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Panasonic Lumix DC-S5II review

Nyt fra dpreview - 10 apr 2024 - 17:30

Editor's note: This review is based on Panasonic's April 2024 firmware update for the S5II (v3.0) and S5IIX (v2.0), which was provided to DPReview ahead of its public release.

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Product images by Richard Butler

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The Panasonic Lumix DC-S5II is the company's latest version of its mid-range full-frame stills and video mirrorless camera. It adds phase detection autofocus to its 24MP CMOS sensor and uses the L mount shared with Leica and Sigma.

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A separate camera variant, the Lumix DC-S5IIX, is also available and includes a more extensive video feature set.

Key specifications
  • 24MP BSI CMOS sensor with on-sensor phase detection
  • Up to 30fps e-shutter shooting with C-AF and Raw capture
  • 96MP multi-shot high-resolution mode
  • 6K 3:2 open-gate video capture up to 30p (4:2:0 10-bit)
  • 6K or DCI/UHD 4K from full sensor width up to 30p
  • DCI/UHD 4K up to 60p (S35), unlimited record times and proxy option
  • Dual conversion gain sensor with explicit 'Dual Native ISO' gain selection
  • Pre-burst shooting mode (up to 1.5 seconds before the shutter is pressed)
  • Cooling fan
  • Twin UHS-II card slots
  • Camera-to-Cloud integration with
  • Optional paid upgrade for Raw video output
Additional features on the S5IIX
  • Raw video output
  • Video recording to SSD over USB
  • All-I compression modes
  • Internal/SSD ProRes capture
  • Wired/wireless IP streaming

The S5II has a recommended price of $1999 (€2199). The S5IIX commands a $200 (or €300) premium over the less video-centric version, with a suggested retail price of $2199 (€2499).

An optional paid upgrade for the S5II that adds Raw video output is available for $200/€200.

Buy now:

$1797 at$1798 at B&H Photo$1798 at Adorama Index:
  • Jan 2023: Initial review published
  • Apr 2024: What's new? and How it compares re-written to reflect firmware v3.0. Image quality, Autofocus, Video, Conclusion sections added and additional Sample gallery published
What's new? Phase detection AF

The biggest news is the inclusion of on-sensor phase detection, a technology Panasonic has not previously used. Phase detection works by generating two views of the scene from slightly different perspectives (typically by forming separate images that 'look' through the left and right sides of the lens) and comparing them. Just as with human vision, which uses two eyes set apart from one another, this enables the camera to establish an understanding of distance and depth in the scene.

Comparing the two images lets the camera calculate how far it needs to drive focus to bring the two perspectives into alignment, at which point the aligned subject is in focus. This is especially valuable in video mode, as it allows the camera to refocus to a different distance without overshooting. It also, critically, means the camera can check that it's still in focus without having to move the lens. This means phase detection can be decisive in situations where it must hold focus, as it can confidently stay there.

Previous Panasonic models relied on the company’s Depth-from-Defocus (DFD) system, which used the out-of-focus characteristics of a lens to interpret depth and drive the AF system. DFD's main shortcoming was reliably predicting movement and driving the AF system to match. In principle, phase detect autofocus should provide more reliable performance, particularly in low light levels and backlit conditions and when dealing with multiple subjects (staying locked on your chosen subject better because it knows which one in the scene it is).

Subject recognition AF

The S5II’s subject recognition and tracking modes were significantly upgraded as part of the camera’s April 2024 firmware update. Combined with its newfound depth awareness, the S5II effectively gains the capabilities found on the more recent G9 II, including improved tracking performance and additional types of subjects that can be identified and tracked.

The camera is trained to recognize humans, animals, cars and motorcycles. Human detection can identify eyes, face and body (prioritized in that order) or just eyes and face; similarly, animal detection can identify eyes and body, or just bodies.

In each mode, the camera will start searching from your selected AF point and the area immediately around it, meaning It will focus on the specified subject type if it's found under your AF point. This system makes it possible to use the AF point to select an individual subject in a group. Note that when using wide-area AF, Face/Eye mode will choose to focus on someone facing the camera, not simply the nearest human it can detect.

Updated in-body image stabilization

Panasonic has also improved its image stabilization system, promising performance twice as effective as that of the S5. For its revised system it's adopted the branding 'Active IS,' though it hasn't been very specific about how these improvements have been achieved.

What the company has said is that its algorithms have been reworked and that the camera assesses camera motion more precisely. The Boost IS mode, which tries to cancel all movement for a tripod-like video look, is particularly impressive.

The April '24 firmware update added a new 'High' setting to the camera's electronic image stabilization system, intended to correct extreme levels of camera movement. It applies a 1.4x crop factor to video.

The stabilization system also underpins the eight-shot 96MP Handheld High Resolution mode. It includes an optional motion correction function that prevents artifacts from moving subjects in the scene.

New processor

At the heart of the S5II is a new processing engine, the first product of Panasonic's L² co-development project with Leica. The two companies shared know-how and resources to develop the new processor, which we'd expect to see in future Leica models, too.

While Panasonic says the sensor in the S5II is also new, from what we've seen, its performance appears to be similar to its non-phase-detect predecessor, which suggests that its newfound ability to shoot at up to 30fps in e-shutter mode is more about having a processor able to cope with this speed.

Built-in fan

The S5II includes a fan mechanism to allow video shooting for extended periods. The fan is at the top of the camera, with vents under the leading edge and along the sides of the viewfinder hump, drawing the heat up and out of the camera. As usual, the fan sits outside the body's sealed area, so the vents aren't a weak point for its dust and splash-resistant design.

The fan means the S5II can record for unlimited periods in most of its video modes, as tested by Panasonic at temperatures of 40°C (104°F). Panasonic points out that most of its rivals only quote figures for 22–25°C (72–77°F), which is significantly less demanding and less representative of average temperatures across much of the US.

Pre-burst shooting

The April 2024 firmware update adds a new shooting mode that captures a series of images in the buffer before the shutter button is pressed. Labeled 'SH PRE', the feature pre-captures 0.5, 1.0, or 1.5 seconds of images at 30 frames per second using the electronic shutter. It's considered to be a burst shooting mode, with settings located in the Burst Shot Setting menu.


The S5II builds on the video capabilities of the S5 despite using a sensor with similar ~21ms readout times for its 16:9 footage.

The most obvious addition to the camera's capabilities is the ability to shoot full sensor height 3:2 'open gate' video. This is available at up to 30p and provides the scope to crop into various aspect ratios or to pan around the frame in post. Alternatively, there are 6K options, either in UHD-style 16:9 aspect ratio or the DCI-like 1.89:1 format.

Beyond this are the full-width 4K modes (both DCI and UHD), which are taken from 6K capture. These are offered at up to 30p and up to 10-bit 4:2:2 encoding.

Aspect ratios Frame rates Bit-depth Chroma Max bitrate Open gate
3:2, full width 3:2 29.97, 25, 24, 23.98 10-bit 4:2:0 200 6K full-width 16:9, 1.89:1 4K full-width 4:2:2 150 4K APS-C 59.94, 50, 29.97, 25, 24, 23.98
(48, 47.95) 200 3.3K APS-C Anamorphic 4:3 50, 29.97, 25, 24, 23.98
(48, 47.95)

Panasonic's rivals have increasingly added 10-bit capture capability in this class, but the S5II goes beyond these with a range of support tools and features that aren't as commonplace amongst the competition so far.

Panasonic is still somewhat unique in this part of the market in providing the S5II with a waveform display and vectorscopes (though some recent Nikon models have also started to include waveforms). These are standard video-industry ways of understanding the tone and color distribution in the image, and they can be hugely valuable when setting exposure and white balance. Likewise, the S5II can express its exposure time in terms of shutter angle, which makes it easier to maintain a sensible exposure when switching between capture frame rates.

You may not notice them at first, but the finned vents of the fan on either side of the viewfinder show that the S5II is serious about video.

Syncro scan (the fine-tuning of exposure time to better sync with flickering light sources) is becoming more common, as are the option of four-channel audio capture and more video-focused settings display screens. The S5II's distinctly Arri-like screen, borrowed from Panasonic's Varicam line, is particularly clean and clear. Likewise, the ability to capture 4-channel audio (with an optional XLR adapter) is becoming more common, but the S5II includes options such as line-level input and dual input gain settings on its mic inputs that its rivals lack.

The S5II gains a couple of additional functions, including 'Full-range HLG' shooting. This ignores the upper and lower brightness limits imposed by the HLG standard, meaning you retain a little more flexibility in the edit. This is handy both if you have HLG as your final intended output or if you're using it as a Log-like intermediate step.

