little further from the eyepiece. Really, the only downside of the new EVF is that it has a more abbreviated dioptric correction range of -4 to +3 diopters, down from the -4 to +4 diopter range of the G85's finder.

Panasonic G9 Review
A noticeably bigger, heftier body, and a brand-new accessory grip

Of course, there's a price to pay for all these added controls and features. While it's still a fair bit smaller than the GH5, the Panasonic G9 is also significantly larger than was the G85 in every dimension, and it's a fair bit heftier, too.

At 5.4 x 3.8 x 3.6 inches, it's about a third of an inch wider, a third of an inch taller and two thirds of an inch deeper than its predecessor. And compared to the GH5, it's almost identical in width, a quarter of an inch less tall and half an inch less deep. In terms of weight, the 23.2-ounce (loaded and ready without a lens) Panasonic G9 is a pretty noticeable 5.4 ounces heavier than was the G85, and just 2.4 ounces lighter than the GH5.

Panasonic G9 Review

And of course, since the body is newer and larger than that of its predecessor, if you're upgrading from the G85, you'll also need to buy a new grip. The DMW-BGG9 grip you'll want is priced at around US$350 at launch.

Burst capture performance that's in a whole different league from the G85

If you are upgrading from the G85, though, you may find it rather easy to overlook the need for a new accessory or two here or there. That's because the Panasonic G9 is going to give you performance that puts it in an entirely different league from the earlier camera.

Panasonic G9 Review -- Product Image

Where the G85 was limited to around six frames per second with continuous autofocus or a reasonably swift nine to ten fps with focus fixed from the first frame, the Panasonic Lumix G9 will deliver a whopping 20 fps with continuous autofocus, and a seriously impressive 60 frames per second without, when using the electronic shutter. And that's not just at its full 20.2-megapixel resolution in JPEG format, but also when shooting in raw format, and you'll also find a fairly respectable 50-frame buffer for either format according to Panasonic.

That level of performance also blows the GH5 out of the water, incidentally. The more expensive (but also more video-centric) flagship model is rated at nine fps with continuous autofocus or 12 fps without (with no speed advantage when using the electronic shutter), though the G9 is rated at those same speeds when using the mechanical shutter. Both cameras have buffer depths rated at about 600 JPEGs or 60 raw frames at 12 fps or slower.

Point-dense autofocus that's claimed to deliver industry-leading performance

The Panasonic G9 sports a new Advanced Depth from Defocus (or Advanced DFD) autofocus system that's closely related to -- but actually said to slightly outperform -- that which we've seen previously in the GH5. As well as more than quadrupling the total number of autofocus points from 49 in the G85 to a whopping 225 in the Panasonic G9, the new autofocus system is said to better track subject motion and to be less prone to overshooting when camera to subject distance suddenly stops changing, especially when shooting in 4K and 6K Photo modes.

The new AF system also vaults the Lumix G9 to the top of the industry's league tables in terms of single-point autofocus, according to its maker. The time to achieve a focus lock is now said to be as little as 0.04 seconds, just a smidgen faster than the GH5's 0.05 seconds and the G85's 0.07 seconds. In part, the reason for this level of speed is that Panasonic now has the system operating at an extremely swift 480 samples per second.

Panasonic G9 Review

The Panasonic G9 also offers an uprated, more powerful stabilization system

The five-axis image stabilization system in the Panasonic G9 is another area where the camera bests not only its immediate predecessor, but also its flagship sibling. Although it uses the same gyro sensor as in the GH5, the use of new algorithms which take into account data from the accelerometer and even from the image sensor while determining a motion vector to stabilize mean that it can now calculate that vector more accurately. And what that means in the real world is that the system can now offer a manufacturer-claimed 6.5 stop corrective ability, a noticeable step forward from the 5-stop correction offered by the GH5 and G85.

