Panasonic Lumix DC-G9 II review: Digital Photography Review

Product photos by Brendan Nystedt

Almost six years after the announcement of the Lumix DC-G9, Panasonic rolled out its successor, the Lumix DC-G9 II. This is the company’s high-end model aimed at stills shooters, and it is the first-ever Lumix Micro Four Thirds camera to include phase detection autofocus. Despite its target demographic, the G9 II comes with a surprisingly long list of video features as well. A thorough redesign, the G9 II is based on the chassis of the full-frame Lumix S5 II and S5 IIX, giving it room for plentiful controls and ports.

Key specifications

  • 25MP CMOS sensor with dual output gain
  • 5-axis in-body image stabilization (CIPA-rated to 8 stops)
  • On-sensor phase detection (779 points)
  • 3″, 1.84M-dot fully articulating touchscreen
  • 3.86M-dot OLED electronic viewfinder with 0.8x magnification
  • 60 fps burst shooting with AF-C and electronic shutter (10 fps mechanical)
  • 100MP handheld high-res mode
  • Up to 5.8K Open Gate 4:2:0, C4K 4:2:2 10-bit, with V-Log and HLG
  • ProRes 422 and 422 HQ recording to SSD
  • Raw output to Atomos and Blackmagic external recorders
  • 390 shots per charge battery life (using LCD)
  • USB-C power delivery
  • Dual UHS-II card slots

The G9 II is priced at $1899 body-only: a $200 increase from its predecessor.

Buy now:

  • Sept 12: Initial review published
  • Mar 25: Image quality, Autofocus, Video, Conclusion and additional Sample gallery published

What’s new

The Lumix G9 II is a departure from the original G9 design in a few key ways.

Rather than a refresh of the original DSLR-like Lumix G9 concept, the G9 II goes in a more modern direction. Not only does it take technological advancements from the full-frame Lumix S lineup, it has the same external design as the S5 II announced earlier in the year. It’s taller, more squared off, and has more controls than its predecessor. It isn’t just a similar design – it’s literally the same outer shell, but without fan vents and with a different lens mount and sensor inside.

Hybrid autofocus and DR Boost improvements

The G9 II is based around a sensor related to the one in the GH6, but that Panasonic says has been revised at both the hardware and software levels. The most obvious difference is that the version in the G9 II has phase-detection elements that make it the first Micro Four Thirds Lumix model to offer inherently depth-aware autofocus.

The other change that will make a big difference is the way the dual output gain system works. Panasonic describes it as having two parallel readout paths that are subjected to differing levels of gain, which are then combined. This way, you get the highlight capture benefits of low gain and the cleaner shadow performance of high gain paths, combined as a 16-bit Raw file to ensure room to encode this widened dynamic range.

The sensor in the G9 II is derived from the one in the GH6 but with some key improvements, both in hardware and software.

For the G9 II, Panasonic appears to have reduced the lowest step offered by the high-gain path. Whereas on the GH6, the high gain (shadow) path was only used at ISO settings three stops above base (ie, ISO 800 in standard color modes, ISO 2000 in V-Log mode), on the G9 II, Panasonic says it’s available from base ISO upwards, suggesting the high gain step can be dropped further, to make it available at these lower ISOs.

However, it’s worth noting that the GH6’s base ISOs were 100 for standard color modes and 250 for V-Log, but for the G9 II, they’re 100 and 500, respectively. The one-stop jump in base ISO in V-Log mode seems to suggest a high-gain path applying one stop more gain than the low path in its base state (rather than the 3-stop difference required for DR Boost on the GH6). This doesn’t explain how Panasonic can offer a mode that includes a high-gain component while maintaining the same ISO 100 rating for standard gamma, and it’s interesing to note that when you exceed 60fps (where the Dual Output mode can’t operate) that the minimum ISO in V-Log drops to 250, suggesting this might still be the true ‘base’ state.

More video than you’d expect

Unlike the G9, which gained a lot of video features after launch, the G9 II throws in everything but the kitchen sink right from Day 1. Panasonic swears this is a camera for still shooters, but the number of video resolutions and features accounted for – including V-Log, open gate 5.8K, and ProRes support – sure make it feel almost as hybrid as the GH6 or S5 IIX. It retains the full-size HDMI port of the S5 II series and can even record directly to a USB-C SSD.

