Panasonic G9 - camera you can't trust Locked

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LightCatcherLT Forum Member • Posts: 66
Panasonic G9 - camera you can't trust

Ok, I got hands on release version of Panasonic G9+12-60/2.8-4. I took my SD card and was given camera and all the time I needed to test every usage scenario that is important to me. Here I share my subjective notes, and you don't have to agree with me or have exactly the same expectations. It may be perfect camera for you, but not for me. Here is why.

It's significantly bigger than Oly M1 mk1, and even bigger and heavier than M1 mk2. Ergonomically feels good in hand but you can't shake of that feeling, that you are holding some DSLR cam, size and weight wise. Long, protruding 12-60/2.8-4 lens adds to size impression and whole kit feels big. If you place E-M1+12-40/2.8 next to it, G9 looks ridiculously oversized. Weight is significant, on the edge of my personal tolerance.

Make is very good, quality assembly, no cracking sounds. However controls have somehow different feeling and creates inconsistent user experience. On/Off switch is good idea, however shutter release button is too light (low resistance), maybe too easy to push.
Viewfinder looks wide at first, however EVF size advantage diminishes once you adjust dioptres (I do not use glasses). I don't know if that's only optical illusion but image on VF feels wider than usual 4:3 width. Therefore it looks like pincushion distortion is present in a picture you are seeing...
Top LCD is just ridiculous. Small gizmo to make camera look... don't know? Professional? We don't check picture on LCD in mirror-less world, we see how picture will appear through EVF, and adjust paramswhile still looking through EVF. That top LCD looks like reminiscent from 90's or smth. Appeal to DSLR crowd that neglects everything with m43 logo on it anyway? Looks silly to me.

Shooting experience
That's where positive impression from body build quality starts to diminish.

Main problem is that you cannot be sure you will take even static picture, let alone some object that is moving. For example sometimes camera struggles to obtain focus in extremely well lit room focusing on black backpack. You just get completely defocused picture. Retry obtains focus. This happened several times in well lit environment and also at street after sunset trying to capture person riding bike, person walking, street pole, etc.

Next - there is that specific wobling/jerk+delay+drop in resolution/noise+return to normal view on EVF once you release shutter button. This is complete horror. It seems like camera is slow to focus lagging/throttling/whatever at those moments. Tested with 12-60, 12-40, 15mm lenses same behavior. You immediately loose trust in camera, and confidence that you can actually get that picture you want if you have only one chance to do that (think street photography).

On the bright side - face detection works well, however if you move cam/recompose, that rectangle around face doesn't just appear, it sluggishly floats onto face with some delay and that adds to impression cam is lagging. Subject tracking seems to be working.

Good color rendition, skin looks natural. No bias towards yellow/red. No surprises with Auto WB. BTW didn't saw flickers in EVF, but that's may be quality illumination used. Jpegs very good in good lighting, acceptable/average in street lights setting. Seems like iso 3200 is still ok, up to 6400 can be used. Focus speed in low light is fast, however sometimes you get no focus at all. Camera focuses at the same pace through all iso range.

This is not reliable camera you can trust to make that 1 photo if you have only single opportunity. At least yet. Camera body department did their work, software dep - did not. It's a camera that is made to look good on paper and take on Olympus, but in practice it doesn't deliver.

Maybe firmware upgrades will fix focus/wobbling/freeze/noise horror, and inability to focus sometimes, but until then - people looking for "pro" performance and consistency - skip on G9. It is no match for Olympus E-M1 mk2 (and I used it in real-life). For other cases - if you can tolerate things that are not worked out by Panasonic and have GAS - go for it, but do not complain for Silver award. In my opinion even Silver is too much.

P.S. Lenses - 12-60/2.8-4 - you have f2.8 only at ~12-14, then aperture goes down rapidly. Long, but light. Avoid, not worth money.
12-40/2.8 - as fast on Pana body, as 12-60 above. Look at 12-35/2.8 or Oly's 12-40/2.8.
15/1.7 - fast, very sharp, very nice on G9. If 15mm suits you, then consider it (still wobbling/freeze/noise horror present).

 LightCatcherLT's gear list:LightCatcherLT's gear list
Olympus E-M1 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm 1:4-5.6 R Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 45mm F1.8 Olympus 12-40mm F2.8 Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 15mm F1.7 ASPH
Panasonic Lumix DC-G9
20 megapixels • 3 screen • Four Thirds sensor
Announced: Nov 8, 2017
LightCatcherLT's score
Average community score
bad for good for
Kids / pets
Action / sports
Landscapes / scenery
Low light (without flash)
Flash photography (social)
Studio / still life
= community average
Olympus E-M1 Panasonic Lumix DC-G9
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