2019 Buying Guide: Best cameras under $2000
Published Nov 18, 2018 | dpreview staff
Panasonic Lumix DC-G9
20MP Four Thirds CMOS sensor | In-body image stabilization | Large electronic viewfinder
What we like:
- Great build quality
- Speed burst shooting
- Amazing in-body image stabilization
- 4K video capture
What we don't:
- Abundant controls can be overwhelming at first
- EVF resolution drops when shutter is pressed, which can be distracting
The Lumix DC-G9 is Panasonic's flagship stills camera, built to be fast, rugged and reliable. It uses a 20MP sensor that's capable of shooting up to 20 fps with continuous autofocus, class-leading in-body stabilization and 4K video capture. It's designed to compete with higher-end APS-C digital SLRs, which is a tough market to break into.
The G9 is fairly lightweight, though large for a Micro Four Thirds camera. Its magnesium alloy body is extensively weather-sealed and the large grip is very comfortable. It's absolutely covered with customizable controls, and Panasonic's touchscreen interface is among the best. Its in-body stabilization system is the most effective we've tested to date. An absolutely enormous 0.83x OLED electronic viewfinder is both beautiful and immersive, though it's resolution drops noticeably when the shutter is pressed. The G9 also offers dual high-speed SD card slots and USB 3.1 connectivity.
The Panasonic G9 is among the most well-rounded and capable Micro Four Thirds bodies on the market
The camera's Depth-from-Defocus autofocus system is one of the best CDAF systems we've tested and it can easily maintain focus on (and even track) a subject that is well-isolated from its background, at 20 fps. The only downside is the nature of the CDAF system results in an 'wobble' that some shooters may find distracting. It can also become easily confused in challenging light, or in scenes with multiple moving subjects. With autofocus locked, the G9 can capture still images at up to 60 fps, and has an option to continuously buffer images and capture up to 50 Raw files before you've even pressed the shutter.
JPEG image quality has been improved over previous Panasonic cameras, with more intelligent high ISO noise reduction and improved color accuracy. Raw resolution from the G9 is on par with its fellow 20MP Micro Four Thirds sensor cameras, with well-balanced noise throughout the ISO range. And the camera's 80MP High Resolution mode captures an impressive amount of detail, though as we'd expect, moving objects can cause artifacts.
Being a stills-focused camera, the G9 doesn't have quite the same video feature set as the video-centric GH5, but it isn't bad. It offers UHD 4K/60p capture and slow motion capture in 4K and Full HD as well. There's the usual suite of capture aids such as focus peaking and exposure warnings, and headphone and microphone ports will help you get better audio than the onboard mic allows.
The Panasonic G9 is among the most-well rounded and capable Micro Four Thirds bodies on the market with solid image quality, outstanding build quality and great stabilization. The 20 fps burst mode with AF is indeed impressive, as is its 9 fps burst, which offers nearly infinite buffer. We'd only hesitate to recommend it to those solely concerned with photographing sports and action due to the drop in EVF resolution when focusing, but for those seeking a well-balanced high speed stills/video machine, the Panasonic G9 is a great option.
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