Hands on: Panasonic Lumix G90/G95 review

Panasonic’s new camera aims to be brilliant at everything

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Our Verdict

The Lumix G90/G95 looks impressive both for stills photography and as a video camera for vloggers. We weren’t able to keep the pictures taken with the pre-production cameras we were shown, but the handling and control layout felt great, and the autofocus was very snappy indeed. The only worry for us is the price, which puts it up against some very tough APS-C competition, so we look forward to getting a full review sample to see how its image quality matches up.

For

  • Panasonic’s latest 20MP sensor
  • Powerful 4K video features
  • Vari-angle touchscreen
  • 4K Photo modes

Against

  • Smaller Micro Four Thirds sensor
  • As big as a compact DSLR
  • Not cheap

The Panasonic G90/G95 aims to be the perfect camera for both stills photographers and video bloggers, so it’s not really a specialist in any one area but has powerful features for all kinds of photography and film making.

It supersedes the Panasonic G80/G85 as a DSLR-style mirrorless camera for photographers looking to step up from a basic DSLR or mirrorless camera, or even a smartphone, to something more advanced, and clearly wants to challenge the best 4K cameras for a share of the growing consumer video market.

Read more: New Panasonic Lumix G90/G95 is designed for both stills and 4K video

Inside the G90/G95 is a brand new 20.3-megapixel Micro Four Thirds sensor, though we weren't able to keep any images taken with the pre-production samples at the launch.

Inside the G90/G95 is a brand new 20.3-megapixel Micro Four Thirds sensor, though we weren't able to keep any images taken with the pre-production samples at the launch.

New features include Panasonic’s latest 20-megapixel sensor, which is a step up from the 16-megapixel sensor in the G80/G85 and Panasonic’s cheaper mirrorless cameras, but still not quite up to the level of the larger 24-megapixel sensors in rival cameras like the Canon EOS M50, Sony A6400 and Fujifilm X-T30.

But what it lacks in outright sensor size (Micro Four Thirds sensors are roughly half the size of APS-C), the G90/G95 makes up for with high-tech features, dual lens and body image stabilisation, 4K video with the option of Panasonic’s pro-level V-Log L mode for 12-stop dynamic range when colour grading video footage on a computer, new Live View Composite and ‘stromotion’ modes and more. You can find out more about this camera’s features in our Panasonic G90/G95 news story.

The Lumix G90/G95 is aimed equally at stills photographers looking for advanced features and ease of use, and videographers and vloggers who want 4K video in an affordable, portable and weather-sealed camera.

The Lumix G90/G95 is aimed equally at stills photographers looking for advanced features and ease of use, and videographers and vloggers who want 4K video in an affordable, portable and weather-sealed camera.

Panasonic Lumix G90/G95: Specifications

Sensor: 20.3MP Live MOS Micro Four Thirds
Image processor: Venus
Autofocus: DFD contrast AF
Video: 4K UHD at 30p, 25p, 24p
Viewfinder: OLED EVF, 2.36m dots, 100% coverage, 0.74x magnification
Memory card: SD (UHS II compatible)
LCD: 3-inch free-angle touchscreen, 2.1m dots
Max burst: 9fps, 6fps with CAF
Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
Size: 148.9 x 110.0 x 96.7mm (body only)
Weight: 1,016g (body only, with battery and SD card)

Panasonic Lumix G90/G95: Build and handling

The cameras we were able to try were pre-production versions so it was not possible to take any sample pictures and the handling did not necessarily represent that of the final camera. Nevertheless, these early samples felt very well made and finished.

Unlike Panasonic’s rectangular rangefinder-style GX80/GX85 and GX9 models, the G90/G95 is styled more like a compact DSLR, with the electronic viewfinder mounted centrally on the lens’s optical axis on the top of the camera, just like the Lumix G80/G85 before it, and like a smaller version of Panasonic’s range-topping Lumix G9 model.

The Lumix G90/G95 is a similar size to a compact DSLR, but its Micro Four Thirds lenses, like this 12-60mm kit lens (24-120mm equivalent) are smaller and lighter.

The Lumix G90/G95 is a similar size to a compact DSLR, but its Micro Four Thirds lenses, like this 12-60mm kit lens (24-120mm equivalent) are smaller and lighter.

The body feels about the same size as a compact DSLR, but the smaller Micro Four Thirds sensor format means that the lenses are correspondingly smaller too, so the Panasonic 12-60mm kit lens fitted to the sample cameras is quite light and compact, despite its wide 24-120mm effective zoom range.

The body itself feels light but well made, and has a magnesium alloy front frame and extensive weather sealing around every joint, dial and button. Panasonic says it’s been redesigned and improved for maximum comfort and easy one-handed operation. It already feels chunky and ‘grippable’, but it will also be possible to fit the same optional battery grip used by the existing Lumix G80/G95. 