Anamorphic support

Tying in with the S5II's ability to capture open-gate and 4:3 APS-C footage is a good selection of tools to support shooting with anamorphic lenses. As on previous Panasonic models, the S5II can stretch the footage horizontally to give a real-time 'desqueezed' preview for a wide variety of squeeze factors. The camera can then plot safe-zone markers for various output aspect ratios over the top of this view, so you know you're capturing the action in a part of the frame that will be used in your final footage.

Telling the camera the squeeze ratio of your lens also allows the S5II to adjust its image stabilization system to accommodate the differing effective focal lengths of your vertical and horizontal capture, improving the stabilization performance.

LUT-applied shooting

The S5II gains the ability to import LUTs in the industry-standard .cube format (in addition to Panasonic's own .VLT type). It can store up to 10 LUTs and adds the ability to apply the LUT to the footage as you shoot. Doing so means you lose post-processing flexibility, putting greater emphasis on getting exposure and white balance right in-camera, but it lets you achieve the look you want straight out of the camera.

S5IIX features The cameras' twin UHS-II SD card slots aren't sufficiently quick for recording the 4K ProRes modes offered by the S5IIX, so it can record directly to an external solid-state drive (SSD) over its USB port.

All the differences between the S5II and S5IIX relate to the latter's video capabilities. The X's body has a stealthy all-mono design with blacked-out 'Lumix' branding and no red accents on the control dials, but the two look the same in almost every other regard.

Under the hood, the S5IIX brings enhanced video modes that are better suited to post-production work.

  • Raw video output
  • Internal ProRes capture (422 and 422 HQ)
  • All-I codecs
  • USB-SSD output
  • Direct wired and wireless streaming (per GH5 II)

S5II owners can buy an upgrade to add Raw video output for their camera, but it won't come with the other enhancements of the S5IIX. In the US, at least, the paid upgrade costs the same as the difference in cost between the two models, so if you think there's a chance you'll want these additional features, you're probably best off stretching your budget upfront to buy the S5IIX.

How it compares

Like the S5 before it, the S5II is clearly aimed at the same $2000-2500 mid-range full-frame audience. It's perhaps the most competitive segment of the market, packed with capable cameras that are adept at both stills and video shooting. This makes it difficult to stand out and means that real-world AF performance and usability become the difference between an impressive spec list and a great camera.

Panasonic Lumix DC-S5II Canon EOS R6 Mark II Sony a7C II Nikon Zf MSRP at launch, body only $1999
S5IIX: $2199 $2499 $2200 $2000 Pixel count 24MP 24MP 33MP 24MP AF technology PDAF + DFD Dual Pixel AF PDAF PDAF IBIS rating Body: 5EV
w/lens: 6.5EV Body: 8EV
w/lens: 8EV 7.0EV 8EV Burst rate 30fps e-shutter
7fps mech (C-AF) 40fps e-shutter
12fps mech 10fps 11 fps Raw
14 fps JPEG
(15 e-shutter)
30fps in C30 JPEG mode Viewfinder res 3.68M dot OLED
0.78x 3.69M dot OLED
0.76x 2.36M dots 0.70x 3.68M dot OLED
0.8x Rear screen 1.84M dot fully-articulated 1.62M dot fully-articulated 1.03M fully-articulated 2.1M dot
fully articulated Video resolution options 6K 3:2 <30p
6K/5.9K <30p
DCI/UHD <30p
DCI/UHD <60p (1.5x crop) UHD <60p

UHD <30p
UHD <60p (1.5x crop)

UHD <30p
UHD <60p (1.5x crop)

Compresson options H.265
H.264 Long GOP H.265
H.264 Long GOP H.265
H.264 LongGOP
H.264 All-I H.265
H.264 Long GOP S5IIX:
+ H.264 All-I
+ ProRes (422 /422 HQ) Rolling shutter rate
(UHD/24) 21ms 17ms 27ms 22ms Movie features

4 ch audio*
Shutter angle
Anamorphic support

4ch audio*
Breathing correction
Raw video output 4ch audio*
Focus map
Breathing correction
Peaking Zebras
Waveforms S5IIX +
+ USB-SSD recording
+ Raw video output HDMI type Full-sized (Type A) Micro (Type D) Micro (Type D) Micro (Type D) Battery life rating (EVF / LCD) 370 / 370 320 / 580 540 / 510 380 / 360 Dimensions 134 x 102 x 90mm 138 x 98 x 88mm 124 x 71 x 63 mm 144 x 103 x 49mm Weight 740g (26.1oz) 670g (23.6 oz) 514 g (18.1 oz) 710g (25.0oz) * Four-channel audio capture requires optional XLR adapter

All four cameras are well specced, with only a few features helping set the models apart. Canon and Panasonic both offer rapid burst shooting rates, with the EOS R6 II achieving the faster rate with less rolling shutter and a pre-burst mode. The Canon and the Nikon lead the pack in terms of image stabilization rating, but this doesn't mean they offer the smoothest stabilization in video.

Image quality is broadly comparable, with the Sony offering slightly better detail capture at low ISO but slipping slightly behind in low light conditions. The Sony offers the most impressive battery life but also the weakest rolling shutter performance in video, making it more difficult than ever to choose between the four cameras.

The S5IIX offers a broader range of video capabilities than any of the other current models, at a lower introductory price than the Canon, and equal to the Sony.

Body and handling

The styling of the S5II is very much in keeping with that of the original model: it's a mid-sized, fairly squared-off design with a very distinct SLR-like shape (compared, say, to Nikon's Z-series cameras). Despite being the smaller model in the company's L-mount lineup, it has extensive external control points, including details such as a dedicated AF mode switch, that are unusual at this level.

Despite the familiar appearance, a lot has been redesigned or reworked. The most significant change is the addition of the fan to the camera's viewfinder hump. This is central to the camera's promises of video endurance, but is designed not to undermine the body's weather sealing.

Beyond this, the S5II gains a higher-resolution 3.68M-dot OLED viewfinder, an eight-way AF joystick (rather than the four-directional one on the original S5), and a full-sized HDMI port.

The S5II also sees its second card slot upgraded to the UHS-II standard, allowing the use of faster SD cards in both slots. Notably, even with the fastest V90-rated cards, UHS-II isn't fast enough to record all the S5IIX's video modes, with the most demanding of its All-I capture modes and all its 4K and 5.8K ProRes modes requiring the use of an external SSD. Panasonic says it has worked with third-party accessory makers to provide useful ways to attach popular SSDs to the camera.

There is enough commonality between the S5 and the Mark II that the new camera can still use the existing DMW-BGS5 battery grip, providing space for a second battery.

Battery There's no separate charger with the S5II, but the Type 3.2 Gen 2 USB port can be used to charge, power or power and charge the camera.

The S5II continues to use the DMW-BLK22 battery from the previous version, which means it's also fully compatible with the same AC adaptor, DC coupler and dedicated battery chargers as the Mark I.

The S5II does not come with a charger. Instead, it uses the USB-PD standard to allow in-camera charging, operation or operation and charging when connected to high-current power sources.

The camera's battery life rating is somewhat disappointing, with 370 shots per charge, per CIPA standard testing methods. As always, these numbers tend to significantly underestimate how many shots you can typically expect (unless your shooting style is very energy-intensive). A 370 shot-per-charge rating will normally give you plenty of charge for a day's shooting, but you'll want to keep extra batteries or a USB power source at hand for intensive shoots. A power-saving mode gives a rating of 1,250 shots per charge for viewfinder shooting.

Image quality

Our test scene is designed to simulate a variety of textures, colors and detail types you'll encounter in the real world. It also has two illumination modes to see the effect of different lighting conditions.

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The Panasonic S5II uses a 24MP BSI CMOS sensor, similar to many enthusiast-level full-frame cameras, so it's no surprise that its Raw resolution is on par$(document).ready(function() { $("#icl-5895-1347504216").click(function() { ImageComparisonWidgetLink(5895); }); }) with other cameras in this 24MP cohort, nor that the a7 IV pulls ahead by a small margin thanks to its slightly higher resolution$(document).ready(function() { $("#icl-5896--1071988525").click(function() { ImageComparisonWidgetLink(5896); }); }). At moderately high ISOs$(document).ready(function() { $("#icl-5898--1847489070").click(function() { ImageComparisonWidgetLink(5898); }); }), noise levels are roughly comparable to its 24MP peers, and at very high ISOs$(document).ready(function() { $("#icl-5899-2057524020").click(function() { ImageComparisonWidgetLink(5899); }); }) it edges out the R6 II by a hair. Notably, all the 24MP cameras outperform the a7 IV$(document).ready(function() { $("#icl-5900--449752889").click(function() { ImageComparisonWidgetLink(5900); }); }) with respect to noise performance.

