Panasonic Lumix G9II Digicam Overview for Flora and fauna Pictures


A Panasonic Lumix G9II mirrorless camera with a visible sensor and dials, isolated on a white background.

I’ve been the usage of the excellent Panasonic Lumix G9 Micro-four-thirds digital camera for my natural world pictures since I reviewed it right here at the website online again in 2018, now not lengthy after its unlock. It was once… and certainly nonetheless is… an improbable digital camera for natural world. With the announcement of the Lumix G9II in overdue 2023, Panasonic introduced its flagship Micro 4/3 stills digital camera bang up-to-the-minute… however how does it carry out within the box for natural world pictures? Let’s in finding out.

Professionals: Blistering all-round functionality with extremely speedy burst capturing and considerable build up in buffer dimension. A brand new phase-detect autofocus machine (now with chicken/animal eye-detection) detects and locks directly to topics sooner and extra correctly than ever. Exceptional symbol high quality for a smaller sensor, with nice dynamic vary. Spice up to similar focal size with the 2x crop issue of the M4/3 sensor is a boon for natural world. Exceptional Lumix and 3rd celebration lens variety. Higher noise functionality at upper ISOs than its predecessor. If video is your factor the G9II comes with the entire bells and whistles.

Cons: Whilst noise is treated higher than within the unique G9 (which wasn’t dangerous whatsoever), there’s no getting round the truth that smaller sensors get noisy at upper ISO settings. The omission of the LCD most sensible show of the G9 is disappointing, and one thing I neglected greater than I anticipated to. Battery lifestyles is ok, however does appear to empty extra temporarily than at the G9 — so for all-day capturing you’ll need to lift a spare — and in case you plan to shoot video, lift a number of. Whilst the keep an eye on dials are huge and tactile, and paintings smartly, they don’t lock, like at the unique G9, and I had a number of cases the place both the mode dial, the capturing pace dial or each had “slipped” to another atmosphere whilst sporting the digital camera round. There’s a noticeable power-up lag when the digital camera has entered “Deep Sleep” mode that may be irritating if you wish to get a shot temporarily.

Lumix G9II Complete Overview

A close-up of a dunnock perched on a branch amidst green foliage, captured using the Panasonic Lumix G9II, with its beak slightly open.

Rumours of the loss of life of Micro 4 Thirds as a structure in 2023 have been very much exaggerated, and have been put to mattress conclusively in overdue 2023 and early 2024 with the announcement of 2 new flagship micro-four-thirds fashions within the Panasonic Lumix G9II and the OM Methods (previously Olympus) EM1 MkII (which I’m hoping to be checking out/reviewing right here on Eire’s Flora and fauna sooner or later).

As an avid Lumix G9 consumer, when the G9II was once introduced, with the a lot asked phase-detect autofocus improve over it’s predecessor’s proprietary Intensity from Defocus contrast-detect autofocus, I knew I had to take a look at it out. It’s now not that specializing in the G9 was once sluggish. If truth be told, when it was once launched it boasted the quickest digital camera autofocus in the marketplace, nevertheless it struggled in some eventualities… like in low mild, with cluttered foregrounds or backgrounds, or obtaining and sticking to a shifting topic. The ones are all eventualities you come upon virtually extra incessantly than now not when photographing natural world.

Mix the remodeled autofocus with the next solution, excessive dynamic vary micro-four-thirds sensor, and sooner capturing speeds with a considerably higher buffer to house them, and you have got an overly compelling package deal.

First Impressions

A hand holding a Panasonic Lumix G9II with a large lens on a boat, with a vivid blue sea and green coastline in the background.

One of the most criticisms incessantly levelled on the Lumix G9 was once that, for a small-sensor digital camera, it was once a rather chunky beast, now not a lot smaller than many full-frame cameras, and bigger than a few of them. That very same complaint may well be levelled on the G9II as smartly, because it makes use of a just about similar chassis and keep an eye on structure to Panasonic’s flagship full-frame mirrorless providing, the Lumix S5 Mark II. On the other hand, I discovered that complaint was once in large part unfounded with the G9, which was once (and nonetheless is) one of the crucial ergonomically seamless digital camera our bodies I’ve ever used, and balanced completely within the hand with the longer lenses in most cases important for natural world and chicken pictures.

