Panasonic Lumix DC-G95
Once again, Panasonic has produced a ‘hybrid’ mirrorless camera that caters for both still photography and movie enthusiasts and comes at a realistic price.
In our tests, the review camera delivered a fine performance with the Lumix G-Vario 12-60mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH. POWER O.I.S lens and we would recommend this kit to anyone looking for a walkaround combo.
Panasonic’s stabilisation system is competent and the support for 5-axis Dual I.S. makes the camera usable at slow shutter speeds.
Panasonic’s integrated Wi-Fi system is one of the easiest to use and the camera’s logical menu system will help novice users.
Announced in April 2019, Panasonic’s Lumix DC-G95 has been designed for serious photographers who want a camera system that delivers high performance for stills and movies but is compact and portable enough to ensure high mobility for travel and location shooting. Its 20.3-megapixel Live MOS sensor is the same as used in the GH5, G9 and GX9 and an upgrade on the 16-megapixel sensor in the G85, which this camera replaces. Like the other cameras with this sensor, the G95 can deliver high-quality stills and 3840 x 2160-pixel 4K video recording, the latter with Log recording capabilities.
Angled view of the Panasonic DMC-G85 camera with the ‘weatherproof’12-60mm kit lens that will be offered with the camera body. (Source: Panasonic.)
The G95 will be available in Australia in the following formats: Body only (DC-G95GN-K) RRP $1499, Weather sealed kit with 12-60mm lens (DC-G95MGN-K) RRP $1799, 10x zoom kit with 14-140mm lens (DC-G95ZOOM) RRP $2199. We received the camera with the H-FS12060 12-60mm lens, which is used for this review. We also received Panasonic’s new DG Vario-Summilux 10-25mm f/1.7 ASPH (H-X1025) lens, which is reviewed separately.
Who’s it For?
The G95 represents a significant upgrade on the G85 it replaces, with a slightly larger and heavier body, a deeper grip moulding and additional controls. As its model name suggests, it sits somewhere between the GH5 and G9, which means it should appeal to photo enthusiasts who enjoy shooting video as well as videographers who like to take the occasional still pictures.
Providing high level of functionality in a relatively compact camera, its magnesium-alloy body has similar dust- and splash-proof sealing to the G85. The increased sensor resolution makes it more attractive than its predecessor, especially to active photographers who enjoy taking pictures outdoors and use one of the many weather-sealed lenses available for M4/3 cameras.
While there are some significant differences between the G95 and its predecessor, the G85, most of these come through porting existing technologies from more sophisticated models across to the new camera. The 20.3-megapixel Digital Live MOS Sensor without low-pass filter is a case in point.
An optimum gradation setting uses the characteristics of the sensor to capture a wide dynamic range for smoother gradation. A Tuned Three-dimensional Colour Control function detects hue, saturation and brightness and applies optimal processing based on the value of each factor, improving the rendition of skies, human skin and more general subjects.
A Tuned Multi Process NR can identify noise accurately and preserve details even after the noise reduction process. This improves the reproduction of textures and precise detail, especially in middle-to-high sensitivity image recording.
The contrast AF system is based upon 49 selectable sensor points and uses DFD (Depth From Defocus) technology. It claims to be able to pass signals between the camera and lens at up to 240 fps, enabling focus to be achieved within approximately 0.07 second.
A new AF Sensitivity mode lets the user set the tracking sensitivity according to the shooting situation. Other AF options include Full Area AF (which allows users to select any point in the frame), a Custom Multi group focusing mode and the regular face and eye detection AF. Users can set the AF point to re-adjust automatically when the camera is rotated between landscape and portrait orientation and focus peaking is available for manual focusing.
The 5-axis Dual I.S. 2 stabilisation system is the same as in the G85 but can now claim shake correction of up to five stops. The combination an O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabiliser, 2-axis) and B.I.S. (Body Image Stabiliser, 5-axis) based on information detected by a high-precision gyrosensor, compensates for larger movements which were conventionally uncontrollable. The B.I.S. compensates for camera movement even when a lens without O.I.S. is used.