JPEG colors appear good, with punchy pinks$(document).ready(function() { $("#icl-5901-1509879476").click(function() { ImageComparisonWidgetLink(5901); }); }) and less saturated yellows (though there's perhaps a hint of green in there). Overall, the colors are pleasing, which is consistent with the images in our S5II and S5IIX sample galleries. The camera’s sharpening is a bit more aggressive than the Canon$(document).ready(function() { $("#icl-5902--955664775").click(function() { ImageComparisonWidgetLink(5902); }); }), resulting in some halos around the text, but similar to the Zf; the extra sharpening results in more apparent detail in some areas, like the foliage$(document).ready(function() { $("#icl-5903--1788752615").click(function() { ImageComparisonWidgetLink(5903); }); }).

Noise reduction is well balanced at middle ISOs$(document).ready(function() { $("#icl-5906-5717015").click(function() { ImageComparisonWidgetLink(5906); }); }), smoothing away much of the visible noise but leaving enough to retain (and give the impression of) more detail than the Nikon or the Canon, as seen on the spools of thread$(document).ready(function() { $("#icl-5904--469085400").click(function() { ImageComparisonWidgetLink(5904); }); }) or the paint brushes$(document).ready(function() { $("#icl-5905-307653299").click(function() { ImageComparisonWidgetLink(5905); }); }). The tradeoff is fractionally more noise in areas of solid color$(document).ready(function() { $("#icl-5906-49155625").click(function() { ImageComparisonWidgetLink(5906); }); }), though you have to look close to see it. The same holds at high ISOs$(document).ready(function() { $("#icl-5907-1635919602").click(function() { ImageComparisonWidgetLink(5907); }); }), but in exchange, the camera doesn’t smooth away as much information in areas of fine detail, such as the fine threading on the Beatles patch$(document).ready(function() { $("#icl-5908-268497739").click(function() { ImageComparisonWidgetLink(5908); }); }). This remains the case even at very high ISOs$(document).ready(function() { $("#icl-5921-2057524020").click(function() { ImageComparisonWidgetLink(5921); }); }).

The S5II and S5IIX produce pleasing colors and don't go overboard with noise reduction.

Panasonic S 28-200mm F4-7.1 | F4.0 | 1/200 sec | ISO 12,800
Photo: Dale Baskin

Dynamic range

The S5II uses a very familiar sensor and its dynamic range is predictably excellent. You can pull a lot of detail out of the shadows at base ISO without noise becoming too intrusive, but its dual conversion gain design means that it's worth bumping things up to at least ISO 640 in low light. There are diminishing returns beyond that, so ISO 640 is a good place to stop if you're trying to retain highlights such as neon lights in low-light scenes.


The S5II is the first Panasonic mirrorless camera to benefit from phase-detect autofocus, so expectations are high. Fortunately, those expectations have mostly been met, but equally important to the shooting experience are the camera's improved subject recognition and tracking capabilities.

AF modes and controls are basically unchanged from previous Panasonic models; the camera includes single area, zone, wide area and tracking modes, along with pinpoint AF for precise focusing. The focus point can be set using the 8-way joystick, tap-to-focus, or using touchpad AF with the viewfinder to your eye.

Panasonic S 28-200mm F4-7.1 | F7.1 | 1/320 sec | ISO 800
Photo: Dale Baskin

Phase detection essentially solves the shortcomings associated with Panasonic's previous Depth from Defocus (DFD) system, real and perceived. Autofocus movements on the S5II are decisive: in most cases the system effectively predicts movement toward or away from the camera in both photo and video modes, and the user experience is more refined. Overall, it instills a higher level of confidence, bringing the S5II’s AF performance much closer to being on par with competing Sony, Canon and Nikon models.

While the AF system performs well, it's not infallible. During our tests, the camera sometimes failed to acquire focus or experienced a lag in acquiring focus on some subjects, throwing up a red box in the center of the viewfinder. This happened most frequently when a reasonably significant shift was required to bring the image into focus or in low-light situations that didn't challenge other cameras to the same degree.

Subject recognition

With subject recognition enabled, the camera will automatically highlight a recognizable subject as soon as your designated focus area comes within close proximity of it. This makes it easy to lock onto your subject quickly.

However, this presents one challenge: if you want to focus on something exceptionally close to a recognizable subject, you may need to turn off subject recognition to prevent the camera from jumping to the nearby subject, which can be done very quickly via the touchscreen. However, Panasonic's algorithm generally strikes a very good balance of sensitivity that will work correctly in most situations.

The S5II's updated subject detection menu (Firmware 3.0)

When using wide-area AF, the camera will highlight all the subjects it can identify within the frame, and a tap of the joystick will toggle between subjects. While this sounds good on paper, it's often less practical in practice: the time required to tap back and forth to your preferred subject is often longer than it would take to place your AF point over your desired subject in the first place to begin tracking.

The April ’24 firmware update promised improved subject recognition and our experience is consistent with that claim. Subject recognition was solid before the update, but the system is now faster at identifying and locking onto subjects and more tenacious at sticking with them. It’s still not quite at the level of class-leading subject tracking systems from Canon and Sony, but it’s very close.

Currently, subject recognition must be set to one category (humans, pets, cars, or motorcycles). There’s no catch-all setting that will attempt to identify both humans and animals, for example.

The S5II’s subject recognition and primary AF modes extend to video shooting and provide a similar level of performance.


The S5II’s sensor has been around in various incarnations for a while, so its video performance is fairly predictable. However, it's Panasonic’s implementation of video modes and useful video tools that make the camera particularly interesting to video shooters.

The camera captures 6K video (including ‘open gate’ 6K that utilizes the entire 3:2 area of the sensor) and 4K video downsampled from 6K, using the full width of its sensor, and does so in10-bit color at frame rates up to 30p. It can also capture 4K/60p using an APS-C crop of its sensor. These are strong but no longer stand-out specs.

But equally as important, the S5II offers a robust feature set to support video capture, including Panasonic’s V-Log gamma profile, the ability to load custom LUTs into the camera, waveform and vectorscope tools for judging exposure and color, proxy recording, and a Camera-to-Cloud option.

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The S5II can capture very detailed 4K video, downsampled from 6K, using the full width of its sensor. As we would expect, it produces results that are broadly similar to its 24MP peers$(document).ready(function() { $("#icl-5916-1833349493").click(function() { ImageComparisonWidgetLink(5916); }); }). However, like other cameras based on the same sensor, the S5II must switch to an APS-C crop to capture 4K/60p footage$(document).ready(function() { $("#icl-5920-983435984").click(function() { ImageComparisonWidgetLink(5920); }); }). There's a small penalty in overall quality for doing so, but it's close enough that most viewers probably won't notice the difference in practice$(document).ready(function() { $("#icl-5917-1309373492").click(function() { ImageComparisonWidgetLink(5917); }); }). However, this means the effective field of view of your lenses will change when shooting 60p – particularly challenging at the wide end – and that you'll encounter issues with noise more quickly in low light. This also puts the S5II at a disadvantage relative to the Canon R6 II$(document).ready(function() { $("#icl-5918--355391457").click(function() { ImageComparisonWidgetLink(5918); }); }), which can shoot 4K/60p using the full width of its sensor.

If you need more detail, you have the option to shoot 6K video$(document).ready(function() { $("#icl-5919--537266149").click(function() { ImageComparisonWidgetLink(5919); }); }) (up to 30p), providing additional flexibility for post-processing even if you plan to deliver in 4K. Of course, the S5II also has the ultimate party trick of capturing ‘open gate’ footage that utilizes the entire 3:2 sensor for video capture, letting you crop and pan around the footage in post.

Mode Sensor region Rolling shutter rate Open gate Whole sensor 25.5ms UHD 4K/24 Full-width 16:9 21.6ms UHD 4K/60 APS-C crop 14.4ms E-shutter stills
(Single shot / 14-bit) Whole sensor 51.3ms

The S5II’s rolling shutter measures approximately 22ms: a solid number, but not stellar by today’s standards. As a result, there’s a risk that fast movement across the frame or reasonably quick pans with the camera will result in some horizontal skewing of vertical lines in the frame.

Panasonic S 85mm F1.8 | F1.8 | 1/640 sec | ISO 400
Photo: Chris Niccolls Image stabilization

Panasonic’s new Active IS algorithm is impressive, stabilizing most hand-held shooting. Although we don’t have a quantitative way to check Panasonic’s claim that the system is twice as effective as the S5, performance has definitely improved. If needed, the S5II also includes electronic image stabilization (EIS), which results in a 1.1x crop. It’s noticeably more effective at eliminating unwanted motion, such as when walking, and does so without a noticeable impact on image quality.

The new ‘High’ setting in EIS mode, part of the April 2024 firmware update, can compensate for even more dramatic movement, such as running with the camera. It’s remarkably effective – almost gimbal-like – when moving in a straight line, though quick turns or pans can result in some vertical jitter. The tradeoff? The high setting results in a 1.4x crop factor, which is necessary to provide enough latitude to compensate for such extreme motion.