Although not marketed as a hybrid model, the G9 II has a ton of features that make it interesting for hybrid shooters and those curious about video.

With its improved autofocus, why would anyone buy a GH6 over the G9 II? Rest assured that CFexpress card support and the built-in fan let the GH6 retain its hybrid crown for now. Panasonic says that G9 II shooters should think of this camera more as a B-cam than a primary run-and-gun setup and that the lack of a fan might become an issue when shooting high-res video in hot environments.

Improved IBIS

The smaller Four Thirds-type sensor is cushioned from jostles by an aggressive 8-stop CIPA-rated in-body image stabilization system. Panasonic says that the SyncIS system, where the sensor and lens stabilization systems work together, is only rated for 7.5 stops and that they’re reaching the physical limits of the lens-based optical stabilization systems at this point. There is a benefit though: the synchronization between the body and lens’ IS systems allows the camera to maintain 7.5 stops of correction at longer focal lengths where the in-body system alone could not.

High-resolution mode

The improved IBIS also enables the G9 II’s 100MP handheld high-res mode. Although the higher resolution of this mode means it’s a little slower to stitch its photos together, the more sophisticated algorithm Panasonic uses does a good job of reducing subject motion.

There are two motion blur processing modes; mode 1 doesn’t attempt it at all, and mode 2 does.

Handheld 100MP | ISO 100 | 1/250 sec | F5.6 | Leica DG 12-60mm F2.8-4 @ 38mm equiv.

Photo: Jeff Keller

The scene above is bustling, and you can see how well the G9 handled motion in this 100 Megapixel photo. A few people have extra feet, but otherwise, motion is handled very well.

While we’re on the subject of high resolution, here’s a real-world example of tripod mode. You’ll find an additional example in our studio scene further down the page.

Subject detection improvements

Panasonic’s older depth-from-defocus AF system lagged behind the competition somewhat, but the G9 II looks to address that. With the addition of distance-aware phase-detection, the G9 II also brings some new subject detection and tracking algorithms.

There are a number of subject types in the AF menu, including one for animals (mainly pets, but it also can track birds), one for cars (targeting motorsports photography), and another for motorcycles (which they say may work for bicycles, depending on the angle of the subject). Like the G9 II’s improved human detection, the animal mode has eye detection as an additional option.

Cropped to taste. Shot in full area AF mode with animal tracking and continuous focus.
ISO 125 | 1/400 sec | F4 | Leica DG 50-200mm @ 384mm equiv.

Photo: Jeff Keller

Live Composite

Once a feature exclusive to Olympus cameras, Live Composite made its way to Panasonic’s mirrorless lineup in 2020. This is essentially a multi-exposure mode where objects that do not change brightness are left alone during each shot. All you need to do is set the exposure time you want and the delay before shooting starts, then press the shutter release. The camera will silently take photos until you press the button again.

Converted from Raw using ACR. Exposure slightly brightened. Shot in Live Composite mode.
ISO 400 | 8 sec per exposure | F3.5 | Leica DG 8-18mm F2.8-4 @ 20mm equiv.

Photo: Jeff Keller

How the Panasonic Lumix DC-G9 II compares to its peers

The new Panasonic Lumix G9 II comes in at a high price, befitting a flagship model (at least, as Panasonic’s G-series flagship for stills). Unfortunately, there’s a lot of competition in the ∼$2K high-performance camera category. While the newcomer significantly out-specs its predecessor, its stills rival in the Micro Four Thirds world: the OM System OM-1 Mark II, is lighter, has better battery life, and a higher-res EVF. It’s also quite a bit more expensive.

That’s not to mention the slew of fantastic APS-C cameras out there, and we’ve included the Fujifilm X-T5 and Sony a6700 as two of the best, both of which are cheaper than the Lumix.

