Panasonic has just dropped a bombshell for photography and videography enthusiasts with the introduction of the Lumix G9 II. This latest addition to the Micro Four Thirds lineup is making waves as it debuts Panasonic’s hybrid phase-detect autofocus technology. A worthy successor to the G9, which made its debut way back in 2017, this camera brings a plethora of upgrades and features to the table.
First and foremost, let’s talk about that sensor. The G9 II boasts a brand-new 25.2-megapixel dual native ISO sensor. This not only matches the resolution of its sibling, the GH6, but it also introduces hybrid phase-detect autofocus with a staggering 779 points. This autofocus system is a game-changer, enhancing tracking capabilities and delivering precise focus even in challenging lighting conditions. It’s not just about faces and eyes anymore; this camera can track human bodies, animal eyes, cars, and motorcycles – it’s like having a high-tech camera assistant in your hands!
Now, let’s get into the speed demons’ delight. With blackout-free burst speeds of up to 60 fps when using continuous autofocus and the electronic shutter, or a still-impressive 10 fps in mechanical mode, you won’t miss those decisive moments. Plus, the buffer is generous, taking three seconds to fill, allowing you to capture approximately 160 RAW+JPG images before any slowdowns kick in. And for those who are a tad late on the shutter, there’s a handy pre-burst shooting function with adjustable settings to ensure you get the perfect shot.
Panasonic doesn’t stop there; they’ve also borrowed some tricks from their GH6 sibling. The “Dynamic Range Boost” function, essentially an HDR photo mode, merges low and high ISO images to produce a composite with minimal noise and rich colors. If you’re a fan of high-resolution photos, the G9 II’s handheld high-res mode combines multiple images to create stunning 100MP JPEGs without the need for a tripod, thanks to its impressive 8-stop in-body image stabilization (IBIS).
Speaking of IBIS, this feature has also been lifted from the GH6, offering 8 stops of compensation, or 7.5 stops in 5-axis Dual IS 2 mode – perfect for longer telephoto lenses. Whether you’re on the move or experiencing larger shakes when running or walking, the G9 II has you covered with its Active IS and Enhance IS modes.
And did we mention this camera is built tough? With its weather-resistant design, it can handle various shooting conditions. The new 8-direction joystick provides intuitive control, and there’s even an optional $350 camera grip for those who crave even more handling comfort. For vloggers and self-shooters, the fully articulating 1,840K dot LCD display is a dream come true, and the 3,680K dot OLED viewfinder adds a touch of luxury to your shooting experience. There are also dedicated microphone and headphone ports, along with a full-sized HDMI port for your convenience.
But wait, there’s more! The G9 II has leveled up in the video department. Thanks to the addition of PDAF, it’s now a powerhouse for video recording. You can capture 4:2:0 10-bit 17:9 5.7K video at up to 60 fps or 10-bit 4K at up to 120p. It also supports 4:3 open gate (5.8K) and 4:3 anamorphic shooting (4.4K). Plus, it’s capable of recording in regular MP4 formats and Apple ProRes – not too shabby for a camera primarily aimed at photographers.
Videographers will appreciate the ability to shoot V-Log/V-Gamut video with over 13 stops of dynamic range and apply real-time LUTs to preview graded footage. Panasonic has even thrown in some creative looks, including the Leica Monochrome mode for striking black and white contrasts. Other video-centric features include a red recording frame indicator, frame marker, and AWB lock.
One standout feature is the camera’s flexibility when it comes to recording media. You can record not only to dual UHS-II SD cards for relay, backup, and allocation recording but also to an SSD via the USB-C Gen 3.2 port. Additionally, the G9 II supports external ProRes recording via HDMI, making it a versatile choice for video production.
However, it’s important to note that the lack of a fan and dedicated cooling design means the camera may shut off during extended high-frame-rate recording in hot conditions – a minor trade-off for its impressive video capabilities.
All this cutting-edge technology comes at a price, and the Panasonic Lumix G9 II is set to hit the US market in early November with a price tag of $1,900. While it’s $200 more than its predecessor at launch, it’s still a competitive choice in its category. And if you’re looking to pair it with some high-quality glass, Panasonic has also introduced the new Leica DG 100-400mm f/4-6.3 II Power OIS lens and the Leica DG 35-100mm f/2.8 lens, catering to both wildlife and macro photography enthusiasts.
In conclusion, the Lumix G9 II is a significant step forward for Micro Four Thirds cameras. With its advanced autofocus, impressive burst speeds, outstanding image stabilization, and top-notch video capabilities, it’s a versatile tool that should appeal to a wide range of photographers and videographers. Whether you’re capturing wildlife in action or producing cinematic masterpieces, the G9 II is ready to help you unleash your creative potential.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Panasonic Lumix G9 II
Q: What’s the standout feature of the Panasonic Lumix G9 II?
A: The standout feature is its hybrid autofocus system, combining a 25.2MP sensor with 779 points of phase-detect autofocus for lightning-fast and precise focusing.
Q: How does the burst speed of the Lumix G9 II compare to its predecessor?
A: The G9 II offers blackout-free burst speeds of 60 fps with continuous autofocus, a significant improvement over its predecessor’s capabilities.
Q: Can the camera handle challenging lighting conditions?
A: Yes, thanks to its hybrid autofocus and AI subject tracking, the G9 II excels in backlit conditions, low illumination, and other tricky lighting situations.
Q: What’s unique about the camera’s video capabilities?
A: The G9 II is a versatile video tool, offering 4K video at up to 120p, V-Log/V-Gamut recording with over 13 stops of dynamic range, and real-time LUT application for previewing graded footage.
Q: Is the G9 II suitable for vlogging?
A: Absolutely. It features a fully articulating LCD display, making it ideal for vloggers and self-shooters.
Q: What about image stabilization?
A: The G9 II boasts an impressive 8-stop in-body image stabilization (IBIS) mechanism, ensuring sharp shots even in challenging conditions.
Q: Is there support for external recording options?
A: Yes, the camera supports recording to an SSD via the USB-C Gen 3.2 port and external ProRes recording via HDMI, giving videographers more flexibility.
Q: Does it come with weather-resistant design?
A: Yes, the G9 II is designed to withstand various shooting conditions with its weather-resistant build.
Q: What’s the price and availability?
A: The Panasonic Lumix G9 II is set to be available in the US in early November with a price tag of $1,900, offering competitive value in its category.