First Look: Panasonic DC-G9 Mark 2

      In summary

      Panasonic’s new flagship M4/3 DC-G9 Mark 2 camera is designed for serious photographers and videographers who enjoy fast action photography and videography, particularly in the wildlife and sports genres. The new camera introduces a 25.2-megapixel Live MOS sensor and brings PDAF technology to the G Series line-up.

      Full review

      Early in September, Panasonic released a ‘teaser’ video hinting at the imminent release of a new Micro Four Thirds G Series camera and suggesting it will represent a ‘new phase’ in the evolution of the series. We now know the name of the new camera is the Lumix DC-G9 Mark 2 (G9II or G9M2) and that it offers both higher resolution than its predecessor and also phase detection AF. Released in the 15th year since the G series was launched, the new camera sports a brand new 25.2-megapixel Live MOS sensor, the highest resolution in the 17.3 x 13.0 mm M4/3 format to date.

      Angled view of the new Lumix G9II camera fitted with the updated Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 35-100mm f/2.8 Power O.I.S. lens, which was used for this report. (Source: Panasonic.)

      We published a ‘First Look’ assessment of the original DC-G9 back in early November 2017, just after it was announced. That was followed up with a review in January 2018, which added the results of our Imatest testing. We hope to repeat the exercise with the G9II, once we have a production-level camera.

      The review sample was supplied with the updated Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 35-100mm f/2.8 Power O.I.S lens, the previous version of which we reviewed in March 2015. Physically this lens is identical to its precursor, with improvements being made to the proprietary Nano Surface Coating technology to further suppress ghosting and flare in order to meet the standards required for Leica certification. Improvements have also been made to the focusing system to provide fast, high-precision AF for videography with Dual I.S. 2.

      Who’s it For?
      Like the previous model, the G9II has been designed for serious photographers and videographers who enjoy fast action photography and videography, particularly in the wildlife and sports genres. Slight improvements have been made to burst shooting performance, while the new model also boasts a large memory buffer that can accommodate more than 200 JPEGs or 170 raw files.

      The relatively compact size and light weight of the new camera and lenses make them ideal for travellers and outdoor photographers and videographers. (Souce: Panasonic.)

      Super High Speed pre-burst shooting start recording up to 1.5 seconds before the actual shutter release to enable photographers to be sure of capturing difficult-to-predict actions. This mode now includes support for RW2.RAW files.

      What’s New?
      Panasonic has upgraded the sensor in the G9II to a new 17.3 x 13.0 mm Live MOS sensor with a total pixel count of 26,520,000 photosites and an effective maximum resolution of 25.21 megapixels. As before, it has an anti-reflection coating and a primary colour filter.

      The new camera can record JPEGs with Exif 2.31 metadata as well as raw files using Panasonic’s proprietary RW2.RAW file format. RAW+JPEG capture is supported and users can choose between fine and standard quality settings for the latter. Thanks in a large part to the higher-resolution sensor, the resolution of shots taken in the High Resolution mode (which combines multiple exposures recorded in a brief space of time, has been boosted from 80 megapixels in the G9 to 100 megapixels in the new camera. While the G9 required use of a tripod in this mode, the G9II supports hand-held high-res shooting.

      Four aspect ratio settings are available: 4:3 (the default), 3:2, 16:9 and 1:1. The table below shows typical resolutions for all aspect ratios.

