Panasonic is launching a new camera today at 10:00 EDT / 15:00 BST, which is technically tomorrow 00:00 AEST. And you can watch the event live, right here along with us!
In addition to watching the announcement via the embedded video below, we'll be live blogging the event as it happens – bringing you the specs, info and nitty gritty as it's revealed, along with our insight and commentary on what we see.
Panasonic's new camera: what we know
The tagline for the new camera is "new phase" (allcaps, though I won't subject your eyes to that here). "Get ready for another new phase" reads the description on YouTube, Instagram and Facebook, with the YouTube Live countdown page titled "Lumix New Product Launch".
"Another new phase" would seem to be an overture to the technology making its debut on another camera system. Obviously Panasonic produces two formats: full-frame S-series cameras and Micro Four Thirds G-series cameras.
Well, as if the giant spinning "G" in the video weren't enough of a clue, the illustration of a Micro Four Thirds (MFT) mount is a big fat signpost that we're looking at a new G-series camera here.
Indeed, Panasonic hasn't launched a new MFT body since the Panasonic Lumix GH6 – which was released back in February 2022, and was conspicuously lacking any kind of phase detect (this being before Panasonic's eureka moment with the S5 II).
So it makes perfect sense that this new announcement will be the first G-series camera with phase hybrid AF – and this certainly jibes with recent rumors that such a camera was on the way…
Today is the big day! And not just for Panasonic – there's also the live Fujifilm X Summit (watch along here) taking place at 05:00 ET / 10:00 BST / 19:00 AEST, followed by the Sony Burano launch (check it out here) that takes place in the same 10:00 EDT / 15:00 BST / 00:00 AEST slot as the Panasonic announcement.
Seriously… these people need to talk to each other.
Just an hour away from the launch, and already some interesting (and off-the-mark) guesses are being made in the comments:
"Can we get a new S1 or s1h"
"S1H mark ii please"
"S1H II NEEDED"
Looks like some folks didn't get the memo.
More guesses, this time on the (correct) Micro Four Thirds train:
"G85 got replacement, it's the g95"
"it's probably too soon for gh7"
AND WE'RE LIVE!!!!
2008 Panasonic pioneered the mirrorless camera with the Panasonic G1 – which I played with a short while ago
Aaaaaand here it is! The new flagship, Panasonic Lumix G9 II with:
• Phase detect autofocus
• 25.2MP image sensor
• Improved low sensitivity of ISO100
• 100MP Handheld High Res Mode via pixel shift
• Humans and Animals including eyes, and Car and Motorcycle detection
• 60fps (AF-C) or 75fps (AF-S) burst mode
Up to 8 stops of in-body image stabilization!
Real Time LUTs for stills and video – use one of the built-in library (including Leica Monochrome) or create one of your own
(Missed a trick by not calling it "Monochrom", IMO)
5.8K 30fps, 4.4K 60p, 4K 120p, FullHD 240p
With 13 stops of dynamic range in V-Log
Two newly updated lenses!
The newly Leica-badged Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 35-100mm f/2.8 Power OIS and the revamped Leica DG Vario-Elmar 100-400mm f/4.0-6.3 II Asph. Power OIS
Newly compatible with the phase hybrid AF system, along with the Panasonic 2x teleconverter (in the case of the 100-400mm)
"Our firm commitment to Micro Four Thirds", says Panasonic Man.
Hard to agree with that for most of 2023, but hard to argue with that now.
Ooh, a live Q&A section simulcast with global and US YouTube and Instagram accounts.
LET'S INVITE SOME CHAOS.
"What happend to the 6k Photo Mode?" asks one user.
What indeed. Let's see if they answer that one.
"Micro Four Thirds is back with a vengeance and we are SUPER COMMITTED to this platform… especially the photographers out there, which makes a bit of a change for us."
It's the 15th anniversary of Lumix, apparently.
Interesting… they're addressing the criticism that MFT was always created to be small and compact, given that the G9 II is pretty damned similar to the tank-like S5 II.
"This kit is so much smaller and lighter when you look at the sum of its parts."
Nice one, lads.
Apparently being weather sealed contributes to the size.
OM System says hi.
At launch, the camera will have Live View Composite – no need to wait for firmware.
The chaps are really pushing the stills features, while noting that the G9 II is being used for their YouTube stream.
Firmware updates coming for older lenses so that they benefit from the new phase detect AF system – but new lenses like the 100-400mm already have that technology.
Pricing in US is $1,899 body only
High Resolution Shot Mode – producing 100MP images – includes motion detection and compensation functionality for shooting outdoors, handheld or non-handheld, along with enhanced color dimensionality.
