I bought the Panasonic Lumix G9. It’s been over a year since I decided to commit to the micro 4/3 system when I purchased the G7.
A Little Camera Ownership Background
My first interchangeable lens digital camera was the Canon Rebel. I chose to replace that camera with another Rebel, a used t4i.
I used the t4i for a couple of years and decide that I wanted a new camera but I just couldn’t afford the logical Canon upgrade to the 70/80D or 6/7D. Since I was watching YouTube videos to try to determine what camera I wanted I kept seeing the G7 pop up.
This was affordable and from all accounts had more intelligence built in than the Rebel line. I liked that the video was getting good reviews as well. I managed to find a deal under $500 and made the purchase.
Bottom line: I have thoroughly enjoyed the G7. It is far more convenient to lug around than my previous DSLRs. It has been a fun camera to operate and I have managed to take some pleasing photos and videos that friends and family have enjoyed. However…
Upgrade to the Panasonic Lumix G9
When the Panasonic Lumix G9 was announced I knew that it would be my upgrade of choice. I began saving immediately.
This is my personal observations about the camera. I am not a professional nor do I ever aspire to be. I don’t have expert technical knowledge about every single feature of the camera. Like many photographers buying a new camera I will be exploring and experimenting with the settings for weeks and months to come. This is not a professional review. There are plenty of those videos and blogs if that is what you need.
There is quite a difference between the G7 and the G9. The first thing about the G9 you notice is that the body has some heft to it. The grip is outstanding. You really feel like you are holding a quality piece of kit. It feels professional. The difference in the G7 and G9 is like the difference between the t4i and the 5D Mark III. You just know quality when you hold it.
As much as I enjoyed the G7 I never really felt very confident photographing with the camera. I didn’t feel the same about the video but for some reason the photography felt lacking. The G7 is quite capable but it always felt like a beginner camera.
The Photographer’s Camera
From the very first shot I took with the G9 I thought, “Now this is how it’s supposed to feel when you snap a photo.”
I went around my dismally under lit house after dark and took photos that looked really nice even in low light. It is a marked improvement, in my opinion, over the G7. All the critics I’ve read say that the micro 4/3 system is crap in low light. Maybe, but the photos I took looked pretty good to my untrained pixel peeping non-professional eyes. I suppose the in body stabilization plus using an O.I.S lens helped greatly.
BTW, I love having in body stabilization.
The G9 has some cool features that I think the pros are likely to dismiss. This high resolution deal where you can create a 80mb photo seems like it will be pretty cool. Yes I realize that ghosting will prohibit its usefulness in anything but a still scene but, so what? It’s not like I’ll be selling the photos to NatGeo. Sometimes ghosting can be artistic in itself.
6K photo is rather useful particularly for recording fast moving images. I got a glass of water, added some food coloring and dropped some ice chunks in and recorded the splash. It made for some entertaining stop action photos. It is a step up from the 4k which I liked on the G7. Oh, and the G9 also has the 4K photo as well.
I don’t know if the video has changed that much between the G7 and G9. I’m sure the quality is better but the IQ is likely to be very similar from what I can tell.
One of the main things that I love about video in the G7 is peaking. I use that all the time in manual focus. Obviously the Panasonic Lumix G9 has it as well. It was a main factor that tempted me to give Panasonic a try over staying with Canon.
The rear variable angle display is the single reason I would never buy another camera besides a Canon or Panasonic. Those flip down LCDs from Nikon or Sony are just lame. Ever since using the variable angle display on the t4i I have been hooked and will never buy a camera without it.
So, if the micro 4/3 system is your jam then there’s little reason not to buy the G9. I mean, I wouldn’t go into long term debt to upgrade from the G7 or 8 series but if the money is there you likely won’t be disappointed.
The day after the Panasonic Lumix G9 was delivered FujiFilm announced their latest mirrorless camera to the market. Photo bloggers and video reviewers were beside themselves with gear envy. There will always be something newer and groovier.
I am quite satisfied with Panasonic’s “photographer’s camera.” It will likely keep me pleased for many years to come. I feel like I’ve reached the pinnacle of gear.