Focus, incidentally, is now rated at 0.04 seconds, and is recalculated 480 times per second.
All this only touches on the camera’s capabilities. One new feature, for example, allows the display to zoom in during autofocus to ensure that the point of focus is where you want it to be. There’s Panasonic’s 6K mode which takes 18 megapixel shots at 30 frames per second – you can set it to record before you release the shutter – so that you have a sequence of frames from which to choose. There’s a new “Pre-burst” mode for full resolution shooting which grabs 0.4 seconds worth of shots before you release the shutter.
While aimed more at still photographers, the camera will nevertheless take UltraHD video at up to 50 or 60 frames per second and with up to 150Mbps of data, and full HD at up to 180fps for high resolution slow motion. There are headphone and microphone jacks and a full size HDMI output.
The first thing I checked was the “Display” key. Unlike the GH4 and GH5, it no longer falls under the heel of the hand. I constantly have to cycle through display modes on my GH4, having accidentally pressed it.
The mode dial has been moved to the left side, stacked atop the drive dial. It remains lockable. You can program two different burst modes into the latter for ready access. On the right hand top there’s an LCD display showing useful information of the kind that photographers like without having to make resort to the rear display. That in turn will fold out and is bendable to just about any angle that suits the photographer. The Live View Finder uses OLED technology and you can set it to one of three magnifications so you can have it as subjectively large as it can be while still fitting within your field of view within the viewfinder. (There’s also an optional eyecup available for $29.95.)
There are plenty of convenient dials and programmable buttons. The camera supports Bluetooth and WiFi – 5GHz for fast transfer and control. It can pair with your phone for geotagging photos. It has USB and you can tether the unit to your PC or Mac for viewing, transferring photos or control. It uses SD cards for media with the UHS-II bus supported for both card slots. You can use two cards to relay record and backup in camera.
The camera is weather sealed to make it splash, dust and freeze proof and it has a magnesium alloy chassis. Also available as an optional extra ($399) is a battery grip which doubles your battery life and replicates a number of the camera’s control for easy access.
The Panasonic Lumix DC-G9 camera costs a little less than the GH5, starting at $2499 for body alone. It also comes with a 12-60mm f/2.8 to f/4.0 LEICA lens, or a 12-35mm f/2.8 Panasonic lens for $3499.
200 millimetres of Prime
Also launched was the new LEICA DG ELMARIT 200mm f/2.8 prime lens. Prime as in non-zoom. So it has a fixed 400mm equivalent focal length. The fast speed and the Dual I.S 2 support allow considerable flexibility in hand held shooting. It comes with a 1.4x converter to boost it to an equivalent 560mm. It supports Panasonic’s DFD – Depth From Defocus – fast auto focus system.
That kind of glass doesn’t come cheap. When it appears in January it’ll set you back $4299.