Working in High Resolution mode with the Lumix G9

This is a two-page article.

See page one for:

  • An overview of the feature
  • How it works
  • File sizes to expect
  • How shutter speed effects the result

 

Other restrictions

The camera I am using doesn’t seem to allow apertures smaller than f/8. I suppose this is to ensure we use the best of the sharpness of the lens, as there is no point creating a high resolution image of soft detail. Also, ISO settings can’t be turned beyond 1600, which may have something to do with asking the camera to perform advanced noise reduction on each image before they are blended, and the amount of detail we lose at high ISO settings.

Comparing relative image sizes between the Lumix G9 (left) and the Nikon D850 (right). Click to enlarge

 

Does it really work?

Panasonic says that the XL mode in High Resolution gives us 80 million pixels, and when you count the pixels there are indeed 80 million of them. But that is different to having 80MP-worth of resolution.

I compared 80MP files from the Lumix G9 with the 45MP files from the Nikon D850 and found that the G9 images really do contain a lot more detail though whether there is almost twice as much could be debated. The Nikon D850 images measure 5504×8256 pixels and the raw files (of the same scene as those shown above for the G9 files) weigh 55MB.

I suppose rather than concentrating too much on exactly how many pixels the results of this mode compare to it is more useful to consider how much of an improvement over the G9’s normal shooting mode this provides. The answer to that is ‘a great deal’.

Comparison of the Lumix G9 in High Resolution mode and the Nikon D850

This screen shot shows the difference in image size and detail between the Lumix G9 (left) and the Nikon D850 when the images are enlarged to 66%. Both pictures were taken with the Nikon 60mm f/2.8 macro lens. Click to enlarge.

 

Is this comparison with the Nikon D850 science?

No, this isn’t a scientific test for a number of reasons. I can’t use the same lens in the same way on both bodies to get the same optical resolution for a start. When I mount Nikon lenses on the G9 I’m only using the central area of the lens and I have to move the camera further from the subject. Also the Nikon files shown here are from raw files and the G9 files are JPEGs – I don’t have raw conversion software yet.

Using the same lens on both cameras would provide some element of consistency, but in real life most people will be using a Panasonic lens, so I have compared images using a Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 with those shot on the G9 with the X-Vario 12-35mm f/2.8.

Small areas of the above image enlarged for comparison. On the left is the G9 with the Leica 25mm f/1.4 and on the right is the Nikon D850 with the Nikkor 50mm f/1.4. Click to enlarge.

However, the idea of this exercise was to get some idea whether Panasonic’s claims for 80MP resolution stack up, and how the files look in a general way compared to one of the best high resolution DSLRs on the market. It isn’t supposed to be a scientific comparison.

I should also point out that I’m not trying to imply that the G9 is a better camera than the Nikon D850. They are very different cameras, and the D850 achieves its high resolution in a single shot, and for all subject types. The idea of this comparison is to see just how the detail gathered by the G9’s High Resolution mode compares to one of the best full frame DSLRs currently on the market.

Lenses and resolution

Clearly for any sensor to be able to resolve lots of detail it needs to have been fed lots of detail by a capable lens. The quality of your results using High Resolution mode will depend very much on the lens that you put on the front of your camera. If you use a low cost zoom you will not get the same benefits that you will get if you attach one of the best fixed lenses. I guess that is pretty obvious, but worth pointing out all the same.

A further word

The camera I used to illustrate this piece is running firmware v0.3, so it is some way off being finished. That’s why you can’t see the full resolution images. But, once I get a final version camera, I’ll make the tests again and you’ll be able to see more clearly what this mode is capable of.

If you have any comments, questions or requests please use the Lumix G9 thread in the forum.

Shot on the Lumix G9 using the Leica 12mm f/1.4 lens at f/8 and 0.4sec

Shot at f/8 and 0.4sec using the Leica 12mm f/1.4 lens. Click to enlarge

 

If you are interested in the Lumix G9 you might like these articles:

In-depth review of the Lumix G9 features with sample images

Review of the Panasonic Leica 200mm f/2.8 with sample images

 

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