Panasonic Lumix DC-GX9

20MP Four Thirds sensor | 5-axis image stabilization | 4K/UHD video capture

What we like:

  • Excellent JPEG color
  • 5-axis image stabilization
  • Tilting viewfinder is novel and fun

What we don't:

  • Viewfinder's 'field sequential' design can be distracting
  • Limited battery life
  • Substantial crop in video
  • Lacks headphone or mic sockets
Panasonic's Lumix DC-GX9 is a midrange mirrorless camera that carries over many features from its predecessor, the GX8, and puts them into a lighter, less expensive body. The GX9 continues to have the most notable feature of the GX8 and GX7: an electronic viewfinder that tilts upward 90°. It uses the company's latest 20MP Four Thirds sensor and has built-in 5-axis image stabilization.
The GX9's rangefinder-style body is a robust-feeling mix of metal and composite materials, but it lacks weather-sealing. In addition to its clever tilting EVF (whose field sequential technology may be distracting to some), the GX9 has a tilting touchscreen display with an easy-to-use interface. The GX9's connectivity options include Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
The GX9 is an impressive combination of capability, size, control and fun
The GX9 comes with Panasonic's Depth from Defocus technology, which provides fast and accurate autofocus and subject tracking that sticks to your subject with tenacity. Be aware, though, that autofocus accuracy drops somewhat when using subject tracking at the highest burst speeds.
The GX9 is built around a current-generation 20MP Four Thirds sensor, placing its Raw image quality on par with the best Micro Four Thirds cameras. The big story though is the GX9's lovely JPEGs. Color, noise reduction and sharpening are all vastly improved over the GX8 and GX85. For fans of black and white photography, there's a new L. Monochrome D mode, with high contrast and an optional grain effect.
With 5-axis stabilization, high-bitrate 4K video and plenty of capture aids, the GX9 looks promising as a compact video camera. A substantial crop factor while shooting in 4K hampers video quality and your ability to shoot wide-angle footage, but you can always switch over to Full HD recording without a crop. Finally, there are no headphone or microphone jacks for higher-quality audio recording or monitoring.
With the GX9, Panasonic has managed to strike an impressive balance of capability, size, control and usability that makes you want to pick it up and take it with you wherever you go. Image quality is lovely, autofocus is excellent for all but the most demanding of uses and the novelty of the tilting viewfinder almost makes up for its relatively low magnification. We wouldn't recommend the GX9 for hardcore 4K video shooters, but it's a solid option for most other purposes.

Carey Rose

Studio Test Scene

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