Other video features

The April '24 firmware update brought two additional features to the S5II: proxy recording and Camera-to-Cloud capability.

Proxy recording

Proxy recording generates a lower resolution, lower bit rate version of each video clip for quick sharing or to make editing easier on your computer and can be useful for fast-turnaround deliverables. On the S5II, they are available when shooting resolutions up to DCI 4K: open gate, 6K, 5.9K and 3.3K anamorphic modes aren't supported.

The S5II can record proxy files at three quality levels, high, medium and low, at bit rates ranging from 4 Mbps to 16 Mbps.

Proxy files can be created when recording .MOV files (including ProRes on the S5IIX). The proxies are recorded to card slot 2, with the primary footage captured to slot 1 or to an external SSD on the S5IIX. You can choose three file sizes, which output 1080 or 720 clips. All clips are 16:9 and letterboxed if your primary footage is in the wider DCI 4K aspect ratio. Applying an in-camera LUT to proxy files is possible, even if not applying one to the original video.


Camera-to-cloud is a means of integrating with Adobe's service, making it easy to upload video clips and photos as they are captured and enabling collaboration. For example, a wedding photographer shooting a ceremony and uploading video clips to in real-time could employ a remote editor to quickly cut together a video of the ceremony, allowing it to be shown to guests at a reception just a few minutes later.

Connecting to is remarkably simple, and it took us less than five minutes to connect the camera to a local Wi-Fi network and link it to a project. Clips can be uploaded automatically as they are captured or selectively uploaded at a later time.

Note that the camera will not upload original video files to, so you'll need to enable proxy recording to use this feature. Raw and JPEG images can also be uploaded to

One addition we'd like to see is the ability to assign settings to a custom button. As of this writing, one must navigate the camera's menus to access it.

Sample video

This video, captured along Seattle's Lake Washington Ship Canal, includes clips recorded at a variety of resolutions up to 6K, at both 24p and 60p frame rates. It was shot mostly handheld with autofocus. Due to the wide dynamic range, most daytime shots were captured using Panasonic's V-Log gamma profile (with the V-Log LUT applied in post-processing), and most evening shots were captured with the Like709 profile. One pair of clips shows an example of walking with the camera with EIS turned on and off.


By Dale Baskin

What we like What we don't
  • Excellent image quality
  • Class-leading tools to support video capture
  • Support for numerous video resolutions and frame rates
  • Effective subject tracking that works for stills and video
  • Highly effective image stabilization
  • Ability to filter video options and save favorites for quick access
  • Full-sized HDMI port
  • Integrated cooling fan
  • integration
  • AF system not quite as reliable as the best of its peers
  • AF system occasionally lags before snapping into focus
  • Slow startup
  • Some vertical jitter when using electronic image stabilization in ‘high’ mode
  • Headphone and HDMI ports can interfere with articulating screen
  • Battery charger not included

The S5II finally delivered the one feature many Panasonic users had requested for years: phase detection autofocus. While the headline feature is worthy of attention, it would be a mistake to overlook the many other upgrades that make it a compelling camera, including improved image stabilization, subject recognition, and an integrated fan for better thermal management.

While phase detect AF makes the S5II a more attractive camera than its predecessor, particularly for video shooters, it’s not a panacea. It does provide a more refined and reliable autofocus experience that delivers on many of its promises, but the implementation still feels less polished than on more mature systems. However, it’s good, and when paired with the subject recognition updates included in the April 2024 firmware update, it becomes a very solid performer.

Panasonic has long been known for making cameras that are great for video, and the S5II (and S5IIX) continue that tradition, offering video-centric features ranging from a waveform monitor to the ability to set shutter angle in video – things that typically don’t even appear on the spec sheet of other cameras in its class. The only thing holding it back from being an even better video camera is its sensor, a design that’s been around for a while and can, under the right conditions, reveal rolling shutter artifacts, and requires an APS-C crop to capture 4K/60. However, don't mistake the S5II for a video-first camera. It's a very competent stills camera that's also great for video.

Panasonic S 28-200mm F4-7.1 | F7.0 | 1/125 sec | ISO 1600
Photo: Dale Baskin

The camera’s lines are not as graceful and elegant as some of its competitors, nor does it embrace the retro styling that’s been making a comeback. In contrast, the S5II is a pragmatic everyman’s camera, designed to get the job done. That’s not a knock against it or even a suggestion that the camera isn’t aesthetically pleasing, but rather a recognition that the S5II is an excellent example of form following function, for the right reasons.

The S5II is one of those cameras that isn’t necessarily the best in class at a lot of things. Instead, it makes its case by being the best at some things and very good at many things. The result is one heck of an all-around camera that will satisfy the needs of enthusiasts who shoot photos, videos, or both, and the cherry on top is that it’s also a delightful camera to use. And for that, the S5II receives our Silver Award.


Scoring is relative only to the other cameras in the same category. Click here to learn about what these numbers mean.

Panasonic Lumix DC-S5IICategory: Mid Range Full Frame CameraBuild qualityErgonomics & handlingFeaturesMetering & focus accuracyImage quality (raw)Image quality (jpeg)Low light / high ISO performanceViewfinder / screen ratingOpticsPerformanceMovie / video modeConnectivityValuePoorExcellentConclusionThe Panasonic S5II is a capable full-frame mid-range camera with the right balance capabilities to serve those who want to shoot both photos and video. It offers outstanding image quality with pleasing colors, the best toolset in its class to support video shooters. The AF system is competitive, though it's not quite as good as the best cameras in its class. It's an excellent all-around camera and is a great option for those who need to do a bit of everything.Good forHigh-quality photos and video productionNot so good forApplications that demand the most cutting-edge AF system, like sports90%Overall scoreRegularScoreCompareWidget({"mainElementId":"scoringWidget","mainProduct":"panasonic_dcs5ii","scoringSchema":{"id":"SLRs","variables":[{"id":"BuildQuality"},{"id":"ErgonomicsAndHandling"},{"id":"Features"},{"id":"MeteringAndFocusAccuracy"},{"id":"QualityRaw"},{"id":"QualityJpeg"},{"id":"LowLightHighISO"},{"id":"ViewfinderScreenRating"},{"id":"Optics"},{"id":"Performance"},{"id":"Movie"},{"id":"Connectivity"},{"id":"Value"}],"categories":[{"id":"EntryLevel","label":"Entry Level Interchangeable Lens Camera / DSLR","shortLabel":"Entry Level"},{"id":"MidRange","label":"Mid Range Interchangeable Lens Camera / DSLR","shortLabel":"Mid Level"},{"id":"EntryLevelFullFrame","label":"Entry Level Full Frame Camera","shortLabel":"Entry Level Full Frame"},{"id":"MidRangeFullFrame","label":"Mid Range Full Frame Camera","shortLabel":"Mid Range Full Frame"},{"id":"SemiProfessional","label":"Semi-professional Interchangeable Lens Camera / DSLR","shortLabel":"Semi-professional"},{"id":"SemiProfessionalFullFrame","label":"Semi-professional Full Frame Camera","shortLabel":"Semi-professional Full Frame"},{"id":"Professional","label":" Professional Interchangeable Lens Camera / DSLR","shortLabel":"Professional"},{"id":"LargeSensorCompactEntry","label":"Entry Level Large Sensor Compact Camera","shortLabel":"Entry Level Large Sensor Compact"},{"id":"LargeSensorCompactEnthusiast","label":"Enthusiast Large Sensor Compact Camera","shortLabel":"Enthusiast Large Sensor Compact"},{"id":"VideoCamera","label":"Video Camera","shortLabel":"Video Camera"}]},"helpText":"Choose one or more cameras from the drop-down menu, then roll your mouse over the names to see how their scores compare to the camera on review."}) Compared to its peers

The Canon R6 II remains our top performer in this class. It features outstanding ergonomics, a more dependable AF system, and a more usable electronic shutter thanks to the camera's faster sensor. That sensor also allows the R6 II to capture high-quality 4K/60p using the entire frame width. However, the camera doesn't include the myriad video tools found on the Panasonic. It's also one of the most expensive cameras in its class and is effectively limited to using Canon's own range of mirrorless lenses, so it's a good idea to make sure Canon has the lenses you want at a price you're comfortable with.

The Sony a7 IV is another camera worth considering. Its 33MP sensor delivers a bit more detail, but where the Sony really shines is its autofocus system, which is exceptionally dependable and features outstanding subject tracking. However, it's a more photo-oriented camera, with higher rolling shutter making it less attractive to someone looking to shoot both stills and videos. Where it competes well is lens selection. With multiple manufacturers making lenses for E-mount, including Sigma, users are spoilt for choice and frequently have options at various price points for a given focal length.

