Now that the excitement generated by the GH5 has begun to subside, Panasonic is back at it again with a new multimedia Micro Four Thirds mirrorless, the Lumix DC-G9. This time targeting the still-photography audience, the sleek mirrorless camera is still adept in all arenas with its 20MP sensor, UHD 4K video, fast continuous shooting rates, an 80MP multi-shot mode, and a weather-resistant body. Being announced alongside the new camera is an enticing telephoto prime, the Leica DG Elmarit 200mm f/2.8 POWER O.I.S. This premium 400mm equivalent lens has been designed in accordance with Leica’s strict quality standards, and features a sophisticated optical design, robust physical construction, and comes kitted with a 1.4x teleconverter.
Taking a look at the DC-G9 first, many of this camera’s assets are familiar within the realm of Panasonic’s latest cameras, and that’s a good thing. It sports the Micro Four Thirds 20.3MP Live MOS sensor without a low-pass filter to ensure high sharpness and resolution. An updated Venus Engine further affords a high sensitivity range to ISO 25600, along with fast shooting performance rates, including an impressive 12 fps with AF-S using the mechanical shutter, as well as a 60-fps mode with AF-S, 20 fps with AF-C, and 6K and 4K PHOTO modes at up to 30 fps with an electronic shutter. Suiting quick continuous shooting, the G9 sports a quickened DFD (Depth from Defocus) autofocus system that uses 225 areas for more precise subject tracking, along with the ability to use Custom Multi AF mode to freely select focus blocks for more personalized control. A joystick on the rear of the camera benefits making more intuitive focus area selections.
Helping to steady your shots when shooting handheld, an advanced sensor-shift image stabilization system, along with a compatible Lumix O.I.S. lens, renders Dual I.S. 2 technology, which minimizes the appearance of camera shake by up to six stops across five axes. This sensor-shift system also benefits working from a tripod, too, with the ability to work in an 80MP High-Resolution Shot mode, where sequential exposures are recorded, with the sensor moving slightly between exposures, and then composited to realize a significantly higher-resolution image when photographing still subjects.
As a high-end Panasonic camera, we cannot forget the video capabilities, and the G9 does not disappoint with its inclusion of UHD 4K recording at up to 60p and Full HD recording at up to 180 fps for slow-motion playback. Internal recording is performed at 8-bit with 4:2:0 color sampling, but much like the GH5, a full-size HDMI Type A port is featured for higher-quality 8-bit 4:2:2 output when working with an optional external recorder. Also, a 3.5mm headphone output and 3.5mm microphone input are present for making use of optional monitoring equipment and microphones.
Design-wise, this camera uses an updated layout compared to its predecessor, the G7. Eschewing the now-familiar dual top dial design, the G9 skips the top-right mode dial and replaces it with a status LCD panel for quickly and clearly reviewing your shooting settings. This is a common design trait of many high-end DSLRs, and better serves photographers while shooting by avoiding the need to look through the viewfinder or turn on the rear LCD when shooting from a tripod. Another impressive new asset of the G9 is a larger 0.83x-magnification OLED electronic viewfinder, which has a 3.68m-dot resolution and 120 fps refresh rate, to provide a brighter, clearer, and more realistic means for viewing at eye level. The magnification can be switched using a V.MODE button, from 0.7x to 0.77x to 0.83x, depending on the scene, and, if working in low-light conditions a Night Mode can help adjust brightness for viewing comfort. The back of the camera has a 3.0" 1.04m-dot free-angle screen, a joystick for intuitive focus point selection, and dual UHS-II SD memory card slots for greater file-saving flexibility. Also, as standard by now, built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth allow you to share imagery wirelessly and control the camera remotely from a mobile device. Rounding out the specs, the G9 sports a tough physical design with its magnesium-alloy chassis, shutter mechanism that is tested for at least 200k actuations, and splash/dust/freeze-proof construction for working in harsh weather conditions.
Beyond the camera body itself, Panasonic is also introducing the dedicated DMW-BGG9 Battery Grip, which holds an additional DMW-BLF19 battery to effectively double your shooting time. The grip has the same weather-resistant design as the body and, by extending the grip, affords a more comfortable means for shooting in the vertical orientation. Additionally, there is the DMW-BTC13 Battery Charger, which allows you to recharge batteries using a USB power pack, and the DMW-SSTG9 Shoulder Strap, which is an adjustable strap with quick-release buckles for fast removal when needed.
Moving on to the lens, the Leica DG Elmarit 200mm f/2.8 POWER O.I.S. is Panasonic’s first super telephoto prime, and pairs the 400mm equivalent focal length with a bright f/2.8 maximum aperture to suit working in difficult lighting conditions and for extensive control over depth of field. The optical design incorporates a pair of Ultra Extra-Low Dispersion elements, which reduce chromatic aberrations and color fringing for high image clarity and color fidelity. And a Nano Surface Coating has been applied to suppress flare and ghosting for increased contrast.
Complementing these optical assets, the long lens is further benefitted by a POWER Optical Image Stabilization system to minimize the appearance of camera shake. This lens is compatible with the Dual I.S. 2 technology of the G9, too, for even greater stabilization to suit working handheld with long shutter speeds. For fast-moving subjects, a triple linear motor delivers quick, quiet, and smooth autofocus performance, which can be used in conjunction with the Focus Memory function and a focus range limiter switch for even faster focusing performance. Also, matching Panasonic’s high-end mirrorless bodies, this lens is fully dust, splash, and freeze resistant for working in inclement weather.
If an equivalent 400mm focal length isn’t long enough for you, this lens is also being shipped with the new DMW-TC14 1.4x Teleconverter, which brings the effective focal length to 560mm with a one-stop loss in brightness. And if that still isn’t long enough, there is also the new DMW-TC20 2x Teleconverter, which is available separately and provides an 800mm effective focal length with a two-stop loss in brightness. Both teleconverters maintain full autofocus and image stabilization when used with the new 200mm f/2.8 lens.
I only recently discovered the GH5 can process an in camera focus stack achieved through recording a brief 6k video and compositing a multi-focussed image as a single jpeg. Can the G9 do this as this is a feature I can actually use if it performs as I hope it would. Why they bury this feature in the GH5 specs I don't know!!
Yes, the G9 has automatic, in-camera Focus Stacking as well as Post Focus.
Is the video recording length limited? Unlike the GX-8, I heard that it is limited, which would make me not want this camera.
Unfortunately, yes, the video recording time is limited on this camera. According to Panasonic, you can record 4K/60p for up to 10 minutes and 4K/30p, 4K/24p, and Full HD for up to 29 minutes 59 seconds.