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Precisely the similar applies to the G9II. The truth that the more recent frame is an actual replica of its full-frame stablemate is a plus, now not a minus in my guide, and it has a top rate really feel and reassuring weight with out being heavy. You need to remember the fact that it’s normally now not the scale and weight of the frame that’s the restricting issue for natural world photographers — it’s the scale and weight of the specified long-focal-length lenses. That’s the place micro-four-thirds actually comes into its personal: in comparison to full-frame lenses with similar succeed in, optically excellent lenses just like the Panasonic Leica 100-400mm f4-f6.3 are tiny, light-weight affairs that may be simply carried round all day and ship exceptional effects hand held.

Menus and Controls

Two godwits foraging in shallow water, using their long bills to probe the mud for food, captured through the lens of a Panasonic Lumix G9II, perfect for wildlife photography.
Black-tailed Godwits, Lumix G9II, Lumix 100-400mm

Just like the G9, the G9II has an overly in depth menu machine that has choices for just about no matter you have to call to mind. The whole thing, from the keep an eye on dials to the serve as buttons to each and every little characteristic presented by way of this state of the art fresh digital camera frame, is configurable. The sheer extent of menu choices may also be overwhelming, however Panasonic has laid the whole thing out in a logical, classified and simply navigable consumer interface that makes discovering and converting the atmosphere you want fairly painless. As with all new machine, there’s a studying curve, nevertheless it’s actually now not that steep, and if you get used to it you’ll be capable to fine-tune this digital camera to function precisely how you wish to have it to.

After you have the whole thing arrange the way in which you find it irresistible, chances are high that that you simply’ll hardly want to project into the menu machine in any respect, because the G9II has a number of logically situated, configurable bodily controls you'll set as much as come up with fast get admission to to the settings and lines you want with out going close to a menu.

LCD and Viewfinder

A Panasonic Lumix G9II capturing a kingfisher diving into the water, with only its tail and splashing water visible above the surface.
Little Egret mid-strike, Lumix G9II

The turn out, totally articulated LCD display at the Lumix G9II seems and behaves the similar because the at the unique G9 — which is to mention it does the whole thing you might be able to need it to do. On the other hand, the more recent style sees a solution spice up to one.84M dot over the unique 1.04M dot model at the G9. It is extremely flexible and is excellent in case you’re taking a look to video or {photograph} your self (excellent for content material creators/youtubers), as an example, or to get low-angle pictures that will in a different way be very difficult to reach.

The digital viewfinder sees no such solution spice up, with the similar 3.68M dot solution as the unique G9. It really works smartly, and is completely serviceable… however is in all probability slightly disappointing in a modern flagship digital camera frame, and lags slightly at the back of the likes of the OM Methods OM-1 Mark II’s 5.76M dot viewfinder. Whether or not or now not you’d realize a distinction within the box is arguable, and I haven’t had an opportunity to take a look at the 2 side-by-side (but) — however I definitely by no means discovered the viewfinder at the G9II in need of all the way through the evaluation duration.

The use of the digital camera

Ergonomics and dealing with

I discovered the truth that the G9II makes use of the similar frame, necessarily, because the Lumix S5II, to be a boon. It has excellent stability, and very good grip that sits with ease within the hand, and marries completely with the Panasonic Leica 100-400mm and 50-200mm lenses I paired with it. Even with smaller lenses just like the Panasonic Leica 12-60mm equipment lens connected, it by no means felt overly cumbersome or bulky.

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For natural world, I all the time really feel having a frame that gives a little bit of counterbalance to the inevitably longer and bulkier lenses you’ll be the usage of is a get advantages. The actual great thing about micro-four-thirds for me is within the decrease weight and bulk, to not point out the lower price, of the ones high-performance lengthy lenses in comparison to their full-frame opposite numbers.

A pigeon perched on a rocky cliff overlooking the swirling ocean waves below, perfectly captured in a wildlife photography shot using the Panasonic Lumix G9II.
Rock Dove/Feral Pigeon on a West Cork cliff, Lumix G9II

Once I’m out with the digital camera I’m incessantly birding, guiding a natural world workforce on one in all our Uncover Flora and fauna Studies, or travelling. In all of the ones eventualities, I want to stay my pictures equipment as small and light-weight, but as flexible as conceivable. Once I’m guiding I’m sporting binoculars, a recognizing scope and different paraphernalia in addition to my digital camera equipment; after I’m birding I want to keep nimble and cellular, but be able to take hold of a report shot of the rest odd at a second’s realize; after I’m travelling, I don’t have area for lots of pictures equipment, but nonetheless want to pack equipment that may ship outstanding functionality. The Lumix G9II, paired with the Lumix 100-400 (200-800mm complete body similar) and 50-200 (100-400mm complete body similar) delivers in all of the ones eventualities.

