Panasonic G9 II mirrorless camera review


Panasonic’s 25.2-megapixel Lumix G9 II arrived with plenty of fanfare, because it’s the corporate’s first Micro 4 Thirds digicam with hybrid part detection autofocus. From day considered one of its launch, Panasonic has promoted it as the perfect small-sensor wildlife and motion digicam, because of its ultra-fast 60fps capturing speeds and comparatively excessive decision.

Nevertheless, I (and others) have observed that it holds plenty of promise for content material creators as properly. Tremendous Hybrid AF can be higher for video than earlier fashions and provides as much as 5.8K video at 60p, 4K at 120p, superb stabilization, and even SSD ProRes seize. On paper, it is superior to the corporate’s vlog-oriented GH6, though it lacks the latter’s fan and another minor options.

This provides the second group of 9 a little bit of an id disaster. Is it the right digicam for content material creation, a shooter’s dream, or the right hybrid digicam? To seek out out, I’ve a retail digicam with the ultimate manufacturing firmware and help for RAW photographs.


Bodily, the full-frame G9 II resembles the S5 II greater than the six-year-old G9. Gone is the G9’s sleeker, rounder design, changed by a extra angular and stable physique. It is comparatively giant for a Micro 4 Thirds digicam, at 658g (the OM-1 system weighs 599g), though it is precisely the identical heft as the unique G9.

The design is extra practical than fairly, however I just like the practicality of it. The grooved deal with is safe, and has all of the controls you want, together with a joystick, entrance, rear and rear management dials, a setting dial, a capturing dial and several other buttons. A couple of issues have modified from the G9, the twin dial on the left is now only a single capturing dial, the on/off change is in a greater location and homes the entrance going through capturing dial. That is now typical of Panasonic cameras, so in case you’re used to fashions just like the GH5, you may rapidly adapt.

The menus are straightforward to make use of too, however I want they’d a devoted picture/video change with separate controls. For instance, in case you set V-log to video, that setting will carry over to photographs as properly — and also you positively don’t need that. To separate photographs and movies, you may want to make use of one of many devoted “C” dial settings.

The 1,840k-dot LCD display screen absolutely speaks for vloggers and self-photographers, in fact, and most controls can be found by the touchscreen. It comes with a 3680k-dot OLED viewfinder which is on par with different cameras on this value vary, such because the X-T5 from Fujifilm. I might want the EVF to have a bit extra decision on the primary digicam, particularly for chook images, however it’s not dangerous.

The G9 II makes use of the identical battery because the S5 II, permitting for 390 common pictures on a cost. Nevertheless, video endurance is healthier than the GH6, lasting round 100 minutes at 4K and 60p.

The function I did not count on was SSD recording. This lets you report high-bandwidth ProRes recordsdata to an exterior drive through the USB-C port. It requires some fiddling, however it’s a good time saver, as you may edit recordsdata straight with out having to transform code. It additionally has a pair of UHS-II SD card slots, however no help for CFexpress just like the GH6.

There is a full-size HDMI port, however the G9 II would not but help RAW video recording. You additionally get microphone and headphone jacks, in addition to a USB-C port that helps 10Gbps switch speeds and quick PD charging.


Panasonic G9 II mirrorless camera review
Steve Dent for Engadget

With a brand new sensor and processor, the G9 II is a pace demon – however that is Panasonic’s first crack at part detection autofocus. This reveals up at occasions, by points like occasional lag and an AI function set that’s missing compared to opponents.

It may well shoot RAW in addition to JPEG footage utilizing the mechanical shutter at as much as 10fps, or 60fps within the SH60’s digital shutter mode with steady autofocus. In case you do not want that form of pace (and don’t need the buffer to replenish too rapidly), it additionally provides 20fps in digital mode. Panasonic has additionally launched a pre-burst mode, which repeatedly cycles burst pictures over 1.5 seconds earlier than you absolutely press the shutter – serving to you get the shot even in case you’re a bit gradual.