Panasonic Lumix G9 II Panasonic Lumix G9 OM System OM-1 II Sony a6700 Fujifilm X-T5
MSRP $1899 $1699 $2399 $1399 $1699
Pixel count 25.2MP


20.4MP 26MP 40MP
Sensor size Four Thirds
Four Thirds
Four Thirds
Image stabilization In-body + in-lens In-body + in-lens In-body + in-lens In-body or in-lens In-body or in-lens
Max burst rate 10 fps (mech shutter)
60 fps (elec shutter)

9 fps (mech shutter)
20 fps (elec shutter)

10 fps (mech shutter)
50 fps (elec shutter)

11 fps (mech shutter)
11 fps (elec shutter)

15 fps (mech shutter)
23 fps (elec shutter)

Viewfinder res / mag 3.68M dots
/ 0.8x
3.68M dots / 0.83x 5.76M dots / 0.83x 2.36M dots / 0.70x 3.69M dots
/ 0.8x
Rear screen 3.0″, 1.84M dot articulating touchscreen 3.0″ 1.04M dot articulating touchscreen 3.0″, 1.62M dot articulating touchscreen 3.0″, 1.04M dot articulating touchscreen 3.0″, 1.84M dot articulating touchscreen
Video capabilities Up to 5.8K/30p open-gate 4:2:0 10-bit Up to C4K/30p 4:2:2 10-bit Up to DCI 4K/60p 10-bit Up to 4K/60p oversampled Up to 6.2K/30p, 4K/60p sub-sampled
Log video V-Log, HLG $100 V-Log firmware OM-Log400, HLG S-Log3, HLG F-Log, F-Log 2, HLG
Mic/ Headphone sockets Yes / Yes Yes / Yes Yes / Yes Yes / Yes Yes / Yes
Battery life
390 400 520 570 580
Card slot 2x UHS II SD 2x UHS II SD 2x UHS II SD 1x UHS II SD 2x UHS II SD
658g (23.21oz) 658g (23.21oz) 599g (21.13oz) 493g (17.4oz) 557g (19.6oz)

On the whole, the G9 II is fairly competitive in the Micro Four Thirds system. But looking at the APS-C options out there (like the Sony A6700 and Fujifilm X-T5), the G9 II doesn’t appear to bring anything spectacular to the table, even if it is a noteworthy move forward for Panasonic’s G-series. That said, it’s alone here in being able to output video to an external SSD, if video is your thing.

Body and handling

Looking at it from the back, the Lumix G9 II offers up a new 8-way joystick and an improved autofocus selector.

While the original G9 was far from compact, it certainly had a different design philosophy than its successor. Seemingly aimed at DSLR photographers, it was a wide camera with a big backlit top plate LCD. That camera also only had a single exposure mode dial (on the side opposite the grip), front and rear command dials, and a power switch that surrounded the shutter button.

The new G9 II, by comparison, feels more modern. Since it’s basically the same design as the Lumix DC-S5 II, this camera throws a ton of controls at the user. Make no mistake: this is a clean-sheet redesign, and if you were a big fan of the original, you might be disappointed that nothing has remained the same. That said, for everything you lose (like the top LCD, front Fn lever, and flash sync port), you gain a whole lot more (more ergonomic twin dials, a more prominent AF selector switch, a dedicated dial for continuous shooting, and an upgraded 8-way joystick).

The Lumix G9 II, unlike the very similar S5 II, lacks fan vents at the bottom of the EVF hump.

And although the G9 II is taller and the grip a bit shallower, it still manages to feel plenty comfortable to hold, despite some of the rear controls being a bit clustered together. Overall, though, even though the weight is the same as the old model, this Micro Four Thirds body seems quite large for what it is.

Something that some found irritating on the original G9 was the overly sensitive shutter release button. Panasonic has addressed that on the G9 II with a firmer, less trigger-happy design.

What hasn’t improved a whole lot is the EVF, which is a 3680k dot (1280 x 960px) panel with a slight decrease in magnification at 0.8x. In use, it’s totally passable, and the magnification definitely makes up for the lack of sheer resolution. The rear articulating LCD, on the other hand, is a much higher resolution now at 1840k dots, making for a detailed, bright shooting experience even in direct sunlight.

The addition of a USB-C port and support for USB PD charging is a big step up from the original G9’s USB 3.0 Micro B socket.

