Updated on: January 14th, 2020
In all my time reviewing cameras, never have I received and so many requests to write most a specific product every bit I take with the Panasonic Lumix G9. Many of you take been patiently waiting for this article, and some of y’all accept kindly shared suggestions and early on findings after purchasing the camera for yourselves, which I am grateful for.
I am already very familiar with the OM-D E-M1 2 but it was a pleasure to use information technology again and run across how it stacked up against such fierce competition every bit the G9, especially at present that the Olympus camera is coming upward on its second birthday (which is a lifetime on the electronic consumer marketplace).
As for the G9, well, information technology surprised me in ways I wasn’t expecting, which forced me to re-evaluate some of my views. And when that happens, it makes my piece of work much more fun!
The result is probably our about in-depth comparison yet. Nosotros tested every aspect multiple times and brought home more image and video samples than ever before, all for the purpose of a single article. And believe me, even later on all this, information technology wasn’t like shooting fish in a barrel to write a conclusion!
We promise you enjoy this consummate comparison between the two of the most impressive Micro Four Thirds – no, sorry, allow me rephrase that – two of the most impressive mirrorless cameras on the market place to date.
Ideals statement: the E-M1 II and G9 samples were loaned to us to conduct our reviews and comparisons.
We were not asked to write annihilation virtually these cameras, nor were nosotros provided with any sort of compensation.
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Given its length, the article has been divided into three parts:
Page i: design, functionality and image quality
- Folio 2: autofocus and continuous shooting
- Page iii: stabilisation, video, other features and conclusion
- January 2020: feedback about firmware ii.0 on the G9 for birds in flight
- November 2019: added details about firmware 2.0 for the G9, prices updated
- July 2019: feedback virtually firmware three.0 that improves the AF on the Due east-M1 II
- May 2019: feedback nigh using the G9 with firmware 1.2 and Leica DG 200mm two.8 lens
- October 2018: firmware one.2 for the G9 released, information technology aims to improve C-AF for stills and video
- July 2018: added data about firmware ane.1 for the G9
- March 2018: added information concerning firmware two.0 for the East-M1 II
- Sensor: 20MP 4/3 Live Mos
- Lens arrangement: Micro Iv Thirds
- Weatherproof: Complete (splash, grit and freeze proof -10°C)
- Internal Stabilisation: Yes (five-centrality), Dual IS compatibility with select lenses
- Autofocus: Advanced DfD with 225 points
- Continuous shooting: 12fps (AF-South), 9fps (AF-C), 60fps (AF-S) and 20fps (C-AF) with electronic shutter
- ISO Sensitivity: 200 – 25600 ISO (Pull 100)
- Shutter Speeds: one/8000 to sixty seconds, ane/32000s with electronic shutter
- Viewfinder: 3,680K dots, approx. 100% FOV coverage, 21mm eyepoint, 1.66x (0.83x) magnification, 120/60fps
- Rear monitor: Multi-Angle three.0” LCD affect sensitive monitor (one,040K dots)
- Movie recording: 4K up to 60fps, 10-bit internal recording, Total Hard disk up to 180fps
- Built-in Flash: None
- Extra Features: WiFi, Bluetooth, Timelapse, Stop-motion, Multiple exposure, 6K and 4K Photo, Focus Bracketing, Mail service Focus, Pre-Flare-up, High Resolution style
- Dimensions: 136.nine ten 97.3 x 91.6mm
- Weight: 658g (including battery and memory card)
- Firmware version: 2.0
OM-D E-M1 Two
- Sensor: 20MP iv/three Live Mos
- Lens arrangement: Micro Four Thirds
- Weatherproof: Complete (splash, dust and freeze proof -ten°C)
- Internal Stabilisation: Yes (5-axis), Sync IS compatibility with select lenses
- Autofocus: Hybrid with 121 cross-type points
- Continuous shooting: 15fps (AF-S), 10fps (AF-C), 60fps (AF-South) and 18fps (C-AF) with electronic shutter
- ISO Sensitivity: 200 – 25600 ISO (Pull 64)
- Shutter Speeds: 1/8000 to 60 seconds, i/32000s with electronic shutter
- Viewfinder: 2,360K dots, approx. 100% FOV coverage, ane.48x (0.74x) magnification, 21mm eyepoint, 120fps
- Rear monitor: Multi-Bending 3″ LCD touch sensitive monitor (one,040K dots)
- Pic recording: 4K up to 30fps, C4K at 24fps, Full Hard disk drive upwardly to 60fps
- Built-in Flash: No but external FL-LM3 supplied
- Extra Features: WiFi, Timelapse, HDR, Multiple exposure, Live Fourth dimension, Live Blended, Focus Stacking, Keystone bounty, High Res Shot, Pro Capture
- Dimensions: 134.1 x 90.9 x 68.9mm
- Weight: 574g (including bombardment and memory card)
- Firmware version: 3.0
Blueprint, build quality and interface
Looking at them side-by-side reveals that the Panasonic G9 is taller, deeper and heavier than the E-M1 II.
