Sitting in the middle of Panasonic’s range, the new GX9 is aimed pretty squarely at travel and street photographers.
It could be argued that the GX9 mixes elements of the GX8, along with the smaller GX80. Panasonic is keeping all three cameras in the range, giving photographers plenty of choice when it comes to a mid-range CSC.
In our Panasonic GX9 vs GX8 comparison, we’ve taken a look at how this new Lumix camera stacks up against the GX8, its direct predecessor, as well as seeing where specifications have stayed the same, or similar.
Although both the GX9 and the GX8 have 20.3 megapixel sensors, the GX9 is lacking an anti-aliasing filter – that should mean it’s better equipped to resolve fine detail than its predecessor.
We’ve also seen a 20.3 megapixel sensor fitted recently on the Panasonic G9, so it seems that the brand is sticking with 20.3 megapixels as its preferred resolution.
The GX8 is a much bulkier and more cumbersome camera than the GX9, which seems to have gone back to the popular shape of the GX7. Both are the flat rangefinder style of camera (as compared with the more traditional DSLR type design of cameras like the G9).
The body of the GX9 is small enough to slip into a large jacket pocket – and you may get away with a lens being attached to (especially the small 12-32mm retractable kit lens, or other small optics), making it both an ideal travel option and a good camera for street photographers wanting to stay discreet.
For those who feel like the GX9 could do with a little more bulk, there is an optional hand-grip and eye-cup which you can purchase separately.
Panasonic sticks with a tilting viewfinder design for the GX9, as well as giving a boost in resolution (2,760k-dot, up from 2,360k-dot). A tilting viewfinder has proven to be very popular in the past and helps when composing images from slightly awkward angles.
As the GX9 is considerably smaller than the GX8, the screen is one area where some space has been saved. It’s now tiltable, rather than fully articulating – it could be argued that the former is more useful for discreet street photography, but it’s less helpful when photographing portrait images from ground level.
Both the screens are touch-sensitive (and can continue to be used when shooting through the viewfinder), and three inches in size. The GX9’s screen has a slightly higher resolution, at 1,240k-dots, compared with 1,040k-dots.
Like the GX80, the GX9 has Panasonic’s 5-axis image stabilisation system, as compared with the 4-axis image stabilisation system of the GX8. That should make it slightly better able to cope with movement to keep your photos nice and sharp.
Panasonic has kept the same autofocusing system it used for the GX8 for the GX9. That means you get a contrast-detection based system, which utilises DFD (depth from defocus) technology. Focusing time is quoted at 0.07-seconds. Frame rate has also seen a small boost – up to 9fps (from 8fps), when fixing focus at the first frame, or 6fps (which stays the same), with continuous autofocus.
As Panasonic seems to be doing across its range, the GX9 adds Bluetooth connectivity for maintaining a low-powered always-on connection. This enables automatic transfer of your images ready for sharing on social networking and the like. The GX8 has Wi-Fi only, meaning you can still transfer your images – it just won’t be automatic.
For the GX9, Panasonic has introduced a new Power Save mode, which boosts the overall battery life to a very impressive 900 images. Described as being similar to stop-start technology in cars, this mode conserves power by detecting when the EVF is in use, switching the camera on or off accordingly. If you decline to activate this mode, you can expect a much more modest battery life of 260 images. The GX8’s battery life figure is quoted as 340 images.
It wouldn’t be a Panasonic camera without 4K Photo, so naturally the GX9 has it (as does the GX8). However, there’s a couple of useful new functions which have been added for the GX9. There’s now Auto Marking, which is a quick way to skip to the action in your 4K Bursts, and Sequence Composition, which allows you to merge together several images for a multiple-exposure type effect.
The GX9 has been very attractively priced at £699 (body only). At the moment, you can pick up a GX8 for roughly the same price – but including a 12-60mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens.