License article

Panasonic Lumix G9 review: one for still photography fans

Receiving a review camera with no support literature at all, not even a quick start guide, is always character building. One discovers through misadventure, for example, that when it's in sleep mode the new Lumix micro four-thirds DC-G9 still uses power. Heaps of it. If you forget to turn off a fully-charged D9 at night it's flat as a maggot the following morning. And how I managed to stop it trying to connect to the internet every time I turned it on is still a mystery to me.

But it gave me a big wow moment. That was when I lifted the electronic viewfinder to my eye and got the best definition I've seen since viewfinders were powered by mirrors. Ah, OLED.

So I spent a lot of time wandering around this camera's menus and they taught me much. Firstly that they're intuitive and less intimidating than many, and also that this, unlike other premium Lumixes, is for those who prefer still photography over video.

Mind you, the G9 does video very well and better than some similarly-priced big-name cameras. The balance it presents between still and video is very pleasing, but if you are mainly into still photography it gives you everything you'll need and very little of what you won't. For example image stabilisation is first rate and autofocus remains operational at 20 frames per second. There's also a high definition mode that gets an 80-megapixel picture out of the 20-megapixel CMOS sensor by shifting the sensor in half-pixel increment eight times. Obviously it works best with still images. 

This is a pro camera that amateurs can drive (although amateurs will miss a built-in flash) and while it targets still photographers you'd have to be picky to knock its videos. It's sold body-only and was supplied to me with an absolute ripper Leica 12-60 mm zoom lens ($1199).

Saving the best for last. Recommended retail $2499, street price $2300. Significant value against its most obvious competitors.