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Tuesday, 13 February 2018

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Compromises are as inevitable as death and taxes. Finding the right one requires a general acceptance of that simple fact.

I have lots of friends from the former Warsaw pact countries who wistfully admit that the pleasure of finally obtaining one's new Lada (same as every other Lada, and in whatever colour was available) was far more exciting than poring over brochures of VWs, Audis and Alfa Romeos. After all, the waiting list was about 3 years, and it was equivalent to an annual salary in a world with no credit...

Anyone with a hammer could fix it and keep it running, so the fact that it was shoddily assembled at the factory was not a problem. You could fix everything when you got it and get some practice in right away.

When something is hard to get, and there are no alternatives, the pleasure is that much greater and the anxiety of choice ceases to exist.

A late friend who live in Warsaw during the war, and who died in 2006, remembered obtaining 1 kg of German chocolate from a friend in the black market as barter payment for fixing his car. He immediately contacted all his friends, invited them to his apartment, and had a chocolate and vodka party. Friendship was far more valuable than possessions when you depended so much on those around you for everything, and his social credit rating was off the scale for months...

I am not for one minute suggesting that I would rather live in 1960's Warsaw, but I remember his stories whenever I get anxious about my own first-world dilemmas. I love my Xpro1, but if a Canon Rebel was the only camera available, I would probably be over the moon with it, and we would all be talking about photographs and not cameras.

So Mike, does this mean the camera hunt is done and you will buy a GX9?
If so let us know how it works out. The price is right.
Would be nice if Panasonic also made an option to get it with the much smaller 12-32mm lens.

"In that case, I'll continue to find something wrong with every camera that comes along. :-)"

No problem there. \;~)>

Like you, I've been waiting for the GX9. I am much more disappointed with it than you are. I love my GX8. The changes the GX9 brings, for me, are all for the worse. I actually prefer the full tilting screen of the GX8. I like to be able to turn it around and protect it when it's in the bag and I like having more options on where it's positioned. I shoot outdoors in bad weather a lot, so weather sealing is important to me. And I think the size of the GX8 is pretty much perfect. Reminds me of my Leicas. I'll wait to read more reviews, but I think I'll be watching for the price to drop on the GX8 and be picking up a second one when it gets to the right price.

I don't think the GX9 is as good-looking as either the GX8 or GX7 -- it's too harshly rectangular -- but it does seem to have all the qualities of a great street shooter. I don't think the ur-street camera, the Leica, would have all the qualities of Panasonic's top still camera, either.

But, re your comment about "mostly unfair" shutter-shock charges against the GX8, I would really like to see an analysis of the problem not done by a troll. Some people seem to think only idiots would have a problem with it, while others think nobody but an idiot would see it as anything but a very serious problem.

I have two GX8s and have never had a problem, but I wouldn't want to put on the wrong lens someday and suddenly find it...

Ah, finally a proper replacement for the GX7, I couldn't understand the bulk of the GX8.

The 12-60mm f/3.5-5.6 lens, though, at least the copy I tried, is decent, but not outstanding. I returned it. The PanaLeica 12-60/4 is an excellent lens.

I quite enjoyed my GX7, which I shot side-by-side with an E-M5. I never understood the knocks on the GX7 for shutter shock and less than stellar IBIS.

I shot it a lot with the Oly 75-300 lens, quite a lot @ 300 mm. With the EFC on, I never found it to give anything away to the E-M5 in stability/sharpness.

I don't see any purpose in the G9 or GX9 today. I left the E-M5/GX7 duo for the HR Mode and esp. the Focus Bracketing of the E-M5 II. It was, BTW, that HR Mode that clearly showed the weaknesses of the kit 12-60 Panny, so maybe it's OK for a camera without it? Nah.

"The articulating video-shooter's screen has been replaced with a flip-up viewing screen, often preferred by street shooters. (And by me.)"

I don't get the idea that a flip-up only-works-in-horizontal screen is the still shooter screen and the flop-out works-fine-in-vertical screen is the video shooter screen.
The one thing I dislike about the Sony A7 is the flippy screen that is only good for horizontal ( and reflecting the sky )

Floppy not flippy for me, please!

