Panasonic Unveils New Lumix RF-Style Flagship
Following the introduction of its new SLR-style Lumix G flagship, Panasonic has launched its next RF-style Lumix GX flagship. Plus, incidentally, Panasonic is celebrating ten years of its Lumix Micro Four Thirds mirrorless camera system, the original G1 model being launched in 2008.
The Lumix DC-GX9 – which is model number 28 since the G1 – keeps essentially the same rangefinder camera styling as its predecessor, but is marginally smaller and lighter. Curiously though, the magnesium alloy bodyshell is no longer weather sealed. The new model steps up to the same 21.77 million (total) pixels Live MOS sensor that’s used in the G9. The effective pixel count is 20.3 million and, as on the G9, the GX9’s sensor also goes without an optical low-pass filter to optimise the resolution and dynamic range. Panasonic’s ‘High-Precision Multi Process NR’ is used to enhance the high ISO performance, and the GX9’s sensitivity range is equivalent to ISO 200-25,600 (with a one-stop extension down to ISO 100).
The tilt-adjustable viewfinder eyepiece is retained, but there’s a new LCoS-type EVF panel with an increased resolution of 2.76 megadots. The monitor screen’s resolution is also increased – up to 1.24 megadots – but it’s now only adjustable for tilt rather than swing. Full touchscreen controls are provided, including for autofocusing and shutter release as well as menu navigation. The GX9 now has a built-in, pop-up flash which wasn’t available on the previous model and the sensor-based image stabilisation now uses the latest ‘Dual IS’ technology to operate over five axes and give up to four stops of correction for camera shake. There’s a new ‘Photo Style’ preset called L. Monochrome D which gives a more dynamic tonal range with increased contrast. Additionally, ‘Grain Effect’ processing creates a more film-like look by generating a random-type graininess which can be set to Low, Standard or High.
Not surprisingly, the GX9 can record 4K video which means it also has Panasonic’s ‘4K Photo’ high-speed 30 fps capture modes which yield 8.3 megapixels still frames. To expand ‘4K Photo’s’ capabilities there are two new modes called Sequence Composition and Auto Marking. The former allows for a sequence of action shots to be combined into one image (a technique that otherwise requires a bit of practice), while the latter automatically tags images in a sequence so they’re easier to locate later on. Already-introduced ‘4K Photo’ functions such as Light Composition and Post Focus are also available.
On the video side, 4K footage is recorded in the Ultra HD resolution at 50 fps (PAL standard), now achieving a bit rate of 100 Mbps. While the GX9 has zebra patterns, a focus peaking display (to assist with manual focusing) and manually adjustable audio levels, it doesn’t have a stereo audio input which would seem to seriously limit its appeal as a video camera.
As is increasingly common on the latest digital cameras, built-in WiFi is supplemented by Bluetooth LE ‘always on’ connectively to enhance the remote sharing and camera control options. Other notable features include a multiple exposure facility, an intervalometer, a redesigned and electromagnetically-actuated FP shutter (to help reduce vibrations), and continuous shooting at up to 9.0 fps.
The Lumix DC-GX9 is available in either black or silver finishes and is priced at $1399 when packaged with the Lumix G Vario 12-32mm f3.5-5.6 ASPH MEGA O.I.S. zoom lens. Australian availability will be from April.