Like its cousin, the Lumix S5 II, the G9 II packs the ports we’d expect for a flagship camera in 2023. You get a full-size HDMI, fast USB-C PD charging (with 10Gbps transfer speeds and the ability to record stills and video to an external SSD), as well as mic and headphone sockets, the former of which is positioned out of the way of the screen hinge.

On the opposite side are two UHS-II speed SD card slots, which can be programmed to work in sequence or in parallel, backing up files on both for redundancy or filling the next card after the first one’s full. One benefit that’s worth mentioning is that since this is physically just about identical to the S5 II, many accessories will be compatible between the two models, including first-party accessories like the new DMW-BG1 battery grip and third-party add-ons like cages for video rigging.


The 2200mAh battery lets the G9 II shoot around 390 shots on a single charge.

Inside the G9 II is the same DMW-BLK22 16Wh battery as we’ve seen in other big Lumix models. On the G9 II, however, you’re still only getting around 390 shots on a charge according to the CIPA method with either the LCD or EVF. That’s lower than other cameras in its class and certainly in its price range, trailing the OM System OM-1 Mark II by 130 shots and the Fujifilm X-T5 by 190.

This is despite Panasonic putting the camera in a deep sleep mode when it’s switched off, from which the camera takes 2-3 second to wake. Once awake, subsequent attempts to turn on the camera are quicker, but it’s worth being aware that you can’t just grab it from your bag and shoot.

Image quality

Our test scene is designed to simulate a variety of textures, colors and detail types you’ll encounter in the real world. It also has two illumination modes to see the effect of different lighting conditions.

The G9 II captures a decent amount of detail in its Raw files at base ISO, though the OM System OM-1 and Sony a6700 grab a smidge more. Moiré is well-controlled and competitive with most of its peers, save for the Sony a6700. At mid-ISOs the G9 II looks a lot like its peers, but from ISO 6400 upwards it falls increasingly behind.

Looking at JPEGs, the G9 II appears to use a bit more noise reduction than the other cameras in this comparison, which you can see in these brushes. Color in JPEGs are vibrant without being oversaturated. There’s very little noise at ISO 1600 thanks to Panasonic’s noise reduction system. At ISO 6400, the G9 II is more-or-less the same as its peers.

In situations where you can use the tripod-based pixel shift mode, the G9 II is able to offer resolution capture far beyond its peers. Our test shots are somewhat hampered by what we suspect is vibration in our testing studio, leaveing cross-hatched artifacts in places. This won’t always be the case, though it does give an insight into how steady your tripod and subject need to be to capture the very highest resolution.

Real-world photo quality makes one forget that the G9 II uses a smaller sensor than most of its peers. Whether it’s engraving in 19th-century buildings or the plumage on a short-ear owl, you’ll see plenty of detail in its JPEGs. As usual, shooting Raw and running it through Adobe Camera Raw or DxO PureRAW will give you the ability to fine-tune sharpening. You can also create a custom Photo Style was stronger sharpening.

Out-of-camera JPEG Shadows/highlights adjusted in ACR

The G9 II’s sensor allows you to boost shadows with a minimal increase in noise, as shown above, and in a few photos in the sample gallery.

Our DR tests bear this out, and highlight the improvement compared with the GH6. However Panasonic has been able to implement dual parallel gain at ISO 100, it works, with much cleaner shadows than its (even) more video-focused sibling. This means both the Raw files and the camera as a whole, are more flexible.


Operating and adjusting autofocus isn’t much different than on the 7-year-old DC-G9 (or any Panasonic camera released since then). A switch lets you quickly switch between single, continuous and manual focus. Pressing the button in the center of the switch opens up the AF area menu, which offers the following options:

  • Tracking
  • Full area
  • Zone (Horizontal/Vertical)
  • Zone
  • 1-area+
  • 1-area
  • Pinpoint

With the exception of pinpoint (which is well-suited for macro photography), all of the AF options let you turn subject detection on or off.

Adjusting the focus point can be done in a few ways. You can use the joystick, tap on the screen, or by using “Touchpad AF.” The latter is available when shooting through the viewfinder; to adjust the focus point, you move your finger on the LCD to adjust the focus point. There are a number of options for what area of the display is used for AF point movement. To switch between detected subjects, you can tap on the screen or use the joystick.

