What's new and how it compares

The Lumix GX9 represents a combination of the midrange GX80/GX85/GX7 Mark II and the high-end GX8, and inherits a smattering of features from both cameras. Unfortunately, it doesn't get every feature from each camera, but given its MSRP is a midpoint between the two, that's to be expected.

Key takeaways:

  • The 20MP Four Thirds sensor now forgoes an anti-aliasing filter
  • Tilting viewfinder and LCD see some upgrades and some downgrades compared to predecessors
  • New monochrome shooting mode and Sequence Composition feature
  • Bluetooth low-energy implementation for a constant connection to a smartphone

The sensor

The GX9's 20MP Four Thirds sensor forgoes an anti-aliasing filter, which should result in slightly better fine detail at the expense of occasional moiré patterning.

Like the higher-end Lumix GH5 and G9, the GX9 comes with a 20MP Four Thirds sensor with no anti-aliasing (AA or optical low-pass) filter. The resolution represents a step up from the 16MP the GX85 came with and the lack of an AA filter should give marginally sharper results than the 20MP GX8, though at the expense of greater moiré / false color in your images.

As you'll see on our Image Quality page, Panasonic's JPEG engine deals with moiré quite well, and for Adobe users, Camera Raw comes with effective tools to easily mitigate this effect in your Raw files.

Viewfinder and screen

The GX9's tilting electronic viewfinder is unique, addictive, and unfortunately, on the small side for our tastes.

The tilting viewfinder on the GX9 continues to be a Lumix exclusive, and is particularly handy for those into street and candid photography. It's something of a combination of the units on the GX85 and GX8; it inherits the field sequential panel from the former, and the tilting mechanism of the latter. In general, we love the tilting mechanism, but we wish the magnification and overall quality were better - and if you're sensitive to 'color tearing' from field sequential displays, you'll find the GX9 a disappointment.

As for the rear screen, it now tilts up and down like the GX85, losing the fully-articulating mechanism on the GX8 (which itself was the same mechanism as the GH5). Those favoring shooting from the hip will appreciate this, but heavy video shooters may not. At the very least, you get a resolution bump from 1.04M dots to 1.24M.

Monochrome effects

An example of L. Monochrome D with strong grain effect. ISO 200 | 1/200 sec | F4 | Panasonic Lumix G 25mm F1.7 @ 50mm equiv. | Photo by Carey Rose

Panasonic has added a third Photo Style for black & white shooting called L. Monochrome D. The company says that mode offers deeper blacks and richer gradation than the standard Monochrome and L. Monochrome options. There's also a new Grain Effect feature, which gives your black & white photos a surprisingly film-like, random-pattern grain.

Sequence Composition

One fun new option that's part of Panasonic's 4K Photo feature is called Sequence Composition. This lets you grab various frames captured in a 4K Photo burst and combine them into a single photo, much like a multiple exposure. Sequence Composition is pretty easy to figure out and we were impressed with the results - just be sure to use a tripod when shooting.

Wi-Fi + Bluetooth

While wireless connectivity isn't new to the GX9, the addition of Bluetooth LE is. Bluetooth allows for a constant, low energy (hence the 'LE') connection between camera and smart device which allows you to remotely release the shutter (without live view,) transfer images as they're taken (over Wi-Fi) and add location information to photos automatically. Pairing is easy and everything worked swimmingly during our time with the camera.

Compared to...

The launch price of the GX9 places it squarely between the GX85 and the GX8, so we'll look at how all three compare. We've also thrown in the Olympus PEN-F, which is pricier but has a similar form factor and a 20MP Four Thirds sensor, as well as the Sony a6300 which comes with a larger APS-C sensor but is similarly priced with a kit lens.

The GX9 (left) is noticeably smaller than the GX8.
Panasonic GX9 Panasonic GX8 Panasonic GX85 Olympus PEN-F Sony a6300
MSRP $999 (w/12-60mm lens) $1199 (body only) $799 (w/12-32mm lens) $1199 (body only) $999 (w/16-50mm lens)
Sensor 20MP Four Thirds (no OLPF) 20MP Four Thirds 16MP Four Thirds (no OLPF) 20MP Four Thirds 24MP APS-C
Image stabilization 5-axis (Dual IS) 4-axis (Dual IS) 5-axis (Dual IS) 5-axis Lens only
Native ISO range 200-25,600 100-51,200 200-25,600 200-25,600 100-25,600
AF system Contrast-detect (DFD) Contrast-detect (DFD) Contrast-detect (DFD) Contrast-detect Hybrid
Burst rate (C-AF) 6 fps 5 fps 8 fps 10 fps 11 fps
LCD 1.24M-dot tilting 3" touchscreen 1.04M-dot fully articulating 3" touchscreen 1.04M-dot tilting 3" touchscreen 1.04M-dot fully articulating 3" touchscreen 921k-dot tilting 3" LCD
Viewfinder 2.76M-dot LCoS (tilting) 2.36M-dot OLED (tilting) 2.76M-dot LCoS (fixed) 2.36M-dot OLED 2.36M-dot OLED (fixed)
Viewfinder magnification 0.7x equiv. 0.77x equiv. 0.7x equiv. 0.62x equiv. 0.71x equiv.
Built-in flash Yes No (ext. flash included) Yes No (ext. flash included) Yes
Video UHD 4K/30p UHD 4K/30p UHD 4K/30p 1080/60p UHD 4K/30p
Wi-Fi Yes, w/BT Yes Yes Yes Yes, w/NFC
Weather-sealed No Yes No No Yes
Battery life 260 shots 340 shots 290 shots 330 shots 350 shots
Dimensions 124 x 72 x 47mm 133 x 78 x 63mm 122 x 71 x 44mm 125 x 72 x 37mm 120 x 67 x 49mm
Weight (CIPA) 450 g 487 g 426 g 427 g 404 g