We Review the Panasonic Lumix DC-G9 II Mirrorless Camera

We Review the Panasonic Lumix DC-G9 II Mirrorless Camera

Back in 2017, I received the Panasonic Lumix DC-G9 for review. My experiences with this mirrorless MFT camera were positive. Now, six years later, Panasonic sent me the second version: the Lumix DC-G9 II. I used it under extreme weather conditions at the Opal Coast in France.

Our dog hates fireworks. The poor animal becomes frightened with every explosion and is reluctant to go out. That’s why we stay at the Opal Coast in France from the end of December until January, where fireworks are not allowed.

This year, I took the new Panasonic Lumix DC-G9 II with me, provided by Panasonic Netherlands. I got the opportunity to use it for a couple of weeks, and I had a lot of cool plans to test it thoroughly. But it turned out quite differently due to a heavy winter storm that hit the coastline, with a lot of rain showers.

The Panasonic Lumix DC-G9 II: an attractive and capable mirrorless MFT camera with lots of interesting functions.

Some Specifications

Although the name suggests a camera that only differs in subtle ways, the Lumix DC-G9 II is a completely different camera compared to its sibling. The design has changed extensively, and its built-in functions have matured. Before we dive into the details, let’s take a look at some of the specifications.

  • 25.2 MP Live MOS sensor (Micro Four-thirds)
  • 3.68 MP OLED EVF with 60 and 120 fps refresh rate
  • 3-inch TFT LCD touchscreen with 1.84 MP
  • Phase detection AF system (-4 EV with f/2 and ISO 100)
  • Subject recognition for humans (body, face, eye), animals (body, eye), cars, and motorcycles
  • ISO ranges from 50 up to 25,600
  • Up to 8 stops built-in Image Stabilization system
  • Mechanical shutter ranges from 1/8,000 - 60 seconds, electronic shutter starts at 1/32,000 seconds
  • 14 frames per second (single focus) and 10 frames per second with continuous autofocus
  • RAW burst modes with 75 frames per second (single focus) and a maximum of 60 frames per second with continuous autofocus
  • Pre-recording with RAW burst for a maximum of 1.5 seconds
  • H.264/MPEG-4 AVC, H.265/HEVC, Apple ProRes video format
  • 5.8K 30p, 4.4K 60p, 4K 60/120p, C4K 60/120p, FHD 60/240p recording formats
  • Can record video onto an external USB-SSD drive
  • 4:2:2 10-bit V-log 709 HLG
  • Anamorphic desqueeze option, ranging from 1.33x up to 2.0x
  • Vector scope, color bars, and time code options
  • Timelapse, interval, live composite, and focus stacking options
  • 100 MP super resolution, handheld with motion compensation
  • WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity
  • Dust and moisture resistant
  • Measures 102.3 x 134.3 x 90.1 mm
  • Weight 658 grams, including battery and memory cards
  • Battery capacity allows for 370 shots or 1300 with power save settings (CIPA)

The Lumix G9 II was received just before Christmas. A nice present, but unfortunately, I had to return it eventually.

The Looks

The design of the Lumix G9 II is rather classical. The large LCD screen has made way for a PSAM dial. The other dial offers continuous shooting options, including super resolution and timelapse. There is a dedicated switch for the autofocus settings at the back of the camera, with a button inside for the autofocus options.

This is how the Lumix G9 II looks.

A closeup of the different dials and buttons.

A dual UHS-II-SD card slot and the connections, including a nice full-size HDMI.

The well-defined joystick now works in horizontal, vertical, and diagonal directions. The camera has an AF-ON button and three dials that are customizable, just like nearly every button on the camera.

There are two UHS-II-SD card slots available. The connections on the camera include a headphone jack, a microphone jack, a PD-USB-C, and a full-size HDMI slot. The connections are placed behind simple hinged doors. The button layout and dial placement are well-designed, and every button is perfectly accessible. Compared to the previous model, the Lumix G9 II feels like a more mature camera.

The Lumix G9 next to the Lumix G9 II. Find the differences.

Image Quality

The Micro Four-Thirds sensor offers a 25.2-megapixel resolution. It has a 2x crop, which offers a benefit for the use of longer focal lengths. A 400mm lens will translate into an 800mm field of view compared to a full frame. The benefit extends toward wide-angle lenses as well. The crop allows for smaller and compact lenses, which are ideal for traveling. The compact size also offered a lot of benefits during the winter storms at the Opal Coast.