Cropped to taste. Shot in full area mode with animal tracking and continuous AF.
Leica DG 50-200 @ 400mm | ISO 100 | 1/640 sec | F4

Photo: Jeff Keller

Panasonic offers four options for subject detection: humans, animals, cars and motorcycles. For the first two options, you can select what you want the camera to lock onto: eye/face/body for humans and eye/body for animals.

The G9 II’s animal mode can detect people, birds, canines (domestic and wild) and felines (big and small). We tested it with all of them, and the camera detected them without issue. It was impressive when tracking owls and harriers in the Skagit Flats conservation area in the full area mode, even when they were flying away.

Customizing AF behavior

One of the four menus for customizing how the camera reacts to moving subjects in AF-C

There are four sets of customizable parameters for continuous autofocus. Here, you can adjust AF sensitivity, AF Area switching sensitivity, and moving subject prediction. Set 1 is for general use, while the other three are for more specific situations. We found that choosing the most fitting option was the most effective.

For our test of continuous autofocus and its ability to judge distanct, we used Set 2, which is defined as “[when] the subject moves at a constant speed in one direction.” Face detection was disabled.

The G9 II’s AF system did a nice job in this example. It took a few shots to lock on and then kept the cyclist in focus for the rest of the run, correctly anticipating subject distance and driving the lens accordingly.

Then we tested the camera’s ability to track a subject moving around the scene and approaching the camera at a less predictable speed. Here we switched to set 4 (“for situations where the speed of the subject changes significantly”). We then performed the test both with and without face detection.

As we often see with cameras in this test, the G9 II struggled to keep the cyclist in focus during the turns, where the rate of approach suddenly changes. This was the case both with and without face detection engaged.

When we used face detection, when it started to lose focus, the camera was briefly tricked by the statues of firefighters in the background. Thankfully the G9 II quickly figured it out and locked back onto the correct subject.The G9 II can shoot at 60 fps with continuous AF (75 fps is only for single AF) and performed about the same as at slower speeds, complete with the brief distraction of the statues. These tests don’t represent all circumstances, of course, but suggest the G9 II’s AF, even when tuned to match the expected subject movement, is not as dependable as the best of its peers.


For what Panasonic bills primarily as a stills camera, the G9 II has a surprisingly complete set of video features. And, as it often does, Panasonic has added more video features to the G9 II since it was announced via a firmware update.

The G9 II can capture “open gate” 5.8K video using the entire Four Thirds sensor using either HEVC. This gives 5760 x 4320 pixel 10-bit 4:2:0 footage at either 30 or 24 frames per second, giving flexibility to crop-in in post, or to take vertical and landscape crops from the same footage. At 5.7K the aspect ratio ships from 4:3 to 17:9 and the maximum frame rate jumps to 60p. At lower resolutions you can shoot 4:2:2 footage, and high-speed 120p capture also becomes available.

The list of video recording options is overwhelming, though you can narrow it down via filters and save your favorites to a custom menu.

If you’re using Apple ProRes you get 4:2:2, 17:9 video up to 30p, or 16:9 Cinema 4K at 60p. If it’s Raw video output you’re after, the G9 II can send it over HDMI to select Atomos and Blackmagic external recorders.

The G9 II supports V-Log capture or the moderately flat Cinelike D2 photo styles if you intend to color grade during the editing process. It also supports HLG capture in most of its modes for direct use on HDR TVs.

The bit rates of the highest quality settings are so high (approaching 2Gbps in some of the ProRes 422 modes) that an SD card just can’t keep up, so you’ll have to use an SSD connected via USB-C.

