Micro Four Thirds is giving a powerful sign of life: Camera manufacturer Panasonic presents the latest Lumix generation for photographers, the G9II. The model touts Panasonic as the new flagship and in fact there are some innovations for the Micro Four Thirds range:
The sensor now has 25 megapixels instead of the previous 20 megapixels of its predecessor. A new processor supports the processing speed of the expanded video functions and the new autofocus system, which no longer relies exclusively on contrast measurement instead of as before. Hybrid autofocus is now also being used here, which also uses phase detection.
In addition, the camera is said to have increased in speed again. The G9II should take continuous shots with continuous autofocus up to 60 images per second for at least three seconds at a time. The manufacturer has built in a pre-burst function for this purpose. This means that photographers should be able to take photos with the shutter button half pressed up to 1.5 seconds before the actual shots are taken, at least up to 113 images.
The Panasonic G9II is more of a workhorse than a design object. It has many practical features and a wide handle bead.
The image stabilizer has also been optimized. He should now combine three different systems in such a way that a gimbal becomes unnecessary – this feature is particularly interesting for videographers. The ability to move the sensor, which is necessary for image stabilization, also benefits the high-resolution 100-megapixel image. There is also the well-known live composite mode, which allows, among other things, astrophotos of star trails or recordings of lightning during thunderstorms.
The option of overlaying a LUT (color settings) over the recordings in real time is aimed primarily at videographers. In addition, the Lumix G9II offers specifications for color profiles, such as the Leica Monochrom, which emerged from the cooperation in the L-Mount Alliance.
And in the video sector, the Lumix G9II, which is actually intended for photographers, has a lot more to offer than the G9. The maximum resolution is 5.8K (10 bit, 4:2:0), but Cinema 4K and standard 4K are also possible, at fast burst rates of up to 120 frames per second. You need this for slow-motion videos, among other things. For this purpose, Panasonic optionally uses Apple’s ProRes format, which is intended to maintain high image quality. The recordings are compressed less to speed up post-production. The disadvantage is large amounts of image data. In order to process this, the camera should be able to easily record on an external SSD and at the same time retrieve content from there.
Leica DG lenses for Micro Four Third
Panasonic is also expanding the lens range for the Micro Four Thirds system. Two zooms from the manufacturer and cooperation partner Leica were adapted to the MTF bayonet. These are Leica DG Vario Elmarit optics, the 35-100mm/F2.8/Power OIS and the 100-400mm/F4.0-6.3 II Asph./Power OIS. The two lenses connect seamlessly in terms of focal lengths.
Overall, they cover a 35mm equivalent focal length range of 70 to 800 millimeters. If you use the telephoto zoom with the separately available 2.0x teleconverter, the result is an impressive 1600 millimeters (35mm equivalent). How useful this is remains to be asked, because capturing animals from great distances with high quality on the sensor not only requires a long focal length. Here, turbulence and impurities in the air are often so disturbing that a sharp image is hardly possible. But in order to take large pictures of small birds, mammals or plants from a closer distance, the focal length should be well suited.
Leica creates the optical quality using special lenses. The 35-100 millimeter, which offers an open aperture of f/2.8 across the entire focal length range, has two ED (Extra-low Dispersion) lenses and one UED (Ultra Extra-Low Dispersion) lens. A nano surface coating and a light-shielding component are intended to additionally prevent light incidence that leads to unwanted scattered light and ghost images. This maximizes the contrast of the recordings.
The 35-100 millimeter offers an open aperture of f/2.8 across the entire focal length range.
The 100-400 millimeter zoom has an open aperture of f/4.0 at the short end and f/6.3 at the long end. Here too, an aspherical lens, two ED lenses (Extra-low Dispersion) and a UED lens (Ultra Extra-Low Dispersion) ensure optimal sharpness and contrast. The telezoom has a compact transport size, but extends when zooming.
The 100-400 millimeter telephoto zoom lens extends when zooming.
Prices and availability
Both the Lumix G9II and the two new Leica DG Vario-Elmarit optics, the 35-100mm/F2.8/Power OIS and the 100-400mm/F4.0-6.3 II Asph./Power OIS, should be available from November 2023 be. The camera body will change hands for 1,900 euros, the 35-100 millimeter zoom will cost 1,250 euros and the 100-400 millimeter zoom will cost 1,700 euros.
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