LUMIX G9 Review

Written By Rob Knight

On May 4, 2018
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I have used almost every G series LUMIX camera since the GH3, and I have really enjoyed using most of them. There have been a few favorites, but I had forgotten what it’s like to really love a camera. The Panasonic LUMIX G9 has reminded me what that’s like. I WANT to pick it up, and go make a picture. The G9 goes everywhere with me just in case I can find a reason to use it. I know that it will do whatever I ask it to without any fuss or hesitation.

A couple of things happened lately that made me realize how much I like this camera. The first was in January when I was leading my annual photo workshop to Costa Rica. I had been teaching and shooting for three days before it occurred to me that I hadn’t thought about the G9 one time. That may sound weird, but here’s the thing… The G9 did exactly what I expected it to do so I could concentrate on the images I wanted to make. I didn’t spend any time looking for a button, searching through menus, or trying to figure out how the camera works. It simply did what I asked it to do and got out of the way. It is comfortable to hold all day, the buttons and dials are where they should be, and it captures beautiful images.

The second indicator that I love this camera involves my wallet. I’ve been a LUMIX ambassador for five years, and I haven’t purchased a camera since joining the team. I’ve often thought it would be nice to have a backup body that is the same model as my primary, but I never thought about it seriously enough to actually purchase one. Until the G9. I was thinking about how nice it would be to have one body with the Leica 12-60mm f2.8-4 and one with the Leica 100-400mm f4-6.3. I could basically shoot anything I want to without changing a lens. So I bought one. And I can tell you that I was right. A small bag with two G9 bodies and the Leica 12-60mm and 100-400mm lenses is as versatile and easy as any kit I’ve used. 

The features I mentioned in my initial impressions review are still some of my favorites. The ergonomic design of the LUMIX G9 is damn near perfect. I’ve watched hundreds of people pick up the G9 at trade shows and they all say some version of, “wow! this grip fits my hand perfectly”. Panasonic nailed it. The viewfinder is awesome, the Fn buttons are in logical places, and the Fn lever is super cool.  

The image quality from the LUMIX G9 is something I have quickly come to rely on. I shoot raw+jpeg so I can take advantage of the in-camera controls to “pre-process” my photos, while also having the editing flexibility of a raw file if I need to do further editing. Panasonic says they refined the color output in the G9, and the skin tones are beautiful. I have also noticed that the grain at higher ISO settings (ISO3200+) is much more like GRAIN than noise. The detail is rendered very well and the grain pattern is, dare I say, “film-like”. 

I’m also loving the 80mp raw files the G9 produces in high resolution mode. I have several clients who are lamenting the way their 40+mp files are slowing down their post production. Let’s face it, most of us don’t need that much resolution for every image. I love having detailed 20mp files for most shots while having the ability to quadruple that for more detailed landscape shots.

The LUMIX G9 is a no-brainer. It is my favorite camera in six years. The G9 has bells and whistles I haven’t even begun to explore. It’s such a great camera I have been too busy making pictures to experiment! Oh, did I mention it captures amazing 4k video in 24, 30, or 60p? You may have heard that Panasonic makes a pretty good video camera 😉

Let me know if you have any questions about the G9. I’m happy to ramble on about it for long periods of time!

18 Comments

  1. John

    What bag do you use for carrying the G9/100-400 and G9/12-60?

    Reply
    • Rob Knight

      Hi John, I’ve been using the Tenba Solstice backpacks. I use the 12L for the 2 camera/2 lens setup, and the 20L when I need to carry a couple of extra lenses and accessories. I’m loving those bags!!!

      Reply
  2. ToxicTabasco

    Great review. I just got a G9 a few days ago, and did the new firmware update this morning. And it’s very noticeable with stabilization and AF tracking. The G9 is a game changer for technology. I can now do techniques, that were once tedious and required a lot of additional gear to do. This camera is a great future proof investment.

    Reply
    • Rob Knight

      I totally agree! I’m glad you’re enjoying your G9

      Reply
  3. Tim

    Hi Rob,
    Would you suggest this camera for an infrared conversion? I have a infrared converted lumix G7.

    Reply
    • Rob Knight

      Hi Tim, I have an IR GX7 as well. I’m sure the G9 would be great for IR as long as the conversion would’t interfere with the IBIS. I am planning to contact Life Pixel about this issue.

      Reply
  4. Gary Mackman

    Great review. I just got my g9 and also the 12-60 and 50-200 f2.8-4.0.
    For some reason, I can’t seem to get the tack sharp photos you show, even with still subjects? Can’t figure out what I’m doing wrong? I get sharper pics with my fz1000? I have set it on aperture priority with the 12-60, ie, iso 200-400 and shot my dog sleeping? The photo turns out soft? Trying moving subjects is worse.
    HELP!

    Reply
    • Rob Knight

      That’s wild! I would have to know more about your settings to diagnose the issue fully. Maybe drop me an email when you have a sec.

      Reply
  5. Peter Orford

    Have a FL 600R flash will in work with the G9 I hope I just brought it !

    I really enjoyed reading you posts very informative

    Thanks

    Peter Orford

    Reply
    • Rob Knight

      As far as I know the G9 will work with any LUMIX or Olympus flash

      Reply
  6. Julien

    Hi Rob,

    I have a gh5 and a gh4 for my video company. I also do photography(about 10% of my jobs). I use a nikon for my photography. I’m planning on selling all my nikon gear and getting lenses from the gh5. While searching on the web about gh5 stills, I saw lots of good reviews of the g9. Would you say the quality of the image of the g9 is superior to the gh5 by a lot? Would like to see raw files if you could email them to me it would be great!

    Reply
    • Rob Knight

      I like the G9 for the ergonomics and i feel like there might be a *slight* improvement in still image quality. The hires mode is also really awesome!

      Reply
  7. Srikant

    Hi Rob,

    Thanks for these inspiring articles. I was wondering if you have more samples of wildlife using the G9/100-400 combo? I am looking at G9 as my next potential camera (I love the 6k photo mode). I was especially interested in how it performs with the 6k photo mode? I would ideally like to point at wildlife and shoot photo mode videos and deal with the choice to pick the best ones in post processing.

    Reply
    • Rob Knight

      Hi! I have lots of examples from that combo on my Instagram feed.

      Reply
  8. John

    Hello Rob,
    Are you going to publish a book on using the g9 like you did with the lumix gx7?

    Reply
    • Rob Knight

      Hi John, I’m afraid not. Lumix didn’t promote the G7 book at all, so my publisher isn’t keen to work with them again 🙁

      Reply
  9. Laura C

    I have the G9 and am a portrait photographer. The images half body or closer are beautiful. The farther away I am, the more grainy the image becomes. Even though I use the focus square to determine focus, I feel like my images are not as sharp and more grainy for full body or environmental portraits. Do you have any advice for me?

    Reply
    • Rob Knight

      Hi Laure, Be sure you are focusing on the face and not underexposing the photos. There is not technical reason the full body shots would have more grain if the exposure is the same

      Reply

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