Panasonic Lumix DC-GX9 First Impressions Review and Sample Gallery
Body & Handling
The Panasonic DC-GX9 has a mid-sized, well-built rangefinder-style body. The top and bottom plates are metal, with the rest of the body being composite, which includes most dials. The body is wrapped with fake leather which isn't as 'sticky' as we'd like. The right hand grip is fine for small-to-mid-sized lenses though we'd spring for the larger DMC-HGR2 grip for larger lenses.
The GX9 fits fairly well in the hand, though it's worth pointing out that the lower half of your thumb rest right on top of the four-way controller, so buttons can be accidentally pressed. As mentioned above, the grip is a bit shallow but is fine for lighter-weight lenses.
Top of Camera
There's not that much to see on the top of the GX9, since most of the real estate is taken up by the tilting viewfinder, hot shoe and pop-up flash. The shutter release button is surrounded by the top control dial, while the movie record button sits inside the power switch. The metal mode dial has just the right amount of 'resistance,' and but we wish that the exposure comp dial that sits beneath it was positioned a bit further back.
LCD and Viewfinder
The GX9's LCD got a bit of a resolution bump compared to the GX8, moving from 1.04 million (720 x 480) to 1.24 million dots (1280 x 720). The display tilts upward by about 80° and down by 45°.
The touchscreen features on the GX9 are similar to those found on Panasonic cameras released over the past several years. In addition to standards like tap-to-shoot, menu navigation and image playback, you can always use the display as a touchpad to select an autofocus point, which is handy, since the GX9 lacks a 'joystick' to handle that.
The feature that makes the GX9 stand out from other mirrorless cameras is its tilting electronic viewfinder, which has an unusual 16:9 aspect ratio. As before, the EVF tilts upward 90°, which the street photographers in the DPReview office appreciate. The finder is noticeably smaller than the one on the GX8 and, although the specs show that it has more total dots, the field sequential panel doesn't display them all at the same time, so the resolution is actually 2.76 million equivalent dots, rather than 2.36M total dots on the GX9.
Field sequential displays can cause something called color tearing, which gives a sort-of rainbow effect when the user blinks or the camera is rapidly panned. Some people are more sensitive to these than others, so your mileage may vary.
Something lost in all of the GX9's specs is that it regains the built-in flash that the GX8 lacked. With a guide number of 4.2m at ISO 100, it's pretty weak compared to the Fuji X-E3 (8m from its included external flash) and Sony a6300 (6m), but it's better than nothing. For more power, there's a hot shoe, with an X-sync time of 1/200 sec. The flash can be bounced manually, which is a nice touch.
Both of the GX9's ports on on its right side, and Panasonic put a clever retracting door over them to keep out dust and who knows what else. As you can see, the ports here are micro-HDMI and micro-USB, with the latter available for charging the battery in-camera.
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