      Aspect ratio Image Size Resolution options
      4:3 RAW 5776 x 4336
      L 5776 x 4336
      M 4096 x 3072
      S 2944 x 2208
      High Resolution mode XL 11552 x 8672
      High Resolution mode LL 8192 x 6144
      3:2 L 5184 x 3456
      M 3712 x 2480
      S 2624 x 1752
      High Resolution mode XL 11552 x 7696
      High Resolution mode LL 8192 x 6144
      16:9 L 5184 x 2920
      M 3840 x 2160
      S 1920 x 1080
      High Resolution mode XL 11552 x 6496
      High Resolution mode LL 8192 x 5464
      1:1 L 3888 x 3888
      M 2784 x 2784
      S 1968 x 1968
      High Resolution mode XL 8672 x 8672
      High Resolution mode LL 6144 x 6144

      Raw files are typically around 40 megapixels in size, while Large/Fine JPEGs with a 4:3 aspect ratio are between 9 and 12.5 megapixels, depending on the amount of detail in the scene. The G9II supports a fairly standard ISO sensitivity range, with a minimum setting of ISO 100 and a maximum of ISO 12800 for stills and ISO 6400 to ISO 12800 for movies. In V-Log mode the Auto range is ISO 125-400, while in HLG mode, the auto range is from ISO 250-12800.

      Updating the autofocusing system to provide the same phase hybrid AF system as the S5II is another big story here, along with improvements to subject detection and tracking. Phase detection combines with contrast detection, which uses Panasonic’s proprietary Depth from Defocus (DFD) technology.

      DFD focuses by analysing contrast information with the focus at slightly different distances so it can quickly determine which way to adjust the lens.  Lens data is needed for DFD to operate, which is why it can only work with Panasonic lenses.

      The camera provided to us for this preliminary review was certainly quick to focus – and almost always accurate, even without additional adjustments. However, the G9II also has new AI-powered subject recognition technology that can now recognise cars and motorcycles as well as human and animal heads and eyes, enabling the camera to track them with improved precision.

      A new Live View Composite Mode, which can be used for shooting light and star trails, light painting and other long exposure scenarios, makes gauging exposure times straightforward. You simply set the desired exposure, take the shot and then watch the image on-screen as successive exposures build up density in real time. Once the desired result is achieved, simply hit the shutter button again to stop the exposure.

      The new camera also boasts a small (but for many photographers significant) improvement in continuous shooting speeds.  When the electronic shutter is selected, the G9II can record at up to 75 fps in AF-S mode or 60 fps with continuous autofocusing.

      In-body stabilisation has been enhanced to claim up to eight stops of shake correction with a standard focal length range or shooting with telephoto lenses, up to 7.5 stops at 140mm.

      When recording video, the Active I.S. technology can deliver smooth, gimbal-like video when the user is shooting while walking with the camera. There have also been other subtle (and not so subtle) changes, which are outlined in the comparison table below.

      Lumix DC-G9 Lumix DC-G9M2
      Announced November 2017 September 2023
      Reviewed 8 January 2018 September 2023
      Sensor size & type 17.3 x 13.0 mm Live MOS
      Image processor Venus Engine X (with improved algorithms) New chip with twice the processing speed of the Venus Engine X
      Effective resolution 20.33 megapixels 25.21 megapixels
      Max. image size 5184 x 3888 pixels 5776 x 4336 pixels
      Max. movie resolution (PAL system) 4096 x 2160 pixels 25fps
      3840 x 2160 pixels 50fps
       5760 x 4320 (4:3) pixels 25fps
      5728 x 3024 (17:9) pixels 50fps
      4096 x 2160 pixels 100 fps1920 x 1080 pixels 200 fps
      Codecs/ data rates

      (Max. quality)