I have the GX7 which is quite wonderful for M4-3s. I wished for the GX8 but it was not the real deal. The GX80 looked good but all three seemed to be waiting for the real thing to come along. This mashup of all three could be just what was desired. I am looking forward to reading what the crits and reviewers say, with bated breath. You could say this is a blend made in heaven - sorry Mike!

I read about the camera on DPReview's site and would really like a description of exactly what the what 'L Monochrome D' means, and how it's different than any other camera's monochrome setting.


Patrick

No weather-resistance. Damn, there was a catch !

On paper it looked like it could be perfect, but they botched it. Why it is so hard to make a compact, stabilized, weather-resistant kit with a zoom both convincing and long enough (at least 100 e-mm) is beyond me. Those camera companies have all the pieces of the puzzle but will never piece it together.

Add to that a lower resolution view-finder, worse battery life... Sorry Mike, no GX9 for you, that's a marketing lie pure and simple. This is just a GX95. You were right : if you want it, they won't make it. Or is it me wanting it maybe ? I have a good track-record as well...

I think my money's going to a Canon G1X. I won't have the telephoto reach, but at least it's gonna be really light. (and I like the step-zoom function : a bag of primes compositionally, without having to bear with the lens changes.)

"pastiche" I guess "your style" is showing, since you started writing your book on regular basis... ;-)
You didn't tend to use BIG words so often before ;-)

[Indubitably. The cogency and validity of your protestations is defensible.

But short words make for better books. --Mike]

Agreed with you that this is a tempting mix of the GX80/GX85 (which I almost bought), the GX8 (which I did buy) and the GX7. The lack of weather sealing and the smaller TFT viewfinder (compared with the GX8’s luxurious-feeling OLED) will put some people off but I could live with both. Good to see the full five-axis stabilisation – an early video report from Richard Wong suggests that the stabilisation isn’t quite up to G9 standards, but still good. (Richard had the GX9 for a couple of weeks and had a chance to compare it to the G9.)

I was holding out hope that this GX would be a range topper, the way the GX8 was, warranting a top-notch viewfinder and perhaps introducing a significant advance of the M43 sensor line but I'm happy that the tilting viewfinder lives on.

The GX9 is somewhat compromised, with the EVF downgrade and the removal of waterproofing, but show me a camera of its size that contains all the image and video trickery that Panasonic have packed in. I had hoped that the EVF was at least 4:3 ratio though...

Other than the exposure compensation dial and slightly reworked buttons, not a lot to tempt me away from my GX80, particularly as my main handling gripe has been resolved with the backwards compatible hand grip.

Oh, nice! This seems to be exactly the GX7 (right down to the stupid placement of a button right where my thumb sits), but with a new sensor and a few new features. I bought the GX7 on pre-order, and it's still my main camera. It has its quirks, but I love it.

I hated the GX8 the one time I tried it, so I'm glad they moved back to the older body design. Sorry the GX9 isn't weather sealed, but the GX7 has been rained on a lot without real trouble.

Looking closer, they have fiddled a bit with button placement. Some better, some worse, but it will make it harder to use the old camera as a backup. Can't have everything.

The one thing that brings me up short is, battery life is apparently 260 shots. What? The terrible battery life (claimed 360 shots, ha ha, I'm lucky to get 150) is the one really bad thing on the GX7, and they made it...30% worse? So I'll have to carry four extra batteries. I wonder if it's the same battery--no I don't; this is Panasonic, it's going to be a new battery.

I'll still almost surely buy it, at least as soon as they announce body-only availability.

Although I'm a bit disappointed by some of the specs of the GX9 compared to the GX8 (lower battery capacity, no fully articulated LCD, smaller EVF), I am intrigued by its relatively affordable price. It seems Panasonic has left a huge price gap in their range of models though. From what I can tell, they currently offer nothing priced between the fairly affordable G80/GX9 and the pricey G9/GH5/s. Marketing people don't like this, so maybe Panny has something else in the works. Maybe the real GX8 replacement.

Sadly for me shutter shock is a real issue.

Out and about in the world I can avoid it by using the electronic shutter as rolling shutter has never been a problem for me.

Indoors under flickering lighting it's a different story as the shutter speed will very probably be smack in the shutter shock range and switching to the electronic shutter can give banding which will very probably ruin the shot so the camera is effectively useless unless I change to lens to one which I know isn't affected.

