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Panasonic Lumix G9 II Review: Specs, Features, and Performance

About Panasonic Lumix G9 II. In five years, the Lumix G9 line has made remarkable strides. The second iteration emerges as a more versatile option, making it an ideal pick for action shots, courtesy of its newfound phase-detection autofocus.

Furthermore, the G9 II takes up a notch with higher-resolution images, a broader spectrum of video recording modes (including ProRes raw support for external SSDs), and an accelerated processor. It stands out as a strong contender in the camera world, especially in the realm of video production. Simultaneously, it maintains compatibility with sensor formats and lenses ideal for wildlife and sports photography.

Panasonic Lumix G9 II Review: Specs, Features, and Performance

For those who were beginning to think that Micro Four Thirds was becoming outdated, the Panasonic Lumix G9 II confidently asserts its relevance in the toolkit of modern content creators.

Pros:

  • Panasonic’s autofocus capabilities reach new heights.
  • In-body image stabilization spans an impressive 8 stops.
  • Enhanced processing power elevates all-around performance.

Cons:

  • Sensor resolution falls short of full-frame alternatives.
  • Viewfinder resolution remains unchanged from the G9.

PANASONIC LUMIX G9 II: QUICK REVIEW

The Panasonic Lumix G9 II marks a significant upgrade from the five-year-old Lumix G9. Notably, it debuts phase-detection autofocus in the G-series.

PANASONIC LUMIX G9 II: QUICK REVIEW

Enhancements are evident in various aspects: sensor resolution for stills now stands at 25.2MP, though it doesn’t rival top-tier full-frame alternatives. The camera boasts 60fps burst shooting with full autofocus tracking, a 100MP high-resolution mode, and up to eight stops of in-body image stabilization. On the video front, recording modes include 5.7K ProRes raw to an external SSD, backed by a swift processor and Panasonic’s most effective autofocus system.

The G9 II’s sensor format and lens selection excel in wildlife and sports photography, effectively extending the focal length. Choosing between the G9 II, the video-centric Lumix GH6, or the slightly pricier full-frame Lumix S5 II, with a nearly identical design, might pose a dilemma for some.

The Panasonic G9 II, a dark horse among mirrorless cameras, impresses with its new sensor, processor, and phase-detection autofocus. It’s a formidable camera, particularly for capturing moving subjects.

PANASONIC LUMIX G9 II: RELEASE DATE AND PRICE

PANASONIC LUMIX G9 II: RELEASE DATE AND PRICE

Price: $1,599 / £1,699 / AU$3,299
Shipping Expected: November

The Panasonic G9 II was unveiled on September 12, 2023, with a reasonable body-only price of $1,599 / £1,699 / AU$3,299. It’s also available with the Leica Vario Elmarit 12-60mm F2.8-4 lens for $2,199 / £2,249 / AU$3,499 or with the standard Panasonic 12-60mm for $1,799 / £1,899 / AU$3,599. A new DMW-BG1E vertical grip is also priced at $309 / £309.

Panasonic also introduced two redesigned lenses alongside the Lumix G9 II: the Leica DG Vario-Elmar 100-400mm F4.0-6.3 II ASPH at $1,499 / £1,499 and the Leica DG Vario Elmarit 35-100mm F2.8 Power O.I.S, priced at $1,099 / £1,099. Australian pricing for the lenses was not available at the time of writing.

Shipping for all these new products is slated for November 2023, with some retailers expecting to ship orders from late October.

Price Score: 4.5/5

PANASONIC G9 II: SPECS

PANASONIC G9 II: SPECS

Here are the key specifications of the Panasonic G9 II:

SpecificationDetails
Sensor25.2MP Live MOS micro four thirds
VideoC4K/4K 60p 4:2:2 10-Bit
AF points779-point phase-detection
LCD3.0-inch vari-angle touchscreen, 1.84m-dot
Viewfinder3.68m-dot, OLED EVF
Memory cards2 x SD / SDHC / SDXC
ConnectivityWi-Fi / Bluetooth
Burst shooting14fps AF-S/ 10fps AF-C (mechanical shutter), 75fps AF-S / 60fps AF-C (electronic shutter)
Size102 x 134 x 90mm (body only)
Weight658g (23.2oz)
PANASONIC G9 II: DESIGN

PANASONIC G9 II: DESIGN

The Panasonic G9 II’s design is influenced by the Lumix S5 II, featuring an 8-way directional joystick and a quicker 3.69m-dot EVF.

Upon unboxing the Panasonic G9 II, the ergonomic grip immediately stood out. It offers a secure hold, even with bulky lenses like the 200mm F2.8. The camera’s resemblance to the larger Panasonic Lumix S5 II is apparent, which might not suit those seeking a more compact Micro Four Thirds camera. However, it’s about 85g lighter at 658g (with a battery and SD card) and lacks the active cooling fan present in the S5 II, which limits video recording duration.

The body, crafted from a robust magnesium alloy, is fully sealed against dust and moisture. While exact weather resistance details are undisclosed, it’s reliable for use in light rain.

For Lumix G users considering an upgrade, the control layout will feel familiar after some adjustments. The button placement took a few days to adapt to after using the Canon EOS R system but eventually felt ergonomic.

Disappointing change

The top plate no longer features the LCD, which is a change I found disappointing. However, it accommodates separate shooting modes and drive dials. A prominent red record button rests on the top, adjacent to the responsive shutter button. There are buttons for white balance, ISO, and exposure compensation, but it took time to memorize their functions.