Something I did leave out from the unique G9 was once the highest LCD panel. I’d grown used to checking it temporarily when turning the digital camera on to ensure shutter pace, aperture and different settings. With the G9II, as a substitute of simply glancing down, I now must bodily glance into the viewfinder to ensure settings, or turn out the LCD again panel to test. And checking IS vital with the G9II, as the highest keep an eye on dials don’t lock, and I had a number of eventualities the place the settings had modified between pictures simply whilst sporting the digital camera slung over my shoulder.

Ergonomically, I discovered the G9II to be a pleasure to make use of within the box… if the rest higher than the G9, and on the time I believe I professed that was once probably the most comfy digital camera I’d ever used within the box.

Velocity and Responsiveness

A Great Northern Diver moulting into summer plumage off the West Cork Coast, Panasonic Lumix G9II

The G9II is scarily fast — fast at focusing, and ludicrously fast at burst capturing — providing a good 10fps from the mechanical shutter, the entire manner as much as a ridiculous 60fps with the digital shutter with steady autofocus and monitoring. There’s additionally a pre-burst capturing mode (a extra succesful evolution of the 6K Picture pre-burst at the unique G9) that ceaselessly loops as much as 1.5 seconds value of buffered RAW footage ahead of you press the shutter unlock — best possible for shooting essential motion like birds setting out, or leaping whales and dolphins.

Coupled with the spectacular functionality is a miles higher buffer — from studying different evaluations what seems to be some of the greatest symbol buffers recently to be had — which lets you take an outstanding choice of pictures with out the digital camera slowing down or lagging in any respect. On the other hand, when/in case you do hit the buffer restrict (which is definitely achievable in case you go for the 60fps capturing) the digital camera appears to be sluggish at writing to the SD playing cards (even the best possible functionality playing cards to be had), and also you’re restricted from capturing whilst the buffer clears, which may also be irritating.

In day by day capturing it’s by no means a subject matter, however must that that once-in-a-lifetime capturing alternative crop up, the very last thing you wish to have is an incapacitated digital camera because it struggles to offload a complete buffer to the reminiscence card. Expectantly that is one thing Panasonic can addressed in a firmware replace.

Autofocus

The all-new phase-detect/hybrid AF machine is in all probability the headliner of the G9II. It locks on right away, and helps to keep monitor of topics with spectacular tenacity, so long as you'll stay them within the viewfinder (discovering and conserving topics within the viewfinder is incessantly the toughest section with lengthy lenses). I discovered it exceptional in eventualities the place the unique G9 would have actually struggled.

A whitethroat perched on a thorny branch, singing or calling, against a smooth green background, captured using the Panasonic Lumix G9II.
A lately arrived not unusual whitethroat amidst a cluttered foreground that the G9II autofocus took in its stride

It was once additionally actually just right at selecting out the topic thru foreground muddle and in entrance of background muddle… one thing the unique G9 with its contrast-detect most effective autofocus tended to fight with.

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You have got the entire autofocus space modes you’d be expecting, and a few actually great topic discover AF modes, together with animal (and chicken) AF that comes with frame and now additionally eye detection. It does a outstanding task of zeroing in on a chicken or animal’s eye, and locking directly to it. It’s extremely spectacular and turns out to simply paintings.

Monitoring of topics may be a lot progressed, probably because of a mixture of higher AI smarts and the phase-detect AF spaces constructed into the brand new sensor. The G9II has a tendency to keep on with the topic like glue… most effective shedding it in case you lose monitor of it within the viewfinder. So long as you stay your topic in view (or inside of your decided on AF space, in case you’re the usage of some of the space AF modes) the digital camera will monitor it.

Gray Heron shenanigans. Lumix G9II

After all, as it is a Lumix digital camera, in case you delve within the menus and you have got all types of autofocus settings you'll tweak to change the default autofocus/monitoring behaviour so it behaves as you wish to have it to.