For videographers, the G95 is the first mid-level G-series camera with built-in V-LogL support and both microphone and headphone sockets. A high-speed mode for 1080p recording has been added with a top frame rate of 120 fps for quarter-speed playback.
An Auto Marking function has been added to the 4K PHOTO options, making it easier to jump to the nearest frame where differences are obvious between consecutive frames so it takes less time to choose the best shot. Sequence Composition enables users to create an animated sequence from multiple images shot in 4K PHOTO mode.
A new L.Monochrome D mode has been added to the Photo Style settings, enabling users to record monochrome photos with emphasized highlights and shadows while preserving the details. All three monochrome modes – Monochrome, L.Monochrome and L.Monochrome D –also allow users to choose from High, Standard and Low grain effects.
Increasing the size of the grip and adding dedicated buttons for white balance, ISO and exposure compensation have slightly increased the overall body size. The monitor’s resolution is also higher at 1,240,000 dots.
The camera’s battery can be recharged either via AC or USB and a new power-saving function can put the camera into sleep mode after a designated time (selectable from 1/2/3/5/10 seconds) after detecting the eye is off the eye sensor. This function can extend battery life to a maximum of approximately 900 shots/charge.
Build and Ergonomics
Size- and feature-wise, the G95 sits between the GX9 and the G9. It’s a bit larger than the G85 but a lot smaller and lighter than the flagship GH5 model, which has the same sensor.
Its magnesium-alloy full diecast front frame is rugged and lightweight and has and splash- and dust-proof seals around all joints, dials and buttons. The control layout has been designed to enable easy one-handed operation with three buttons on the top panel for adjusting exposure, ISO and white balance.
Front view of the G95 with no lens fitted. (Source: Panasonic.)
The grip moulding is slightly larger than on the G85 but very comfortable, thanks to its rubberised cladding. It positions the shutter button and surrounding front dial control in easy reach of the user’s index finger. As before, the only other controls on the front panel are the lens release button and the embedded AF-assist LED, which sits just below the mode dial between the front control dial and the top of the lens mount.
Top view of the G90 with no lens fitted. (Source: Panasonic.)
Apart from the addition of the white balance, ISO and exposure compensation buttons, the top panel control layout is almost identical to the G85’s. The Fn1 button has been removed and the movie button shifted closer to the mode dial.
The mode and drive dials are unchanged as are the rear control dial and the EVF/flash housing. Neck strap lugs with attached D-rings are located on each side of the camera where the top panel joins the rest of the body.
The EVF is the same as the G85’s with 2,360,000-dot resolution, a 20 mm eyepoint, 0.74x magnification and dioptre adjustments from +4.0 to -4.0. An eye sensor switches automatically to the EVF when the user’s eye is detected.
Rear view of the G85 with the monitor screen facing inwards. (Source: Panasonic.)
Like the G85, the G90’s 3-inch monitor is fully articulated but its resolution has been slightly increased to around 1,240,000 dots. The touch-screen overlay is retained. So is the AF/AE lock/ focus mode selector combo.
With the white balance, ISO and exposure compensation buttons being shifted to the top panel, the arrow pad is left with only the central Menu/OK button carrying a label. Pressing on the left side of the surrounding control wheel accesses the AF mode settings, while the remaining directional tabs are programmable function (Fn) buttons.
The Playback button sits above the arrow pad, while below it are the Quick Menu/Fn 2 and Display buttons. The memory card is still located in a compartment in the right hand side of the camera body, while a large rubber cover on the left hand side lifts up to reveal the microphone and headphone sockets and USB and HDMI ports.
The battery compartment is housed in the grip and accessed via a locking door in the base plate. The DMW-BGG1 is different from the battery used in the G85, with a slightly lower rating of 290 shots/charge. The supplied charger uses a USB interface, which can also be used for charging the battery while it’s in the camera.
