Lumix G9 review: Built for content creators

Jinoy Jose P | Updated on October 20, 2020

Panasonic’s Lumix DC-G9L is a powerful camera loaded with advanced features and futuristic functionality

Covid-19 has forced content creators to radically alter the way they produce and distribute, and OEMs have understood the new changes so much so that they are fine-tuning their products and services in sync with the new realities.

Panasonic, with its diverse portfolio of products, from TVs to cameras and phones, is one of the first to ‘ready’ themselves to face the post-Covid world. It’s a new edition of the Lumix G cameras, especially the latest version, the Lumix DC-G9L, bravely faces the new world order and aims to prepare content creators for a seamless experience wherever they are.

We have for review the March 2020 edition of the Lumix G (DC-G9L), which carries an updated firmware. In India, Pansonic markets the camera unit, which was first released in 2018, as part of its Home Office Solutions, targeting businesses, content creators and other professionals who want to adapt to the “new ways of working and communicating”.

The Lumix G (DC-G9L) belongs to Panasonic’s Lumix G9 stable and is here paired up with a Leica DG Vario-ELMARIT professional lens. One of the most important faculties one would notice about this tiny titan is its amazing shutter speed. We’ll come to that in a bit.

A pack of swashbuckling features

Much like the popular Lumix GH5, the Lumix G DC-9L also sports a 20.3MP Live MOS sensor with no AA or anti-aliasing filter. It comes with a pack of swashbuckling features, including a 3.68M-dot viewfinder, a touchscreen display, 5-axis in-body image stabilisation, 20 fps burst w/continuous AF using the e-shutter, 80MP RAW output, 4K/60p UHD video capture and a joystick for autofocus.

The Lumix DC-G9L is a super-compact camera, though it feels a bit heavy if you’re operating with one hand. The body is a tad slippery and if you’re not careful enough to hold it with the strap, it can experience a fall during the shoot. The mirrorless camera weighs a little over 650 grams and looks much like popular cousin GH5, which, by the way, has a more slippery body. This is a top-end professional camera and the seriousness is reflected on the body and looks. The chassis is die-cast magnesium alloy and the body is made to withstand the vagaries of weather. The camera has a rough, retro look that can please the old-timers and the newbies alike.

The Lumix DC-G9L carries a pack of controls and this can be a bit confusing for lesser mortals. But thankfully, users can customise most of these buttons and reduce workload significantly. A major attraction of the camera is the electronic viewfinder: it’s large and elegant. A few reviewers have suggested that the EVF is one of the largest in its class. As expected, the bigger view helps camerapersons have a detailed look at the image before the click and this saves time and tries.

If you feel the larger display uncomfortable, you can reduce it using the option, LVF/Monitor Disp. Set, and this will bring the control icons into the live-view so you get a smaller display. Some souls may like that, though I prefer to have a large view field.

Photos and video

This is a camera that’s built for those who love autofocus. The Lumix DC-G9L uses a Contrast Detect AF system aided by Panasonic’s own Depth from Defocus (DFD) technology, which improves the autofocus experience by several notches. The AF works so smoothly even under difficult lighting conditions, making it a great companion for those who love shooting indoor sports and events. The camera handles subject tracking (Tracking AF) with impressive effortlessness.

The camera has the latest Dual I.S. 2, which blends a five-axis sensor stabilisation with lens stabilisation. Thanks to this, the DC-G9L captures vivid and detailed images even when the image and the camera are in motion. The camera’s Jpeg engine is arguably one of the best in the market. You don’t always need to rely on the RAW output; the fine Jpeg mode itself can offer pro-quality output.

Clearly, given the specs and improvements, one can easily say that the camera is focussed on still photography. But this is a great video shooter as well. It shoots 4K pretty smoothly (you have two card slots here, allowing for seamless shooting) and the images can be shot in 6K as well. The 4K is broadcast ready and can better the output from the GH5. Given the price, this is a better replacement for some of the mid-range movie cameras in the market today. For sure, filmmakers, especially documentary makers, can find a trustable companion in the Lumix DC-G9L.

Impressive battery life

The camera offers an impressive battery life. In my experience, the DMW-BLF19 battery lasts long enough if you’re using it mostly for stills, but would need recharge several times if you’re on a video shoot.

In sum, Lumix DC-G9L is a versatile professional mirrorless full-frame camera that can offer balanced performance, given its great autofocus and motion tracking capabilities. The larger electronic viewfinder and extremely fast burst speeds are the icing on the cake.

Brand: Lumix DC-G9L

Price: ₹1,39,990 with the Leica DG Vario-ELMARIT professional lens (12-60MM, F2.8-4.0 ASPH) (₹98,990 without lens)

Pros: Crisp resolutions, extremely low levels of noise, great colour control under low-light environments, easily captures 4K/60p video, 6K stills, superb autofocus performance, dedicated joystick for autofocus, wifi-support

Cons: A tad heavy, slippery for soft hands, autofocus joystick needs fine-tuning

Published on October 19, 2020

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