Mak­ing Movies

ProPhoto - - ON TRIAL -

While the Lumix G9 is touted as more of a pho­tog­ra­pher’s cam­era, it’s cer­tainly not lack­ing in the video de­part­ment and is bet­ter fea­tured here than most D-SLRs and many of its mirrorless ri­vals. While it’s nowhere near as ca­pa­ble as the GH5 or GH5S, it still has pretty well ev­ery­thing the more se­ri­ous video-maker is likely to want, start­ing with 4K record­ing.

Like the GH5, the G9 uses the en­tire area of the M43 sen­sor when record­ing 4K video and then down­sam­ples the footage in-cam­era so there’s no fo­cal length mag­ni­fi­ca­tion fac­tor. Us­ing the MP4 for­mat, 4K video is recorded in the UHD res­o­lu­tion of 3840x2160 pix­els with the choice of 50 or 25 fps speeds (PAL) and the cin­e­matic 24 fps. In­ter­nally, it records 8-bit 4:2:0 colour with Long GOP com­pres­sion ((Long Group Of Pic­tures which is IPB in­ter­frame cod­ing), giv­ing a max­i­mum bit rate of 150 Mbps. There’s a full-sized, Type A HDMI con­nec­tor with a un­com­pressed (8-bit 4:2:2 colour) out­put in the 4K and 2K res­o­lu­tions (ex­cept at 4K/50p when it’s back to 4:2:0 colour). Full HD res­o­lu­tion clips can be recorded in ei­ther the MP4 or AVCHD for­mats, with a max­i­mum bit rate of 28 Mbps. In ad­di­tion to the stan­dard choice of frame rates (both PAL and NTSC stan­dards), 180 and 150 fps set­tings are avail­able for record­ing slow-mo­tion clips. The vari­able frame rates for 4K are 48, 50 and 60 fps.

The G9 has built-in stereo mi­cro­phones with man­ual lev­els con­trol over -12 dB to +6.0 dB in 19 steps. There’s also a wind-cut fil­ter and an au­to­matic level lim­iter (at­ten­u­a­tor) plus a stereo au­dio in­put and out­put are pro­vided via 3.5 mm mini­jacks. UHD record­ing at 50 fps (or 60 fps) is with higher-qual­ity LPCM au­dio.

The cam­era’s video-cen­tric fea­tures in­clude ze­bra pat­terns (two op­tions, each with ad­justable thresh­olds), time stamp record­ing, a cen­tre marker, two ‘Cine­like’ gamma pro­files with ad­justable pa­ram­e­ters (D and V, both es­sen­tially flat­ter than the photo pre­sets), and ‘4K Live Crop­ping’ (for au­to­matic zooms and pans with 2K record­ing). The full ca­pa­bil­i­ties of the ‘Dual I.S.’ five-axis im­age sta­bil­i­sa­tion are also avail­able. Of course, this is re­ally just the ba­sics com­pared to the GH5, but it’s still more than enough for even the more ded­i­cated video-maker.

Video func­tion­al­ity in­cludes con­tin­u­ous aut­o­fo­cus­ing with sub­ject track­ing, the full set of ‘PASM’ ex­po­sure modes, ad­justable sen­si­tiv­ity and ex­po­sure com­pen­sa­tion, lens cor­rec­tions, dy­namic range and res­o­lu­tion pro­cess­ing, many of the ‘Creative Con­trol’ ef­fects, and the rest of the ‘Photo Style’ pic­ture pre­sets.

All this is topped off with ex­cel­lent im­age qual­ity, both at 4K and 2K, so the Lumix G9 is cer­tainly ca­pa­ble enough as a video cam­era.

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