      4:2:0 8-bit LongGOP / 3840 x 2160 up to 100Mbps 4:2:0 10-bit LongGOP / 5760 x 4320 up to 200Mbps; 4:2:2 10-bit ALL-Intra / 4096 x 2160 up to 800Mbps
      Image area of video Full frame width with no pixel binning or skipping Full / Pixel/Pixel
      Log recording support V-Log/V-Gamut and LUTs
      High Resolution photo mode Yes (80 megapixels on tripod) Yes (100 megapixels handheld)
      Special Photo modes 4K Photo, 6K Photo
      Image stabilisation Integrated 5-axis IS with Dual I.S. support for stabilised lenses   and digital IS for video
      AF system Contrast AF with DFD technology, Post Focus & Focus Stacking Hybrid Phase Detection / Contrast AF system with DFD technology
      Focus points 225 779
      Subject tracking Human (faces, eyes, heads and bodies) / Animals (dogs, cats and birds) Human (faces, eyes, heads and bodies) / Animals (dogs, cats and birds) / Cars / Motorcycles
      LCD data panel Yes No
      Monitor Free angle, 3-inch, 1,040,000 dots Free angle, 3-inch, 1,840,000 dots
      Touch screen Yes
      Viewfinder resolution OLED 3,680,000 dots
      EVF magnification 0.83x 0.8x
      Image Stabilisation B.I.S. (5-axis / 6.5-stops), Dual I.S. 2 compatible B.I.S. (5-axis / 8.0-stops), Dual I.S. 2 (7.5-stops)
      Shutter speed range Mechanical: 60 to 1/2000 second; Electronic: 1 to 1/32,000 second Mechanical: 60 to 1/8000 second; Electronic: 1 to 1/16,000 second
      Exposure compensation +/- 5EV in 1/3EV steps
      Bracketing AE: +/- 3EV; 3,5,7 frames; WB (3 exposures), focus (1-999 images, 5 levels, aperture (3, 5 or all positions in 1 EV step) AE: +/- 3EV; 3,5,7 frames; WB (3 exposures), focus (1-999 images, 10 levels, aperture (3, 5 or all positions in 1 EV step)
      Native ISO range ISO 200-25600 Normal: ISO 100-25600

      V-log: ISO 500-12800

      ISO extension ISO 100 Normal – ISO 50; V-Log – ISO 125
      Continuous shooting (max) Mechanical shutter: 12 fps with AFS/MF; 9 fps with AFF/AFC

      Electronic shutter: 60 fps with AFS/MF; 20 fps with AFF/AFC

      Mechanical shutter: 14 fps with AFS/MF; 10 fps with AFF/AFC

      Electronic shutter: 75 fps with AFS/MF; 60 fps with AFF/AFC

      Buffer capacity ~ 600 JPEGs, ~ 60 raw files >200 JPEGs, > 170 raw files
      Storage Dual slots for SD, SDHC, SDXC cards,UHS-1 & UHS-II compatible; one slot V60 compatible Dual slots for SD, SDHC, SDXC cards,UHS-1 & UHS-II plus V90 compatible
      Flash External flashguns only via hot-shoe
      Battery DMW-BLF19 DMW-BLK22
      Battery capacity (CIPA) Approx. 400 shots/charge Approx. 390 shots/charge
      Interface connections USB 3.0 High Speed Multi, HDMI, 2.5 mm remote terminal, 3.5 mm mic terminal, 3.5 mm headphone jack USB Type-C, Super Speed USB 3.2 GEN2, HDMI Type A, 2.5 mm remote terminal, 3.5 mm mic terminal, 3.5 mm headphone jack
      Integrated Wi-Fi Yes, 802.11b/g/n
      Integrated Bluetooth Yes, Bluetooth 4.0 Yes, Bluetooth 5.0
      Dimensions (wxhxd) 136.9 x 97.3 x 91.6 mm 134.3 x 102.3 x 90.1 mm
      Weight (body only) Approx. 586 grams Approx. 575 grams
      RRP at launch (body only) AU$2499 AU$3299

      The G9II introduces Full Sensor 4:3 ‘open gate’ video recording, as well as support for Apple ProRes video, 300 fps slow motion. Other improvements to video functionality include V-Log/V-Gamut capture, which offers a high dynamic range of more than 13 stops along with consistent colour management and streamlined post-production.

      In-camera colour grading is possible through REAL TIME LUTs, which allow settings to be stored for future use to provide repeatability for content creators who work in the same studio or individuals who would like to be able to repeat the same style in camera instead of applying it in post-production. A new Leica Monochrome mode recreates the classic Leica B&W look and contrast.