The Sony a7C II is worth a look if size is a factor. It's essentially a Sony a7 IV squeezed into a more compact body and a simplified shutter, meaning it has almost the same pros and cons as that model, though with better image stabilization.

Finally, there's the Nikon Zf, a camera whose design is inspired by Nikon's classic film SLRs. In some respects, it's a great alternative to the S5II; it uses the same basic sensor and delivers similar image quality. However, its design makes the comparison more complex. The decision to buy a camera like the Zf will likely be driven, in part, by a desire for a specific type of shooting experience, and one that's very different than the S5II. Also, similar to the Canon, you'll mostly be limited to Nikon's own mirrorless lenses (though recent history suggests that Nikon is beginning to open the mount to allow some third-party options). If you prefer a more modern design, you could also consider the Nikon Z6 II, though that model is a bit long in the tooth compared to the other options here.

Buy now:

$1797 at$1798 at B&H Photo$1798 at Adorama Sample galleries

Please do not reproduce any of these images on a website or any newsletter/magazine without prior permission (see our copyright page). We make the originals available for private users to download to their own machines for personal examination or printing (in conjunction with this review); we do so in good faith, so please don't abuse it.

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Kategorier: Produkt nyheder

Panasonic Lumix DC-G9 II review

Nyt fra dpreview - 25 mar 2024 - 16:24
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Product photos by Brendan Nystedt

87%Overall scoreJump to conclusion

Almost six years after the announcement of the Lumix DC-G9, Panasonic rolled out its successor, the Lumix DC-G9 II. This is the company's high-end model aimed at stills shooters, and it is the first-ever Lumix Micro Four Thirds camera to include phase detection autofocus. Despite its target demographic, the G9 II comes with a surprisingly long list of video features as well. A thorough redesign, the G9 II is based on the chassis of the full-frame Lumix S5 II and S5 IIX, giving it room for plentiful controls and ports.

Key specifications
  • 25MP CMOS sensor with dual output gain
  • 5-axis in-body image stabilization (CIPA-rated to 8 stops)
  • On-sensor phase detection (779 points)
  • 3", 1.84M-dot fully articulating touchscreen
  • 3.86M-dot OLED electronic viewfinder with 0.8x magnification
  • 60 fps burst shooting with AF-C and electronic shutter (10 fps mechanical)
  • 100MP handheld high-res mode
  • Up to 5.8K Open Gate 4:2:0, C4K 4:2:2 10-bit, with V-Log and HLG
  • ProRes 422 and 422 HQ recording to SSD
  • Raw output to Atomos and Blackmagic external recorders
  • 390 shots per charge battery life (using LCD)
  • USB-C power delivery
  • Dual UHS-II card slots

The G9 II is priced at $1899 body-only: a $200 increase from its predecessor.

Buy now:

$1898 at B&H Photo $1898 at Adorama $1898 at Amazon Index:
  • Sept 12: Initial review published
  • Mar 25: Image quality, Autofocus, Video, Conclusion and additional Sample gallery published
What's new The Lumix G9 II is a departure from the original G9 design in a few key ways.

Rather than a refresh of the original DSLR-like Lumix G9 concept, the G9 II goes in a more modern direction. Not only does it take technological advancements from the full-frame Lumix S lineup, it has the same external design as the S5 II announced earlier in the year. It's taller, more squared off, and has more controls than its predecessor. It isn't just a similar design – it's literally the same outer shell, but without fan vents and with a different lens mount and sensor inside.

Hybrid autofocus and DR Boost improvements

The G9 II is based around a sensor related to the one in the GH6, but that Panasonic says has been revised at both the hardware and software levels. The most obvious difference is that the version in the G9 II has phase-detection elements that make it the first Micro Four Thirds Lumix model to offer inherently depth-aware autofocus.

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The other change that will make a big difference is the way the dual output gain system works. Panasonic describes it as having two parallel readout paths that are subjected to differing levels of gain, which are then combined. This way, you get the highlight capture benefits of low gain and the cleaner shadow performance of high gain paths, combined as a 16-bit Raw file to ensure room to encode this widened dynamic range.

The sensor in the G9 II is derived from the one in the GH6 but with some key improvements, both in hardware and software.

For the G9 II, Panasonic appears to have reduced the lowest step offered by the high-gain path. Whereas on the GH6, the high gain (shadow) path was only used at ISO settings three stops above base (ie, ISO 800 in standard color modes, ISO 2000 in V-Log mode), on the G9 II, Panasonic says it's available from base ISO upwards, suggesting the high gain step can be dropped further, to make it available at these lower ISOs.

However, it's worth noting that the GH6's base ISOs were 100 for standard color modes and 250 for V-Log, but for the G9 II, they're 100 and 500, respectively. The one-stop jump in base ISO in V-Log mode seems to suggest a high-gain path applying one stop more gain than the low path in its base state (rather than the 3-stop difference required for DR Boost on the GH6). This doesn't explain how Panasonic can offer a mode that includes a high-gain component while maintaining the same ISO 100 rating for standard gamma, and it's interesing to note that when you exceed 60fps (where the Dual Output mode can't operate) that the minimum ISO in V-Log drops to 250, suggesting this might still be the true 'base' state.

More video than you'd expect

Unlike the G9, which gained a lot of video features after launch, the G9 II throws in everything but the kitchen sink right from Day 1. Panasonic swears this is a camera for still shooters, but the number of video resolutions and features accounted for – including V-Log, open gate 5.8K, and ProRes support – sure make it feel almost as hybrid as the GH6 or S5 IIX. It retains the full-size HDMI port of the S5 II series and can even record directly to a USB-C SSD.

Although not marketed as a hybrid model, the G9 II has a ton of features that make it interesting for hybrid shooters and those curious about video.

With its improved autofocus, why would anyone buy a GH6 over the G9 II? Rest assured that CFexpress card support and the built-in fan let the GH6 retain its hybrid crown for now. Panasonic says that G9 II shooters should think of this camera more as a B-cam than a primary run-and-gun setup and that the lack of a fan might become an issue when shooting high-res video in hot environments.

Improved IBIS

The smaller Four Thirds-type sensor is cushioned from jostles by an aggressive 8-stop CIPA-rated in-body image stabilization system. Panasonic says that the SyncIS system, where the sensor and lens stabilization systems work together, is only rated for 7.5 stops and that they're reaching the physical limits of the lens-based optical stabilization systems at this point. There is a benefit though: the synchronization between the body and lens' IS systems allows the camera to maintain 7.5 stops of correction at longer focal lengths where the in-body system alone could not.

High-resolution mode

The improved IBIS also enables the G9 II's 100MP handheld high-res mode. Although the higher resolution of this mode means it's a little slower to stitch its photos together, the more sophisticated algorithm Panasonic uses does a good job of reducing subject motion.

There are two motion blur processing modes; mode 1 doesn't attempt it at all, and mode 2 does.

Handheld 100MP | ISO 100 | 1/250 sec | F5.6 | Leica DG 12-60mm F2.8-4 @ 38mm equiv.

Photo: Jeff Keller

The scene above is bustling, and you can see how well the G9 handled motion in this 100 Megapixel photo. A few people have extra feet, but otherwise, motion is handled very well.

While we're on the subject of high resolution, here's a real-world example of tripod mode. You'll find an additional example in our studio scene further down the page.

$(document).ready(function() { ImageComparisonWidget({"containerId":"reviewImageComparisonWidget-10912693","widgetId":912,"initialStateId":5887}) }) Subject detection improvements

Panasonic's older depth-from-defocus AF system lagged behind the competition somewhat, but the G9 II looks to address that. With the addition of distance-aware phase-detection, the G9 II also brings some new subject detection and tracking algorithms.

There are a number of subject types in the AF menu, including one for animals (mainly pets, but it also can track birds), one for cars (targeting motorsports photography), and another for motorcycles (which they say may work for bicycles, depending on the angle of the subject). Like the G9 II's improved human detection, the animal mode has eye detection as an additional option.

Cropped to taste. Shot in full area AF mode with animal tracking and continuous focus.
ISO 125 | 1/400 sec | F4 | Leica DG 50-200mm @ 384mm equiv.

Photo: Jeff Keller

Live Composite

Once a feature exclusive to Olympus cameras, Live Composite made its way to Panasonic's mirrorless lineup in 2020. This is essentially a multi-exposure mode where objects that do not change brightness are left alone during each shot. All you need to do is set the exposure time you want and the delay before shooting starts, then press the shutter release. The camera will silently take photos until you press the button again.

Converted from Raw using ACR. Exposure slightly brightened. Shot in Live Composite mode.
ISO 400 | 8 sec per exposure | F3.5 | Leica DG 8-18mm F2.8-4 @ 20mm equiv.