A metal-lined tripod socket is also located in the base plate in line with the optical axis of the camera. To its right is a rubber cover for the attachment for the optional DMW-BGG1 battery grip, which will sell for AU$399 (RRP) and houses an additional battery that will double the camera’s recording capacity.
Sensor and Image Processing
The sensor in the G95 is the same as in Panasonic’s flagship GH5 model and covered in our ‘First Look‘ review of that camera. It’s partnered with an ‘enhanced’ Venus Engine processor that ‘renders natural, high-precision images’ and ‘is more capable of tracking moving subjects’, to quote Panasonic’s press release.
Like the G85, the G95 supports a native ISO range from ISO 200 to ISO 25,600 , with extension to ISO 100 in 1/3EV increments for stills. Sensitivity is only adjustable in the Creative Video movie mode, but ISO 100 is not available and the upper limit is ISO 6400.
The fastest continuous frame rate available with the G95 is 30 frames/second (fps) with the electronic shutter in the 4K Burst modes which reduce resolution to approximately eight megapixels. In the normal burst mode, the camera can record at approximately nine fps with focus and exposure locked in with the first frame or 6 fps in with adjustable autofocusing. The buffer memory can hold up to 600 JPEGs or 30 raw files.
The full image frame is recorded when raw file capture is selected, regardless of the aspect ratio setting. RAW+JPEG capture is available with Fine or Normal quality selectable.
The G95 supports the same basic movie recording capabilities as other recently-released Panasonic cameras, including 4K recording at a frame size of 3840 x 2160 pixels with a choice of frame rates covering 30, 25 or 24 frames/second (fps) and a bit rate of 100 Mbps. Full HD and HD recording are also available at frame rates of 60p, 50p, 30p and 25p.
Users can choose between the AVCHD codec, which only supports Full HD movie recording, and MP4, which supports 4K, Full HD and HD, the latter at 30 fps with a bit rate of 10Mbps. UHS Speed Class 3 cards are required for 4K video recording and the frame is cropped slightly in this mode.
No maximum recording time is listed in the user manual but clips are limited to 4GB in size, at which point the file is divided and a new clip starts. You can check the recordable time on the monitor screen.
The camera supports 4:2:0 8-bit recording to the SD card and output 4:2:2 8-bit video over its HDMI port. As well as log recording, users can select Cinelike D and Cinelike V Photo Styles via page 1 of the movie sub-menu. High-speed recording for slow-motion playback is also available, although only in Full HD 1080 resolution. Frame rates range from 120 fps for 1/4 speed playback to 50 fps for half-speed playback.
Live cropping of 4K frames to FHD size is also offered. This feature can be used for recording smooth pans and zooms while keeping the camera in a fixed position. Smooth zooms and focus pulls can also be achieved with the touch controls on the monitor screen.
Time-lapse, stop-motion animation and interval shooting are also supported and accessible via the drive mode settings. Most of the functions available for shooting still pictures are available in movie mode, including the P, A, S and M modes and Photo Style filters as well as many of the Creative Control settings.
Playback and Software
Nothing much has changed since the G85. All the regular playback modes are available and users can convert RW2.RAW files into JPEGs in the camera during playback and utilise the Clear Retouch function to remove objects from a frame via the touch controls.
The software – which consists of the latest versions of PhotoFun Studio and Silkypix Developer Studio plus a 30-day trial version of Super LoiLoScope – has to be downloaded from Panasonic’s website. Fortunately, the G95 is supported by Adobe Camera Raw (and probably other third-party converters) so you needn’t rely on the inferior Silkypix converter.
Shots taken with the review camera were very similar to those we took with the G9, which isn’t surprising as both cameras use the same image sensor. There were no issues with obtaining correct exposures and JPEGs recorded had a decent dynamic range, although highlights could often blow out in very contrasty situations. Colour fidelity was good, saturation was restrained and plenty of detail was recorded in shots.