I think someone or maybe quite a few people at Panasonic should be nailed to a wall over this issue. It's not as if they didn't know.

Just sayin'.

The camera looks very nice. But what bugs me that the kit lens is a slow, biggish zoom. For me, the appeal in a camera like this is that it would fit in a coat pocket or a small space in a bag. That zoom doesn't do it. The Panasonic 12-32 seemed like a nice option for size conscious users (also plus for not trying to go crazy with the zoom range). Another tempting option would be some of Panasonic's f1.7 primes. But that zoom? It's not going to find its way to my bag.

Sure makes this look like a nice deal:

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1243845-REG/panasonic_dmc_gx85kk_dmc_gx85_mirrorless_micro_four.html

I think this camera primarily shows that anyone who doesn't follow camera news and models carefully will have no idea what's going on. The weird blizzard of names and numbers will make it impossible for normal people to understand how all these cameras compare.

As much as this looks “cool” many of the problems here are dealt with at a remarkable cost with the G80

Floppy screen
GREAT IBIS
WEATHERPROOFED
Great grip

The only issue is 16 mp ...but Gordon Laing pointed out that as the camera has no filter that the results were comparable to the GX8

It is a great value camera

Re [Indubitably. The cogency and validity of your protestations is defensible.)

'Inebriated with the exuberance of his own verbosity' B. Disraeli

Why is this camera shipping with a zoom lens, when they could pack it with either the 20mm or the inexpensive 25mm? And for some reason, there's no body-only option for us that happen to own lenses already?

I also think this camera is $100 too much.

Like your deathbed story, the GX9 comes out just a bit too late, on the eve of a vacation, and after weeks, dare I say months, of camera planning.

Initially, I settled on my E-PM2/17/7-14/35-100 after deciding that a 3-4 lens full-frame Nikon/Leica kit for a family vacation would be oversized, overweight and overcomplicated. Then I stumbled onto a used E-M1, and well, curiosity...give a mouse a cookie---suddenly GX85 with EVF looks interesting, but the new-ish 20MP sensor.... Good reason to start planning the next vacation I guess.

Mike, just buy the darn camera will ya. It seems like a great camera how long are we all gonna wait for the perfect camera, perfect lens line up ?
It's a good size for travel, smallish lenses, decent optics, and how many super size large format prints are we all producing anyway. FUJI lenses are becoming pricy and not so compact as we all thought compared to m4/3.
If I could sell all my current gear for a decent price I would get back into the 4/3 format, perhaps I should have stayed in it when I had both a Panasonic and the Olympus Pen, interchangeable lenses between the two is wonderful.

My theory is that Panasonic’s 16MP to 20MP transition did not go as planned, which is the reason for odd models and model names of the past few years. First the historical conventions:


G1-G7 - center viewfinder, emphasis on still photos
GH1-GH5 - center viewfinder, emphasis on video
GX1-GX9 - side viewfinder, emphasis on still photos
GM, GF - small, less expensive cameras, usually with no viewfinder

Now the exceptions:

GX850 - should be called GF9, and is in some markets.

GX85/80 - A 16MP GX which was released after the 20MP GX8. It’s as if Panasonic didn’t have enough 20MP sensors to put in this camera. I like the name of GX7 Mark II for this camera, which is used in some markets.

G85 - A name of shame. This should be the G8. Adobe’s camera profile files for this model are titled G8. Perhaps Panasonic decided at the last minute that without the top sensor in the lineup this camera couldn’t be a true G8. It is very unusual that this 16MP G series camera was introduced after the 20MP GX8. Were there not enough 20MP sensors? Was there a subtle sensor or firmware bug in the GX8 that needed fixing?

There is still no 20MP G series camera. Panasonic decided to make a second 20MP GX camera before introducing their first 20MP G series camera. This is very unusual.

[Interesting hypothesis. It does feel as if things went awry somwhere...with all the hastily-introduced "II" lenses for Dual I.S., too. --Mike]

The styling is more nondescript than the GX85/80 or GX7/8. Maybe that’s a good thing when you’re a sneaky street photographer, but for me that's a disappointment. Technically it’s not half as boring as it looks. Did you read this Imaging Resource article about in camera compositing? Probably, even when you buy the camera, you will never use it. And this feature will be implemented in every new smartphone within the next two years or so, but for now it looks like great fun.
https://www.imaging-resource.com/news/2018/02/13/in-camera-compositing-your-camera-cant-but-gx9-can

Re: Bruce McL's comment.