Photo: Jeff Keller

How the Panasonic Lumix DC-G9 II compares to its peers

The new Panasonic Lumix G9 II comes in at a high price, befitting a flagship model (at least, as Panasonic's G-series flagship for stills). Unfortunately, there's a lot of competition in the ∼$2K high-performance camera category. While the newcomer significantly out-specs its predecessor, its stills rival in the Micro Four Thirds world: the OM System OM-1 Mark II, is lighter, has better battery life, and a higher-res EVF. It's also quite a bit more expensive.

That's not to mention the slew of fantastic APS-C cameras out there, and we've included the Fujifilm X-T5 and Sony a6700 as two of the best, both of which are cheaper than the Lumix.

Panasonic Lumix G9 II Panasonic Lumix G9 OM System OM-1 II Sony a6700 Fujifilm X-T5 MSRP $1899 $1699 $2399 $1399 $1699 Pixel count 25.2MP


20.4MP 26MP 40MP Sensor size Four Thirds
(225mm²) Four Thirds
(225mm²) Four Thirds
(224mm²) APS-C
(361mm²) APS-C
(369mm²) Image stabilization In-body + in-lens In-body + in-lens In-body + in-lens In-body or in-lens In-body or in-lens Max burst rate 10 fps (mech shutter)
60 fps (elec shutter)

9 fps (mech shutter)
20 fps (elec shutter)

10 fps (mech shutter)
50 fps (elec shutter)

11 fps (mech shutter)
11 fps (elec shutter)

15 fps (mech shutter)
23 fps (elec shutter)

Viewfinder res / mag 3.68M dots
/ 0.8x 3.68M dots / 0.83x 5.76M dots / 0.83x 2.36M dots / 0.70x 3.69M dots
/ 0.8x Rear screen 3.0", 1.84M dot articulating touchscreen 3.0" 1.04M dot articulating touchscreen 3.0", 1.62M dot articulating touchscreen 3.0", 1.04M dot articulating touchscreen 3.0", 1.84M dot articulating touchscreen Video capabilities Up to 5.8K/30p open-gate 4:2:0 10-bit Up to C4K/30p 4:2:2 10-bit Up to DCI 4K/60p 10-bit Up to 4K/60p oversampled Up to 6.2K/30p, 4K/60p sub-sampled Log video V-Log, HLG $100 V-Log firmware OM-Log400, HLG S-Log3, HLG F-Log, F-Log 2, HLG Mic/ Headphone sockets Yes / Yes Yes / Yes Yes / Yes Yes / Yes Yes / Yes Battery life
(LCD) 390 400 520 570 580 Card slot 2x UHS II SD 2x UHS II SD 2x UHS II SD 1x UHS II SD 2x UHS II SD Weight
(loaded) 658g (23.21oz) 658g (23.21oz) 599g (21.13oz) 493g (17.4oz) 557g (19.6oz)

On the whole, the G9 II is fairly competitive in the Micro Four Thirds system. But looking at the APS-C options out there (like the Sony A6700 and Fujifilm X-T5), the G9 II doesn't appear to bring anything spectacular to the table, even if it is a noteworthy move forward for Panasonic's G-series. That said, it's alone here in being able to output video to an external SSD, if video is your thing.

Body and handling Looking at it from the back, the Lumix G9 II offers up a new 8-way joystick and an improved autofocus selector.

While the original G9 was far from compact, it certainly had a different design philosophy than its successor. Seemingly aimed at DSLR photographers, it was a wide camera with a big backlit top plate LCD. That camera also only had a single exposure mode dial (on the side opposite the grip), front and rear command dials, and a power switch that surrounded the shutter button.

The new G9 II, by comparison, feels more modern. Since it's basically the same design as the Lumix DC-S5 II, this camera throws a ton of controls at the user. Make no mistake: this is a clean-sheet redesign, and if you were a big fan of the original, you might be disappointed that nothing has remained the same. That said, for everything you lose (like the top LCD, front Fn lever, and flash sync port), you gain a whole lot more (more ergonomic twin dials, a more prominent AF selector switch, a dedicated dial for continuous shooting, and an upgraded 8-way joystick).

The Lumix G9 II, unlike the very similar S5 II, lacks fan vents at the bottom of the EVF hump.

And although the G9 II is taller and the grip a bit shallower, it still manages to feel plenty comfortable to hold, despite some of the rear controls being a bit clustered together. Overall, though, even though the weight is the same as the old model, this Micro Four Thirds body seems quite large for what it is.

Something that some found irritating on the original G9 was the overly sensitive shutter release button. Panasonic has addressed that on the G9 II with a firmer, less trigger-happy design.

What hasn't improved a whole lot is the EVF, which is a 3680k dot (1280 x 960px) panel with a slight decrease in magnification at 0.8x. In use, it's totally passable, and the magnification definitely makes up for the lack of sheer resolution. The rear articulating LCD, on the other hand, is a much higher resolution now at 1840k dots, making for a detailed, bright shooting experience even in direct sunlight.

The addition of a USB-C port and support for USB PD charging is a big step up from the original G9's USB 3.0 Micro B socket.

Like its cousin, the Lumix S5 II, the G9 II packs the ports we'd expect for a flagship camera in 2023. You get a full-size HDMI, fast USB-C PD charging (with 10Gbps transfer speeds and the ability to record stills and video to an external SSD), as well as mic and headphone sockets, the former of which is positioned out of the way of the screen hinge.

On the opposite side are two UHS-II speed SD card slots, which can be programmed to work in sequence or in parallel, backing up files on both for redundancy or filling the next card after the first one's full. One benefit that's worth mentioning is that since this is physically just about identical to the S5 II, many accessories will be compatible between the two models, including first-party accessories like the new DMW-BG1 battery grip and third-party add-ons like cages for video rigging.

Battery The 2200mAh battery lets the G9 II shoot around 390 shots on a single charge.

Inside the G9 II is the same DMW-BLK22 16Wh battery as we've seen in other big Lumix models. On the G9 II, however, you're still only getting around 390 shots on a charge according to the CIPA method with either the LCD or EVF. That's lower than other cameras in its class and certainly in its price range, trailing the OM System OM-1 Mark II by 130 shots and the Fujifilm X-T5 by 190.

This is despite Panasonic putting the camera in a deep sleep mode when it's switched off, from which the camera takes 2-3 second to wake. Once awake, subsequent attempts to turn on the camera are quicker, but it's worth being aware that you can't just grab it from your bag and shoot.

Image quality

Our test scene is designed to simulate a variety of textures, colors and detail types you'll encounter in the real world. It also has two illumination modes to see the effect of different lighting conditions.

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The G9 II captures a decent amount of detail in its Raw files at base ISO, though the OM System OM-1 and Sony a6700 grab a smidge more$(document).ready(function() { $("#icl-5867-106884544").click(function() { ImageComparisonWidgetLink(5867); }); }). Moiré$(document).ready(function() { $("#icl-5868--1483283296").click(function() { ImageComparisonWidgetLink(5868); }); }) is well-controlled and competitive with most of its peers, save for the Sony a6700. At mid-ISOs$(document).ready(function() { $("#icl-5869--562229105").click(function() { ImageComparisonWidgetLink(5869); }); }) the G9 II looks a lot like its peers, but from ISO 6400$(document).ready(function() { $("#icl-5870--1090835201").click(function() { ImageComparisonWidgetLink(5870); }); }) upwards it falls increasingly behind.

Looking at JPEGs, the G9 II appears to use a bit more noise reduction than the other cameras in this comparison, which you can see in these brushes$(document).ready(function() { $("#icl-5871--1710229665").click(function() { ImageComparisonWidgetLink(5871); }); }). Color in JPEGs are vibrant$(document).ready(function() { $("#icl-5872--1772350668").click(function() { ImageComparisonWidgetLink(5872); }); }) without being oversaturated. There's very little noise at ISO 1600$(document).ready(function() { $("#icl-5873--1373160366").click(function() { ImageComparisonWidgetLink(5873); }); }) thanks to Panasonic's noise reduction system. At ISO 6400$(document).ready(function() { $("#icl-5888--1090835201").click(function() { ImageComparisonWidgetLink(5888); }); }), the G9 II is more-or-less the same as its peers.

In situations where you can use the tripod-based pixel shift mode, the G9 II is able to offer resolution capture far beyond its peers$(document).ready(function() { $("#icl-5890--1239802283").click(function() { ImageComparisonWidgetLink(5890); }); }). Our test shots are somewhat hampered by what we suspect is vibration in our testing studio, leaveing cross-hatched artifacts in places$(document).ready(function() { $("#icl-5891--475316386").click(function() { ImageComparisonWidgetLink(5891); }); }). This won't always be the case, though it does give an insight into how steady your tripod and subject need to be to capture the very highest resolution.

