This post is a quick Panasonic GX9 review with the essential facts about this camera including a photo gallery of 30 images. My subject is mostly travel photography.
If you are thinking to buy this camera then I suggest also downloading the RAW files and open them on your Lightroom. You can zoom in for a 1:1 analysis and view the camera settings
If you do not have the Adobe software you can download the free FastStone Image Viewer. It works in a similar way.
To minimize the weight of this page, I am using here only JPG files (in a few photos I have enhanced the shadows, highlights and other basic settings)
For your information, I have closely reviewed over 10 Panasonic cameras in the last 2 years. This is to say I know its firmware (which I love), I am familiar with the camera brand and I understand the limits of an MFT sensor.
I still remember the GX8 camera. I was in love with it. You can read my full review here.
The only issue I had with that camera was the weight and size, bigger than I wished (for an MFT camera).
The GX9 is so much smaller and lighter too. It’s a perfect companion on any trip.
I had it with me for 6 weeks, travelling around Melbourne and I literally forgot it a few times in my jacket pocket (with the 12-32mm lens).
The GX9 is actually much more similar to the GX85 than the GX8.
I have been able to shoot hand-held with a shutter speed of 1/8 sec (13mm focal length) and still have a sharp photo, no movement.
This is thanks to an ever improved 5-axis in-body stabilization combined with a dual-axis optical stabilization.
You may ask why should you shoot with such a long shutter speed?
Sometimes because we do not have enough light and we do not have the tripod, or we can’t use it (busy places likes churches, luna parks, etc).
I was able to shoot without a tripod even at night. This does not mean we should stop using a tripod, absolutely essential for light trail, silky water, star trail and other more creative photography.
It just opens up more possibilities.
One of the best upgrades on the GX9 is the touchscreen, now at 1.2 million-dot. So clear.
If you post your photos on Instagram then what you see on the GX9 monitor is what you will get on your mobile, no surprises.
The 2.7 million-dot (equivalent) EVF tilts also 90 degrees upward. This means you can take photos from a much lower angle even through the EVF (again it opens up more creative solutions).
The monitor tilts up or down only. It does not open up for selfies.
The GX9 has a 20MP sensor without AA filter which gives photos with less noise and more details.
I also noticed that the JPG quality processing has improved too.
But should you shoot in JPG only format?
My suggestion is to shoot in RAW + JPG.
Because it’s better to use the RAW files in Lightroom, or your editor software. You can have better results in post-production.
However, if you use your phone to download photos and post straight away on your socials than JPG works better (you get a much bigger photo on your mobile, otherwise compressed in size from RAW)
That’s why shooting both formats gives more possibilities.
I love the eye detection autofocus. It works so great for portraits.
It just locks the subject in and it doesn’t leave it till you shoot.
It’s quick too. In saying that I find it hard to compare the speed with the previous models and I am not sure how that gained milliseconds would help a typical travel photographer. To me, it’s more of a marketing improvement.
Unfortunately, when you reduce the size of the camera you need to reduce also the size of the battery (and its life), which in the case of the GX9 is not amazing.
For this reason, I personally suggest budgeting a spare battery.
The camera can be charged via USB, which is great, my favourite way, just plug in a cable and that’s it. It can be done in a car or at a USB charging station.
However, a battery charger is not provided with the GX9, which is not great.
My suggestion here is to budget both a spare battery and an external charger ($20-$30)
For travel photography weather sealing is kind of important, not essential, but a nice to have.
Just keep it in mind when compared with other cameras.
The issue is not with a few drops but more with real rain.
I used it with misty rain and I had no issue.
It is indeed very small and not very powerful, but better than nothing.
Use it and see how it goes. Unfortunately, you can’t change its direction (always front facing)
You can always buy an external flash unit if needed.
On the GX9 you can’t flip the monitor, which is essential in case you want to speak to the camera (otherwise you are blind to how the camera is framing the video).
Moreover, there are no headphone or mic ports.
It’s not practical if you are looking for a camera to use for your YouTube channel.
You can still do great 4k videos of course but it’s not a 360 degrees vlog camera.
I love to have the exposure compensation (EC) dialer on a camera. I hate going through a menu or pushing a combination of buttons. It’s just easier.
In my opinion, there should be a lock button though on the GX9.
And let me explain why.
The back dialer and the EC dialer are too close to each other I think. Especially with night photography, it’s easier to move one instead of the other, just because you can’t see where your fingers are.
I guess with practice you will not experience this issue however at the beginning it can be a bit frustrating.
As I said this is not an extensive review. I had this camera for 6 weeks and I wanted to write down the most important facts of this camera.
For this GX9 review I have used two lenses:
Overall I have been impressed by this camera.
Would I buy it for travel photography?
Yes, because of its size and image quality. It’s a camera I could carry always with me on a trip. Very light.
The best part is the price, which I have still not mentioned.
Well below the GX9, absolutely a great value. You can find it for roughly US$1,000 (AU$1,200 in Australia) including the lens, really all you need for your trip.
And remember that our Ultimate Guide to Travel photography, a PDF file with 70 pages full of great tips on composition and settings, can be still viewed and downloaded for FREE (no email required)
You can also view all the GX9 Specs on the Panasonic website.
Here are other photos I took during my 6 weeks with the camera.
You can also download these photos in RAW format from this link (623MB).
Stef Ferro is the founder and editor of MEL365, a travel & photography website made to enhance the travelling experience and improve the photography work.
Stef is a professional travel photographer with past experience in the cycling and film industry.
Stef runs travel photography workshops in Melbourne and around the world.