The downside of a small MFT sensor, compared to full-frame sensors, is the risk of increased noise levels at high ISO values. Still, the camera offers a 13-stop dynamic range, according to the manufacturer.

However, the noise is well under control. It’s noticeable at ISO 3,200, and it becomes apparent at ISO 6,400. Fortunately, there are enough noise cancellation software options available to address the issue if it arises.

The ISO performance. In-camera JPEG, unedited.

Underexposed raw files, corrected in Lightroom Classic. Up to four or five stops corrections pose no significant problem. 

More important is the ability to recover details in underexposed areas of the image. Lifting shadows will introduce noise, but I was able to recover up to four or five stops, ending up with a similar noise level compared to a corresponding ISO value.

An example of using the dynamic range capacities of the Lumix G9 II in real life. No additional noise filtering was used.

Autofocus and Continuous Shooting

The speed of the Lumix G9 II makes the camera perfect for action photography. The crop factor comes into play as well, since it allows for smaller lenses. This makes using the camera during fast action maneuverable.

Although the speeds top at 14 frames per second, or 75 frames per second in raw burst, this is without continuous autofocus. With continuous autofocus enabled, the camera allows for 10 frames per second in normal shooting mode, or 60 frames per second with raw burst modes.

Some of the options of the Lumix G9 II, like super resolution, bracketing, and raw burst. Sorry about the Dutch menu, I forgot to set it to the English language.

A couple of frames from a raw burst. With 60 frames per second, you get a lot of frames.

With raw burst, it is possible to choose between a 0.5- and 1.5-second pre-recording. This way, the camera starts recording when pressing the shutter halfway. The buffer offers more than 170 raw frames and well over 200 frames in JPEG format. The raw burst mode tops at 200 frames, which is approximately 3 seconds of shooting with pre-recording enabled.

This recording speed requires a fast and accurate autofocus. The Lumix G9 II keeps up with this speed, and the subject recognition does a wonderful job. The Lumix G9 II offers a lot of customization for the autofocus area. This flexibility makes it much easier to find and track moving subjects.

A couple of screens from the autofocus menu. Sorry about the Dutch menu, I forgot to set it to the English language.

The readout of the sensor is fast enough to keep the dreaded rolling shutter effect to a minimum. It doesn’t matter if you’re shooting at the normal continuous speed or with the raw burst. The amount of rolling shutter also translates to video recordings.

Testing the rolling shutter effect with 10 frames per second and for the raw burst at 60 frames per second.

Practical Use

The size of the Lumix G9 II allows for good ergonomics. The camera is not too small and not too large. It feels well balanced with a well-designed grip. The buttons and dials are placed at the most convenient location and can be used without a problem, even with gloves.

There are a few minor issues, though. I noticed how easy it is to press the red button for movie recording. Perhaps too easy. Also, the three buttons for white balance, ISO, and exposure correction are placed in such a way that it becomes less easy to distinguish between the three. I found it difficult to find the ISO button without looking, even though it has a couple of notches.

Holding the Panasonic Lumix DC-G9 II. It's a great camera to use.

Unfortunately, Panasonic placed the movie setting in the PSAM dial. If you want to change the exposure from manual to aperture priority or shutter priority, you need to change it in the menu. A dedicated switch would have been a better choice.

The LCD screen is fully articulating and is readable from a wide range of angles. The touchscreen functionality works well. I like the ability to swipe the histogram, making it possible to place it at any location. It’s one of the many customizable options, which offers a wide range of personal settings.

Customizability is strong with this one. Sorry about the Dutch menu, I forgot to set it to the English language.

Another set of customizability screens, including the option to swipe the histogram on screen. Sorry about the Dutch menu, I forgot to set it to the English language.

The built-in image stabilization system is rated up to 7.5 to 8 stops. This is about 1.5 stops more compared to the previous model. I was able to shoot handheld with 0.8 seconds at a 16 mm focal length (32 mm full-frame equivalent), while holding the camera with one hand.

I was holding the camera with one hand, while I held the dog on the leash in the other hand. The image stabilization does an amazing job. I used 0.8 seconds with 16mm (32mm full frame equivalent).

