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Panasonic Lumix G9 vs Lumix GH5 Review

The Panasonic Lumix G9 is all-weather mirrorless camera designed for high speed shooting, which makes it the ideal solution for sports and wildlife photographers, particularly when paired with Panasonic's new Leica DG Elmarit 200mm f/2.8 Power O.I.S telephoto lens they also released today. 

The Lumix G9 is primarily a stills photography camera, but the likeness in feature-set to the Lumix GH5 will not be missed by many. In this article we're examining the differences and similarities between the stills-focused Lumix G9 and the video-centric Lumix GH5 so you can make an informed buying decision as to which one you choose.

Panasonic Lumix G9 vs Lumix GH5 At-a-Glance


Panasonic Lumix GH5

Panasonic Lumix G9

Resolution 20.3 Megapixels 20.3 Megapixels
Sensor Size Micro Four Thirds
Live MOS Sensor
Micro Four Thirds
Live MOS Sensor
focusing Contrast AF
Depth from Defocus
Contrast AF
Depth from Defocus
Continuous Shooting Mechanical: 12fps (AF-S), 9fps (AF-C)
Electronic: 12fps (AF-S), 9fps (AF-C)
Mechanical: 12fps (AF-S), 9fps (AF-C)
Electronic: 60fps (AF-S), 20fps (AF-C)
Image Stabilisation 5-Axis Image Sensor-Shift
Dual I.S. Compatible
5 Stops of compensation
5-Axis Image Sensor-Shift
Dual I.S. Compatible
6.5 Stops of compensation
Video Quality MOV, AVCHD, MP4
4:2:2 10-Bit In-Camera
Unlimited Recording
4:2:0 8-Bit In-Camera
4K 60/50p up to 10 mins
4K 30/25/24p up to 29min 59sec
LCD Screen 3.2 inch, 1,620k-dot 
Free-angle LCD Touchscreen
3.0 inch, 1,040k-dot
Free-angle LCD Touchscreen
viewfinder OLED 3,680k-dot EVF
Approx 0.76x Magnification
OLED 3,680k-dot EVF
Approx 0.83x magnification
Variable 120fps/60fps refresh rate
Connectivity Wi-Fi, USB-C, Bluetooth Low Energy Wi-Fi, USB-C, Bluetooth Low Energy
Storage Dual UHS-II SD Card Slots Dual UHS-II SD Card Slots
Body - Top-panel LCD Monitor
Dual Function Top Dial
Other - 80 Megapixel High-Res Photo Mode
Weight 725g (with battery & memory card) 658g (with battery & memory card)

First Impressions

At first look, there are some fairly obvious key differences between the Panasonic GH5 and the new Lumix G9, most notably is the addition of the top LCD panel on the G9 and the dual function dial on the top left side of the camera. Physically, the G9 is about 75g lighter than the GH5, which doesn't sound like much but it does make a difference.

Specs wise, looking at the two cameras side-by-side it's clear that Panasonic have built the G9 to be a stills photographers camera, whereas the GH5 has been built for videographers and filmmakers. The size difference between the two cameras is, in part, down to the heat-sync in the GH5 that's responsible for dissipating all the heat generated from the 4K movie shooting. Although the G9 does have 4K, it's doesn't have the longevity or feature-set of the GH5 which means there's significantly less demand on the camera, heat wise.

Still Image Quality

There's not much to choose between the Lumix G9 and the GH5 when it comes to raw still image quality. They both share the same micro four thirds 20.3 megapixel Live MOS Sensor, they both don't have a low pass filter, and they share the same ISO capability of ISO 200 to 25,600.

However, the Lumix G9 trumps the GH5 with the introduction of its 80 megapixel high-resolution photo mode. This super-high resolution feature can only be used when the camera is absolutely stationary, on a tripod for example. It works by taking 8 sequential shots while moving the image sensor and creates a composite image with far greater detail than a single image.

The G9 is again king on the stills photography front when it comes to image stabilisation. Both the GH5 and the G9 have in-camera sensor-shift 5-axis image stabilisation systems. However, the G9 can compensate for up to 6.5 stops of shutter speed, whereas the GH5 is only capable of 5 stops of compensation.

If speed is a factor in your workflow, for example with sports or wildlife photography, the Lumix G9 is again the top pick, with a blistering top speed of 60 frames per second of continuous shooting in AF-S with the electronic shutter. Even if AF-C the G9 is capable of 20fps. The mechanical shutter is the same in both cameras and will offer 12fps in AF-S and 9fps in AF-C.

In the Lumix G9, Panasonic have made upgrades across the board over the GH5, including to the Venus Engine processor and the way the camera handles images. This means that the Lumix G9 is said to highest picture quality of any Lumix G camera. This includes a 1/3 step wider dynamic range over the GH5, resulting in improved rendering of bright areas and rcher gradation of colours. Additionally, a new AR coating on the sensor results in the suppression of ghosting and flaring. Furthermore, finer tuning for three-dimensional colour control gives much improved colour reproduction and rcher and more even colours.