The electronic viewfinder has a resolution of 2.36 million dots, which is less than half that of the new Lumix S full frame cameras, but thanks to its OLED technology it still looks very sharp and crisp nonetheless, and has a decent 0.74x magnification as well as 100% frame coverage. 

The free-angle touchscreen display uses OLED technology, and the hinge mechanism feels pretty robust.

The free-angle touchscreen display uses OLED technology, and the hinge mechanism feels pretty robust.

Unusually, the vari-angle touchscreen display on the back of the camera uses OLED technology too. The screen flips out to the side but can also be folded flat against the back of the camera, either facing outwards for image and information display or facing inwards to protect it during viewfinder shooting – and the hinge mechanism feels reassuringly solid. 

The menu system on this camera is bold, clear and concise, and a lot nicer to navigate through than some we’ve tried.

There are twin front and rear control dials on the top of the camera, together with buttons for setting white balance, ISO and exposure compensation.

There are twin front and rear control dials on the top of the camera, together with buttons for setting white balance, ISO and exposure compensation.

One noticeable design change compared to the previous model is the addition of three new buttons on the top of the camera for adjusting the white balance, ISO setting and exposure compensation – and they have different top surfaces to make them easier to recognise by touch alone.

There are two separate front and rear control dials on the top of the camera, and the rear dial has a central button which, when you press it, enables white balance and ISO settings via the two control dials. There’s a third spinning control dial on the back, and external controls are clearly one of this camera’s strong points because they can be customised to practically any user preference with no fewer than 11 different configurable Fn dial/button settings.

If you like customising your camera controls, you'll love the Lumix G90/G95, which has no fewer than 11 customisable  dials and buttons.

If you like customising your camera controls, you'll love the Lumix G90/G95, which has no fewer than 11 customisable  dials and buttons.

You can change the autofocus mode using a lever to the right of the viewfinder eyepiece, and change the focus area mode by pressing left on the rear controller. The autofocus itself proved extremely fast and positive in our brief tests with the camera, and certainly seems to justify Panasonic’s faith in its contrast-based DFD autofocus system.

The top of the camera also houses the main mode dial, on the right hand side, and a drive mode dial on the left – this also offers direct access to Panasonic’s trademark 4K photo modes. We’ve used the Post Focus mode, for example, in the past, and the ability to select a focus point after you’ve taken a picture still feels quite uncanny even now.

A drive mode dial on the top of the camera gives access to its regular continuous shooting modes and Panasonic's trademark 4K Photo capture modes, for 30fps image capture at 8 million pixels or Panasonic's uncanny Post Focus option.

A drive mode dial on the top of the camera gives access to its regular continuous shooting modes and Panasonic's trademark 4K Photo capture modes, for 30fps image capture at 8 million pixels or Panasonic's uncanny Post Focus option.

All of the dials and controls feel really firm, ‘tight’ and positive. The G90/G95 is far from being a cheap camera, but along with its advanced specifications, its quality build and handling do feel in line with its price.

The memory card door opens to reveal just a single SD/SDHC/SDXC memory card slot, but we’re told it is UHS-II compatible. The quoted battery life of 290 shots is mildly disappointing, but Panasonic says the G90/G95’s power save mode can extend the battery life to 900 shots between charges. This camera also supports USB charging, so it’ll be possible to top up its battery using a portable power bank if you find yourself away from an electricity supply.

The Lumix G90/G95 has a single memory card slot, but we're told it's UHS II compatible so it supports high speed SD/SDHC/SDXC memory cards.

The Lumix G90/G95 has a single memory card slot, but we're told it's UHS II compatible so it supports high speed SD/SDHC/SDXC memory cards.

We weren’t allowed to take sample images with the pre-production cameras we were shown, so any comments about performance will have to wait until review samples become available. Previous Panasonic 20-megapixel Lumix G models have always done well in our lab and real-world tests in the past, though, so we’re hopeful that this new camera will live up to the same standards.

The Lumix G90/G95 feels like a really well-made, feature-packed camera but we'll have to wait until production samples become available to test it properly.

The Lumix G90/G95 feels like a really well-made, feature-packed camera but we'll have to wait until production samples become available to test it properly.

Panasonic Lumix G90/G95: Early verdict

The Panasonic Lumix G90/95 feels like a very well made and likeable camera with such a long list of features that it could take a while to try them all. This feels both a good thing and a bad thing, because this is a camera that can do an awful lot but at the same time it doesn’t feels as if it has a single killer feature to set it apart from the rest.

The price also seems quite high at £900 body only and over £1,000 / $1199 with a kit lens, especially given that Panasonic will keep the older G80/G85 going at the same time, not to mention the bargain-priced G7 model. Worse, this price puts it up against the Sony A6400 and Fujifilm X-T30, both of which have larger, higher-resolution APS-C sensors.

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