The review camera focused quickly and accurately, even in low light levels and also provided usable exposures in strong backlighting. We encountered no problems with moiré in still shots or movie clips.
Imatest showed JPEGs from the review camera exceeded expectations for the 20-megapixel sensor near the centre of the frame and met them at the periphery. RW2.RAW files converted into 16-bit TIFF format with Adobe Camera Raw exceeded expectations by a comfortable margin. Resolution held up well with both file types across the camera’s sensitivity range, as shown in the graph of our Imatest results below.
Long exposures were handled well and the camera maintained consistent brightness and contrast levels as the sensitivity was increased. Dynamic range was acceptable at low ISO settings but very good in the middle of the ISO range. Noise could be seen in long exposures at ISO 12800 and ISO 25600 but these images would be usable at small output sizes.
The modest guide number (9 metres at ISO 200) of the built-in flash shots were a stop or two under-exposed at ISO 200 and ISO 400 but slight over-exposure occurred at ISO 25600. Between those settings, flash exposures were ‘correctly’ exposed.
White balance performance was similar to other G-series cameras we’ve reviewed, with the auto mode having two options, one for retaining the warm colour balance. In both modes, a slight warm cast remained under incandescent as well as with warm LED lighting. Shots taken in both fluorescent lighting and with the camera’s built-in flash had close to natural colours. There’s no preset for LED or fluorescent lighting and the tungsten pre-set tended to over-correct. There are four memories for storing manual measurements as well as four custom memories for Kelvin settings. These made it possible to obtain neutral colours under each type of lighting aided by the in-camera adjustments for manual fine-tuning.
Video performance was up to expectations since Panasonic remains a leader in video technology. Clips shot in the two 4K modes were virtually identical so we’ve only provided one example to show the dynamic range and natural colour balance recorded.
In Full HD resolution, both the MP4 and AVCHD recordings had similar levels of sharpness and both were excellent. Colours were also accurately recorded, and contrast was a little higher than normal.
The AF system, which defaults to continuous AF in movie mode, also performed well and appeared able to lock on quickly and track moving subjects, even while they were moving and if light intensity varied. The built-in microphones delivered usable soundtracks with no apparent interference from camera noise, although they were somewhat susceptible to wind noise. A wind-reduction filter is available with High and Standard settings plus an off mode.
Our timing tests were carried out with a 16GB Panasonic SDHC Class 10 UHS-1 card, which was supplied with the review camera. The camera took just over a second to power-up and we measured an average capture lag of 0.1 seconds, which was eliminated when shots were pre-focused.
Shot-to-shot times averaged 0.55 seconds without flash and 2.2 seconds with. Going by indicator on the screen that shows files are being processed, we estimate the following average processing times: high-resolution JPEGs – 2.1 seconds, RW2.RAW files – 3.2 seconds and RAW+JPEG pairs – 3.8 seconds.
In the High-speed mode the camera appears to have ‘unlimited’ capacity for JPEGs. We recorded 85 JPEG frames in 10.4 seconds without the camera showing any signs of slowing. This equates to a frame rate of just over eight frames/second (fps). It took just under a minute to process this burst.
On swapping to recording RW2.RAW frames the review camera recorded 30 frames in 3.2 seconds before pausing, which equates to approximately 7.5 fps. It took a little over a minute to process this burst.
With RAW+JPEG pairs, we found the buffer memory filled at the 28th frame which was reached in four seconds; a frame rate of seven fps. It took more than a minute and a half to process this burst.
