An image from a previous SXSW. Shot with a traditional DSLR. Shown here just for fun.
©2012 Kirk Tuck
©2012 Kirk Tuck
I played with a Panasonic G9 yesterday. It was a glancing and shallow appraisal, but I did come away with three or four thoughts about the new camera. The first is that the new body is really grippy. By this I mean that it seems to fit into my hands more or less perfectly. The actual grip is bigger and more pronounced than the one on the GH5 and it allows for worry-free one-handed shooting; you just feel as though you'll never drop the camera. That's a good thing. The G9 is also moderately big. It's bigger than a typical Canon Rebel or one of the Nikon 3xxx series entry level cameras. This is also a plus because it makes the camera easier to operate; the controls are bigger and better spaced and the top panel, pooh-poohed as extraneous by many, is quick and easy to read and a nice addition to rear panel only shooting. I adore Panasonic for not screwing around with new batteries on every new generation of cameras and that's a huge plus as well.
On the other hand I have to say I was negatively amazed atthe shutter button operation on the new camera. It's so sensitive it could be set off by a mosquito fart. I barely grazed the button (which has no real travel and no two step detent that I could feel, which is not optimal !) and the camera banged off something like sixty frames before I could lift my finger. This shutter button issue is about to become my petty gripe about the new camera much in the way that banding is the default war cry of everyone on the DP Review writing staff in regards to every new camera (as in: "Oh my God !!! we underexposed by ten stops, pushed the image by eleven stops and some banding occurred !!!!).
The one thing I was neither negatively nor positively impressed with was the much ballyhooed EVF and it's "awesome" magnification. If I had not read about this feature and actively compared it to a GH5, side-by-side, I would never have known they were really much different at all. I had started to rationalize that a bigger and more luxurious finder might be a reason to "upgrade" but after handling the camera in person I can say that, for myself, there is no strong allure created by the new EVF. I'm perfectly happy with the finders in the GH5. I must say that handling the new G9 sapped away whatever lust I may have been harboring for the camera. If I didn't already own two cameras that are within margins of error the same, in terms of imaging quality, I might have embraced the G9 because it is, on its own, a remarkably nice photography tool. Given my quick look I am now comfortable sticking with the happy familiarity of the cameras I already have in house.
The G85 is, additionally, the cherry on top of the Panasonic whipped cream. It's the camera I tend to use when I just want to use a camera for fun... Nice to have cameras with two different personalities.