Panasonic waited a couple of weeks to answer Sony’s introduction of the A7R III with what amounts to the next version of the Lumix DC-GH5 optimized for advanced still shooting.

Both companies are going after professional and advanced photographers with compact mirrorless cameras that set new speed recorders for still shooting and Auto Focus, surpassing the limits of trusty old single lens reflex models.

Announced today (Nov. 8, 2017), the new flagship Panasonic Lumix DC-G9 (shipping in early January at a $1,699.99 suggested retail for the body only) offers many of the advanced features of the previously introduced mirrorless flagship DC-GH5, including its 20.3-megapixel Live MOS Micro Four-Thirds image sensor without a low-pass filter.

But it builds off that camera’s still-shooting capabilities with an advanced Venus Engine 10 image processing system and ultra-fast Depth-from-Defocus (DFD) AF system capable of delivering continuous burst shooting of 20 frames per second (AFC) and 60 fps (AFS) with electronic shutter in full 20.3-megapixel resolution.

The high-speed AF with DFD technology is said to achieve the world’s fastest AF speed of 0.04 sec. The system also employs high-tracking performance to keep the subject on target and tack sharp.

For an even faster rate, shooters can opt for 6K/4K PHOTO and choose the most suitable burst shooting mode, in addition to the regular consecutive shooting mode and the new pre-burst shooting mode.

In addition, a high resolution mode is added to enable up to 80-megapixel equivalent images in JPEG/RAW formats produced in-camera.

The Lumix DC-G9 will go up against Sony’s soon-to-release A7R III single lens mirrorless camera with full-size (35mm) 42.4-megapixel CMOS image sensor, 10 fps burst shooting and ISO range up to 32000.

Read more about the new Panasonic DSC-G9 and Sony A7R III advanced digital single lens mirrorless cameras after the jump:

Along with the G9, Panasonic introduced the new Leica DG ELMARIT 200mm f/2.8 Power OIS lens. The lens, which Panasonic claims to have the sharpest corner-to-corner image quality of any previous Lumix interchangeable lens, will ship with an included 1.4x teleconverter at a $2,999.99 suggested retail. A 2x teleconverter will be available as an optional accessory for $599.99.

Panasonic is betting pro photographers and photobugs will be convinced to ditch (or at least supplement) their bulky and noisy DSLRs for speed and advanced image quality. Indeed, the G9 is a blazing fast advanced mirrorless Micro-Four Thirds camera that also has very good quality 4K video shooting capabilities. The GH5, on the other hand, will remain in the line as the superior 4K Ultra HD video shooter that can also produce high-quality stills, just not quite as well or as quickly as the G9.

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The DC-G9 offers high quality low-light exposure compensation with an Auto Intelligent ISO ranging from 100-25600 (changeable to 1/3 EV step) for stills, and Auto Creative Video mode ranging from ISO 100 (Extended) to 12800 (changeable to 1/3 EV step).

For rock-solid images, the G9 also features an improved Body Image Stabilizer (I.S.) providing up to 6.5 stops of compensation with or without Dual I.S. 2.0 compatible Lumix lenses.

The system uses more accurate calculation of vibrations and camera movement, utilizing information of angular velocity and motion vector acquired from a gyro sensor and an accelerometer sensor.

Video is captured using full size pixels in MP4 — 4K Ultra HD (3840×2160) 59.94p, 150Mbps (4:2:0 8-bit LongGOP) (LPCM) 29.97p, 100Mbps (4:2:0 8-bit LongGOP) (AAC) 23.98p, 100Mbps (4:2:0 8-bit LongGOP) (AAC); and Full HD (1920×1080) — “59.94p, 28Mbps (4:2:0 8-bit LongGOP) (AAC)29.97p, 20Mbps (4:2:0 8-bit LongGOP) (AAC);

AVCHD — Full HD (1920×1080) 59.94p, 28Mbps (LongGOP) (Dolby) 59.94i, 24Mbps (LongGOP) (Dolby) (Sensor output is 29.97fps) 59.94i, 17Mbps (LongGOP) (Dolby) (Sensor output is 59.94fps) 23.98p, 24Mbps (LongGOP) (Dolby);

MP4 high speed 4K (3840×2160) 30p, 100Mbps (Sensor output is 60fps/48fps), and Full HD (1920×1080) 30p, 20Mbps (sensor output is 180fps).

For fast image transfer and saving, the G9 includes dual memory card slots (SDHC and SDXC) compatible with UHS-I/UHS-II speed class SD cards. Additionally, for a completely wireless setup, it offers both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth bringing advanced functionality when paired with a mobile app.