Symbol Stabilisation

Turnstones at the rocks. Lumix G9II

That is any other space the place the G9II sees a bump in functionality. The unique G9 was once class-leading on this space with 6.5 stops of in frame stabilisation, however the G9II elevates this to a mind-boggling 8 stops of stabilisation. Most often that determine drops off as you employ longer focal size lenses, however with the G9II and twin IS succesful Lumix lenses just like the 100-400mm and 50-200mm I used to be the usage of, you continue to get a ravishing 7.5 stops of stabilisation.

Which means you'll handhold at slower shutter speeds (so decrease ISO and no more noise) at longer focal lengths and nonetheless get sharp pictures… so long as your topic isn't shifting. Very at hand.

Battery Lifestyles

A whimbrel stands in shallow water, its mottled brown and white plumage blending with the rippled, sunlit water around it—a perfect scene for wildlife photography enthusiasts.
A whimbrel appearing off its unique head development and chilly gray tones to nice impact. Lumix G9II

Battery lifestyles at the Lumix G9II is ok normally, even if it does appear to make use of up the battery relatively sooner than the G9. I by no means controlled to get thru an absolutely charged battery in a consultation all the way through the revie duration, however in accordance with the battery utilization I'd definitely lift a spare with me if I used to be making plans to shoot all day, and would most probably need a few spares if I used to be planning to do a lot video capturing.

One thing more to notice is that there is not any battery charger incorporated within the field (even if you'll purchase one as an non-compulsory accent). You fee the battery in-camera by way of the USB C port.

Symbol High quality

I’ve been very inspired with the picture high quality from the Lumix G9II. The brand new 25MP sensor with its dual-gain output delivers shocking pictures with spectacular dynamic vary with a lot of scope for post-processing of RAW pictures.

Wildlife Photography: A Grey Heron fishing, wings raised and beak touching the surface.
A Gray Heron fishing. Lumix G9II

Whilst pixel peepers available in the market will definitely see a distinction in symbol high quality between a complete body sensor and the most recent micro-four-thirds providing, in actual international eventualities taking a look at a picture published or displayed digitally, you’d be hard-pressed to inform the variation, in particular with the complicated denoise features of recent photo-editing instrument.

Video

Whilst I’ve been the usage of the G9II predominantly as a stills digital camera, it will be remiss to not point out its video pedigree. Certainly, it's billed as Panasonic’s stills flagship, but it has skilled video options to rival the corporate’s flagship video style, the GH6, together with as much as 5.8K/30p or 5.7K/60p MOV information in digital camera, with 5.7K/30p ProRes to be had when recording direct to SSD.

As I haven’t actually used the video options, I gained’t remark additional, however you’ll in finding masses on-line concerning the Lumix G9II’s video chops must they be of passion to you.

Specifications

You’ll in finding complete specifications and main points for the Lumix G9 Mk II at the Panasonic Lumix web site right here.




Conclusion

The Panasonic Lumix G9II takes the entire very best components of Lumix’s fresh full-frame cameras and applications them round an excellent new micro-4/3 sensor, with nice dynamic vary, outstanding hybrid phase-detect autofocus, blistering pace, and class-leading symbol stabilisation. It's no doubt some of the very best micro-four-thirds choices in the marketplace as of late — and some of the very best natural world cameras to be had… duration.

I’m an enormous fan of micro-four-thirds cameras, and the portability advantages they provide natural world photographers preferring to trip mild, and keep cellular and nimble. I’ve been utterly proud of the Lumix G9 for the closing 6 years… however the G9II might simply have satisfied me it’s time for an improve.

Symbol Gallery

A collection of pictures taken in West Cork, Eire with the G9II over the evaluation duration.

Acknowledgement

I’d love to thank the Panasonic/Lumix UK workforce for sending the Lumix G9 in for evaluation at the Eire’s Flora and fauna web site.

NB. Eire’s Flora and fauna has no particular association with any optics or equipment producer for evaluation functions. All evaluations at the website online are utterly impartial and goal and performed in line with our phrases and stipulations. Should you’re an optics or equipment producer and want to post your product for evaluation at the website online please drop us a line the usage of the touch shape and we will take issues from there.

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