G95 (G90/G91) vs G9 — Another thread

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mmartel Contributing Member • Posts: 828
G95 (G90/G91) vs G9 — Another thread

Quite a few threads have appeared of late on the G95 vs G9.

The G9-faithful chime in — helpfully — to say that the G9 is better in practically every way at nearly the same price.

  • better IBIS (6.5 vs 5 stops)
  • better EVF
  • better autofocus for stills and video, including body and animal detection
  • better burst capability, especially RAW, at up to 60ps including pre-burst
  • better RAW buffer depth
  • better video codecs including 4:2:2 10-bit internal real V-log and ability to shoot 4k60p
  • much better slow mo video quality, and up to 180fps option (vs 120fps)
  • sensor->ADC imaging pipeline has lower read noise, yielding slightly better SNR/dynamic range
  • top plate LCD display
  • additional function buttons
  • joystick
  • even better ingress protection
  • taller grip
  • faster max shutter, mechanical and e-shutter
  • 80MP high res mode
  • 33% longer battery life
  • 6k vs. 4k photo modes (18 MP vs. 8MP)
  • dual card slots
  • firmware updates
  • USB-C vs. micro-USB charging/tethering

All of this notwithstanding, a few folks have offered brave counterpoint citing the few G95-unique features including:

  • In-body panorama
  • Built-in flash
  • Live composite mode
  • Unlimited 4k video recording
  • Lighter and smaller

Body Only vs. Kit Lens

Also, while the G9 is available everywhere as body only, if you live in the US, you have no choice but to buy the G95 with the Lumix 12-60mm kit lens, which you might not necessarily need or want. (Of course, if you do want it, you can get a slight discount on the lens, which works in favor of the G95).

Size and Weight

The G9 is a tiny bit taller, wider, and deeper (3mm, 7mm, and 15mm respectively). With batteries, the G9 weighs 152 grams more than the G95. For some, lighter is always better. For others, the heavier body and deeper grip might be welcome to balance the weight of heavier lenses or simply have a better grip (bigger hands, for example), or perhaps it just feels more rugged and tanky — or it simply might not be enough to matter either way.

Image Quality - What the Test Charts Say

What about image quality?

Some (Gnine) have said that the G9 has a near 1-stop advantage over the G9 according to his eyeball-meter.

According to photons-to-photos, the difference is probably closer to half a stop.

Source: https://www.photonstophotos.net/Charts/PDR.htm#Panasonic%20Lumix%20DC-G9,Panasonic%20Lumix%20DC-G90,Panasonic%20Lumix%20DC-GH5,Panasonic%20Lumix%20DMC-G85

A couple things to note.

  • The G9 performs better at all ISOs
  • The G95 (aka G90) has virtually identical performance to the GH5, a fairly well-regarded camera for its image quality
  • The G95 (aka G90) outperforms its predecessor, the G85, by about half a stop or so

So, does the difference of half a stop matter? Every bit of image quality is always welcome. But half a stop is potentially in the fairly-marginal territory. Perhaps not that big of a difference to even notice.

DXO-RAW Processed Comparison

Let's look at a couple comparisons of DXO-PL5-processed high ISO (ISO6400) RAW images of the G9 vs. G95.

One is from DPReview comparison studio. I adjusted exposure slightly on the G95 by -0.3 and added some vibrance, since it seems the G9 color profile is more vibrant in the DXO default profile with this shot. I used Deep PRIME noise reduction at 40 setting and added +0.5 lens sharpness, because that's how I usually roll with high noise images. I turned off smart lighting and left AWB at in-camera settings.

Camera A

Camera B

For the Imaging Resource shots below, I again turned off smart lighting and treated both images to the same Deep PRIME noise reduction at 40 with an added +0.5 of lens sharpness.

To try to get the brightness roughly equal in these shots and histograms to line up roughly equally, I lowered exposure on the G95 by -0.3 again. It's interesting because, again, these cameras are using the exact same lenses and same settings. Perhaps the gain on the G95 is cranked up higher than on the G9? I'm not sure.

At any rate, my personal conclusions are:

  • The image quality difference are, for my uses, in still photography and ordinary 1080p video, extremely small in practical terms. Pixel peeping at ISO 6400 images, it still takes a while to notice differences, and the differences are most notable with test-chart-like stuff: the white-to-gray-to-black test chart in the DPReview, for instance; or the color-check test charts. Most of the other more natural non-test-chart stuff, the differences are really, really subtle IMO and below my threshold of care.
  • Someone pinch me because it's pretty unreal that at ISO 6400, m43 cameras can produce such excellent final images when processed from RAW using current state of the art NR tools.

Camera A

Camera B

 mmartel's gear list:mmartel's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS5 Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ300 Panasonic G95 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 9-18mm F4.0-5.6 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 17mm F1.8 +6 more
Panasonic G85 Panasonic GH5 Panasonic Lumix DC-G9
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