The Lumix G9 has the largest-in-class Live View Finder (LVF) with a magnification ratio of approximately 1.66x/0.83x (35mm equivalent). No blackouts occur even in high-speed burst shooting. Night mode and an AF Point Scope function are also available.

Built for rugged duty outdoors as well as indoors, the G9 has a magnesium alloy body and is splash-proof, dust-proof and freeze proof down to -10 degrees centigrade.

The Sony A7R III single lens mirrorless camera

Meanwhile, the Sony A7R III camera (pictured above) is both compact and light, weighing just 23 ounces. It shoots 4K Ultra HD video with a wide 15-stop dynamic range and high sensitivity with noise reduction of almost a full stop.

Other features in the A7R III  include continuous shooting at up to 10 fps with either Silent Shooting or Mechanical Shutter and full Auto Focus/Auto Exposure tracking.

The AF system uses 399 phase-detection points covering 68 percent of the image area, 425 contrast AF points and fast Eye AF.

Other features include a 5-axis optical in-body image stabilization system with a 5.5 step shutter speed advantage.

The new Sony mirrorless shooter includes 4K Ultra HD movie resolution with full-pixel readout and no pixel binning. Sony said the camera was completely redesigned for professionals, with new tools including upgraded Auto Focus, Dual SD Card Slots, Extended Battery Life, and SuperSpeed USB (USB 3.1 Gen 1) with USB Type-C terminal.

The A7R III also features a new front-end LSI that effectively doubles the readout speed of the image sensor, as well as an updated BIONZ X processing-engine that boosts processing speed by approximately 1.8 times over the A7R II. With these, the camera will shoot at faster speeds using an ISO range of 100-32000 (expandable to ISO 50–102400 for still images) and 15-stop dynamic range at low sensitivity settings.

The new full-frame model omits an optical low pass filter to maximize resolution, and will output 14-bit RAW format including shots in silent or continuous mode.

The camera is equipped with a 5-axis optical image stabilization system optimized for high-resolution shooting capacity, resulting in a 5.5-step shutter speed advantage, Sony said. A new low-vibration shutter reduces vibration and image blur in all modes, including the high speed 10 fps shooting, as well as several advancements in accurate reproduction of skin tones.

The A7R III includes a high-performance AF and AF/AE tracking system at up to 10 fps burst shooting speeds at full resolution for up to 76 JPEG/RAW images or 28 uncompressed RAW images. High frame rate shooting is available with either a mechanical shutter or in silent shooting.

The camera can also shoot continuously at up to 8 fps in live view mode with minimal lag in the viewfinder or LCD screen.

High-speed options ensure fast moving subjects can are captured high accuracy and detail.

The upgraded focusing system in the A7R III features 399 focal-plane phase-detection AF points that cover approximately 68 percent of the image area in both the horizontal and vertical directions.

Additionally, the camera packs 425 contrast AF points, which is an increase of 400 points compared to the A7R II. Auto focus acquisition is said to take half the time of the previous camera in low-light conditions, with tracking that is approximately twice as fast and more accurate.

Additional improvements in focusing flexibility include AF availability in Focus Magnifier mode, focal-plane phase-detection AF support when using A-mount lenses, ‘AF On’ button, a multi-selector joystick for moving focusing points, and flexible touch focus functionality.

The A7R III is an advanced 4K video shooter with 3840×2160 resolution across the full width of the image sensor.  When shooting in Super 35mm format, the camera uses full pixel readout without pixel binning to collect 5K information, oversampling it to produce high quality 4K footage with exceptional detail and depth, Sony said.

A new Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG) HDR support is included in the A7R III and an Instant HDR workflow, allowing HLG compatible TV’s to playback dynamic 4K HDR imagery.  The camera also supports S-Log2 and S-Log3 dynamic range for increased color grading flexibility.

The camera can also record Full HD at 120 fps at up to 100 Mbps, allowing footage to be edited into 4x or 5x slow motion video files in Full HD resolution with AF tracking.

Other features include dual media slots, with support in one slot for UHS-II type SD memory cards; increased battery life using Sony’s Z series battery with approximately 2.2 times the capacity of the W series battery in the a7R II.

An upgraded high-resolution, high-luminance Quad-VGA OLED Tru-finder is included with approximately 3,686k dots or resolution.

The LCD screen has 1.44M dots or resolution and WhiteMagic technology that improves viewing in bright, outdoor conditions. “Standard” or “High” display quality settings are also available for both the viewfinder and monitor as well.

The Sony A7R III is available November 3oth at a $3,200 suggested retail price.

Sony also unveiled a new Sony FE 24-105mm f/4 G OSS lens.


By Greg Tarr


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