Panasonic G9 High Resolution Mode

The Panasonic G9's new high resolution multi-shot composite mode, much like that used by some Olympus Micro Four Thirds cameras, captures a total of eight shots while performing half-pixel shifts between them, and then combines them into an up to 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.

Current 20-megapixel Olympus models that support this mode (the E-M1 II and PEN-F) are limited to 50-megapixel in-camera composite JPEGs, though you can generate 80.6-megapixel images from raw files using computer software. Recent Pentax DSLRs as well as the Sony A7R III mirrorless camera also offer pixel-shift high-res composite modes, but both those brands take only four shots and shift entire pixels between frames, so the final image dimensions are the same as the native image size. However detail and color resolution are improved since data is captured for each color separately and thus Bayer interpolation is not required. Unlike Olympus, Panasonic and Pentax models, the Sony A7R III can't combine the four images in-camera, though, requiring software processing of the raw files after the fact on a computer.

The G9 always uses its fully electronic shutter to avoid shutter shock in High Resolution mode, however we did notice it seemed more sensitive to tiny vibrations than other cameras, occasionally producing toothed edges and artifacts even when mounted on a sturdy tripod and employing the 15 second shutter delay feature to let shutter button-press vibrations die down before beginning the sequence. Sometimes it required multiple attempts to get an artifact-free image. And of course, you'll need to have a static subject if you want to avoid motion artifacts.

Shutter speeds supported in this mode are 1 to 1/32,000 sec, minimum aperture is limited to f/11, ISO range is 100 to 1600 and you need to use AF-S or manual focus. Available options in this mode are Picture Size (XL produces 80.6-megapixel images while LL is for 39.9MP at 4:3 aspect ratio; 16:9, 3:2 and 1:1 aspect ratios are also supported), Quality (JPEG, RAW or RAW+JPEG), Simultaneously Record Normal Shot (On/Off), and Shutter Delay (selectable from a range of 1/8s to 30s in 8 steps, plus Off). Flash is not supported in High Resolution mode (nor in any other electronic shutter mode).

Below we compare our Still Life target taken with the G9's 80.6 MP High Resolution mode (firmware v1.1) to the Olympus E-M1 II's High Res Shot mode, as well as to the Pixel Shift modes of the Pentax K-1 II and Sony A7R III, all at base ISO. See our G9 Samples page for additional high resolution shots at ISOs up to 1600.

Panasonic G9 vs Olympus E-M1 II High Res Mode (in-camera JPEG) at Base ISO

100% crop from the Panasonic G9 at ISO 200 (in-camera JPEG)
100% crop from the Olympus E-M1 II at ISO 200 (in-camera JPEG)
100% crop from the Panasonic G9 at ISO 200 (in-camera JPEG)
100% crop from the Olympus E-M1 II at ISO 200 (in-camera JPEG)
100% crop from the Panasonic G9 at ISO 200 (in-camera JPEG)
100% crop from the Olympus E-M1 II at ISO 200 (in-camera JPEG)

Above we compare the G9's 80.6-megapixel in-camera JPEG to the Olympus E-M1 Mark II's 50-megapixel in-camera JPEG. As you can see, the G9's image is much larger in scale as well as more detailed because of the higher resolution. The G9 images also appears crisper in the mosaic crop and fabrics, while both cameras produce visible sharpening haloes as can be seen in the bottle shoulder crop. And of course, color is different which each company's unique color mapping. Looking very closely, the Olympus also shows higher luminance noise levels in flatter areas than the Panasonic (default noise reduction used). Impressive results from both cameras, but the G9 comes out ahead here.


Panasonic G9 vs Olympus E-M1 II High Res Mode (via Olympus Viewer 3) at Base ISO

100% crop from the Panasonic G9 at ISO 200 (in-camera JPEG)
100% crop from the Olympus E-M1 II at ISO 200 (via Olympus Viewer 3)
100% crop from the Panasonic G9 at ISO 200 (in-camera JPEG)
100% crop from the Olympus E-M1 II at ISO 200 (via Olympus Viewer 3)
100% crop from the Panasonic G9 at ISO 200 (in-camera JPEG)
100% crop from the Olympus E-M1 II at ISO 200 (via Olympus Viewer 3)

Here we decided to compare the G9's 80.6-megapixel in-camera JPEG to an Olympus E-M1 II high-resolution raw file converted with Olympus Viewer 3 software using default settings to generate at 80.6-megapixel JPEG. As expected, this time the scale is very similar (just a slight difference due to framing) but the Panasonic still managed to produce a crisper image with more detail and lower noise.


Panasonic G9 vs Pentax K-1 II High Res Mode (in-camera JPEG) at Base ISO

100% crop from the Panasonic G9 at ISO 200 (in-camera JPEG)
100% crop from Pentax K-1 II Pixel Shift Resolution mode (in-camera JPEG) at ISO 100
100% crop from the Panasonic G9 at ISO 200 (in-camera JPEG)
100% crop from Pentax K-1 II Pixel Shift Resolution mode (in-camera JPEG) at ISO 100
100% crop from the Panasonic G9 at ISO 200 (in-camera JPEG)
100% crop from Pentax K-1 II Pixel Shift Resolution mode (in-camera JPEG) at ISO 100

Above we compare the G9's 80.6-megapixel High Resolution in-camera JPEG to the Pentax K-1 II's in-camera Pixel-Shift JPEG. As mentioned previously, the Pentax K-1 II takes 4 images and shifts them by entire pixels instead of 8 images shifted by half-pixels, so the image size is the same as the K-1 II's native size of 36.2 megapixels. However because no color interpolation is required, the K-1 II's Pixel Shift mode captures noticeably more detail with fewer artifacts than its single-shot mode. In fact, the detail in the K-1 II image rivals and even exceeds that of the G9 image, though it does look a little rough and pixilated. Noise in flatter areas is also higher from the Pentax despite the lower base ISO, but it is very fine-grained. And of course, color response is quite different, with the K-1 II producing a much more saturated image with its default "Bright" image tone.


Panasonic G9 vs Sony A7R III High Res Mode (via Sony Image Edge) at Base ISO

100% crop from the Panasonic G9 at ISO 200 (in-camera JPEG)
100% crop of Sony A7R III Pixel Shift Multi Shooting mode at ISO 100
100% crop from the Panasonic G9 at ISO 200 (in-camera JPEG)
100% crop of Sony A7R III Pixel Shift Multi Shooting mode at ISO 100
100% crop from the Panasonic G9 at ISO 200 (in-camera JPEG)
100% crop of Sony A7R III Pixel Shift Multi Shooting mode at ISO 100

Here we compare the G9's 80.6-megapixel in-camera JPEG with a Sony A7R III Pixel Shift Multi Shooting mode JPEG generated using Sony's free Image Edge software, again using default settings. As mentioned, like the K-1 II, the A7R III takes 4 images, shifting them by entire pixels, so the image size is the same as the camera's native resolution of 42.2 megapixels. Also note that the Sony can't process the Pixel Shift image in-camera, instead saving the 4 raw images for processing on a computer. As you can see, the A7R III image is very crisp and also appears to capture detail that exceeds that of the G9's High Resolution mode, but it too looks a little pixilated with higher noise levels.

 



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