      Users can choose between MOV, MP4 and ProRes 422 recording formats and also select a 4:2:0 10-bit 5.8K full sensor (4:3 aspect) recording with bit rates of 200Mbps or choose 5.7K recording with a 17:9 aspect ratio with a maximum bit rate of 300Mbps. The highest bit rate of 800Mbps is available for C4K recording in MOV format at 50 fps using the 4:2:2 10-bit ALL-Intra codec for professional quality movie clips.

      The G9II also supports flexible framing options for various social media formats, as well as the basic 4:3, 3:2, 16:9 and 1:1 aspect ratio settings. Slow-motion videos can be recorded in MOV format at up to 4:2:0 10-bit C4K/4K 120p/100p.

      Recording and playback to an external SSD are supported via USB. In-camera processing can also correct perspective distortions produced by very wide-angle lenses while video is being recorded.

      Body Changes
      Panasonic has returned to a more conventional body design for the G9II, which is slightly larger, volume-wise than the G9 but also a little lighter. Like the original G9, the new camera’s body is dust and splash resistant (probably to the same IPX1 standards as most ‘weatherproof’ cameras).

      The G9II replaces the LCD data panel on the top panel of the original model with a conventional mode dial that sits atop the on/off lever switch. This switch has been shifted from beneath the shutter button and replaced by the front dial, which formerly sat between it and the shutter button and the WB, ISO and exposure compensation buttons. These buttons remain in place but a drive dial re-appears to the left of the EVF housing.

      Top view of the Lumix DC-G9II camera with no lens fitted, showing the re-designed control layout. (Source: Panasonic.)

      The mode dial has the same main settings as the G9’s but the Creative Control mode on the G9 has been replaced with a new Slow&Quick setting on the new camera, which lets you choose recording frame rates between 1 fps and 240 fps for slow-motion sequences. The only other change has been to slightly enlarge the Movie recording button to make it easier to locate by touch.

      Front view of the Lumix DC-G9II with no lens fitted. (Source: Panasonic.)

      The front panel layout has been simplified with the removal of the Fn lever in the lower left hand side corner  and by moving the Function and Preview buttons on the other side of the lens mount closer together so they’re easier to reach.  The flash cable socket has also been removed as most accessory flashguns are now driven wirelessly. (The hot-shoe is still there, if required.)

      Rear view of the Lumix DC-G9II. (Source: Panasonic.)
      Among the small changes to the rear panel controls, the focus mode selector has been separated from the AF On button, which is moved further to the right. The joystick control has also been moved rightwards a little and a new Quick Menu button replaces the previous AF mode button.

      As a result, the arrow pad with its central Menu button have been moved downwards a little and the Back and Display buttons line up parallel with the base plate. The Playback and LVF buttons above the top left corner of the monitor have also been aligned.

      The dual SD card slots remain and both are compatible with UHS-I/UHS-II UHS Speed Class 3 as well as the UHS-II Video Speed Class 90 standard. The battery has changed to the same DMW-BLK22 as is used in the S5, GH6, GH5 and GH5S cameras.

       The G9 can accept a number of optional accessories, including a new  DMW-BG1E weather sealed battery grip (RRP$599), which includes an eight-direction joystick that is compatible with the Lumix G9II and the existing Lumix S5II and S5IIX full frame cameras. The new grip takes a second battery and also replicates the main camera controls when the camera is rotated for portrait shooting convenience.

      The Lumix G9II camera is scheduled for release through leading photographic specialists in late October 2023.  It will be offered as a body alone (DC-G9M2GN) for AU$3299 or in kit format with the 12-60mm f 3.5-5.6 lens (DC-G9M2M) for AU$3599, with the Leica DG 12-60mm f/2.8-4 lens (DC-G9M2LEICA) for AU$4399 or as a ‘Pro’ kit with the Leica DG 12-35 f/2.8 lens (DC-G9M2LPRO) for AU$4799.