To better stabilize longer lenses, the Panasonic DC-G9 can combine its in-camera, sensor shift-type stabilization system with the built-in optical stabilization system found in some lenses. This system is known as Dual I.S. 2 in Panasonic parlance, and will prove its worth when shooting at longer focal lengths, but you needn't use a lens with Dual I.S. 2 compatibility to gain the image stabilization's full corrective strength at wider angles, as Panasonic literature indicates a corrective strength of 6.5 stops even with unstabilized lenses.

Panasonic G9 Review

The Panasonic G9 offers plenty of other improvements, too

Other improvements in the Panasonic G9 include a new 6K Photo mode as seen previously in the GH5, mirroring in its functionality the earlier 4K Photo function from the G85 which remains available in the newer models as well. In a nutshell, the modes allow you to shoot video footage with a still-friendly shutter speed at 4K or 6K resolution, for high-res 8.3-megapixel or 18-megapixel frame extraction.

The 4K / 6K Photo mode also now offers a pre-burst photo function to allow you to get the shot even if it happened slightly before you pressed the shutter button. And there's a new top electronic shutter speed of 1/32,000-second, and the mechanical shutter, which tops out at 1/8,000-second has a rated life of 200,000 cycles, just as in the flagship GH5.

Panasonic G9 Review -- Product Image

There's a new night mode which can be applied separately to either the electronic viewfinder or LCD monitor, and which like the similar mode on recent Pentax DSLRs disables all but the red channel of the live view, image review, menus and overlays, so as to ensure the minimum possible disturbance to your night vision. And you can also now configure a 3-10x display enlargement around the selected autofocus point for easier visual confirmation of focus. In addition, you can assign custom functions to a button on your lens, loop from one side of the frame to the other when selecting AF points, and switch between autofocus points automatically when changing from portrait to landscape orientations or vice versa.

Not just stills, but video too

And while it's not aimed at video with quite the same focus as is the GH5 -- most notably, it does have a relatively short 10 minute clip length limit in 50/60p 4K mode, and a 30-minute limit at lower frame rates, it does still support capture of full sensor-width video with no pixel binning or skipping at both 1080p and 4K resolutions. The Panasonic G9 can, as alluded to just now, record 4K ultra high-def footage at up to 60 frames per second, and Full HD video at up to a whopping 180 fps.

USB charging gives you spectacular battery life on a shoestring budget
Panasonic G9 Review -- Product Image

For our money, one of the coolest features of the Panasonic G9 can be found in a rather unexpected area: Power supply.

Like many cameras, it supports charging battery packs in-camera via a USB charger cable, but it also allows USB power supply, with the camera capable of running completely off the power supplied to it from a USB connection. We measured ourselves, and found that the Panasonic G9 draws some 700-800mA when inactive, and typically stays under 900mA even when under load, only occasionally peaking at one amp.

At those rates, that means you could power the G9 with a 10,000mAh battery pack similar in size to a pack of playing cards and sold for as little as $25 which would give you battery life on the order of 11 hours or so. And with a rather larger 20,000mAH pack (which is about the same weight as two of the Canon LP-E19 batteries used in the EOS 1DX II), you could power the Panasonic G9 for close to an entire day.

Panasonic G9 Review -- Product Image

If you want to stretch the battery life even more, you can also activate a new Power Save LVF mode which puts the camera to sleep completely whenever you take the viewfinder away from your eye, and then requires a half-press of the shutter button to bring it back to life. Be doing so, which is easy if you just remind yourself to half-press the shutter button whenever you're raising the camera to your eye, you can more than double the rated battery life from 380 to 920 frames in conditions otherwise similar to the standard CIPA test.

Unusually modern wireless connectivity comes standard in the Panasonic G9

The Panasonic G9 includes both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi radios. The Bluetooth radio is a 4.2 Low Energy-unit that keeps power consumption to a gentle sip, allowing for an always-on connection. The Wi-Fi radio is unusual that, at least in some countries, it's both 2.4 and 5GHz-compatible and supports not just the 802.11b/g/n standards, but also the much faster 802.11a/n/ac standards as well.