Uses BLK22 battery – like S5 II and S5 IIX – but also uses the old BLK19 (for those who focus more on stills, as the higher capacity battery mainly facilitates video functions)
The old G9 battery grip works on it, too
Connections: USB-C, full-size HDMI, mic and headphone jack, 2x UHS-II SD card slots, compatible with XLR-1 audio adapter, remote port
Also works with Kondor Blue and SanDisk Pro Blade SSD mags adapter, released for the S5 II.
That's pretty huge.
Pre-burst is back, to start buffering shots when you half-press the shutter. You can set it for 1.5 secs, 1 sec or 0.5 secs – which, combined with the 60fps burst shooting, gives you up to 90 frames before you even press the shutter!
Time Lapse function with the Panasonic calculator to tell you how many frames you need. That's also huge, for some folks.
• Chassis has changed in line with S5 II…
• … so accessories for S5 II will also work
• More powerful image engine with more processing power
• New battery with more voltage
No, this is NOT the same sensor as the Panasonic GH6 – the first clue is that it has phase detect.
Dynamic Range Boost all the way down to ISO100 – so no need to turn DR Boost on or off, as with the GH6 (all the way up to 60fps).
Clearly Panny is focusing on the stills side of things, given that it's known as "the video brand". But now preaching the video specs:
• 5.7K open gate
• 4K and C4K up to 120p using full sensor width, subsampled from 5.7K
• FullHD up to 240p with native codec
• Has Slow and Quick function for 300fps in full high definition
• "In short, full plethora of framerates" in line with the GH6.
• BUT the GH6 is a heat-dissipated camera up to 104°F / 40°C; in G9 II no hard limitations in terms of time limits
"True modern photographer first and foremost" and a good secondary camera for videography
8 stops of IBIS up to 60mm / 120mm equivalent in full frame terms – so past that, IBIS drops to 7.5 stops
Also advanced electronic image stabilization with no crop, standard crop and extreme crop.
"How about the warpy corners with wide (6mm) lenses?"
They're trying out geometric corrections for those lenses.
Also claiming that, with 8 stops and the new extreme crop electronic stabilization, this will impress even gimbal devotees
Subject detection and phase detect upgrades:
• Separated human and animal detection system (unlike other Lumix cameras, where the two are in the same category)
• Select body and face, or face and eye
• Animal face and eye detection, with more modernized UI in line with what other cameras are doing. Not just box in a face with a crosshair (as is still the case with human eye AF), now for animals it's just a box over the eye – so you know exactly where the focus is
• Updated body detection algorithms, so system much tighter, powered by Deep Learning – what people often call AI, even though it's really AI-trained, which means that the system can be updated and trained.
• Much tighter boxes, with less busy UI, and more accurate performance
Car subject detection is now joined by motorcycle detection
Thermal limitations are about the same as the original G9 – but they can't quote exactly what those recording times are, without going into every individual environmental scenario.
No wait, it does NOT work with the BLK19 battery
Whoopsie, Panasonic Man #2
For 4:3 open gate recording at 30p, it does not have a crop – it's full sensor height and width
At 60p, you're in the anamorphic mode at 4.4K with a crop (anamorphic support same as GH6)
This system is NOT dual native ISO – because it uses the DR Boost function:
For every frame that's captured, it's sent to two different amplifiers – one with a lot of gain (not a lot of highlight informaton but more midtones and shadows) and then very low gain image (tons of dynamic range, now less midtones and shadows)
Combines both for a 16-bit image for very clean output, with much better ISO performance.
V-Log, for example, is at ISO500 – better than the GH6.
Now talking about the Leica L2 Technology benefits – which seems to amount to the Leica Monochrome mode that's been fine-tuned by Leica (not Panasonic's interpretation of it)
Phase detect WILL work with OM System / Olympus lenses
ProRes limitations due to memory cards – 1080p to the SD card, but 4K needs to go to an external SSD
Will the new AF firmware come to the S5 II and S5 IIX?
At this point, they cannot confirm or deny… but they clearly did not deny.
The G9 II is the first Micro Four Thirds camera to support Panasonic's Real Time LUTs – which can be applied in-camera, at the point of capture.
You can create and import your own looks, via LUTs, to replicate other brands or specific film stocks for both stills and video.
Two different ways to handle these: Real Time LUTs via V-Log profile, to bake them in for video use, but for photographers there's the My Photo Styles function (where picture profiles like "Natural" are located)
Aaaaaaaand that's about it from the Panasonic launch!
The Panasonic Lumix G9 II looks like a beast of a camera, and injects fresh life into the Micro Four Thirds format. Make sure to check out our hands-on review to see how it fares in the real world!
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