Panasonic Lumix G9 review

Panasonic commits to stills photography with its new high-speed, high-end mirrorless camera

TODO alt text

The G9 certainly appears to be the start of something new for Panasonic, and is unquestionably the company's most capable camera intended for a stills audience to date. It's more substantial in the hands than the company's non-video-focused models, and more significant a departure from the likes of the G7 than its name suggests. 

There's a slight lag in the electronic display which means you have to place your trust in the autofocus system to keep a moving subject in focus, but it does this very well, even though it uses contrast autofocus technology rather than the faster phase-detection systems used by rivals. 

Its continuous shooting speed, Dual I.S. system and lenses like the new Leica DG Elmarit 200mm f/2.8 Power O.I.S. make the G9 a serious proposition for keen sports and wildlife photographers, while its price tag keeps it within the reach of enthusiasts.

That said, Panasonic is targeting a pretty small niche, and one that’s already occupied by the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II, a camera with very similar specifications and capabilities, and with its own range of well-specified pro lenses.

It’s also up against the highly capable Fujifilm X-T2 and the smaller and cheaper X-T20, as well as the Sony A6500, while in the DSLR world there’s the fast and powerful Nikon D500. None of these can quite match the G9’s continuous shooting speed, but all are highly capable all-rounders with larger APS-C sensors. 

Along with the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II, the Panasonic Lumix G9 is the best affordable high-speed mirrorless sports camera yet, but for general everyday photography there are cheaper and perhaps more appealing alternatives.

Read more: The 10 Best Mirrorless Cameras

Panasonic Lumix G9 competition

Fujifilm X-T20

The X-T20 is not a dedicated sports camera like the G9, but it can still hit 14fps and has a sophisticated hybrid autofocus system. Read our full review here

Nikon D500

The D500 can’t match the G9’s frame rate, but it can hit 10fps. It's also built like a tank and its powerful 153-point AF system is already highly regarded.

Olympus OM-D E-M1 II

This is the closest direct rival to the G9, and it’s just a little slower for continuous shooting with AF, at 18fps vs 20fps. It’s also more expensive. Read our full review here

Panasonic Lumix G9 specifications

Sensor: 20.3MP MFT Live MOS, 17.3 x 13.0mm
Focal length conversion: 2x
Memory: 2x SD/SDHC/SDXC, both UHS II
Viewfinder: OLED EVF, 3.68 million dots
Max video resolution: 4K UHD at 30fps
ISO range: 100-25,600
Autofocus points: 225-area contrast AF
Max burst: 20fps with AF, 60fps with focus fixed at first frame (600 JPEG, 60 Raw) Screen: 3-inch vari-angle touchscreen, 1,040k dots
Shutter speeds: 60-1/8,000 sec (1/32,000 electronic shutter), bulb
Weight: 658g (body only, with battery and memory card)
Dimensions: 136.9 x 97.3 x 91.6mm
Power supply: Lithium-ion (supplied), 400/380 shots using LCD/EVF