Panasonic G9 Review -- Product Image

You can not only remote control the Panasonic G9 complete with a remote live view feed -- and even wake the camera remotely-- via Wi-Fi, but also remote control it without a live view feed using the much lower-power consumption Bluetooth radio to conserve battery life. Of course, you can also use the Bluetooth connection to your smartphone to geotag your images. And you can copy settings between camera bodies via your smartphone, a nice touch if you need to shoot with a random body assigned from a pool.

Wired connectivity is generously-specified too

And it's not just wireless communication that's unusually well-specified on the Panasonic G9. The wired connectivity has also been showered with love, with the new model providing a USB 3.0 Micro B connector compatible with the original-spec USB 3.0 SuperSpeed (Gen 1) standard. Catering to external recording and tethered playback, the G9 also has a Type-A HDMI port. Output is 4:2:2 at 8 bits, except for 4K 60p which is 4:2:0. Of course, the G9 includes 3.5mm external stereo mic and headphone jacks, a 2.5mm remote control port, and a PC-sync socket.

Panasonic G9 Review

Panasonic G9 price and availability

The Panasonic G9 will be sold body-only in the US market, priced at around $1,700. It's expected to start shipping from early January 2018. The camera ships with a single battery pack, a USB-powered dedicated battery charger, an AC/USB adapter, USB 2.0 & USB 3.0 cables, shoulder strap, eye cup, body cap, flash sync socket cover, hot-shoe cover, and manuals. As mentioned previously, you can expect to pay US$350 for its optionally-available battery grip accessory.

 

Panasonic G9 Hands-on First Impressions

A preliminary field test with Panasonic's photo-centric flagship camera

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Panasonic G9 Review
Panasonic LEICA DG 100-400mm f/4.0-6.3: 100mm, f/4, 1/400s, ISO 320, +0.3EV
Introduction

For Panasonic, the GH5 has been a tremendously successful camera, especially for the video creators out there. Packed with professional-level video features, I think many folks forget that it also shoots terrific photographs. With the new Lumix G9, it seems Panasonic themselves feels there is room in their lineup for a second flagship model, one that is, in fact, more focused on still photography as opposed to video -- though it's still packed with lots of video features.

Ahead of its debut, I was able to spend a few days shooting with this new top-tier Micro Four Thirds camera, and wanted to share some of my initial thoughts from the field. And although the camera body is still in the early firmware stages, it feels very stable and bug-free from my experience so far. We've also been given the green light to publish full-resolution images from the camera. (Head over to the G9 Gallery and Lab Samples pages if you want to begin browsing images.) As I said, I've only had a few days to shoot with the Panasonic G9, so the isn't a comprehensive Field Test, but rather more of "hands-on first impressions" that delves into the camera's ergonomics and design as well as touches on an initial assessment of its image quality and performance. We will, of course, test and compare the camera much more thoroughly in the coming days and weeks, so please stay tuned!

Panasonic G9 Review
Design and Build Quality

In the hand, the Panasonic G9 feels really great, with a large, full grip that fits nicely into my hand. Panasonic also used a new leather-like grip material that's a lot more textured than that on the GH5 and really makes it "stick" and feel secure in your hand. Like a lot of flagship cameras, the G9 is certainly not lacking when it comes to physical controls and dials and includes both front and rear control dials as well as a control wheel on the back.