Resolution Frame rates Aspect ratio Crop Bit depth/ chroma Codec Media type
(5760 x 4320)
4:3 open gate 10-bit 4:2:0 H.265 SD / SSD
(5728 x 3024)
  • 59.94
  • 50
  • 48
  • 47.95
  • 29.97
  • 25
  • 24
  • 23.98
1.89:1 10-bit 4:2:0 H.265 SD / SSD
10-bit 4:2:2 ProRes SSD
(4096 x 2160)
1.89:1 10-bit 4:2:0 H.265 SD / SSD
(4096 x 2160)
  • 119.88
  • 100
  • 59.94
  • 50
  • 48
  • 47.95
  • 29.97
  • 25
  • 24
  • 23.98
1.89:1 10-bit 4:2:0 H.265 SD / SSD
  • 59.94
  • 50
  • 48
  • 47.95
  • 29.97
  • 25
  • 24
  • 23.98
10-bit 4:2:2 H.264
ProRes SSD
(3840 x 2160)
  • 119.88
  • 100
  • 59.94
  • 50
  • 48
  • 47.95
  • 29.97
  • 25
  • 24
  • 23.98
16:9 10-bit 4:2:0 H.265 SD / SSD
  • 59.94
  • 50
  • 48
  • 47.95
  • 29.97
  • 25
  • 24
  • 23.98
10-bit 4:2:2 H.264
ProRes SSD

When 5.8K open-gate or UHD 4K is being captured, UHD 4K 4:2:2 is output over HDMI
When 5.7K or DCI 4K is being captured, DCI 4K 4:2:2 is output. 48p and 47.95p capture gives 24p or 23.98p HDMI out.

Scrolling through that list is overwhelming, but you can use Rec Quality (My List) feature. When you’ve found the resolution, frame rate, and bite rates that you lie, just press the Q button to get it to My List. You can then assign a button to access the list you’ve created, ensuring you only use one of your pre-selected modes.

Speaking of the Q button, there are separate Q Menus for both stills and video. By default, some settings are shared between still and video. Those include exposure, white balance, Photo Style, and metering and AF modes. You can break the link via the CreativeVideo Combined Set. option, found in the gear > image quality 2 section of the menu, to control which parameters do and don’t carry over.

Image stabilization

There are two “enhanced IS” electronic image stabilization modes that work on top of the camera’s sensor-shift IS system. This takes a small-to-medium crop of the frame and uses the surrounding area to compensate for camera movement. “Standard” enhanced IS adds a small 1.1x crop, while “High” adds a more substantial crop in exchange for its strong shake reduction.

Also worth being aware of is the “Boosts IS” function. This tells the camera that you’re try to keep your shot entirely still, and will fight against any movement you then make, rather than trying to anticipate which of your movements are intentional. We found it highly effective at maintaining an almost tripod-like stability.

Some other useful capture tools include waveforms and vectorscopes, shutter angle, V-Log/HLG view assist, anamorphic de-squeeze, preset distances for automatic rack focusing, and numerous audio controls.

At 4K (UHD), the G9 II looks nearly the same as the Sony a6700, which samples video from a 6K area of the frame. The a6700 is just a bit sharper, though you’re unlikely to notice in the real world. The same is true at both DCI 4K and 4K/120p settings. The results are similar looking at the high res 5.7K setting versus Panasonic’s GH6, with the smallest of difference in sharpness.

Sample video


By Jeff Keller

What we like What we don’t
  • Excellent image quality and dynamic range
  • Solid, weather-sealed body
  • Open gate and 5.7K video
  • Top-notch image stabilization
  • Responsive AF with impressive subject recognition
  • Super-fast burst shooting
  • Plethora of video capture tools and output options
  • Impressive handheld high res mode
  • Dual SD card slots
  • Full-size HDMI port
  • Battery life well beneath its peers
  • Very slow initial start
  • Higher resolution EVF would’ve been nice
  • Large number of buttons and menu options can be overwhelming at first
  • Top LCD info panel from G9 is gone
  • External battery charger not included

The Panasonic Lumix G9 II isn’t the camera one would’ve expected Panasonic to release based on its predecessor. The original G9 was a very good stills-focused camera with some video features thrown in for good measure. The G9 II builds on those features, puts them in the body of the full-frame S5, and adds video tools that get it pretty close to the GH6.

Converted from Raw using ACR. White balance adjusted.
ISO 3200 | 1/60 sec | F3.8 | Leica DG 12-60mm F2.8-4 @ 68mm equiv.

Photo: Jeff Keller

The G9 was already a fairly large camera, especially for Micro Four Thirds, and the same is true with its successor. As one would expect, the body is weather-sealed, though Panasonic doesn’t provide an IP rating. Our G9 II did have a close encounter with a muddy photographer and kept on going after some cleanup.