What also catches your eye is the larger front grip of the Lumix: it is without a doubt one of the most comfortable I have ever used on a mirrorless photographic camera. Yous instinctively experience that the photographic camera would never sideslip out of your hand and all your fingers rest comfortably.
The Olympus grip may exist smaller but information technology is as comfortable to use, even with large lenses such as the 300mm Pro. Apparently the smaller dimensions of the OM-D can be an advantage when storing it inside a small-scale bag for example, or if y’all simply desire to walk effectually with something lighter.
The G9 is larger and heavier and the extra depth gives the impression of added robustness. Merely brand no mistake: both cameras are really well-made in terms of build quality. They share a magnesium alloy chassis and are completely weather sealed confronting moisture, dust and cold temperatures (down to -10°C).
The dials, levers and buttons are well-congenital besides. Most G9 buttons give you a different tactile feel still: they are softer and more spongy which can exist a little bit surprising at offset merely I got used to them pretty quickly.
The only real criticism I have of the G9 is the shutter release button: it is fashion too sensitive. In fact, I’ve lost count of how many times I took a picture merely past barely brushing it with my fingertip. You learn to bargain with information technology later on a while simply I wish they could have fabricated it slightly less responsive. The E-M1 II version is still more sensitive than boilerplate only non as much equally the G9 so it won’t drive yous crazy.
In that location are two SD card slots on each photographic camera only while both slots are UHS-Ii uniform on the G9, merely the offset is on the East-M1 Two.
As for external connections, on the G9 we discover full sized HDMI and USB iii ports, audio in & out, a remote control input and a flash sync.
The OM-D is well-equipped too, with a microphone input and headphone output, flash sync and remote input. The USB port is the C type and the HDMI is the Micro size.
1 concluding note concerns the bottom plate where you lot can observe the different position of the tripod mount. On the OM-D, information technology is much closer to the lens mountain, so a large plate could get in the way of a few big lenses.
External controls and configuration
Some controls are pretty common past today’s standards: we have twin dials to control exposure (discontinuity and shutter speed) and a master mode dial on peak with a lock/unlock push. From here, we beginning to see some pregnant differences in operation.
First in that location is the mode yous motion the focus betoken: the G9 has a precise AF joystick. Information technology is very nice to use, except that its position is a little too close to the EVF. This makes information technology harder to achieve when composing with the viewfinder. If you don’t similar the thought, information technology can exist turned off and replaced by the rear command wheel or the touch screen instead.
On the E-M1 II you lot can configure the four-way arrow pad to automatically move the focus point, or you tin utilise the twin dials once the AF area has been triggered with a function button (one dial moves the signal horizontally, the other vertically). The 2d solution is a favourite of many Olympus users. Information technology may have a piddling while to get used to it simply it can exist very effective.
This concept of multi-employ twin dials on the OM-D doesn’t end with the focus point: in fact, many settings can exist selected with the two dials (AF manner, bulldoze, etc).
Panasonic has added a similar choice for its own twin dials, although they aren’t configured to comport similar that by default and are not as customisable every bit the Olympus dials. For example on the East-M1 you can programme them in half-dozen different ways according to the called PSAM mode, menu navigation and playback style.
Other things I appreciate on the G9 are the dedicate WB and ISO buttons, the physical sub-dial to control the drive style (single, flare-up, etc) which is located under the main manner dial, and the focus style lever on the rear.
