Panasonic Announces Lumix DC-G9, DSLR-Style Micro Four Thirds Stills Photography Flagship Camera and Panasonic Leica DG Elmarit 200mm f/2.8 Telephoto

Panasonic has pulled one out of its hat with the Panasonic Lumix DC-G9, an almost unexpected DSLR-style high-end flagship camera aimed directly at stills photographers but also with video capability, as well as the Panasonic Leica DG Elmarit 200mm f/2.8 telephoto zoom with included 1.4x teleconvertor and optional Panasonic DMW-TC20 2x Teleconverter

Panasonic Lumix DC-G9 camera with Panasonic DMW-BGG9 Battery Grip and Panasonic Leica G 200mm f/2.8 Aspheric Power OIS lens.

Commentary

Although I am not fond of DLSR-style cameras for stills photography, preferring the DSLR form factor for video cameras so long as they are equipped with fully articulating monitors, I find the Panasonic Lumix DC-G9 intriguing for its feature set and its promise as a smallish, fast-to-use camera for news, events and magazine feature photography.

For the urban documentary stills photography which I also practise, I still vastly prefer rangefinder and rangefinder-style cameras with tilting electronic viewfinders and hope that we can expect a Panasonic Lumix DC-GX9 tilting EVF camera in the near future.

It is early days insofar as hands-on professional user reviews of the Panasonic Lumix DC-G9 go, and I am looking forward to learning about how its many new features work out in practice.

I can visualize how the G9’s wildlife and sports photography-oriented features will make the job of those photographers lighter, faster and easier.

As a former magazine and daily newspaper photographer I can extrapolate how photographers in those fields will benefit especially given the tight deadlines of the newspaper business.

The G9’s 80-megapixel high resolution mode has piqued my interest, even more so now that I have been asked if I want to take up architectural photography again.

Food for thought.

Digital medium format photography costs far more to get into than large format analog photography ever did, in my experience.

Unless shot strictly for magazine, print or web publication, architectural photographs need to be usable at high reproduction sizes for displays and posters.

I love Micro Four Thirds and APS-C mirrorless, and medium format digital hardware suitable for architectural photography is well beyond my current means.

Medium format image quality, micro four thirds sensor size?

The Panasonic Lumix DC-G9’s 80-megapixel high resolution mode used for landscape photography. Not the best way to demonstrate its effectiveness. I would like to see the 80-megapixel mode well demonstrated for use in architectural and environmental portrait photography, in HDR multiple bracketing for architecture and a single shot for portraits.
The incredible Linhof Master Technika Classic 4″x5″ hand-and-stand sheet film camera with universal viewfinder, rangefinder and shift, swing and tilt camera movements. Perfect for architectural photography and portraiture. I learned photography with one of these and taught photography with it at the same university art school.

Is the G9’s 80-megapixel high resolution mode the way to go when needing to go large?

Combine the G9 with a super wide-angle Olympus or Panasonic zoom lens, or a Laowa M43 or adapted prime lens, choose the ones offering the best optical correction, and select an easily portable tripod that extends high enough to shoot above eye level as needed.

Above all buy lenses with the very least optical distortions to avoid nasty curved parallels when shooting video.

The legendary medium format Rolleiflex 4.0 FT telephoto twin lens reflex camera, brilliant for portrait and documentary photography along with its siblings the Rolleiflex 2.8 FX-N with standard lens and Rolleiflex 4.0 FW TLR with wide lens, last in a long line of such instruments. I had a couple of Rolleiflex TLRs and used them for documentary and portrait photography until they were stolen.

Shoot HDR brackets when the light and subject dynamic range demand it, then process in Skylum (formerly Macphun) Aurora HDR 2018.

Apply optical and perspective corrections there or in other applications like Capture One Pro, DxO ViewPoint, Luminar 2018PTLens or Photoshop and there you have it.

Another possibility comes to mind.

I made a living in magazine editorial portraiture as a result of my fine art portrait photography, relying on large and medium format analog cameras for the most part, supplemented with Leica analog rangefinders when portability and speed were of the essence.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 tilting viewfinder camera. I found that using TLR cameras’ waist-level viewfinders allowed me to be right in the middle of the action when shooting documentary photographs, effectively almost invisible. Shooting portraits the same way had a similar effect in that looking downwards with the top of my head to my subjects helped them relax far more than if I had been pointing an SLR at them at eye level. The GX8 gives me a similar experience to that of my Rolleiflexes and it is unique amongst contemporary digital cameras.

Photographic prints shown in galleries gain authority and power when printed large, traits often lost when reproduced small.

Should I consider getting back into creating larger format photographs for exhibition?

My question is, then, does the G9’s 80-megapixel high resolution mode permit applying it to the sort of portrait photography I love to this day?

One thing I know for sure is that Panasonic’s Micro Four Thirds sensors have close to the perfect aspect ratio for environmental, full-face, head-and-shoulders and full-figure portrait photography, whether in landscape (horizontal) or portrait (vertical) orientation – 4:3 or 3:4.

If the Panasonic Lumix G9’s 80 megapixel high res mode proves usable for my type of portrait photography, then that nudges it well into medium format territory for me, but at a far more affordable price than the other current contender, the Fujifilm GFX 50S.

Panasonic Lumix GH5, G9 and GX8 and then some, compared at Compact Camera Meter

Until the unexpected appearance of the G9, the GX9 was the Lumix stills-oriented camera most expected to be announced late this year or early the next.

Until now, the GX8 has been Panasonic’s flagship stills photography camera.

Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5, DC-G9 and DMC-GX8 with Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 8-18mm f2.8-4.0 Aspheric zoom lens, at Compact Camera Meter.
Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5, DC-G9 and DMC-GX8 with Panasonic Leica DG Elmarit 200mm f2.8 Power OIS telephoto lens, at Compact Camera Meter.

The rangefinder-style GX8 is very different in size and weight to the DSLR-style G9 so I compared it with the G9 and GH5 at the Camera Size website, with two lenses in which I am interested, the Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 8-18mm f/2.8-4.0 Aspheric zoom and the Panasonic Leica DG Elmarit 200m f/2.8 Power OIS telephoto.

Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 with Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm f/2.8 Pro, DC-G9 with Panasonic Leica Elmarit 200mm f2.8 Power OIS telephoto, and Canon EOS 5D Mark IV with Canon EF 400mm f/2.8 L IS II USM at Compact Camera Meter. Enough said.

Panasonic Lumix DC-G9 gallery

Panasonic Leica DG Elmarit 200m f/2.8 Power OIS gallery

Articles

Other Product Links

  • Aurora HDR 2018
  • Laowa – low and zero distortion super wide-angle and long lenses for macrophotography and other applications including architecture, cityscapes and landscapes.
  • Luminar 2018

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Image Credits

Header image concept and hack by Carmel D. Morris. Samurai image from Wallhaven.

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  • Panasonic Lumix DC-G9 Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital Camera (Body Only)B&H
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  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital CameraB&H
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