Talking about the design itself for a moment, the Panasonic G9 is interesting in that it's yet another "large" Micro Four Thirds mirrorless camera. For example, we saw a size increase from the Olympus E-M1 to the Mark II, and the Panasonic GH series has always been fairly large, especially from the GH3 and newer. The GH5, in particular, is practically the same size as a mid-range DSLR such as the Nikon D7500, for example. The Panasonic G9 follows a similar form-factor. In fact, the hand grip of the G9 feels larger or fuller in my hand than the D7500's. While the G9's heft feels great in the hand -- and helps it stay balanced and more comfortable when using longer, heavier lenses -- I find it interesting that, in a way, it negates the inherent benefit of the Micro Four Thirds system: that of a smaller camera. Now, to be fair, you do get a massive advantage when it comes to the lens system. Micro Four Thirds lenses are far and away significantly smaller than their DSLR counterparts. So while the body of the G9 is not much smaller than that of an average DSLR, the lenses you're carrying around certainly are.

Panasonic G9 Review

As mentioned, given the G9's larger body size, there's ample room for lots of controls and buttons. The G9 offers numerous Function buttons and the ability to reconfigure most of the controls to suit your shooting style. For example, I assigned the front control dial to adjust aperture or shutter speed, depending on which Priority shooting mode I was in, but then I have the rear thumb control dial assigned for exposure compensation. Meanwhile, I had the rear scroll wheel control set to instantly adjust the size of the AF point or AF point groupings. I was also able to reassign one of the two front-facing Fn buttons (the GH5 only has one front Fn button) as a shortcut to the new High-Res shooting mode, letting me avoid constantly navigating through the menus.

Panasonic G9 Review

For the first time in a Panasonic mirrorless camera, the G9 sports a top-deck LCD panel, just like a higher-end DSLR. It's a small detail in the grand scheme of things, but I really like having that extra info screen to quickly see important shooting and exposure info. It's something I miss having on other mirrorless cameras. To make room for the LCD panel, Panasonic moved the primary mode dial over to the left of the EVF, and rather than hiding drive mode settings in a menu, the G9 uses a two-tiered control dial: PASM shooting modes on top, with a smaller drive mode dial underneath. Nice.

The Panasonic G9 also includes the joystick control button that we saw introduced on the GH5. In theory, this is a control I really like, as I use it to quickly move the AF point. However, I'm not a big fan of the feel of the G9's joystick control. For one, there's not a lot of "resistance" to the button press, so it's easy to press accidentally and thus reset the AF point back to the center inadvertently. I also found that it was rather slow to move the AF points in non-linear directions. If you press and hold the joystick control either left or right, or up and down, you can quickly move the AF point in a straight line, but if you want to move it diagonally, it feels very sluggish. In the field, this was annoying, as I often wanted to quickly adjust the position of the AF point to fit a certain composition of a bird or other skittish animal, and I felt like it took longer than necessary to move the AF point across the 225 available AF areas and put it exactly where I wanted it. It felt faster to take the camera down from my eye, tap the screen to the move the AF point, and then move the camera back up to my eye.

Panasonic G9 Review

Apart from the fiddly joystick control, I really like the Panasonic G9's design and ergonomics. It feels great in the hand, the magnesium alloy body definitely feels sturdy and rugged, and there are a plethora of physical controls so you can keep shooting and minimize menu diving. The G9's electronic viewfinder is very large and very sharp, giving you a wide, full view of your scene, and the rear LCD is equally crisp with responsive touch functionality. I would have personally preferred a tilting LCD rather than a vari-angle design, but I can adapt.

Panasonic G9 Review

Battery life, so far, has been excellent. The G9 uses the same beefy battery pack as the GH5, and I found a single battery lasting me an entire day. The G9 also incorporates the battery-saving "Power Save LVF Shooting" mode we first saw in the G85. Like the G85, you need to have a couple parameters set properly to make it work: make sure the EVF's eye sensor is enabled, then toggle through the rear LCD's various display modes to the settings display option. Once set, the eye sensor will automatically detect that the camera is away from your eye after the specified number of seconds you selected and puts the camera into a sleep mode. In practice, this worked very well, and the camera instantly woke back up after half-pressing the shutter release. By comparison, I often let my E-M1 II auto-sleep after a short period of inactivity. Sometimes a half-press of the shutter will wake up the camera, but other times not, and I'll have to power the camera off and on again in order to resume shooting quickly. With the G9, however, the "power save" feature worked perfectly every time, instantly coming back to life when I was ready to shoot.