Speaking of customisation, both cameras accept lots to offering. The G9 has a full of 19 function buttons:
- nine concrete office buttons (including 4 on the rear control wheel)
- 5 virtual buttons that tin be accessed on the correct side of the affect screen
- v actress with the focus joystick (4-way plus button) if you don’t want to use it for its default purpose.
The Due east-M1 marking 2 has 7 role buttons plus the 4-way pad on the rear if you lot’re non using it to move the focus point. 1 reward of the OM-D camera is that yous tin configure these buttons differently for stills and video.
What I appreciate on both models is the ii Fn buttons on the front near the grip, which are easy to reach with your center and ring fingers. The ones on the Lumix body are further autonomously while on the E-M1, they are closer together but with a different blueprint and tactile feel to differentiate them.
Both cameras have a function lever. On the G9 it is located on the front and can be used to actuate and deactivate a specific office. It’s a overnice implementation but the lever is small, sharp and a trivial hard to operate.
The OM-D has a rear lever that tin can serve multiple purposes: alter the office of the twin dials (for instance aperture/shutter speed in position ane, ISO and WB in position ii), activate the AF area, switch to video mode or even turn the camera on and off!
Some final tidbits about the G9 are as follows:
- you tin can change the role of the rear wheel rotation for specific shooting modes
- there is an functioning lock option that locks the control wheel, touch screen and joystick which can be useful
- you can configure a setting for the Fifty-Fn buttons of select Olympus lenses (finally!)
The customisation options extend to the Custom modes which let you to save different settings and recall them all at one time with a simple plough of the main fashion dial. There are iii slots on the E-M1 2 and five on the G9. The C3 position on the Lumix camera embeds iii modes (C3-i, C3-2 and C3-three).
The two cameras have very different card systems when it comes to design and organisation. The G9 features the more than intuitive of the two: it is easier to navigate and notice what you are looking for. There is a My Menu folio where yous can shortcut your most used settings. Yous tin employ the AF Joystick or bear on screen to browse through the different pages which is a prissy plus.
The carte of the E-M1 Ii is more than complicated, with certain settings whose purpose isn’t clear from the name, and others that are hidden in various sub-menus. The logic behind the navigation and organisation is different as well and as a outcome, it takes more fourth dimension to familiarise yourself with information technology.
If you lot want to access settings without going inside the chief menu, you tin can use the Super Command Panel on the Olympus (activates with the OK button) or the Q.Menu on the G9 (Fn2 or another custom push button). Different the OM-D, the latter tin can exist customised and used with the touch screen. On the E-M1 II, you can select or double tap to enter a setting only so you must use the dials or the arrow pad.
One actress affair you can customise on the East-M1 2 is the corporeality of options for the bulldoze and picture way settings. For example, if you never use the self timer or High continuous shooting speed, you can hide them and gyre through the options more quickly.
Viewfinder and Monitors
The G9 sports a viewfinder with many interesting characteristics:
- it has more resolution (3,680K dots vs 2,360K dots)
- information technology has a larger magnification of 0.83x (vs 0.74x on the E-M1 2) which – if I’m not mistaken – is the biggest ever on a mirrorless camera
- information technology has a shorter latency time (less than 5ms vs 6ms on the E-M1 II)
- it has a larger eyecup which helps your eye or your glasses remainder more comfortably
Both EVFs are adept in terms of contrast and clarity but obviously the G9 epitome appears sharper, which is helpful when focusing manually for example.
When looking inside the Lumix finder without glasses, the screen already appears big but if you habiliment glasses similar I do, you will find it and then large that you won’t be able to meet the corners. Fortunately, a small button on the side lets y’all decrease the magnification past one or 2 steps (0.77x or 0.70x). I find that the middle level suits my needs perfectly. My simply regret is that the optical design results in butt baloney of the paradigm, making the corners announced blurry. Personally it doesn’t bother me as well much only information technology definitely ways that the G9 viewfinder isn’t perfect.
The E-M1 II EVF has a 21mm eyepoint which is only plenty to see the entire frame without spectacles, yet too curt if you’re wearing a pair. A workaround is to choose the display style nb.2 (Custom Bill of fare I.EVF) which reduces the size of the epitome a lilliputian and places the settings exterior of the frame rather than overlaying them. The S-OVF option makes the EVF behave like an optical viewfinder by disabling exposure, picture mode and WB preview.