Extra Functionalities

Although many of the special functions that were present in the first Lumix G9 are now also available in many other cameras, the Lumix G9 II still offers a set of unique features. Some are changed compared to the previous model and even made better to some extent.

The camera offers focus stacking in RAW file format, but it doesn’t stack the images together inside the camera. There is night viewing, making the LCD and EVF screen red to prevent the loss of night sight. There is also the option for live-composite imaging, making it possible to set an exposure while only recording the changes in brightness.

Night vision on the Lumix G9 II. Perfect for night photography in dark environments.

If you need more resolution, a 100-megapixel image is achievable by activating super resolution. This can be done handheld, but on top of that, the system can compensate for moving subjects. It does an amazing job, making it possible to use this option in a lot of situations.

Super resolution in action. Look at the dog running and the ball ahead. The camera has no problem with moving subject while using super resolution. The image was taken handheld.

Compared to the previous model, the raw burst modes now record raw files instead of JPEG images. The time-lapse function also allows for interval shooting, which was not possible before. But the post-focus option and in-camera focus stack are not available anymore, which is a pity. On the other hand, the focus stacking now records awr files instead.

Video Capabilities

I haven’t done a lot of video recordings, even though the Lumix G9 II offers a lot on this regard. The weather situation at the Opal Coast didn’t allow a lot of testing. However, I want to mention some of the options that are available.

The camera offers Apple ProRes recording, next to some other more standard movie formats. It can record directly to a USB SSD drive. There are real-time LUT overlays, and for those who like to use anamorphic lenses, the camera is capable of desqueezing the image for a better viewing experience.

The Panasonic Lumix DC-G9 II is well equipped for video.

The S&Q setting offers a range from 1 frame per second up to 120 frames per second. It is possible to change the shutter speed information into shutter angle, and there are many overlays like different zebra patterns, a vector scope, and color bars. If desirable, a large red frame can be activated to show a recording in progress.

These are just a few of the many video options, which make the Lumix G9 II a perfect camera for both stills and video.

Some of the video functions built into the Lumix G9 II. Sorry about the Dutch menu, I forgot to set it to the English language.


I liked the first Lumix G9, but this second version has improved in a lot of ways. It feels like the camera has matured a lot, with many special functions that are even better implemented.

The weather situation made it challenging for photography, but I could rely on the dust and water resistance of the camera. I’m confident the stabilization system saved some shots while I was struggling against the strong winds. It performed under every situation without problems, even when the storm hit forces 8 and 9.

Shooting with the Lumix G9 II at the Opal Coast in France during a winter storm force 8.

I had to rely on the dynamic range a lot, which resulted in some extra noise in the recovered areas. But it turned out to be well within acceptable limits. The only issue I had was finding the ISO button blindly, especially while wearing gloves. Besides this minor issue, using the Panasonic Lumix DC-G9 II a lot of fun. I can recommend this camera without hesitation.

What I Like

  • Size and ergonomics
  • Fully articulating LCD screen with good touchscreen functionality
  • EVF has good resolution and offers a good viewing experience
  • Button layout and dedicated AF-ON button
  • Joystick now works diagonally as well
  • Image stabilization works effectively, up to 8 stops
  • Fast and responsive autofocus
  • Raw burst with continuous autofocus up to 60 frames per second
  • Pre-recording up to 1.5 seconds
  • No noticeable rolling shutter effect, both for photo and video
  • Super resolution usable handheld and for moving subjects
  • Timelapse function also allows for interval shooting
  • Highly customizable
  • Night view
  • Live composite
  • Dust and water resistance
  • A lot of video options and full-size HDMI
  • Battery capacity is sufficient in real-life use

What Could Be Improved

  • Separate switch for activating the video function
  • Post-focus ability like in the previous model
  • The three buttons on top (white balance, ISO, and exposure compensation) are almost indistinguishable from each other
  • Lock button for the dials on top of the camera
  • Better feedback from pressing the AF-ON button
  • No separate battery charger
  • Red video button is pressed too easily on accident
  • ISO performance could be improved (although it’s not too bad at all)

I want to thank Panasonic Netherlands for providing the Panasonic Lumix DC-G9 II for this review.

Nando Harmsen's picture

Nando Harmsen is a Dutch photographer that is specialized in wedding and landscape photography. With his roots in the analog photo age he gained an extensive knowledge about photography techniques and equipment, and shares this through his personal blog and many workshops.

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