Video Quality

The Panasonic Lumix GH5 has the edge over the G9 when it comes to video quality, making a very clear difference between the two cameras.

With a superior heat-sync capability and some more tech, the GH5 is able to record 4K video at 60p or 50p for an unlimited recording time, even in broadcast-quality 4:2:2 10bit (which is 400Mbps). The G9, on the other hand, will only record in 4K 60/50p (150Mbps output) for up to 10 minutes, and 4K 30/25/24p (100Mbps output) for the legally required maximum of 29 minutes and 59 seconds.

However, the Lumix G9 is no slouch on the video front though, and even though it's primarily billed as a stills photography camera it's still capable of 4K at 60/50p in 4:2:0 8bit (internal) or 4:2:2 8bit externally.

Additionally, the GH5 has more file type options of MOV, AVCHD Progressive, or MP4, whereas the G9 only have AVCHD Progressive or MP4, as well as the ability to shoot in V-LogL and Hybrid Log Gamma (4K HDR), while the G9 will only shoot in Cinelike D or Cinelike V styles.

On the audio front, the Lumix GH5 is again the winner, with the option of XLR audio input. However, the G9 does have a 3.5mm mic socket and headphone socket.

Physical Differences

At 658g with a battery and SD card, the Lumix G9 is approximately 75g lighter than the GH5, which is noticeable when you're carrying the camera for any length of time.

Reinforcing its position as the video camera of the two, the Lumix GH5 has a slightly larger rear LCD touchscreen at 3.2 inches vs the 3.0 inch screen in the G9. It's also obviously higher resolution at 1,620k-dot and is in a 3:2 aspect ratio, whereas the G9's screen is 1,040k-dot resolution in a 3:0 aspect ratio. However, both screens are free-angle and static-touch screens.

The biggest physical differences between the two cameras, other than the size, can be found on the top panel.

The new Panasonic Lumix G9 has made room for a large LCD monitor on the right hand side, giving all the information you'd expect to see on a pro-level digital SLR camera. This panel is infinitely useful and makes the G9 feel like a mini-DSLR, giving lots of feedback on your current camera settings.

On the left side of the top panel on the G9 is a dual-function dial, the bottom half of which is lockable and controls the drive modes, while the top half controls the camera modes.

Both the GH5 and G9 have front and rear dials on the right hand side, perfect for using your index and thumb finger to intuitively control shutter speed or aperture as you're shooting.

On the back of both the Lumix G9 and GH5 you'll find the familiar amalgamation of customisable function buttons, joystick, and control wheel; in this regard both cameras are relatively similar.

Similarities Between Lumix G9 and GH5

Aside from the megapixel count and sensor, there is much that stays the same between the Panasonic Lumix G9 and the Lumix GH5.

Both the G9 and GH5 feature Panasonic's 6K PHOTO and 4K PHOTO technology which allow you to shoot 18MP still images at up to 30fps in 6K PHOTO, and 8MP still images at up to 60fps in 4K PHOTO.

Both cameras are a magnesium alloy body and are splashproof, dustproof, and freezeproof down to -10 degrees Celsius.

Both cameras have Dual SD Card slots, both of which are UHS-II compatible and can be used in a multitude of ways to record your data, whether it's simultaneous recording to both, or specifying RAW to one and JPEG to another, or video to one and stills to another.

Both the G9 and GH5 also use Bluetooth Low Energy and Wi-Fi wireless connections, feature a USB-C connection, and have an HDMI port for external video. They also both use the same battery, which is handy.

Other Differences Between Lumix GH5 and G9

With improvements to the Venus Engine in the Lumix G9 come a slightly quicker focusing speed of 0.04sec when compared to the GH5 which focuses in 0.05sec, both using the same Advanced DFD (Depth from Defocus) technology.

In line with improvements to the continuous shooting in the G9, the maximum shutter speed has also been increased to 1/32,000th/sec when compared to the 1/16,000th/sec available in the Lumix GH5 - further cementing its position as a stills photographers' camera.

The electronic viewfinder has also seen an upgrade from the Lumix GH5 to the G9. While they're the same resolution, the G9 boasts a 0.83x magnification compared to only 0.76x available in the GH5. A new feature for the G9 is also the option to choose a variable frame rate of either 120fps or 60fps depending on your shooting conditions.

A new feature that Panasonic have introduced into the Lumix G9 is the ability to charge the camera via the USB 3.0 port - a very handy feature to have if you're on the go or forget your charger.

The Panasonic Lumix G9 is available to pre-order today at Park Cameras.
Also available to pre-order today is the new Leica DG Elmarit 200mm f/2.8 lens.


By Park Cameras on 08/11/2017

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