The on/off switch is operated by a mode dial-attached lever, which, while slightly awkward, prevents accidental power cycling. A hot shoe above the viewfinder caters to external flashes and microphones. Notably, the G9 II lacks a built-in flash, unusual for a mid-range model.

The rear layout resembles the S5 II, with an 8-way joystick and a 3-inch vari-angle touchscreen monitor for swift navigation. The OLED viewfinder matches the S5 II but retains the same resolution as the older G9, at 3.69m dots.

Ports

LCD screen

In contrast, the LCD screen is a vast improvement over the original G9, offering nearly double the resolution at 1.84m dots. It’s versatile, ideal for vlogging, low-angle shots, and protection when not in use.

The viewfinder’s native refresh rate is 120Hz, minimizing lag. During burst shooting, it remains blackout-free for approximately three seconds, although it lacks the vibrancy of my Canon EOS R6’s EVF (despite identical specs on paper).

The LVF button, to the right of the playback button, allows switching between the viewfinder and LCD, although this transition usually occurs automatically. A tiny selector near the EVF handles focus modes, which can also be adjusted on-screen for efficiency.

On the back, the Q button summons the quick menu, the Menu button accesses the full menu, and the Display alters the amount of on-screen information.

Ports

On the left side, two plastic flaps reveal a USB-C port for charging, a full-size HDMI port, and slots for microphones and headphones. The right side features two SD UHS-II card slots.

One minor gripe is the flimsy feel of the port flaps, which don’t lock securely. Nevertheless, this is a small concern within an otherwise ergonomic design.

Design score: 4/5

PANASONIC G9 II: FEATURES AND PERFORMANCE

PANASONIC G9 II: FEATURES AND PERFORMANCE

The Panasonic and OM System Micro Four Thirds (MFT) camera systems are ideal for wildlife and sports enthusiasts. Despite its smaller size, the Lumix G9 II boasts significant advancements over its predecessor, offering a faster 25.2MP sensor and ISO range of 100-25,600.

The camera introduces high-resolution and handheld high-res modes, and while the latter may need some practice, it offers a promising edge. With 8-stop built-in image stabilization and 5-axis dual image stabilization, capturing stable shots even in low light is achievable.

A quicker processor enhances performance, reducing rolling shutter issues. However, the processing time for high-res modes can be lengthy.

The highlight is the G9 II’s phase-detection autofocus with 779 points, a first for the G-series. It excels in capturing fast-moving subjects and handles challenging lighting scenarios well. Continuous autofocus reaches a remarkable 60fps with the electronic shutter, with improved control over rolling shutter distortions.

Battery life, using a Panasonic DMW-BLK22 battery, is estimated at around 300-400 shots per charge, depending on usage.

Features and Performance Score: 4.5/5

PANASONIC G9 II: IMAGE AND VIDEO QUALITY

The Panasonic G9 II offers versatile still photography with JPEG and raw image formats, featuring various aspect ratios, file sizes, and quality options. Notably, the Leica Monochrome color profile adds depth and contrast to black and white images. Additional styles like Standard, Vivid, Flat, and Landscape allow customization for social media-ready shots.

For image editing enthusiasts, pre-programmed filters such as Expressive, Retro, and Old Days offer creative possibilities. In post-processing with Adobe Camera Raw and Lightroom, JPEGs and raw files provide flexibility for shadow and highlight adjustments.

While the MFT sensor format may not match larger-sensor cameras in resolution, the G9 II’s 25.2MP sensor proves sufficient. The camera captures sharp, balanced images in bright conditions, ideal for nature and wildlife photography. However, the dynamic range falls slightly short of some competitors.

In terms of noise handling, ISO settings between 100 to 1,600 yield favorable results, with ISO 3,200 suitable when noise-reduction software is applied.

The G9 II excels as a hybrid camera, supporting MOV, MP4, and Apple ProRes video formats. V-Log, pre-installed, provides over 13 stops of dynamic range and 4-channel audio recording with a mic adapter. Real-time LUTs are a valuable feature, allowing custom Adobe Lightroom color profiles for visualizing media before editing.

Video capabilities are notably enhanced, offering 5.7K at 60fps, 4K at 120fps, and Full HD at 240fps. Footage stability is impressive, making the G9 II an attractive choice for videographers. Cooling fans are absent, limiting recording times.

Image and Video Quality Score: 4.5/5

SHOULD YOU CONSIDER THE PANASONIC G9 II?

Buy it if…

  • You’re a fan of Micro Four Thirds (MFT) and want an upgrade. If you have MFT gear or Lumix G lenses, upgrading to the G9 II for its improved phase-detection autofocus and video capabilities makes sense.
  • You frequently shoot sports and wildlife. The MFT sensor’s 2x crop factor extends your focal length, making it ideal for wildlife photography, with its 60fps continuous burst and excellent autofocus.
  • Accurate color in your videos is important. The G9 II’s ability to load LUTs for real-time color control during shooting is valuable for filmmakers and content creators.

Don’t buy it if…

  • You often shoot in low light. Full-frame cameras handle low light and high ISOs better than the G9 II without a significant price difference.
  • Portability is your priority. If you seek a super-lightweight camera for travel, there are more compact options with good specs available.

PANASONIC G9 II TESTING SCORECARD

  • Price: 4.5/5
  • Design: 4/5
  • Performance: 4.5/5
  • Image Quality: 4.5/5

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