The cause may have been due to sensor availability issues, after Sony's sensor plant in the Kumamoto region of Japan was hit by earthquakes in April of 2016. The G85/G80 was announced in September of that year (and the GX8 was announced in July of 2015).

They are being sold in Japan without a lens as GX7MK3 for 97,000 yen. http://shop.kitamura.jp/special/sale-fair/page/news/2018/02/3318/?utm_medium=tokumaga&utm_campaign=tokumaga&utm_source=mail&xmid=tokuma20180216&utm_content=20180216

The new Fuji seems to check a lot of your boxes. Five axis ibis, Fuji lenses, Fuji black and white rendering. Just put a Lumix sticker in the fake pentaprism and you’re good to go.

I own a GX7 and I’ve never found the field sequential evf to be a problem. Luckily, I don’t suffer from the rainbow tearing effect, and I find it sharp and large enough. One advantage I have found with these viewfinders, and their slightly odd 16:9 aspect ratio, is that I can move the histogram into the black, empty space on the left. It makes the information very clear and doesn’t interfere with composition.

I like the GX9 a lot, and I’m pleased that it’s more of a GX7/GX80/85 upgrade than an expensive GX8 replacement. I’m glad to see that Panasonic are paying attention to the mid-range market after their recent hi-end G9 and GH5S releases.

My thoughts on the GX9:
First of all...i am not a professional photografer. I learned on a fully mechanical camera, a Practina from former east germany with Zeiss Jena lenses, which my dad gave to me. Then I moved to Contax and my first digital exchangable lens camera was a GF1. At the time I was convinced that m43 would become a big success because of the form factor. In short: no mirror, smaller sensor, smaller lenses, less weight. And I can still use my legacy Zeiss lenses, wich is great (I can highly recomed the Zeiss/Contax Olympia Sonnar 180mm with the 1,4 converter as an affodable version of the new Leica 200mm). Why do I say all this? I believe I am typical for the main m43 target group. While there are professionals using the system, many still argue they get better pictures with bigger sensors wich is hard to dispute, especially if you want really large pictures.
And here we come back to the GX9. While being one of the prettiest cameras I have seen from Panasonic so far, I think it somewhat missed the target, unless you guys at Panasonic have an ace up your sleeves.
I do like the thinking along the rangefinder-(Leica)style. They look toned down and generally have a smaller form-factor. The fake prism somehow draws attention and "rangefinder" is the format, that in my opinion takes the most advantage of the mirrorless m43 physics. But why skim back on the quality? This gap between the G9 and the GX9 is just too big. If I could I would wish for a camera the size of the GX9 with more of the "bells and whistles" associated with the G9.
If you give us a more functional battery grip for bigger lenses and more power that doesnt cover any important orifice, I think everyone could be happy. Please keep the weather sealing of the G9 and give it the same "tank like" construction. Use the same sensor and IBIS of the G9, no flash needed. Oh.... and please be nice with the viewfinder! A few more contols like those on the G9 would be nice as well. Personally I really like the wheel, the joystick and the function lever.
All that said, I know, it is personal preference...but you do leave an entire slice of the cake for Oly.
So in sumary, what would be great, is a Pana rangefinder version of the OLY EM-5III ;).

Commenting very late since I missed this when it was posted.
Camera lineage geeks might find the GX8 to be a homage to the DMC L1 [https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panasonic_Lumix_DMC-L1], Panasonic's first Four Thirds camera. The GX8 was launched 10 years after the L1, making it a natural candidate for a celebratory homage product. For that reason expect it to be a one off product, perhaps with a follow-up in 2031 for the 25 year anniversary of the L1.

I own the GX7 an find it the perfect size for my small hands. I see no rainbow tearing effect in the EVF unless panning at Formula 1 speeds.

I highly recommend the accessory eyecup for anyone considering the GX9. Being so useful and cheap, the eyecup should be included in the box.

Def. prefer to PenF. PenF speed, AF leaves to be desired for its class and Panasonic's not only faster but easier to use. Don't get me started on Olympus spot focus vs Panny's pin point AF.

I'll give the PenF this - fantastic jpegs and metering.

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