It’s been a busy six months or so for Panasonic with three new mirrorless models added to the Lumix lineup. The first to be announced at the tail end of 2017 was the G9 – Panasonic’s latest flagship camera – and it’s pitched at those wanting superior performance with a Four Thirds mount. Next up we got to see the GH5S. This is less of a stills camera and is instead designed for those wanting to create professional quality video at a more affordable price. The most recent to arrive is the GX9 and is touted by Panasonic as a premium street photography camera, on account of its Rangefinder aesthetic and slender, discreet design. As the G9 and GX9 are both built with stills photographers in mind, let’s take a look and see how these two recent additions compare.
The G9 is Panasonic’s flagship stills camera and offers users a range of pro-level features built with speed and image quality in mind. As such, it has an RRP of £1499 (body only), which is considerably more than the £699 the GX9 will set you back, which is aimed at enthusiasts looking to take the next step with their photography.
Both the G9 and GX9 are built around a 20.3MP Micro Four Thirds sensor which measures 17.3x13mm offers a maximum image resolution of 5184×3888 pixels. Unlike their predecessors, there’s no Anti Aliasing filter present so detail should be sharper, but you’ll be more at risk of moire when photographing repeating patterns. The sensor is powered by Panasonic’s latest Venus Engine processor, and both the G9 and GX9 have a respectable native ISO range of 200-25,600, with ISO 100 available in the expanded settings.
To help minimise the effects of camera shake, the G9 and GX9 come fitted with 5-axis sensor based image stabilisation systems. The GX9 is capable of offering up to 4-stops of shake correction, whereas the flagship G9 goes 2.5stops further and can be effective up to 6.5stops to give users an advantage when shooting with slower shutter speeds.
One of the key differences between these two new mirrorless models is the autofocus system. While both cameras use contrast detection to set the focus, the GX9 comes with just 49 AF points concentrated towards the central portion of the frame. The premium G9 however boasts 225 AF points, offering a much more comprehensive focus system and is therefore more adept at tracking moving subjects.
The G9 also has a big advantage over the GX9 when it comes to autofocus and shooting speed. The G9 can shoot at a blistering 20fps with continuous AF, making it well suited to sports or wildlife photographers who demand a camera that can keep pace with the action. The GX9 has a slower top shooting speed of 9fps – which is still more than enough for everyday situations – but this rate drops to 6fps if you want to use continuous focus while shooting, so anyone with the need for speed will be steered towards the G9. At their top shooting speeds, the buffer on the GX9 is good for 140 JPEGs or 32 RAW files, whereas the faster G9 can shoot for 50 JPEGs or 50 RAWs before the shutter is interrupted.
On the rear of both cameras you’ll find a 3.0” TFT LCD with touchscreen and tilt functions. The lower priced GX9 actually has a higher resolution than the G9, with a 1240k-dot resolution versus the 1040k-dot screen on the G9. While both cameras offer touchscreen functionality to navigate menus and scroll through images, the GX9 comes with the ability to tilt the screen to help compose at arm’s length, but the G9 goes a step better by having a fully articulated screen for far greater flexibility.
If you want to compose using a viewfinder – either through personal preference or to avoid the glare of the sun – then both the G9 and GX9 feature an EVF. The more advanced G9 has a 3680k-dot viewfinder resolution with 120fps, 100% coverage and a 1.66x magnification. The more affordable GX9 has a lower 2760k-dot resolution and a lesser 1.39x magnification.
Cameras with electronic viewfinders are notoriously power hungry, and so if you’re planning a long shoot then you’ll need some spare batteries. The GX9 has a battery that is good for 260 shots, while the G9 will perform for a little longer with a battery capacity of 400 frames.
When it comes to capturing video, both the G9 and GX9 can record in 4K and Full HD resolutions. The higher spec G9 comes with microphone and headphone input ports to take full control of the audio side of movies, but the smaller GX9 doesn’t allow for any sound inputs so instead you’d need to make do with the on board hardware.
If you’re keen to connect your camera to your smart device to instantly transfer images and share them on the net – or to remotely operate the camera – then both the G9 and GX9 feature WiFi and Bluetooth, but neither offer NFC connectivity.
The G9 body design is more akin to a DSLR with a central viewfinder in a pentaprism style structure. The outer shell is made from durable magnesium alloy and the camera is weather sealed to keep out dust and moisture when shooting in more hostile environments. The G9 is a fair bit larger than the GX9, measuring 137x97x92mm and weighing 658g. On account of it being bigger, it can accommodate more hardware for increased functionality. Among the physical differences between the G9 and GX9 is that the G9 comes with two UHS-II SD card slots, while the GX9 just has a single UHS-I SD slot. The G9 also features a top LCD to display a variety of shooting info. The smaller GX9 measures 124x72x47mm and is lightweight at just 407g. Despite being physically smaller, the GX9 still manages to cram in a pop-up flash, a feature absent from the G9. The GX9 body aesthetic is more like a Rangefinder camera with the EVF on the top left, and there’s no weather sealing present on this model.
At first glance, there doesn’t seem to be too much that separates these two cameras, especially to justify the much heavier price tag of the G9. They both feature a 20MP Four Thirds sensor, with 5-axis image stabilisation, tilting touch screens, 4K video and share the same ISO range. However the larger G9 is aimed at those towards the professional end of the market with a far superior AF system, a much more rapid burst rate, enhanced video recording, advanced EVF, better battery life and a more premium finish that includes weather sealing and an extra SD card slot. The GX9 forgoes some of these features in favour of being more portable and discreet, and also more affordable to tempt those at the enthusiast end of the market. If you can cope without the blistering speed of the G9, and instead are on the lookout for a truly portable yet versatile CSC, then the GX9 will surely be a tempting option.
|Price||$ 1,259.00||$ 729.00|
|Sensor||Micro Four Thirds||Micro Four Thirds|
|Processor||Venus Engine||Venus Engine|
|LCD||3.0″ 1040k-dot touchscreen||3.0″ 1240k-dot touchscreen|
|EVF||Yes, 3680k-dot||Yes, 2760k-dot|
|Video||4K, Full HD||4K, Full Hd|
|Image stabilisation||Yes, 6.5 stops||Yes, 4 stops|