Announced late last year, the Panasonic Lumix DC-G9 gives Micro Four Thirds shooters looking for a high performance stills-oriented camera another option. Previously, the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II was more or less alone in its class, and remained unchallenged for over a year (unless you count the video-focused GH5 as a direct competitor). Even considering its age, the E-M1 II still fetches a $2000 body-only price, with the G9 undercutting it slightly at $1700 body-only.
So how do these Micro Four Thirds flagships compare head-to-head? Take a look at our feature-by-feature breakdown.
The G9 and E-M1 II both use a 20MP Four Thirds sensor, and it’s fair to say they match up pretty evenly in this category. They do of course use different processors, which will make a difference, and Panasonic has made a lot of effort to refine the G9’s JPEG engine since the GH5. But we’d expect them to perform quite similarly, and broadly speaking they do.
Analyzing each camera’s performance in our studio testing, the E-M1 II produces slightly nicer JPEG sharpening and colors at base ISO, but the G9 pulls just ahead at high ISO. The difference is subtle, but it’s one we noticed.
Both cameras offer a high-resolution mode, assembling a large file from multiple images taken while shifting the sensor slightly. The E-M1 II’s JPEG output is rendered at 50MP while Panasonic chooses to output 80MP, but both produce an 80MP Raw file. There’s some question over whether you really get 4x the resolution from this pixel-shift method.
If you’re very picky and base ISO JPEG rendering is a priority, we think the E-M1 II holds a slight advantage
These modes are best suited for → continue…