      Image sensor: 17.3 x 13.0 mm Live MOS sensor with 26.52 million photosites (25.21megapixels effective)
      Image processor: Venus Engine
      Lens mount: Micro Four Thirds
      Focal length crop factor:  2x
      Digital zoom: 2.0x (EX S), 1.4x (EX M) Extra Tele Conversion (stills only)
      Image formats: Stills: JPEG (DCF, Exif Ver. 2.31),  RW2.RAW, RAW+JPEG; Movies: MOV (H.264/MPEG-4 AVC, H.265/HEVC, Apple ProRes), MP4 (H.264/MPEG-4 AVC, H.265/HEVC)
      Audio: MOV: LPCM (2ch 48kHz/24-bit, 96kHz/24-bit) (4ch 48kHz/24-bit, 96kHz/24-bit); MP4: AAC (2ch 48kHz/16-bit)
      Image Sizes: Stills   Movies (PAL system):  [5.8K] 5760 x 4320 (4:3) 25p 200Mbps; 5.7K] 5728 x 3024 (17:9) 50p 300Mbps/25p 200Mbps; [4.4K] 4352 x 3264 (4:3) 50p 300Mbps; [C4K] 4096 x 2160 100p 300Mbps, 50p 800/600/200Mbps, 25p 400/150Mbps; [FHD] 1920 x 1080 200p 800/200Mbps, 100p 400/150Mbps, 50p 200/100Mbps, 25p 200/100Mbps
      Aspect ratios: 4:3, 3:2, 16:9, 1:1
      Image Stabilisation: Sensor-shift B.I.S. (5-axis / 8.0-stops) plus Dual I.S. 2 (7.5-stops)
      Shutter (speed range): 60-1/8000 seconds plus Bulb (max. 30 minutes); Electronic shutter: 60 to 1/32,000 second plus Bulb (max. 1 minute); 1/25,000 – 1/25 (to 1/8 sec. in Creative Video M mode / MF mode
      Exposure Compensation: +/- 5EV in 1/3EV steps (+/-3EV for movies)
      Exposure bracketing: 3, 5, 7 images in 1/3, 2/3 or 1 EV step, max. +/-3 EV, single/burst
      Other bracketing options: Aperture, Focus, White Balance
      Self-timer: 2 or 10 seconds delay plus 10sec, 3 images and Custom settings
      Interval recording: Yes, for time-lapse and stop motion animation
      Focus system: Hybrid Phase Detection AF/Contrast AF system with DFD technology, 779 points
      AF  selection: Zone / 1-Area+ / 1-Area / Pinpoint; Tracking / Full Area AF / Zone (Horizontal/Vertical); Automatic Detection for Human / Animal / Car / Motorcycle (except when Pinpoint is set).
      Focus modes: AFS (Single) / AFC (Continuous) / MF
      Exposure metering: 1,728-zone multi-pattern sensing system with Multiple, Centre-weighted average, Spot and Highlight Weighted metering patterns
      Shooting modes: Program AE, Aperture Priority AE, Shutter Priority AE, Manual Exposure plus Creative Video (P/A/S/M) / Slow&Quick / Custom 1, 2, 3 / Intelligent Auto
      Photo Style modes: Standard / Vivid / Natural / L. Classic Neo / Flat / Landscape / Portrait / Monochrome / L. Monochrome / L. Monochrome D / L. Monochrome S / Leica Monochrome / Cinelike D2 / Cinelike V2 / Like709 / V-Log / REAL TIME LUT / Hybrid Log Gamma / My Photo Style 1-4 (5-10)
      Filter modes: Expressive / Retro / Old Days / High Key / Low Key / Sepia / Cross Process / Bleach Bypass
      Colour space options: sRGB and Adobe RGB
      ISO range: Auto, ISO 100-12800 with extensions to ISO 50
      White balance: AWB, AWBc, AWBw, Daylight, Cloudy, Shade, Incandescent, Flash, White Set (x 4), Colour temperature setting (x 4)
      Flash: TTL External Flash (sold separately)
      Flash modes: Auto* / Auto/Red-eye Reduction* / Forced On / Forced On/Red-eye Reduction / Slow Sync. / Slow Sync./Red-eye Reduction / Forced Off  (*For iA only); 1st/2nd curtain sync available
      Flash exposure adjustment: +/-3EV in 1/3EV steps
      Sequence shooting: Max. 14 frames /sec. (AFS/MF), 10 fps (AFC) (with Live View) with mechanical; shutter; Max. 75 fps (AFS/MF) with electronic shutter
      Buffer capacity: More than 200 Large/Fine JPEGs, more than 170 RAW files
      Storage Media: SD, SDHC, SDXC cards (UHS-I / UHS-II UHS Speed Class 3 standard compatible)
      Viewfinder: OLED Live View Finder with approx. 3.68 million dots; 100% FOV, 0.8x magnification, 21 mm eyepoint, -4 to +2 dioptre adjustment, eye sensor
      LCD monitor: Free-angle, 3.0-inch TFT LCD monitor with static touch control, approx. 1.84 million dots, 100% coverage
      Weather sealing: Yes
      Interface terminals: USB Type-C (SuperSpeed USB 10Gbps USB 3.2 Gen2), HDMI Type A, 2.5 mm remote terminal, 3.5mm jack for external microphone / external audio device, 3.5mm headphone terminal
      Wi-Fi function: Built-in Wi-Fi 2.4GHz (STA/AP) (IEEE802.11b/g/n) and5GHz (STA) (IEEE 802.11a/n/ac) (; Bluetooth v5.0 (Bluetooth Low Energy)
      Power supply: DMW-BLK22 rechargeable Li-ion battery; CIPA rated for approx. 390 shots/charge  or up to 90 minutes of video recording
      Dimensions (wxhxd): Approx. 134.3 x 102.3 x 90.1 mm (excluding protrusions)
      Weight: Approx. 658 grams with battery and card