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Image sensor: 17.3 x 13.0 mm Live MOS sensor with 21.77 million photosites (20.3 megapixels effective)
Image processor: Venus Engine
A/D processing: Not specified
Lens mount: Micro Four Thirds
Focal length crop factor: 2x
Image formats: Stills: JPEG (DCF Ver. 2.0, Exif Ver. 2.31), RW2.RAW, RAW+JPEG; Movies: MP4 (H.264/MPEG-4 AVC, AAC (2 channel) audio, AVCHD
Image Sizes: Stills – 4:3 aspect – 5184 x 3888, 3712 x 2784, 2624 x 1968, 3328 x 2496 (4K PHOTO); 3:2 – 5184 x 3456, 3712 x 2480, 2624 x 1752, 3504 x 2336 (4K PHOTO); 16:9 – 5184 x 2920, 3840 x 2160, 1920 x 1080, 3840 x 2160 (4K PHOTO); 1:1 – 3888 x 3888, 2784 x 2784, 1968 x 1968, 2880 x 2880 (4K PHOTO); Movies: MP4 – 3840 x 2160 @ 30/25/24P 100Mbps, 1920 x 1080 @ 50/25/24p, 1280 x 720 @ 30/25p; AVCHD – 1920 x 1080 @ 50p/50i, 25p, 24p; High-speed video (MP4) 1920 x 1080 30p, 20Mbps (sensor output is 120fps / 100fps / 90fps / 75fps / 60fps / 50fps)
Aspect ratios: 4:3, 3:2, 16:9, 1:1
Image Stabilisation: 5-axis / 5.0-stop sensor-shift; Dual I.S. 2 compatible
Dust removal: Supersonic wave filter
Shutter (speed range): Focal-plane shutter (60-1/4000 seconds plus Bulb (max. 30 minutes); Electronic shutter: 1 to 1/16,000 second
Exposure Compensation: +/-5 EV 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 10 sec./3 images
Interval recording: Yes, for time-lapse
Focus system: Contrast AF with DFD technology
AF selection: Face/Eye Detection / Tracking / 49-Area / Custom Multi / 1-Area / Pinpoint
(Full area touch is available) (Scalable AF frame size and flexible AF position)
Focus modes: AFS (Single) / AFF (Flexible) / AFC (Continuous) / MF
Exposure metering: 1728-zone multi-pattern sensing system with Multiple, Centre-weighted average and spot metering patterns
Shooting modes: Program AE, Aperture Priority AE, Shutter Priority AE, Manual Exposure
Photo Style modes: Standard, Vivid, Natural, Monochrome, L. Monochrome, L. Monochrome D, Scenery, Portrait, Custom, Cinelike D, Cinelike V, V-LogL
Filter modes: Expressive, Retro, Old Days, High Key, Low Key, Sepia, Monochrome, Dynamic Monochrome, Rough Monochrome*, Silky Monochrome*, Impressive Art, High Dynamic, Cross Process, Toy Effect, Toy Pop, Bleach Bypass, Miniature Effect, Soft Focus*, Fantasy, Star Filter*, One Point Colour, Sunshine* (*For photos only)
Colour space options: sRGB and Adobe RGB
ISO range: Auto, Intelligent ISO, 100 (Extended), 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400, 12800, 25600; adjustable in 1/3 or 1 EV steps
White balance: AWB, AWBc, AWBw, Daylight, Cloudy, Shade, Incandescent, Flash, White Set (x 4), Colour temperature setting (x 4)
Flash: Built-in TTL Flash, GN9.0 equivalent (ISO200/m)
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, iA+ only)
Flash exposure adjustment: +/- 3 EV in 1/3EV steps
Sequence shooting: Max. 9 shots/sec. with locked AF
Buffer capacity: Max. 300 Large/Fine JPEGs, 45 RAW files
Storage Media: SD, SDHC, SDXC cards (UHS-I / UHS-II UHS Speed Class 3 standard compatible)
Viewfinder: 2,360,000-dot OLED EVF with 100% frame coverage, 20mm eyepoint, 0.74x magnification, +/-4 dpt adjustment, eye sensor
LCD monitor: Free-angle, 3.0-inch (7.5cm), 3:2 aspect LCD with 1,240,000 dots 100% frame coverage
Interface terminals: USB 2.0 Micro-B, micro HDMI (type D), 2.5mm remote control jack, 3.5 mm stereo mini jack (microphone), 3.5 mm stereo mini jack (headphone)
Wi-Fi function: Built-in (IEEE 802.11b/g/n) 2412 MHz – 2462 MHz (1-11 ch), Wi-Fi / WPA / WPA2, Infrastructure mode; Bluetooth v4.2 (Bluetooth Low Energy)
Power supply: DMW-BGG1 rechargeable Li-ion batteries in special base pack; CIPA rated for approx. 290 shots/charge
Dimensions (wxhxd): Approx. 130.4 x 93.5 x 77.4 mm (excluding protrusions)
Weight: Approx.536 grams with battery and card
Distributor: Panasonic Australia, Ph. 132 600; www.panasonic.com.au
Based on JPEG files taken with the 12-60mm kit lens.
