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Panasonic Lumix G9 aims high with pro-level features

Create: 12/28/2017 - 11:12
Panasonic Lumix G9

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 20.3-MP Live MOS Micro Four Thirds sensor
  • Manual and electronic shutters, allowing for 60 frames per second still photo capture
  • Intended buyer: Serious amateurs and professionals

Panasonic has a new flagship mirrorless G camera, and it’s the Lumix G9.

Keep in mind that although Panasonic has never expressly stated so, it has two top-of-the-line mirrorless cameras: the G for still photographers and the GH for videographers.

The Lumix G9 takes advantage of the latest advances in digital photography, which show up in its specifications.

Like Panasonic's other Lumix cameras, the G9 uses a Micro Four Thirds sensor, which is half the size of a full-frame sensor. This means that lens focal lengths should be doubled to get the full-frame equivalent. The camera also uses the Micro Four Thirds mount, which is shared by Olympus cameras. This allows for the use of lenses from both camera makers, as well as those offered by third-party companies.

HI-RESOLUTION CAPTURE

The Lumix G9 has a 20.3-MP Live MOS sensor that has the ability to record an 80-MP image by capturing and merging eight photos into a single image.

Visually, the Lumix G9 has a decidedly professional look with a more aggressive appearance that features sharp angles on the front of the viewfinder housing and a large hand grip. The camera has both a 3.0-inch Live View LCD touchscreen monitor and an OLED electronic viewfinder with a high 120 frames per second refresh rate, which should provide for stutter-free viewing and shooting.

RAW and JPG images, as well as video, are saved to SD cards. The Lumix G9 has two memory card slots, which allow for simultaneous or sequential storage. Both slots can accept the high-speed UHS-II memory cards, which are required for recording 4K video.

The Lumix G9 has five-axis image stabilization, which can work in conjunction with image-stabilized lenses for recording still images and video.

MANUAL, ELECTRONIC SHUTTERS

There are electronic and manual shutters with the manual shutter having a speed range of 1/8,000 to 60 seconds plus B and the electronic shutter having a range of 1/32,000 to one second.

Panasonic says the manual shutter’s life is rated for 200,000 actuations.

It can shoot at up to 12 frames per second with the manual shutter and 20 frames per second with the electronic shutter.

Perhaps in a nod to optical digital SLRs, the Lumix G9 has a top-mounted LCD panel that displays pertinent exposure information. That’s a feature that has disappeared with mirrorless cameras, which have very thin bodies and don’t provide enough space for a top-mounted LCD panel.

4K VIDEO AND MORE

Although the Lumix GH5 is the favorite among videographers, the Lumix G9 is no slouch when it comes to shooting video. The G9 is able to record 4K video at 60p, as well as high-speed 60 frames per second at that resolution and 180 frames per second at Full HD resolution.

There are jacks for a microphone and headphone, as well as HDMI and USB 3.0 Gen. 1 Micro-B ports.

The Lumix G9 is capable of shooting in inclimate conditions with all buttons, switches, joints and doors sealed and the ability to operate in temperatures as low as -10 degrees Fahrenheit.

There is no built-in flash. The camera has a hot shoe, and flash synchronization is 1/250 with first- and second-curtain synchronization.

BATTERY CAPACITY, NEW GRIP

The battery is rated for a maximum of 400 images using Live View (380 with the electronic viewfinder). A new battery grip, DMW-BGG9 (US$347.99), is available. In addition to holding a second battery and doubling shooting capacity, it also provides a shutter release for shooting portraits and replicates some of the Lumix G9’s other controls to make them quickly accessible when shooting vertically.

There is no software provided in the box. Instead, the RAW image editor, SILKYPIX Developer Studio, needs to be downloaded. The full manual also needs to be downloaded.

The Lumix G9 is 5.4 x 3.8 x 3.6 inches (136.9 x 97.3 x 91.6mm) and weighs about 1.5 pounds (658 grams).

The body only (it is not being sold with a lens) will be available in mid-January 2018 and will cost US$1,699.99.

About the Author

Mike Elek is a longtime journalist and was one of the original editors for The Wall Street Journal Online. He also has worked as a reporter and editor in Pittsburgh; Philadelphia; Vineland, N.J.; Poughkeepsie, N.Y.; New York City; and Hong Kong. He is a U.S. Air Force veteran. He shoots with film and digital cameras.