The rear LCD monitor features the same multi-angle mechanism on both products: information technology can be opened to one side and tilted 180°. The resolution is the same and they both characteristic impact sensitivity, although you tin practise more with the G9 such as navigate the card, movement the histogram around, create a custom group of focus points, amid many other things. On the E-M1 Two, you tin use it for basic things such equally moving the focus point, focusing, taking a shot, swiping through your images in playback mode and entering a few settings with the Super Control Console.
The rear affect screen can likewise serve as a Touch on AF Pad if you don’t fancy the physical controls. In one case the choice is activated, simply double tap the left side of the screen on the Olympus camera to actuate or deactivate the feature. Moving the indicate is precise and quick, although occasionally the photographic camera doesn’t react to your touch.
On the G9, the bear upon pad AF is quicker in performance and yous can choose between ii modes: Exact, where yous simply need to tap an area, or Offset where you lot can drag your finger with more precise results (I prefer the latter). That existence said, I personally always end upwardly using the physical controls unless I’g composing with the LCD, where touching an area to motility the focus point or take a shot can be useful (the latter is also groovy for minimising vibrations).
The refresh rate can exist set up to a maximum of 120fps on both cameras, although I noticed that in the case of the Due east-M1 II, it sometimes reduces the brightness of the live view on the LCD screen.
Speaking of live view, both cameras can show you the real exposure or adjust the brightness, which is useful when using flash in a studio for example.
On the G9, enabling Exposure Preview can produce some lag if you use a irksome shutter speed. The Due east-M1 II keeps a reasonable refresh charge per unit even when the Alive View Boost is on. Firmware 1.1 has added a new manner called Live View Boost – which is the aforementioned proper name you find on the Olympus – that increases the image’south effulgence to cheque the composition better in low-light situations. On the OM-D you lot tin can also configure Live View Boost according to specific shooting modes (transmission, seedling fourth dimension, alive composite, focus magnification etc).
On the Panasonic you will find a few actress settings such as monochrome live view and dark way. The latter switches to a blackness and carmine view to reduce the brightness of the screen in dark environments.
Finally, just like loftier-end DSLRs, the Panasonic G9 has an actress screen on peak of the camera: it’s a monochrome LCD and displays the settings in utilize, the remaining battery life and other useful information. It can be backlit by toggling the on/off switch to the right and you tin choose between two different intensities in the carte du jour. It’southward one of those things whose handiness but becomes apparent once you showtime using it.
Resolution and Dynamic Range
The ii cameras house a twenty.4MP sensor that lacks the anti-aliasing filter, so in terms of resolution and particular, the resulting RAW files are very similar when the cameras are paired with the same lens.
For the in-camera JPGs, the G9 has more than settings and gives amend results:
- you can increment sharpness up to +3 or even +four (maximum is +v but I wouldn’t go that far to avoid noise and small-scale artefacts)
- alternatively you lot can choose the i.Resolution option that enhances the finest details (don’t use the highest level though equally it tin can produce more than noise and accentuate the jigsaw issue along straight lines)
On the E-M1 Two, you can tweak the sharpness level to +1 or +ii but the latter produces undefined, and somewhat cartoonish outlines.
The two sensors bring some improvements in comparison to the previous 16MP generation, particularly in terms of highlight recovery. When nosotros compared the ii cameras side-by-side, we weren’t surprised to run across similar results, although there are a few subtle differences.
As you tin can see below, the exposure recovery in the highlights is the same and the two cameras perform fine in the shadowy areas of the image. Noise is contained, though slightly more than ambitious in the Olympus file, which required more noise reduction to minimise it. There is also a small colour shift – the G9 towards magenta and the Due east-M1 Ii towards greenish.
Additional tests revealed that highlight recovery remains the same on both cameras when overexposing the image by 1 or 2 stops in comparison to the start exposure higher up.
If y’all endeavour extreme shadow recovery (+4Ev or more), the colour cast becomes much more invasive and it tin be difficult to get rid of, specially when dealing with a landscape epitome such every bit the second instance below. At that place is a lot more than noise to deal with as well, and then I wouldn’t go beyond three stops.
With SOOC JPGs, the i.Dynamic mode on the G9 gives more dynamic range than adjusting the shadow / highlight setting but some colour artefacts announced in the darkest areas. Shadow and Highlights are the best option on the E-M1 II, although there is a visible loss in colour saturation.
