Panasonic Lumix DC-G9: in-depth review of features and sample pictures

Not only can the camera’s battery be charged via USB while in place, but the camera can actually be powered this way too – so external power banks can be used to dramatically extend shooting time.

Power

This is quite exciting! The Lumix DC-G9 uses the same DMW-BLF19E battery as the GH cameras – which is quite exciting if you like batteries. What is more exciting though is that the battery can be charged in-camera using the USB socket. And what’s even more exciting than that is that the camera can be powered by an external battery connected via the USB. So, if you are out on a long shoot tucked away in a hide or on the sidelines of a game, you can plug the camera into the sort of battery pack you might have for your phone and power the camera that way. Then you don’t have to worry about running out of power. Those who work in the cold will appreciate the ability to stash a power bank inside their coat to keep it warm while the cable snakes down a sleeve, or between buttons, to plug into the camera.

The kind of power bank you might use to charge your phone when away from home can be used to power the camera while it is in shooting mode.

The camera comes with battery charger DMW-BTC13 which is also USB powered, so you can use that plugged into the wall to charge the battery at home in the normal way, or plug it into your external battery when you are away from power tucked under a hedge watching rabbits/West Ham or touring the remote parts of your favourite wild location.

Batteries last longer in the DC-G9 too – in power save mode Panasonic says we can get 920 images per charge. That involves only using the viewfinder and allowing the eye sensor to tell the camera when it can go into sleep mode. In normal shooting modes we should expect to get 380 images per charge.

Video

While this is definitely the stills camera of the family Panasonic has been pretty generous with the video features too. In fact, it is not that far off the GH5  before the v2.0 firmware update and is better than the Lumix DMC-G80, and offers features we don’t usually see on stills cameras that shoot video.

 

The video mode uses the full sensor without cropping and provides 4K video in 4:2:0 8-bit at data rates of up to 150Mbps. 4K footage can be recorded at up to 60fps to provide 2x slow motion, while 5/6x slow motion can be achieved in full HD with a frame rate of 180fps.

Those who stream video out to a recorder via the full-sized HDMI Type-A socket can benefit from 4:2:2 colour, and all videographers will be pleased to know the Lumix DC-G9 offers both headphone and microphone sockets. So, while this isn’t a video camera it does offer very good video features that will actually be more than sufficient for most people.

Accessories and others

As this camera uses the latest image engine it is compatible with Panasonic’s Lumix Tether software. This means the camera can be tethered via the USB socket to a computer and can be controlled through the Lumix Tether application. Lumix Tether allows photographers to not only control most of the shooting modes and settings of the camera remotely, but also to have recorded images download directly to the computer hard drive – and into an Adobe Lightroom folder if required.

The DC-G9 uses full sized HDMI Type-A and 3.0 Micro-B USB ports. The HDMI can be used to stream video out to a TV or recorder, and the USB allows us to tether the camera to a computer via Lumix Tether software.

The USB socket on the DC-G9 is USB 3.0 Micro-B and the camera comes with a suitable cable that can be used for tethering, charging and powering the camera from an external battery. A standard eye-cup comes fitted to the camera, but an extra-large one, called EC4, can be ordered to really block out all light from the finder.

Conclusion

I’ve only had a pre-production version of the Lumix DC-G9 for a couple of weeks, but it has already made a pretty serious impression on me. The speed of reaction and of operation is the main thing that has struck me, as well as the quality of images created in the High Resolution mode. That isn’t to take away from the frankly amazing image stabilisation that makes long lenses so much easier to use. While Panasonic’s focus seems to be on wildlife and sports photographers because of the speed of the AF and the frame rate, I’ve also found the speed of reactions very good for street photography and the High Resolution mode is brilliant for landscapes – and even portraits with a patient sitter. I think macro and still life workers will also appreciate what this mode brings.

I shall go into more detail on each of the main new features over the next few months while we wait for the camera to go on sale in January. If you have any questions or requests for features you’d like more information on please leave them in the Lumix DC-G9 section of the forum.

There will be three kit options:

– Body Only (RRP: £1,499 / €1,729)
– M Kit – Panasonic Lumix G9 & Panasonic 12-60mm Lens (RRP: £1,699/€1,929)
– L Kit – Panasonic Lumix G9 & LEICA 12-60mm Lens (RRP: £2,019 / €2,329)

A High Resolution night shot, using a shutter speed of 0.8sec

 

 

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