It has a big buffer that permits greater than three bursts at 60 fps and continuous capturing with the mechanical shutter. Nevertheless, it takes longer than different cameras to clear the buffer—as much as a minute in some circumstances—partly as a result of gradual SD ports. This may be very annoying, because the digicam successfully stops working whereas the buffer is cleared.

Panasonic G9 II mirrorless camera review
Steve Dent for Engadget

Nonetheless, that form of pace is spectacular – offered the autofocus holds. Luckily, the G9 II’s new part detection system is usually as much as the duty. When capturing at 60fps with eye detection enabled, the overwhelming majority of my pictures had been out of focus with a topic operating towards the digicam.

It wasn’t fairly as dependable for distant topics when utilizing Panasonic’s new 200-800mm equal telephoto lens, and it did not initially lock in as rapidly as I might like. Nevertheless, eye-detecting AF was usually dependable for each people and animals. It lacks a bird-specific setting, however the system appears to robotically change between birds and deer, for instance, in case you’re capturing within the woods.

It may well additionally observe bikes and vehicles, and whereas I have not examined it on the previous, it does a great job of monitoring autos. There is no ‘auto’ setting such as you’ll discover on newer Canon fashions, so you may must go in and change focus modes manually in case you’re photographing a pet and its proprietor.

Panasonic G9 II mirrorless camera review
Steve Dent for Engadget

In different phrases, Panasonic is off to a great begin however has a protracted approach to go to meet up with Sony’s extra dependable and smarter autofocus. I count on this to enhance over time.

In case you’re frightened concerning the rolling shutter in digital mode, do not be. Learn speeds are quick for a non-stacked sensor, so drift and different points are solely a difficulty in excessive conditions equivalent to airplane propellers.

Panasonic has included the identical in-body stabilization system because the GH6, so it might probably scale back shake by as much as 8 stops, or 7.5 stops with super-telephoto lenses. It is extraordinarily efficient when capturing handheld, permitting you to seize photographs in 1 / 4 of a second or much less with none blur.

image high quality

The G9 II has the identical 25.2MP twin achieve sensor because the GH6 however picture high quality is healthier, with much less noise at decrease ISO ranges.

With 5 further megapixels over the unique G9, it captures sharper pictures and offers some further element in comparison with rivals just like the OM-1 – letting you crop just a little extra. JPEG colours straight out of the digicam look nice and require little retouching.

The twin-gain sensor additionally makes it good in low mild for a Micro 4 Thirds digicam. Little or no noise may be seen as much as ISO 1600, and it is properly managed after that as much as about ISO 12800, so long as you expose it accurately. Nevertheless, it is at all times higher to get extra mild with a small sensor digicam, as noise ranges can get uncontrolled rapidly, particularly with underexposed pictures.

RAW recordsdata are comparatively straightforward to edit and provide you with room to scale back highlights or convey out particulars within the shadows. Once more, the small sensor places it at an obstacle to full-frame cameras on this regard, nevertheless, as extra noise will seem at increased ISO values.

Panasonic G9 II review sample images

The G9 II now has an robotically utilized dynamic vary enhance operate. It makes use of each excessive and low achieve circuits, and combines them right into a single picture, HDR type. This helps improve dynamic vary in shiny daylight and different troublesome conditions.

In the meantime, Moveable HD mode combines a number of photographs right into a single 100MP shot, with out the necessity for a tripod. It really works surprisingly properly with pictures like landscapes with restricted motion, boosting accuracy dramatically. I’ve observed that high-resolution JPEG recordsdata have a man-made look when zoomed in, as if the digicam is making an attempt so as to add element that is not there. For that reason, I counsel enabling RAW when utilizing this function.

Lastly, Panasonic has taken a web page from Fujifilm with a brand new black-and-white profile referred to as Leica Monochrome. Developed in partnership with Leica, it clearly options brighter highlights and better distinction. It is simply one of the best picture “look” setting I’ve seen on any Panasonic digicam (and it is also nice for black-and-white video).