Panasonic G9 Review
Panasonic LEICA DG 100-400mm f/4.0-6.3: 300mm, f/5.7, 1/640s, ISO 4000

One of my favorite photo subjects is wildlife, and it often helps being as quiet as possible. One of the benefits to most modern mirrorless cameras is the ability to shoot completely silently thanks to a fully electronic shutter mode. The Panasonic G9 is no exception. In fact, right out of the box, the G9 lets you start shooting silently even without looking at a menu. On the front of the camera, there's a small two-mode dial switch, which by default toggles between normal shooting mode and an all-silent mode. Flip to Mode 2, and the G9's AF beep is turned off and the electronic shutter is enabled. It's very handy. However, if you want to use the mechanical shutter, the G9's is very quiet already, making a nice, soft "click" when firing a shot and feels very similar to that of the G85.

Panasonic G9 Review
Panasonic LEICA DG 12-60mm f/2.8-4.0: 40mm, f/3.9, 1/2500s, ISO 200, +0.3EV
Image Quality

Although we've just begun our testing of the Panasonic G9, from the initial batch of images I've shot so far, this new flagship Lumix camera is capable of capturing very pleasing photos with lots of fine detail and fairly impressive high ISO performance. The G9 is also the first Panasonic camera to offer a multi-shot (pixel-shift) High-Resolution mode, offering final images at up to 80.6 megapixels.

Panasonic G9 Review
Panasonic LEICA DG 12-60mm f/2.8-4.0: 60mm, f/4, 1/125s, ISO 200

The G9 uses the same 20.3MP sensor as the GH5, though Panasonic says the image processing has been fine-tuned for improved image quality. With the camera being so new, the RAW files aren't yet compatible with third-party photo editing software, so I've only made image quality assessments from the JPEGs at this point in time. So far, from what I've seen, G9 images at low ISOs display tons of fine detail. Examining wide landscape images, I was able to zoom-in and see lots of small, minute detail even in far-off objects of the scene, even with standard resolution images.

Panasonic G9 Review
Panasonic G9 Review
Panasonic LEICA DG 12-60mm f/2.8-4.0: 60mm, f/6.3, 1/500s, ISO 200, +0.3EV

Although low ISO images can display lots of crisp detail, I found the G9's JPEG images can still have an odd "digital" look. It wasn't obvious in every photo, but sometimes noise reduction processing (even at base ISO) is visible on background out-of-focus areas or other softer or low-contrast areas. Again, I'm basing all this just on in-camera JPEGs (at camera default picture style settings), but it can look a bit unnatural at close-inspection with a kind of artificial-looking smoothing of detail. JPEG sharpening also felt a bit too strong for my taste, depending on the subject.

Panasonic G9 Review
Panasonic G9 Review
Panasonic G9 Review
Panasonic LEICA DG 12-60mm f/2.8-4.0: 60mm, f/4, 1/1250s, ISO 200, -0.3EV
Notice the pleasing fine detail in the crop around the lizard's (anole) head, but then just further down its body, which is slightly out of focus, the image processing shows rather heavy processing with unnatural smoothing and detail loss.

Like many recent cameras, the G9's sensor does not use an optical low-pass filter, letting it capture more fine detail but at the risk of moiré and other aliasing artifacts. It's likely that the in-camera JPEG processing is designed to remove some of these artifacts, but I was still able to observe it in certain scenes, though not to a severe extent.

Panasonic G9 Review
Panasonic G9 Review

Panasonic LEICA DG 12-60mm f/2.8-4.0: 12mm, f/4.5, 1/500s, ISO 200, +0.3EV
With the lack of an optical low-pass filter on the sensor, it is possible to generate moiré and other aliasing artifacts on certain subjects/patterns.

