When it was first released, the Panasonic G9 was a modest video camera, but the latest firmware updates truly transformed it into a beast of a video machine. It is capable of shooting 10-bit 4K 60p video, and its files are impressively detailed and sharp. The Panasonic G9 is also one of few cameras whose 1080p footage is also nicely detailed – looking very similar, if not identical, to resized 4K footage.
Using its variable framerate (VFR) mode, the G9 can shoot 1080p footage up to 180 FPS, although in these modes the video quality is slightly reduced and there is no sound or autofocus. External microphones are better choices anyway, so this is not a problem under most circumstances.
In terms of picture profiles, the G9 comes with a fairly flat so-called “Cine-D” profile. There is also an option to make a basic tone curve adjustment, ensuring that straight out of the box, you can get great-looking footage that is very easy to color grade in the video editor of your choice.
Panasonic also provides a V-Log upgrade kit, which gives you the option of shooting video on the G9 with a log profile. This mode is great for shooting in very challenging, high-contrast lighting situations, or situations where you want more flexible color grading. Even if you’re don’t need log footage, the V-Log upgrade also provides a vector scope, which is a useful alternative to the histogram for quickly checking exposure.
Of the two of us, I (Jason speaking) upgraded my Panasonic G9 using this kit. Although Panasonic bizarrely chose to ship the upgrade code on a piece of paper wrapped in plastic instead of a digital product, upgrading the camera was easy. After using the V-Log footage and comparing it to the Cine-D profile, I found unsurprisingly that the V-Log footage does provide a bit more flexibility at the expense of doing a bit more work.
On the other hand, if you are not going after a specific creative color look, or you are happy with the dynamic range of the built-in profiles, the V-Log upgrade is probably not worth it for most people. The built-in Cine-D profile is more than enough to produce very pleasing footage with minimal work.
Aside from its excellent video quality, the Panasonic Lumix G9 also has some very nice features for videography that are not typically present in cameras in this price range. It has an AF-pull feature, which does decent focus pulls at a nice pace. It also has zebras, which are moving stripes on the parts of the live preview that are overexposed. These can be used for both stills and video, and they are also adjustable to appear at different percentages of overexposure. All of this is usually found only in more expensive cameras, so it’s nice to see around the $1000 price mark.
Like most mirrorless cameras these days, the Lumix G9 uses IBIS to stabilize its video. It also has an electronic stabilization mode that works in conjunction with IBIS to provide an even more stable image. Together, the two methods of stabilization can be used for “I.S. Lock,” which is a video-only stabilization feature designed specifically for non-panning shots. In this mode, the G9 makes the image extra stable, almost as if it were on a tripod. (Although a tripod is still better!)
Because of its video quality and all these tools, the Panasonic G9 gives you a very powerful video package. Some cameras like the Panasonic GH6 still surpass it in terms of video, but there are few cameras, if any, at this price point that provide such a high level of performance.
For recommended video settings (and some sample footage from the G9), check out this video:
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