Real-world photo quality makes one forget that the G9 II uses a smaller sensor than most of its peers. Whether it's engraving in 19th-century buildings or the plumage on a short-ear owl, you'll see plenty of detail in its JPEGs. As usual, shooting Raw and running it through Adobe Camera Raw or DxO PureRAW will give you the ability to fine-tune sharpening. You can also create a custom Photo Style was stronger sharpening.

Out-of-camera JPEG Shadows/highlights adjusted in ACR

The G9 II's sensor allows you to boost shadows with a minimal increase in noise, as shown above, and in a few photos in the sample gallery.

Our DR tests bear this out, and highlight the improvement compared with the GH6. However Panasonic has been able to implement dual parallel gain at ISO 100, it works, with much cleaner shadows than its (even) more video-focused sibling. This means both the Raw files and the camera as a whole, are more flexible.


Operating and adjusting autofocus isn't much different than on the 7-year-old DC-G9 (or any Panasonic camera released since then). A switch lets you quickly switch between single, continuous and manual focus. Pressing the button in the center of the switch opens up the AF area menu, which offers the following options:

  • Tracking
  • Full area
  • Zone (Horizontal/Vertical)
  • Zone
  • 1-area+
  • 1-area
  • Pinpoint

With the exception of pinpoint (which is well-suited for macro photography), all of the AF options let you turn subject detection on or off.

Adjusting the focus point can be done in a few ways. You can use the joystick, tap on the screen, or by using "Touchpad AF." The latter is available when shooting through the viewfinder; to adjust the focus point, you move your finger on the LCD to adjust the focus point. There are a number of options for what area of the display is used for AF point movement. To switch between detected subjects, you can tap on the screen or use the joystick.

Cropped to taste. Shot in full area mode with animal tracking and continuous AF.
Leica DG 50-200 @ 400mm | ISO 100 | 1/640 sec | F4

Photo: Jeff Keller

Panasonic offers four options for subject detection: humans, animals, cars and motorcycles. For the first two options, you can select what you want the camera to lock onto: eye/face/body for humans and eye/body for animals.

The G9 II's animal mode can detect people, birds, canines (domestic and wild) and felines (big and small). We tested it with all of them, and the camera detected them without issue. It was impressive when tracking owls and harriers in the Skagit Flats conservation area in the full area mode, even when they were flying away.

Customizing AF behavior
One of the four menus for customizing how the camera reacts to moving subjects in AF-C

There are four sets of customizable parameters for continuous autofocus. Here, you can adjust AF sensitivity, AF Area switching sensitivity, and moving subject prediction. Set 1 is for general use, while the other three are for more specific situations. We found that choosing the most fitting option was the most effective.

For our test of continuous autofocus and its ability to judge distanct, we used Set 2, which is defined as "[when] the subject moves at a constant speed in one direction." Face detection was disabled.

The G9 II's AF system did a nice job in this example. It took a few shots to lock on and then kept the cyclist in focus for the rest of the run, correctly anticipating subject distance and driving the lens accordingly.

Then we tested the camera's ability to track a subject moving around the scene and approaching the camera at a less predictable speed. Here we switched to set 4 ("for situations where the speed of the subject changes significantly"). We then performed the test both with and without face detection.

As we often see with cameras in this test, the G9 II struggled to keep the cyclist in focus during the turns, where the rate of approach suddenly changes. This was the case both with and without face detection engaged.

When we used face detection, when it started to lose focus, the camera was briefly tricked by the statues of firefighters in the background. Thankfully the G9 II quickly figured it out and locked back onto the correct subject.The G9 II can shoot at 60 fps with continuous AF (75 fps is only for single AF) and performed about the same as at slower speeds, complete with the brief distraction of the statues. These tests don't represent all circumstances, of course, but suggest the G9 II's AF, even when tuned to match the expected subject movement, is not as dependable as the best of its peers.


For what Panasonic bills primarily as a stills camera, the G9 II has a surprisingly complete set of video features. And, as it often does, Panasonic has added more video features to the G9 II since it was announced via a firmware update.

The G9 II can capture "open gate" 5.8K video using the entire Four Thirds sensor using either HEVC. This gives 5760 x 4320 pixel 10-bit 4:2:0 footage at either 30 or 24 frames per second, giving flexibility to crop-in in post, or to take vertical and landscape crops from the same footage. At 5.7K the aspect ratio ships from 4:3 to 17:9 and the maximum frame rate jumps to 60p. At lower resolutions you can shoot 4:2:2 footage, and high-speed 120p capture also becomes available.

The list of video recording options is overwhelming, though you can narrow it down via filters and save your favorites to a custom menu.

If you're using Apple ProRes you get 4:2:2, 17:9 video up to 30p, or 16:9 Cinema 4K at 60p. If it's Raw video output you're after, the G9 II can send it over HDMI to select Atomos and Blackmagic external recorders.

The G9 II supports V-Log capture or the moderately flat Cinelike D2 photo styles if you intend to color grade during the editing process. It also supports HLG capture in most of its modes for direct use on HDR TVs.

The bit rates of the highest quality settings are so high (approaching 2Gbps in some of the ProRes 422 modes) that an SD card just can't keep up, so you'll have to use an SSD connected via USB-C.

Resolution Frame rates Aspect ratio Crop Bit depth/ chroma Codec Media type 5.8K
(5760 x 4320)
  • 29.97
  • 25
  • 24
  • 23.98
4:3 open gate
  • Full area
10-bit 4:2:0 H.265 SD / SSD 5.7K
(5728 x 3024)
  • 59.94
  • 50
  • 48
  • 47.95
  • 29.97
  • 25
  • 24
  • 23.98
  • Full width
10-bit 4:2:0 H.265 SD / SSD 10-bit 4:2:2 ProRes SSD 4.4K
(4096 x 2160)
  • 59.94
  • 50
  • 48
  • 47.95
  • 1.32x (1:1)
10-bit 4:2:0 H.265 SD / SSD DCI 4K
(4096 x 2160)
  • 119.88
  • 100
  • 59.94
  • 50
  • 48
  • 47.95
  • 29.97
  • 25
  • 24
  • 23.98
  • Full width
  • 1.41x (1:1)
10-bit 4:2:0 H.265 SD / SSD
  • 59.94
  • 50
  • 48
  • 47.95
  • 29.97
  • 25
  • 24
  • 23.98
10-bit 4:2:2 H.264 ProRes SSD UHD 4K
(3840 x 2160)
  • 119.88
  • 100
  • 59.94
  • 50
  • 48
  • 47.95
  • 29.97
  • 25
  • 24
  • 23.98
  • Full width
  • 1.50x (1:1)
10-bit 4:2:0 H.265 SD / SSD
  • 59.94
  • 50
  • 48
  • 47.95
  • 29.97
  • 25
  • 24
  • 23.98
10-bit 4:2:2 H.264 ProRes SSD

When 5.8K open-gate or UHD 4K is being captured, UHD 4K 4:2:2 is output over HDMI
When 5.7K or DCI 4K is being captured, DCI 4K 4:2:2 is output. 48p and 47.95p capture gives 24p or 23.98p HDMI out.

Scrolling through that list is overwhelming, but you can use Rec Quality (My List) feature. When you've found the resolution, frame rate, and bite rates that you lie, just press the Q button to get it to My List. You can then assign a button to access the list you've created, ensuring you only use one of your pre-selected modes.

Speaking of the Q button, there are separate Q Menus for both stills and video. By default, some settings are shared between still and video. Those include exposure, white balance, Photo Style, and metering and AF modes. You can break the link via the CreativeVideo Combined Set. option, found in the gear > image quality 2 section of the menu, to control which parameters do and don't carry over.

Image stabilization

There are two "enhanced IS" electronic image stabilization modes that work on top of the camera's sensor-shift IS system. This takes a small-to-medium crop of the frame and uses the surrounding area to compensate for camera movement. "Standard" enhanced IS adds a small 1.1x crop, while "High" adds a more substantial crop in exchange for its strong shake reduction.

Also worth being aware of is the "Boosts IS" function. This tells the camera that you're try to keep your shot entirely still, and will fight against any movement you then make, rather than trying to anticipate which of your movements are intentional. We found it highly effective at maintaining an almost tripod-like stability.

Some other useful capture tools include waveforms and vectorscopes, shutter angle, V-Log/HLG view assist, anamorphic de-squeeze, preset distances for automatic rack focusing, and numerous audio controls.

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At 4K (UHD), the G9 II looks nearly the same as the Sony a6700, which samples video from a 6K area of the frame. The a6700 is just a bit sharper$(document).ready(function() { $("#icl-5882--955778846").click(function() { ImageComparisonWidgetLink(5882); }); }), though you're unlikely to notice in the real world. The same is true at both DCI 4K and 4K/120p$(document).ready(function() { $("#icl-5883-162525127").click(function() { ImageComparisonWidgetLink(5883); }); }) settings. The results are similar looking at the high res 5.7K setting$(document).ready(function() { $("#icl-5884-808155803").click(function() { ImageComparisonWidgetLink(5884); }); }) versus Panasonic's GH6, with the smallest of difference in sharpness.