Based on RW2.RAW files converted into 16-bit TIFF format with Adobe Camera Raw.
Auto white balance with incandescent lighting.
Auto white balance with fluorescent lighting.
Auto white balance with flash lighting.
Auto white balance with warm-toned LED lighting.
50-second exposure at ISO 200, 22mm focal length, f/5.6.
25-second exposure at ISO 400, 22mm focal length, f/5.6.
6-second exposure at ISO 1600, 22mm focal length, f/6.3.
3.2-second exposure at ISO 6400, 22mm focal length, f/7.1.
2-second exposure at ISO 12800, 22mm focal length, f/11.
1.3-second exposure at ISO 25600, 22mm focal length, f/16.
Flash exposure at ISO 200, 60mm focal length, 1/60 second at f/5.6
Flash exposure at ISO 400, 60mm focal length, 1/60 second at f/5.6.
Flash exposure at ISO 1600, 60mm focal length, 1/60 second at f/5.6.
Flash exposure at ISO 6400, 60mm focal length, 1/60 second at f/5.6
Flash exposure at ISO 12800, 60mm focal length, 1/60 second at f/5.6.
Flash exposure at ISO 25600, 60mm focal length, 1/80 second at f/5.6.
12mm focal length; ISO 400, 1/60 second at f/3.5
24mm focal length; ISO 6400, 1/160 second at f/8.
24mm focal length; ISO 25600, 1/500 second at f/8.
30mm focal length; ISO 1600, 1/6 second at f/7.1.
Stabilisation test; 24mm focal length; ISO 200, one second at f/6.3.
Stabilisation test; 10.9mm focal length, ISO 200, 1.3 seconds at f/8. (The streaking is due to a figure walking downstairs during the exposure.)
Dynamic range in JPEGs; 10mm focal length, ISO 200, 1/500 second at f/11.
10mm focal length; ISO 200, 1/400 second at f/11.
12mm focal length; ISO 200, 1/640 second at f/4.5.
28mm focal length, ISO 200, 1/250 second at f/7.1.
44mm focal length; ISO 200, 1/100 second at f/6.3.
10mm focal length; ISO 200, 1/100 second at f/8.
25mm focal length; ISO 200, 1/100 second at f/8.
Still frame from MP4 4K video clip recorded at 25 fps.
Still frame from MP4 Full HD video clip recorded in 50p mode.
Still frame from MP4 Full HD video clip recorded in 25p mode.
Still frame from MP4 HD video clip recorded in 25p mode.
Still frame from High-Speed Video clip recorded in MP4 FHD format at 100 fps for 1/4-speed playback.
Still frame from AVCHD Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) video clip recorded in 50p/28M mode.
Still frame from AVCHD Full HD video clip recorded in 50i/17M mode.
Still frame from AVCHD Full HD video clip recorded in 25p/24M mode.
Still frame from AVCHD Full HD video clip recorded in 24p/24M mode.
Additional image samples can be found with our review of the Panasonic DG Vario-Summilux 10-25mm f/1.7 ASPH. lens.
RRP: AU$1499; US$1199.99
- Build: 9.0
- Ease of use: 9.0
- Autofocusing: 9.0
- Still image quality JPEG: 9.0
- Still image quality RAW: 9.0
- Video quality: 8.9