Given its Four Thirds sensor, the Panasonic G9 is at a disadvantage when it comes to high ISO performance and low-light shooting compared to cameras with larger sensors, all else equal. That being said, I was rather impressed with the level of detail I could capture even at ISOs I'd normally avoid with Micro Four Thirds cameras. Over this past weekend, not only did I have to deal with heavy overcast weather conditions, but also using the Panasonic Leica 100-400mm lens in forested areas, which opens to a maximum of f/6.3 at 400mm. Needless to say, I was often cranking the ISO to get usable shots in these situations. As for overall image quality, yes, noise reduction processing is clearly visible in the JPEG images, however, the camera's processing does a really nice job of preserving finer details -- especially higher contrast detail -- while keeping noise under control.

Panasonic G9 Review
Panasonic LEICA DG 100-400mm f/4.0-6.3: 300mm, f/5.7, 1/640s, ISO 8000
High-Res Mode

As mentioned earlier, the Panasonic G9 is the first Lumix camera to offer a pixel-shift High Resolution shooting mode, offering up to an 80.6-megapixel image with both RAW and JPEG files. The G9 takes eight separate frames in quick succession and composites the individual frames together in-camera. Like other pixel-shift high-res modes from other camera makers, the G9's comes with similar limitations, or rather, appropriate use-cases. The high-res mode on the G9 is best suited for still life, architecture or certain landscape subjects without any moving subject matter. Given the multi-shot nature of this shooting mode, if there are moving objects, or you're not shooting from a stationary position, the composite image can contain lots of artifacts from improper stitching.

Panasonic G9 Review
Panasonic G9 Review Panasonic G9 Review
Panasonic LEICA DG 12-60mm f/2.8-4.0: 12mm, f/5.6, 1/500s, ISO 200, +0.6EV
In this High-Res shot, static features, such as the brick, come across with tremendous detail, but even subtle moving objects like the flag and trees are blurry and/or show image stitching artifacts.

When done correctly, the Panasonic G9's High-Res mode captures an amazing level of detail. It is tricky to use; everything has to be perfectly still in order for it to be truly crisp and sharp. Even subtle movement like moving leaves on a tree can come out blurry or improperly composited. But, if you're careful with what you shoot, you can capture some stunning photos.

Autofocus

To finish up, I want to briefly touch on my experience so far with autofocus performance of the G9. As I've said, we've only just started testing the camera, and I, personally, have only shot with the camera for a couple of days, but so far the G9's autofocus performance is quite impressive, especially for single-shot AF (AF-S). Like the GH5, the Panasonic G9 uses a contrast-detect AF system with "Advanced DFD" technology. Panasonic claims the G9's AF-S autofocus is slightly faster than the GH5's, at 0.04s compared to 0.05s. With AF-S, the G9 focused nearly instantaneously. With both near and far subjects, the G9 acquired accurate focus immediately, and overall, I did not experience any issues regarding single-shot AF.

Panasonic G9 Review
Panasonic LEICA DG 100-400mm f/4.0-6.3: 400mm, f/6.3, 1/640s, ISO 400, +0.3EV

The G9 adds a handy "AF-Point Scope" feature, which lets you quickly toggle a magnified view around the AF area (both on-screen and in the EVF) to make sure focus is precisely where you want it. By default, the camera assigns this to the top front-facing function button, making it very easy to activate while the camera is still up at your eye. The G9 now also has the ability to remember different AF area positions depending on whether you're shooting vertically or horizontally, which is really nice.

Now, when it comes to Continuous AF performance, this is an area I need to explore further with production-level firmware before I make any definitive judgment calls. The G9 incorporates the GH5's "Advanced DFD" technology but the performance has been tweaked even further, according to Panasonic, and also utilizes two times faster processing -- 480fps calculations compared to 240fps. The updated C-AF system also allows the G9 to shoot up to 20fps with the electronic shutter while continuously focusing -- a major upgrade over the 9fps rate of the GH5.

