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Panasonic Lumix G9 review: A mirrorless moulded to the needs of still-shooters
- Night mode
- Shoulder-mounted information display
- 6.5-stop stablization
- 0.04-second autofocus
- Weather-sealed design
- Videographic capabilities not as robust as GH5
The Lumix G9 doesn’t hit the same highs as the a9 but, if you’re scared by the price-tag of the latter, this is a more-than-serviceable alternative at a third of the price.
Price$ 2,499.00 (AUD)
As mentioned above, the Lumix G9 really does feel like it fell off the same production line as the GH5 when it comes to feel and form-factor. At least, at first glance. Once you start to spent a bit more time getting to know this camera, it quickly becomes clear that - despite the common ground - there are plenty of points of difference between the two.
As you’d expect, the metal frame lends the unit about as much heaviness as it does sturdiness. However, subverting expectations a little, the EVF actually comes with a 0.83x magnification ratio on the display that can be toggled between 0.7x and 0.77x - potentially making it a better fit for glasses-wearers. Still, the G9 is actually a little lighter than its indirect ancestor (579g vs 645g).
There’s a fair bit of consolidation on Panasonic’s part here. They’ve stacked the shooting mode and drive dials atop one another and relocated the main on/off switch to share space with the record button. The wheel previously mounted atop the GH5’s right shoulder has also been bumped down a notch, incorporating itself into the body of the camera.
Of course, beyond these ergonomic tweaks, the biggest thing that the G9 has going for it over the GH5 is a sense of moreishness. It’s everything the GH5 was - plus a little more. The GH5 had five stops of compensation. The G9 has six and a half. The GH5 had 0.05-second autofocus. The G9 has a 0.04-second autofocus. You get the idea.
Still, there are a few areas where the differences are a little more significant and pronounced. The GH5 had an electronic shutter mode but the G9 does a better job of actually leveraging this capability to offer up to 20FPS with continuous autofocus and AE, and up to 60FPS with the focus locked on a blackout-free EVF - making it a natural (and more affordable) challenger to Sony’s a9.
Panasonic also claim that, while the G9 and GH5 do share a more-or-less identical kit when it comes to sensors, several advancements have been made to the company’s Venus Engine 10 processor. These are said to allow for more accurate color reproduction compared to the GH5, specifically when it comes to skies and skin tones. As someone, who has spent time with both cameras - the results didn’t seem hugely different.
The Lumix-G9 also touts a new ‘Night Mode’. This toggles on the backlight for the aforementioned secondary LCD display on the shoulder of the G9. It also disables the green and blue channel for both the main LCD display and the EVF. The idea here is that you’re able to minimize any interference from the screen’s backlight and accrue more accurate results during darker or nocturnal shoots.
Finally, the G9 can also draw power directly to the battery via USB 3.0, potentially making it better for long, continuous shoots than the GH5 was. At least, out of the box. That said, there are a lot of videography-specific draws to the GH5 that are absent in the G9 - such as 10-bit 4:2:2 internal recording, 6K anamorphic, V-Log L and HDR gamma profiles.
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