Panasonic G9 II mirrorless camera review
Steve Dent for Engadget

Panasonic might not wish to hear this, however in case you’re a content material creator searching for a Micro 4 Thirds digicam, I might purchase this mannequin over the equally priced GH6.

Sure, the GH6 has some benefits. It may well seize ProRes video on to CFexpress playing cards, whereas it is advisable equip an SSD to do the identical on the G9 II. It additionally has a fan that permits for limitless video recording, so He’s Greatest for occasion videographers. Lastly, you may output RAW video to an exterior recorder.

Other than that, the Group of 9 has its personal particular place. Each can seize 5.7K at as much as 60fps, or 120p 4K, and the G9 II helps 10-bit V-Log recording and inner 4K seize with excessive information charges and easy-to-edit I-frame recordsdata, similar to the GH6. And you may report high-bandwidth ProRes through the USB-C port – once more, similar to the GH6.

The shortage of a fan does restrict the G9 II’s recording occasions, however not considerably. 4K and 5.7K recording occasions are nearly limitless at 30 and 60 fps. Even 4K at 120fps can final greater than 20 minutes, and only some customers will want that.

And the G9 II does issues the GH6 cannot. Part detection AF clearly outperforms video, eliminating wobble and focusing a lot sooner (though the identical AF caveats apply to images). It additionally has a decrease ISO flooring of 500 for dynamic range-enhanced V-log recording, in comparison with the GH6’s ISO 2000. This makes capturing in daylight extra sensible, the place the advantages of log and twin achieve are better.

Panasonic G9 II mirrorless camera review
Steve Dent for Engadget

As with the GH6, stabilization is superb for video, though the Sony ZV-E1 is healthier by contact. Enhance mode offers near-tripod ranges of smoothness for nonetheless pictures solely. Turning on digital stabilization eliminates the necessity for a gimbal in some circumstances (though the digital IBS on the Sony ZV-E1 is a lot better). This mode additionally corrects edge distortion with wide-angle lenses, a primary for mirrorless cameras. As a content material creator, stabilization alone would make me flip to the G9 II over doubtlessly extra succesful cameras just like the Canon R6 II — as a result of I do know I can take nice pictures and not using a tripod.

4K video is over-sampled and subsequently very sharp, though cropped 4K 120p is a bit softer. Dynamic vary is nice in V-log mode, so it is easy to regulate later, particularly on the base ISO 500. Colours are pure, and low-light functionality is robust for a small-sensor digicam because of the dual-gain system. So, when it comes to video high quality, I’ve no complaints.

Nevertheless, there are a number of helpful content material creation options discovered on Sony and Canon cameras which can be lacking right here, equivalent to Sony’s devoted product show and focus compensation.

It’s contained

Panasonic G9 II mirrorless camera review
Steve Dent for Engadget

With all that stated, the $1,900 G9 II is without doubt one of the most succesful hybrid cameras I’ve seen. Improved dealing with, pace, and autofocus make it a compelling selection for wildlife photographers. However its wonderful video capabilities and high quality make it an amazing selection for content material creators as properly.

Panasonic’s important competitors within the images area is the $2,000 OM-1. The G9 II has better decision, however the OM-1 has a sooner sensor. For photographs, both is an effective possibility, relying on what you want. Nevertheless, the G9 II is a lot better for video.

When it comes to content material creation, the $2,200 Sony ZV-E1 is a transparent contender, and it is even higher for vloggers. Panasonic’s GH6, at present marked all the way down to $1,700, is another choice. Nevertheless, neither of those fashions can contact the G9 II when it comes to images. Maybe one of the best all-hybrid different is Fujifilm’s X-H2, as a result of it provides pace and video, however it prices $600 extra. Lastly, in case you’re somebody who leans into images and videography, the G9 II is a superb selection.

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