The new Lumix GX9 from Panasonic looks set to build on the success of its compact camera range with much improved stabilisation, 4K photo mode and much more.
Panasonic has introduced a new compact in its Lumix range targeting wannabe paparazzi and discrete street photographers. Given a sleek profile the DC-GX9 is rigged with features for run and gun reportage including a view finder that tilts up 80-degrees offering an extraordinary shooting style.
Retailing at £699 body only from next month, the Lumix DC-GX9 houses a 20.3 megapixel sensor, the same as in the flagship G9, and its 4K video prowess is rated at 3840x2160 in 25p or 24p in MP4.\
However, what marks the camera out is the viewfinder that tilts up 80-degrees and makes for surreptitious photography by enabling you to hold the camera down around the hips and still see more or less what you’re shooting.
This version of the Live View Finder (LVF) has an eye sensor AF which starts auto focusing as soon as it’s in use “to ensure no shooting opportunity is missed”.
The LVF boasts a 2760,000-dot equivalent resolution, “almost” 100 per cent colour reproduction, 16:9 aspect ratio, a 1.39x / 0.7x (35mm camera equivalent) magnification and 100 per cent field of view.
To save power, the camera will automatically enter sleep mode after detecting the eye is off the LVF’s eye sensor at a designated time. Panasonic claim approximately 900 images per battery charge is achieved with this power-saving function.
It comes with a 3-inch touch screen monitor too of course and this also tilts up 80-degrees and down by 45-degrees, which should make shooting in either high or low angles easier. With a 1240,000-dot resolution this monitor allows you to check composition on screen even in total darkness by boosting the sensitivity.
Autofocus and 5 axis stabiliser
The Contrast AF System, “excels in both speed and accuracy”, according to Pana, by exchanging a digital signal between the camera and the lens at a maximum 240 frames per second. As a result, the GX9 achieves high-speed AF of approximately 0.07 sec (not quite as fast but darn near it as the G9) and high-speed burst shooting at 9 fps (AFS) / 6 fps (AFC) – useful for capturing those urban riots or police car chases in-focus.
A variety of AF functions including Face/Eye Detection AF and the popular Pinpoint AF function assist with a wide-ranging of shooting situations. For example, the Low Light AF makes it possible to set focus on the subject more precisely - even without the AF assist lamp in extremely low-lit situations down to -4EV.
The 5-axis Dual I.S. (Image Stabiliser) is also carried over from the G9 for more effective suppression of blur. This works in both photo and video mode including 4K and is compatible, as with others in the Lumix G range, with a wide variety of digital interchangeable lenses.
To further reduce motion blur, the GX9’s shutter unit incorporates an electromagnetic drive which is said to reduce the risk of shutter shock by approximately 90 per cent. The sound of the mechanical shutter is also softened in another nod to the desire for street snappers to minimise their presence.
Light composition mode
There’s a Light Composition mode which combines a sequence of images in the camera and self-selects and saves the brighter pixel. This makes it possible to produce “more dramatic” images of situations such as fireworks or night scenery, Pana claims.
Another way to quickly select the best shot out of hundreds of frames is via the Auto Marking function. This allows you to jump to a frame where the difference is obvious between consequent frames to minimise the time for choosing the best shot.
There’s an exposure dial for quick change of exposure setting, a Focus lever for tuning between AFS, AFC and manual without diving into a menu, and Focus Bracketing, which permits 999 images to be shot with different focal distances.
Also new to the Lumix GX9 is the option to shoot photos with and without creative filter options applied simultaneously. RAWs can be developed in the camera, allowing independence from access to a computer. Sophisticated modes, such as Multi exposure and Time lapse shot/ stop motion animation are also available.
Naturally there’s Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity and once paired with the Panasonic Image App, you can shoot, browse and share images remotely. Compatibility with Bluetooth 4.2 (also called Bluetooth Low Energy) enables constant connection with a mobile device with minimum power consumption. This enables the camera to activate by simply using a smartphone/tablet or to add GPS geotag on the photos automatically.
The Lumix DC-GX9 will go on sale in early March and will RRP at £699 (body only).