If you’ve just picked up the G9 II, you might find the sheer number of dials and buttons to be imposing. The menu system is overloaded with options, so putting your favorites into the “My Menu” is a smart idea.

Another thing to be aware of is that the G9 II’s battery life is below that of its peers. If you use Bluetooth to geotag or auto-transfer your photos, it’ll drain even faster. Carrying around a spare battery or a power brick (with USB PD support) is a smart idea if you’re planning on a full day of shooting.

Cropped to taste. ISO 100 | 1/320 sec | F4 | Leica DG 50-200mm F2.8-4 @ 400mm equiv.

Photo: Jeff Keller

The G9 II’s autofocus is generally pretty good and a significant step up from the G9, or any Panasonic camera that uses its Depth-from-Defocus system, for that matter. When attempting some bird photography, I was surprised by how reliably it detected them, locking onto and tracking them even when they were flying away from me. In that situation and some others we tested, the AF system may lose its subject, but it usually got it back.

The G9 II’s 25 Megapixel sensor has further closed the gap between Four Thirds and APS-C. Noise levels are somewhat higher than on the likes of the Sony a6700 and Fujifilm X-T5 and trail a little behind the OM-1. While it was difficult to push the shadows on the old G9 without a noticeable increase in noise, you can get away with it on the G9 II.

When the G9 II was released, Panasonic called it a “launching point for video.” The fact is that the G9 II is very close to Panasonic’s “official” Micro Four Thirds video camera, the GH6. The G9 II can do almost everything the GH6 can, bar the longer recording times and 5.7K/60p capture that the GH6’s fan-assisted design delivers.

ISO 100 | 1/125 sec | F3.2 | Leica DG 12-35mm F2.8 @ 52mm equiv.

Photo: Jeff Keller

One video feature that really impressed me was Boost IS, which is designed for stationary shooting. It does that amazingly well, even eliminating the slight tremor in my hands. For more action-oriented footage, the more traditional electronic stabilization modes performed well, with a small-to-moderate crop depending on the intensity.

In conclusion, as someone who has shot with the original G9 for years, Panasonic’s G9 II is a significant upgrade in so many ways, from sensor to subject recognition to burst speeds. And it’s nice being able to carry a camera and lenses in a range of focal lengths in a relatively small bag. It’s not perfect: battery life is not great, the menus can be overwhelming, and it can be frustratingly slow to start up at times. This and AF tracking that’s only good, rather than great, are the only things that stop it gaining our Gold award. Overall the G9 II has proven to be a reliable stills camera with strong image quality and some useful computational modes, and can get you well on your way to being a videographer.


Scoring is relative only to the other cameras in the same category. Click here to learn about what these numbers mean.

Compared to its peers

The OM System OM-1 Mark II is an excellent camera conceptually very similar to the G9 II. While both cameras have weather-sealed bodies, the OM-1 II is rated to the IP53 standard and we’d have no qualms about using it in the rain. The larger and higher-res EVF on the OM-1 II is nice, and its battery life is significantly better. The G9 II has more to offer serious videographers in terms of support tools, resolution, frame rates and codecs. And while the OM-1 can recognize more subjects, we think the G9 II’s AF tracking performance has a slight edge. Its price is also $500 below that of the Olympus, money that could be spent on lenses.

The Sony a6700’s rangefinder-style design is 180° from the G9 II. It’s smaller, with fewer, more cramped controls and an underwhelming EVF. Unlike the G9 II it has a single memory card slot and no AF joystick. It has many of the still and video specs of the Panasonic though it’s not to the extent of capturing uncropped 4K/120p or open gate footage. That said, the a6700’s autofocus tracking performance is probably the best on the market. Sony also has the magic touch when it comes to battery life, which is twice that of the G9 II.

Like the G9 II, the Fujifilm X-T5 appears to be stills-orientated, but with high res video capabilities. The truth is very different, with rolling shutter and significant cropping holding back the Fujifilm. The X-T5’s control logic is much more traditional than the G9 II’s, which some people will love, and it’s a similar story with the two-axis LCD. The X-T5 also has a high-res mode but it requires more shots, has no motion correction and needs to be combined off-camera. The AF systems are similar with good subject recognition sometimes held back by failure to predict distance correctly, leading to significantly missed shots.

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