So far, I've only briefly used C-AF with some small wildlife subjects, and the G9 worked quite well. Now, keep in mind that this was only on subjects that, while moving, were only moving sporadically and over short distances -- nothing was particularly challenging for the camera. I plan to test the G9's C-AF capabilities more thoroughly and with more challenging subjects in an upcoming field test. Panasonic puts some bold claims on its C-AF performance, so it bears a closer look. It will be very interesting to see how the G9 stacks up against phase-detect-capable competitors!

Panasonic G9 Review
Panasonic LEICA DG 100-400mm f/4.0-6.3: 350mm, f/5.9, 1/640s, ISO 4000
Summary

Overall I've been quite impressed with the Panasonic G9. Its beefy, weather-sealed construction seems large for a Micro Four Thirds camera, but it nevertheless feels great in the hand and balances nicely with big and small lenses alike. Plus, its enthusiast- and pro-level amenities like dual UHS-II card slots, joystick control, top-deck status LCD, excellent battery life and extensive control customization really make the G9 feel like a solid, versatile, flagship camera.

Sporting the same 20MP sensor as the GH5, the overall image quality does not appear drastically different, but the G9 is certainly capable of capturing rich, detailed images at both low and higher ISOs. Our performance testing with production-level firmware is still forth-coming, but so far, the camera feels nimble and fast in my experience. All in all, the Panasonic G9 is shaping up to be one impressive camera and a nice photo-centric compliment to the video-heavy GH5, and perhaps a challenging rival to the Olympus E-M1 Mark II.

 

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$1997.99 (15% more)

20.3 MP

Also has viewfinder

Similar size

G9 vs GH5

$1799.00 (6% more)

20.4 MP

Also has viewfinder

45% smaller

G9 vs E-M1 II

$897.99 (89% less)

16 MP (27% less)

Also has viewfinder

44% smaller

G9 vs G85

$897.99 (89% less)

16.05 MP (26% less)

Also has viewfinder

17% smaller

G9 vs GH4

$997.99 (70% less)

20.3 MP

Also has viewfinder

86% smaller

G9 vs GX8

$599.00 (183% less)

19.61 MP

Also has viewfinder

Similar size

G9 vs sd Quattro

$497.99 (241% less)

16 MP (27% less)

Also has viewfinder

46% smaller

G9 vs G7

$929.00 (83% less)

24.2 MP (16% more)

Also has viewfinder

95% smaller

G9 vs EOS M5

$1499.00 (13% less)

24.3 MP (16% more)

Also has viewfinder

104% smaller

G9 vs X-T2

$649.00 (162% less)

16.1 MP (26% less)

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143% smaller

G9 vs E-M10 III

$999.00 (70% less)

25.56 MP (21% more)

Also has viewfinder

Similar size

G9 vs sd Quattro H

$1499.00 (13% less)

24.3 MP (16% more)

Also has viewfinder

129% smaller

G9 vs X-Pro2

$799.00 (113% less)

16.1 MP (26% less)

Also has viewfinder

161% smaller

G9 vs E-M5 II

$1699.00

16.3 MP (25% less)

Also has viewfinder

126% smaller

G9 vs X-T1 IR

$549.00 (209% less)

16.1 MP (26% less)

Also has viewfinder

163% smaller

G9 vs E-M10 II

$1099.00 (55% less)

28.2 MP (28% more)

Also has viewfinder

31% smaller

G9 vs NX1

$974.00 (74% less)

16.3 MP (25% less)

Also has viewfinder

126% smaller

G9 vs X-T1

$1198.00 (42% less)

24.2 MP (16% more)

Also has viewfinder

185% smaller

G9 vs A6500

$849.50 (100% less)

20.3 MP

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141% smaller

G9 vs NX30

$799.00 (113% less)

24.3 MP (16% more)

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G9 vs X-T20

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