By Jacob Kersh
There are a number of cameras within the enthusiast market that are designed specifically for taking either videos or photos. Brands such as Canon and Nikon continue to produce more still-photography oriented cameras, while companies such as FujiFilm work towards creating devices with significantly better video capabilities. And this division makes sense in many ways, as photographers and videographers are actually quite different people; a photographer’s ideal camera would be quite a bit different to what a perfect videographer’s camera would be.
For example, next time you see someone out shooting with their camera, pay attention to the way they are holding it. Photographers normally hold the camera and shoot with the tiny window found at the top of many DSLR’s, also known as a viewfinder, while videographers would normally hold the camera slightly in front and away from their bodies when shooting videos and essentially only utilize the rear LCD screen, giving them the power to see their camera’s buttons and dials clearly when changing settings.
Despite the fact that the abilities of cameras within both the hobbyist and enthusiast industries are becoming increasingly separated, Panasonic launched a new flagship mirrorless camera this November that encompasses the best of both worlds: The Lumix G9. This new camera not only possesses the blisteringly fast autofocus and 4K quality video that previous Panasonic models have had in the past, but now also offers incredible potential for photographers as well. Read on to discover some highlights of this impressive new device.
Improved Camera Body: While image and video quality are the most important strengths that a camera needs to possess, they are not the first thing you are going to notice when you take a device as well-made as the G9 out of it’s box. The camera, complete with a new magnesium-alloy body, more robust handgrip up front, and generous eyecup on back, make it a true attention-grabber. The new chassis also sports much-improved ergonomics and many new features, with a generously-sized status LCD bar, an intuitive rear-panel joystick for selecting autofocus points with ease, and exposure triangle (aperture, shutter speed, and ISO) control buttons at easy reach of your shutter finger. It also features a lockable mode dial which sports a total of three Custom positions. Additionally, it is not only splashproof and dustproof, but freezeproof to 14°F. This addition is certainly a welcome one, as the now weatherproof body will allow photographers to take it to more extreme environments without having to spend extra money on housing. Junior photographer Jordan Chizmadia says she is “very excited about the addition because buyers will be taking many more photos in the snow this winter”, which she cannot wait to see.
High Resolution Mode: The Panasonic G9 is the first Lumix camera to offer a pixel-shift High Resolution shooting mode, producing up to an 80.6-megapixel image if used correctly. Basically, the G9 sensor is able to take eight separate frames in record time and composite them together in-camera! This feature, however, does have its limitations and appropriate use-cases. This mode is probably best suited for architecture and landscape shots that do not have any moving subjects, because given the multi-shot nature of this mode, improper stitching and increased motion blur could easily occur. But although it might be a very situational feature, the G9's high-resolution mode captures an amazing level of detail when executed properly. Photographers have tested the device during the past few weeks and have come out with some stunning photos.
New Stabilization System: The five-axis image stabilization system in the Panasonic G9 is an area where the device bests not only its Panasonic predecessors, but also blows its flagship sibling, the Panasonic GH5, out of the water. Although it uses the same gyro sensor as in the GH5, the incorporation of improved algorithms by Panasonic, which take into account data from the image sensor while also determining a motion vector (analyzing handheld motion regulate how much the image should be warped), allow the system to produce a claimed six-and-a-half stop corrective ability. What this means in real life situations is that video quality will be extremely smooth and users may not even need to splurge on buying a pricey external gimbal or stabilizer. Freshman Anthony DeCamillo says that “gimbals on the market today are way too overpriced, so having stabilization built into the camera is much better because [he] won’t have to pay as much, will not have to remember to charge anything else, and will have much more space in [his] camera bag for other necessities if [he] decides to buy the G9.”
Pricing and Availability: The Panasonic G9 will be sold body-only in the US market, priced at around $1,700. Because of its high price-point, it is more oriented toward camera enthusiasts and possibly even professionals because of its exceptional performance. However, if hobbyists are willing to splurge on this incredible device, they will not be disappointed. The camera is expected to start shipping in early January 2018, and will come with a battery pack, a USB-powered dedicated battery charger and cables, a shoulder strap, eyecup, body cap, flash sync socket cover, and hot-shoe cover (prevents interior dust and debris).
In conclusion, Panasonic’s new Lumix G9 is undoubtedly in a class of its own, but only time will tell if consumers will be able to withstand its hefty price-point and purchase this highly capable flagship device.