This is a three-page article
- Page 1 – Physical Features, Screen and EVF
- Page 2 – Flash, Improved Focusing, Adding Grain in Monochrome
- Page 3 – New Shutter, High Speed Capture, Video features, Other New Features, Conclusion
As much as I love the Lumix GX8 (and I really do) it is now over two and a half years old and is beginning perhaps to lag behind some of the company’s latest models in terms of the technology it offers. There isn’t much wrong with it and the GX8 still makes a fabulous street and travel camera, but models like the G9 have moved the Lumix brand along so much that I guess it is about time the GX series got a new flagship.
New physical features
The GX9 is very much in line with what we expect the GX cameras to be: a compact, flat-topped, camera with twin dials and lots of advanced control. In this model Panasonic has scaled down the overall size of the body compared to the GX8, so now we have proportions much more like those of the previous single-digit GX model – the GX7 – and actually much more like the GX80. The size makes GX properly small again – some complained the GX8 was too big – and this model is more like an advanced GX800 than a straight replacement for the GX8.
The top plate design follows the Leica style that Lumix has adopted, with a step-down on to the right of the body with controls and dials that protrude to the same height as the raised area. Panasonic has retained the exposure compensation dial and kept it as +/-3EV, but now there’s a new method of getting to +/-5EV that is accessed by turning off the top plate ring. When this is off we use the rear thumb dial, which makes the top plate ring slightly redundant other than as an attractive decoration.
Panasonic has retained that two-dial control we are used to in the GX cameras – we have a raised index finger dial at the front that works in tandem with a rear dial that’s recessed into the back of the body – as we have on the GX80. It’s an arrangement that works rather well, as the rear dial can be pressed into the body to activate additional features.
If you are familiar with the rear of Lumix G cameras, the design and layout of the back end of the GX9 will be no surprise to you. Control points are much where we’d expect them to be, and we have a sharp protruding thumb rest that feels well-proportioned for the size and weight of the body. In all dimensions the GX9 is a good deal smaller than the GX8, and while it is 1mm longer and taller than the GX7 it is significantly slimmer – 46.8mm compared to 55mm.
Perhaps not breaking news, but the camera uses a new style cover for the USB and charging ports. Instead of a hinged door the area is covered by a retracting cover that disappears into the body. It’s pretty clever, and saves having to worry about breaking the door off. It will take users a while to understand how to operate it though!
A better view
In line with the GX7 the GX9 reverts to the horizontal flip-up screen that remains a little mode discrete when pulled away from the body than the vari-angle screen of the GX8. When shooting from a low angle the screen flips up ninety degrees to the rear of the body, and when shooting from a high angle with the camera above your head you’ll be able to tilt the screen down towards you by about forty five degrees.
As with the GX8 we also have a flip up viewfinder, but this time one that protrudes a little less from the back of the camera and is less likely to snag in pockets and camera bags. The eye-piece is a lot smaller than the one on the GX8, but there will also be an accessory eye-cup DMW-EC5 for those who like that immersive experience.
Both the EVF and the rear screen have improved resolution over the GX8, with the screen jumping by 200,000 pixels to a 1,240,000 pixel resolution that beats the G9, and the EVF going up by 400,000 dots to 2,760,000 dots. The viewfinder magnification is 0.7x – the same as the GX80.