Colours and White Balance
If you open RAW files from the two cameras with the same software and colour profile, there aren’t any major differences to speak of. The G9 files have a more scarlet hue than those of the Eastward-M1 II but information technology is piece of cake to adjust them so that the results look the same.
As usual the in-photographic camera profiles (Photo Styles on the G9, Motion picture Modes on the E-M1 II) – which represent a more distinctive colour signature from each make – tell the states a different story.
First of all, if y’all use the Car White Rest for landscape images, the G9 gives a cooler rendering than the transmission value (5600°k here) while the E-M1 Ii produces identical results with both AWB and MWB.
When analysing the dissimilar colour profiles with the same kelvin temperature, we can encounter that the G9 has warmer tones (more orangish and scarlet particularly). The Olympus has more than vibrant greens and a cooler wait. This becomes more evident with the brilliant profiles.
At that place are other settings yous tin can choose of course. On the G9, Natural gives less contrast than Standard while Scenery is slightly less warm than Vivid.
On the Eastward-M1 II, Muted has less contrast and saturation while i-Enhance gives a similar effect to Vivid. Yet the latter may give you different results in dissimilar situations because it is designed to change the settings according to the scene.
The monochrome profiles evidence some distinctive differences too. While the standard B&W is pretty like, the L.Monochrome way on the G9 gives more contrast and a more than powerful await, particularly when paired with the Red colour filter in this example.
Note: firmware one.1 has added a new 50.Monochrome D profile and grain effect choice to the G9
For skin tones, we tin in one case once more reproduce like results using the RAW files, although the same behaviour occurs when you open up the images: the G9 tends towards red and the East-M1 2 towards light-green, and so the corrections that need to be applied are unlike.
The same difference in tint is visible with the picture profiles when using auto and manual white balance.
The Natural and Muted profiles give less contrast and a more homogenous rendition while the Portrait profiles slightly soften the pare rendition.
The monochrome profiles give a similar results with their default settings, with the exception of 50.Monochrome on the G9 that slightly darkens the skin tones. If you apply the Light-green filter on both – which should enhance the natural tones of skin and lips – the East-M1 2 produces a more pleasant result.
The images shown higher up can be further tweaked in-camera. Y’all tin can change contrast or saturation (±5 on the G9, ±two on the OM-D) or adjust the tint of the white balance settings to your gustatory modality. You can customise iv picture profiles on the G9 and one on the Eastward-M1 Ii. The latter also has a Colour Creator mode to vary saturation (eight levels) and hue (thirty levels).
For example if we analyse the skin tone examples once more, I discover the G9 slightly too red and the Eastward-M1 2 slightly too greenish to be considered completely natural. Still a quick aligning with the WB compensation gives ameliorate results. (Note that WB compensation does not work in transmission WB on the E-M1 II so you need to choose a preset or measure it with 1 of the 4 custom modes.)
Finally when using machine white balance with incandescent low-cal sources, you can force the cameras to keep warmer tones (Keep Warm Colours for the E-M1 Ii in the Custom Card G, AWBc setting on the G9). Withal the results, as you lot can see, are quite dissimilar. The Olympus is the only 1 capable of capturing the true whites in the scene, but if y’all prefer warmer tones, the G9 gives a more than pleasant upshot.
Both cameras have a normal range that goes from 200 to 25600 ISO. They have an extended mode (Low) that goes down to ISO 64 on the E-M1 2 and ISO 100 on the G9 (you can also select 125 and 160).
The results are very similar. Both cameras perform really well upwardly to 3200 ISO where noise is quite contained. 6400 ISO shows more racket but you can all the same use some noise reduction and ameliorate the quality without sacrificing too many details.
12800 ISO is usable but it becomes more hard to minimise noise without softening the image. The highest value of 25600 is the simply unusable value really: the loss of colour data becomes more credible, color cast comes into play and there is also a little bit of banding.
With SOOC JPGs, keeping the noise reduction between -v and 0 gives nice results on the Panasonic, while the positive values (specially from +three to +5) wash out the details a petty bit. On the E-M1 2, the Low level of the Noise Filter gives the virtually balanced result between details and contained dissonance. I would avoid the highest value as it softens the paradigm likewise much.
The article continues on folio 2.
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