      RRP: AU$3299 (body only); $3599 (with12-60mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens)
      Distributor: Panasonic Australia, Ph. 132 600.



      All images taken with the Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 35-100mm f/2.8 Power O.I.S lens. 

      62mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/200 second at f/8.

      Close-up at 100mm focal length, ISO 3200, 1/200 second at f/22.

      Close-up at 100mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/400 second at f/2.8.

      100mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/800 second at f/4.

      54mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/320 second at f/7.1.

      100mm focal length, ISO 200, 1/250 second at f/4.5.

      100mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/250 second at f/5.

      100mm focal length, ISO 400, 1/250 second at f/4.

      100mm focal length, ISO 200, 1/120 second at f/4.

      66mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/250 second at f/8.

      85mm focal length, ISO 400, 1/100 second at f/4.

      47mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/125 second at f/4.5.

      35mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/100 second at f/5.

      75mm focal length, ISO 800, 1/160 second at f/4.

      75mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/640 second at f/2.8.

      100mm focal length, ISO 500, 1/250 second at f/2.8.

      93mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/320 second at f/5.

      100mm focal length, ISO 1000, 1/120 second at f/4.

      100mm focal length, ISO 500, 1/250 second at f/4.

      35mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/80 second at f/8.

      100mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/250 second at f/2.8.

      100mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/200 second at f/7.1.

      Strong backlighting; 100mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/500 second at f/5.

      100mm focal length, ISO 1600, 1/250 second at f/2.8

      Still frame from 4K 50p video recorded at 100Mbps in MP4 format.

      Still frame from 4K 50p video recorded at 90Mbps in MP4 format.

      Still frame from 4K 25p video recorded at 100Mbps in MP4 format.

      Still frame from FHD 25p video recorded at 200Mbps in MP4 format.

      Still frame from FHD 100p video recorded at 160Mbps in MOV format.

      Still frame from FHD 100p video recorded at 140Mbps in MOV format.

      Still frame from FHD 50p video recorded at 200Mbps in MOV format.