Sample video Conclusion

By Jeff Keller

What we like What we don't
  • Excellent image quality and dynamic range
  • Solid, weather-sealed body
  • Open gate and 5.7K video
  • Top-notch image stabilization
  • Responsive AF with impressive subject recognition
  • Super-fast burst shooting
  • Plethora of video capture tools and output options
  • Impressive handheld high res mode
  • Dual SD card slots
  • Full-size HDMI port
  • Battery life well beneath its peers
  • Very slow initial start
  • Higher resolution EVF would've been nice
  • Large number of buttons and menu options can be overwhelming at first
  • Top LCD info panel from G9 is gone
  • External battery charger not included

The Panasonic Lumix G9 II isn't the camera one would've expected Panasonic to release based on its predecessor. The original G9 was a very good stills-focused camera with some video features thrown in for good measure. The G9 II builds on those features, puts them in the body of the full-frame S5, and adds video tools that get it pretty close to the GH6.

Converted from Raw using ACR. White balance adjusted.
ISO 3200 | 1/60 sec | F3.8 | Leica DG 12-60mm F2.8-4 @ 68mm equiv.

Photo: Jeff Keller

The G9 was already a fairly large camera, especially for Micro Four Thirds, and the same is true with its successor. As one would expect, the body is weather-sealed, though Panasonic doesn't provide an IP rating. Our G9 II did have a close encounter with a muddy photographer and kept on going after some cleanup.

If you've just picked up the G9 II, you might find the sheer number of dials and buttons to be imposing. The menu system is overloaded with options, so putting your favorites into the "My Menu" is a smart idea.

Another thing to be aware of is that the G9 II's battery life is below that of its peers. If you use Bluetooth to geotag or auto-transfer your photos, it'll drain even faster. Carrying around a spare battery or a power brick (with USB PD support) is a smart idea if you're planning on a full day of shooting.

Cropped to taste. ISO 100 | 1/320 sec | F4 | Leica DG 50-200mm F2.8-4 @ 400mm equiv.

Photo: Jeff Keller

The G9 II's autofocus is generally pretty good and a significant step up from the G9, or any Panasonic camera that uses its Depth-from-Defocus system, for that matter. When attempting some bird photography, I was surprised by how reliably it detected them, locking onto and tracking them even when they were flying away from me. In that situation and some others we tested, the AF system may lose its subject, but it usually got it back.

The G9 II's 25 Megapixel sensor has further closed the gap between Four Thirds and APS-C. Noise levels are somewhat higher than on the likes of the Sony a6700 and Fujifilm X-T5 and trail a little behind the OM-1. While it was difficult to push the shadows on the old G9 without a noticeable increase in noise, you can get away with it on the G9 II.

When the G9 II was released, Panasonic called it a "launching point for video." The fact is that the G9 II is very close to Panasonic's "official" Micro Four Thirds video camera, the GH6. The G9 II can do almost everything the GH6 can, bar the longer recording times and 5.7K/60p capture that the GH6's fan-assisted design delivers.

ISO 100 | 1/125 sec | F3.2 | Leica DG 12-35mm F2.8 @ 52mm equiv.

Photo: Jeff Keller

One video feature that really impressed me was Boost IS, which is designed for stationary shooting. It does that amazingly well, even eliminating the slight tremor in my hands. For more action-oriented footage, the more traditional electronic stabilization modes performed well, with a small-to-moderate crop depending on the intensity.

In conclusion, as someone who has shot with the original G9 for years, Panasonic's G9 II is a significant upgrade in so many ways, from sensor to subject recognition to burst speeds. And it's nice being able to carry a camera and lenses in a range of focal lengths in a relatively small bag. It's not perfect: battery life is not great, the menus can be overwhelming, and it can be frustratingly slow to start up at times. This and AF tracking that's only good, rather than great, are the only things that stop it gaining our Gold award. Overall the G9 II has proven to be a reliable stills camera with strong image quality and some useful computational modes, and can get you well on your way to being a videographer.


Scoring is relative only to the other cameras in the same category. Click here to learn about what these numbers mean.

Panasonic Lumix DC-G9 IICategory: Mid Range Interchangeable Lens Camera / DSLRBuild qualityErgonomics & handlingFeaturesMetering & focus accuracyImage quality (raw)Image quality (jpeg)Low light / high ISO performanceViewfinder / screen ratingOpticsPerformanceMovie / video modeConnectivityValuePoorExcellentConclusionThe DC-G9 II offers image quality and autofocus improvements over the GH6 yet offers much of that camera's video spec and its amazing stabilization. We were disappointed with battery life but other than that it's a worthy Micro Four Thirds stills flagship.Good forWildlife and landscape photographers who want a portable camera system. Amateur videographers who don't need a GH6Not so good forSports photographers. Those who want to shoot for a day on one or two batteries.87%Overall scoreRegularScoreCompareWidget({"mainElementId":"scoringWidget","mainProduct":"panasonic_dcg9ii","scoringSchema":{"id":"SLRs","variables":[{"id":"BuildQuality"},{"id":"ErgonomicsAndHandling"},{"id":"Features"},{"id":"MeteringAndFocusAccuracy"},{"id":"QualityRaw"},{"id":"QualityJpeg"},{"id":"LowLightHighISO"},{"id":"ViewfinderScreenRating"},{"id":"Optics"},{"id":"Performance"},{"id":"Movie"},{"id":"Connectivity"},{"id":"Value"}],"categories":[{"id":"EntryLevel","label":"Entry Level Interchangeable Lens Camera / DSLR","shortLabel":"Entry Level"},{"id":"MidRange","label":"Mid Range Interchangeable Lens Camera / DSLR","shortLabel":"Mid Level"},{"id":"EntryLevelFullFrame","label":"Entry Level Full Frame Camera","shortLabel":"Entry Level Full Frame"},{"id":"MidRangeFullFrame","label":"Mid Range Full Frame Camera","shortLabel":"Mid Range Full Frame"},{"id":"SemiProfessional","label":"Semi-professional Interchangeable Lens Camera / DSLR","shortLabel":"Semi-professional"},{"id":"SemiProfessionalFullFrame","label":"Semi-professional Full Frame Camera","shortLabel":"Semi-professional Full Frame"},{"id":"Professional","label":" Professional Interchangeable Lens Camera / DSLR","shortLabel":"Professional"},{"id":"LargeSensorCompactEntry","label":"Entry Level Large Sensor Compact Camera","shortLabel":"Entry Level Large Sensor Compact"},{"id":"LargeSensorCompactEnthusiast","label":"Enthusiast Large Sensor Compact Camera","shortLabel":"Enthusiast Large Sensor Compact"},{"id":"VideoCamera","label":"Video Camera","shortLabel":"Video Camera"}]},"helpText":"Choose one or more cameras from the drop-down menu, then roll your mouse over the names to see how their scores compare to the camera on review."}) Compared to its peers

The OM System OM-1 Mark II is an excellent camera conceptually very similar to the G9 II. While both cameras have weather-sealed bodies, the OM-1 II is rated to the IP53 standard and we'd have no qualms about using it in the rain. The larger and higher-res EVF on the OM-1 II is nice, and its battery life is significantly better. The G9 II has more to offer serious videographers in terms of support tools, resolution, frame rates and codecs. And while the OM-1 can recognize more subjects, we think the G9 II's AF tracking performance has a slight edge. Its price is also $500 below that of the Olympus, money that could be spent on lenses.

The Sony a6700's rangefinder-style design is 180° from the G9 II. It's smaller, with fewer, more cramped controls and an underwhelming EVF. Unlike the G9 II it has a single memory card slot and no AF joystick. It has many of the still and video specs of the Panasonic though it's not to the extent of capturing uncropped 4K/120p or open gate footage. That said, the a6700's autofocus tracking performance is probably the best on the market. Sony also has the magic touch when it comes to battery life, which is twice that of the G9 II.

Like the G9 II, the Fujifilm X-T5 appears to be stills-orientated, but with high res video capabilities. The truth is very different, with rolling shutter and significant cropping holding back the Fujifilm. The X-T5's control logic is much more traditional than the G9 II's, which some people will love, and it's a similar story with the two-axis LCD. The X-T5 also has a high-res mode but it requires more shots, has no motion correction and needs to be combined off-camera. The AF systems are similar with good subject recognition sometimes held back by failure to predict distance correctly, leading to significantly missed shots.

Buy now:

$1898 at B&H Photo $1898 at Adorama $1898 at Amazon Sample gallery

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