The Micro Four-Thirds mount was pioneered by Panasonic and Olympus and both brands have built on the platform to produce a number of amazing cameras that combine impressive features with compact and lightweight body designs.
As its name suggest, the Mark III is the third incarnation of Olympus’ entry-level OM-D E-M10 camera and was launched in August 2017. The G9 is slightly newer, having been launched in November 2017 and was regarded as a more compact version of the GH5 that leaned more towards stills than video. So, let’s take a closer look at the specifications sheet and see if the G9 is worth the extra money….
Design and build:
Both the Panasonic G9 and the Olympus E-M10 MkIII make use of the Micro Four-Thirds mount, which means they are able to sport compact and lightweight bodies – making these cameras a suitable choice for travel photographers. The E-M10 MkIII is the lighter of the two, tipping the scales at just 410g, while the G9 is slightly heavier at 658g. The Olympus is the smaller of the two cameras too, however the G9 is able to boast weather sealing, which will make you more confident when using the Panasonic in harsher environments.
Both cameras look like shrunken down DSLRs and offer grips for a more comfortable hold. However, there are some differences between the models; for example, the G9 offers an LCD screen on the top plate, which displays exposure information as well as displaying info such as metering modes, available storage on the memory card and so on.
Both cameras use the Micro Four-Thirds mount, though the G9 offers more resolution.
Each model features an Electronic Viewfinder (EVF), though the G9’s is higher resolution (3680k v 2360k) and though both cameras feature a 3-inch LCD, the Panasonic offers a vari-angle design, while the Olympus LCD is limited to tilting. Vari-angle screens are recognised as being more versatile, especially when trying to set-up awkward high/low compositions. The Panasonic also trumps the Olympus in a number of other build features too; including a higher maximum shutter speed of 1/8000sec (compared to the E-M10 MkIII’s 1/4000sec) and double the storage slots (two SD slots compared to one). Offering two card slots on a small camera is an important feature, as it will extend the amount of images you can capture without needing to swap cards or, alternatively, will allow you to create an instant back-up of pictures and video.
The Olympus does strike back by offering a built-in flash with a Guide Number of 8.2 (ISO 200) and this feature is missing from the G9. A built-in flash can prove useful for illuminating close up subjects but both cameras also offer hotshoe mounts for an external flashgun or radio trigger. When it comes to focus system, it’s the more expensive G9 that can offer a bigge AF pint count; serving up a 225-point AF system, compared to the E-M10 MkIII’s 121-points. The Olympus also can’t match the pricer G9 or speed either as the Panasonic can shoot up to 20FPS (Frames Per Second) compared to the Olympus’ 8.6FPS.
The G9 includes a top plate LCD, while the E-M10 MkIII is the lighter of the cameras.
Both the G9 and the E-M10 MKIII use a Micro Four-Thirds sensor, but there is a difference in resolutions between the two cameras. While the Olympus serves up 16-megapixels, the Panasonic gives 20-megapixels, allowing for larger prints and more tolerance when cropping in on files. The G9 includes a High Resolution mode, which combines up to eight images by shifting the sensor in between exposures to create a single 80-megapixel image. This feature will be highly appealing to those who love to make big prints or those who just want more detail and files can be saved as JPEGs or DNGs.
In terms of ISO sensitivity, the G9 has a range of 100-25600, while the E-M10 is limited to 100-6400 but makes ISO 25600 when expanded. This means that both cameras will allow photographers to capture images handheld when light levels fall. Perhaps more of use to photographers working without tripods is the built-in 5-axis image stabilisation technology found on both cameras. This means that any lens used on the cameras benefits from the IS technology and, as each model uses the MFT mount, there is a huge amount of Panasonic, Olympus and third-party lenses available – of course, photographers should remember that Olympus lenses can be used on Panasonic cameras and vice versa.
Although the G9 was intended to be more of a stills camera, while the flagship GH5 was more appealing to filmmakers, the G9 still has plenty of very interesting video features. In fact, the G9 can capture ultra high-quality 4K footage at 60p and also record slow motion footage thanks to the fast frame rate of up to 180fps in 1080p. While it can’t match the G9 for frame rates, the Olympus E-M10 MkIII holds its own and can record 4K at 30p, while also offering a slow motion capture option (120FPS at 720p).
Both cameras have 3-inch touch-sensitive LCDs, but while the Olympus features a tilting design, the Panasonic G9 offers a vari-angle action.
Unfortunately, audio options are more limited on the Olympus as only the Panasonic G9 can offer headphone and external mic ports so enhanced audio can not only be captured, but also monitored too. As mentioned, because the G9 has two card slots, the Panasonic can make an instant back-up or extend how long you can film before needing to change cards.
Extra features and verdict:
There’s plenty other extra features on both cameras to talk about, starting with the variety of Art Filters on the E-M10 MkIII that make it easy to create arty images without the need of computer software. Meanwhile, the Panasonic has a larger capacity battery (400 shots v 330) and, with its 6K video mode, can extract 18-megapixels JPEGs from movie sequences – perfect for when you absolutely have to get that crucial moment. Both cameras offer their own version of a focus bracketing/stacking mode, which takes multiple images with different focus points and then merges them together to create a single photo with front to back sharpness throughout the frame – a very popular feature with macro photographers.
The G9 has more advanced video specifications and also offers dual memory card slots.
Both the Panasonic G9 and Olympus OM-D E-M10 MkIII will prove appealing to photographers searching for a travel camera that fuses a compact design with impressive specifications. As the cameras are based at two different price points, it’s harder to compare them, but on specifications alone, the G9 is the clear winner, offering more resolution, more AF points, faster max shutter speed, faster burst rate, more memory card slots and faster video frame rates when shooting in 4K, along with ports for mics and headphones. If those extras are deal breakers, the Panasonic is the more complete camera but, as it it more than double the price, these features should be expected.
|Panasonic G9||Olympus OM-D E-M10 MkIII|
|Price (body only)||$ 1,259.00||$ 469.00|
|Sensor||Micro Four-Thirds CMOS||Micro Four-Thirds CMOS|
|Max Burst rate||20FPS||8.6FPS|
|Built-in Image Stabilisation|
|Max video quality||4K @ 60fps||4K @ 30fps|
|Headphone and external ports|