Where is Panasonic GX9 line heading ? (Long rant)

L0n3Gr3yW0lf

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I started using Panasonic 7 years ago, I started with Panasonic G2 in 2011 and one year later the shutter mechanism broke while doing a time-lapse and it was permanently stuck as closed and no one wanted to repair it so I replaced it with Panasonic G1, since it was 99% the same camera, and used it until 2015. I always loved the ergonomics, size, shape and weight of the Panasonic G1/G2/GH1/GH2. In 2015 I, finally, upgraded to Panasonic GX7 and it quickly became my most beloved camera of all that I ever used (I started my photography with a Pentax K200D 2 years priory 2011).

I, still, love the very light weight (Micro Four Thirds cameras now are starting to push beyond 500 grams per fully loaded body) 400 grams, the very compact size which makes it very portable (especially with pancake or small lenses), great ergonomics with buttons for almost everything you need, plenty of dials and switches without feeling to cramped, battery life was ok (still using the original battery and still get over 500 images per battery, the ON/OFF button in most comfortable position that I instinctivly shut it off when not in use and quickly turn it on when needed (which extens the battery life so much), useful flash for fill-in and bounce indoors, very quick and responsive to this day (I get almost instant playback of pictures I take with UHS cards), excellent video quality, useful and responsive and very intuitive touch screen and interface as well as EVF (the Sequential nature of the EVF never bothered me).

So why would I replace my little wonder Panasonic GX7 ? Well because of a very few downsides that tend to be very annoying:
1) Most obvious: Shutter Shock, I encounter it very often with mechanical shutter because my favorite lens is Sigma 60mm f 2.8 and the camera tries to keep the shutter speed at 1/125 sec, which is the issue that is encountered the most with shutter shock. Yes, electronic shutter does solve the problem very well ... but it has its downsides and over time I noticed that the downside of rolling shutter has changed the nature of how I shoot (I avoid panning and fast moving objects, like birds for example) and I dont want to restrict myself because of limitations of the camera.
2) 16:9 with small eye relief EVF, I wear glasses and it makes it annoying to look through a small window to see what I want, I really wish the EVF was bigger.
3) IBIS, I can get 2 stops, 3 stops if I use sniper training breathing, of Image Stabilization and non at all, with non stabilized lenses, in video.
4) Weather-Sealing ... none (but it did survive a few drizzels along the years)

Then it come that Panasonic relead the GX8 model and it got Eric Cartman fed on KFC level of fat, being bigger and heavier. Understandably because of 4K and to protect it from overheating, the full tilt and swivel out screen (which was very welcomed), bigger magnification and 4:3 EVF. bigger battery, bigger grip and weather sealing. Along with other improvements like newer 20MP sensor, even more buttons and dials, 4K video and photo modes, more ports. I didnt upgrade because the camera felt a bit to big and I wanted to wait for Panasonic GX9 with, hopefully 6K video and/or photo modes, focus bracketing (Panasonic GX8 did not get it as firmware upgrade even though it should be capable).

Then Panasonic came with 3 extra-ordanary cameras: the most well rounded and praised camera: Panasonic G80/85 ... one of the best video oriented cameras: Panasonic GH5 .... one of the best photo oriented cameas: Panasonic G9 ... all exceptional cameras ... but big in size and I wanted something more compact, stealthy, light-er ... so I bought an (admitedly used because of some budget restraints) Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II, which I am still trying to get used to it since I have it for only 30 days (and a bad time of the year of taking pictures).

Now Panasonic comes with Panasonic Lumix GX9, the successor to GX8 (but in Japan called Panasonic Lumix GX7 Mark III, so what camera is it really?!?). The good things first:
1) They went back to more compact and lighter camera (perfect for going on travel and out in the town without feeling bulky) while still keeping a decent wrap around grip (instead of clawing with the finger like the Olympus OM-D E-M5 series) at 450 grams fully loaded.
2) Upgraded IBIS BUT ...
3) 20MP sensor without AA filter with great Dynamic Range BUT ...
4) Shutter shock free new Mecanical Shutter BUT ...
And this is where things don't hold up to well, the downsides:
1) No Weather-Sealing .... WHY ?!? If its a successor to Panasonic GX8 then why lose a feature that is so well across the board (Panasonic G80/85, GX8. GH4, GH5, G9), this really angered me because it would have made a great feature with the Panasonic 12-35mm f 2.8 or Panasonic 12-60mm f 3.5-5.6/2.8-4.
2) Back to 16:9 small eye relief EVF that feels cramped.
3) Back to tilt only back screen (I forgot how much I missed it for vertical low/high angle pictures)
4) Same 3 year old 20MP sensor with not much improvement at the sensor level (just better processing engine).
5) Gone is the 1/8000 second shutter speed that Panasonic GX7 and GX8 had (I found it very useful in summer, bright daylight, with f 2.8 or faster lenses).
6) The IBIS is not to the same level as Panasonic G9 or GH5, 5 axis with 4 stops.
7) 4K at 30 FPS only, no 4K 60 FPS, no 6K 30 FPS, no 1080p 120 FPS.
8) Smaller battery takes a big hit on battery life: 250 shots ?!? Thats the old Sony A7 level of battery life. At least it has Eco mode and the ON/OFF switch is very conveniant and easy to use.

After the excelent cameras Panasonic realeased so far I was getting the feeling that they are starting to listen to their customers and building an excellen arsenal of cameras ... but then I remember the death of Panasonic GM line, the radical (and unliked) changes from Panasonic G2 to G3. 3 years has been longe since the last Panasonic GXx camera but for the long wait I feel I didnt get much of improvement, same sensor, downsize of features ... this is more like Panasonic GX95 ... and maybe why in Japan is called Panasonic GX7 Mark III, it really feels like the old Panasonic GX7 with 4K 30 FPS and 20MP sensor. I was willing to change my Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II for Panasonic GX9 if it hadn't lost the features of GX8 and improved on them instead. Maybe Panasonic GX10 then ? Who knows, but Panasonic please dont lose your way and steam after the really good releases in the last couple of years. Olympus doesnt have rangefinder style cameras, yet and they are my favorite format for on the streets and travel camera (just want them to be a bit more rugged and shutter shockless).

Sorry for the long post but it has been like a rock on my chest and I had to throw it down.
 

Steven

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They really should not have called it GX9. With that name, people expected a high end camera like GX7/8. But it's really more of a lower end camera with cheaper specs like GX85. That's why there's no 1/8000 shutter, no WR, no mic jack, a poor EVF, and probably lesser build quality.
I also switched from GX7 to EM5II. Mainly for the bigger viewfinder. I almost got GX8 instead. I think its size is just fine. In fact , very comfortable to hold IMHO while staying stylish, where blob-like grip of GX7 is not very attractive IMHO. for the EM5, an add-on grip is a must IMO.
I think eventually Panasonic will release another high end rangefinder style camera like GX8. Maybe they don't think there's enough new tech to put into it right now to justify upgrade by current owners?
 
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WT21

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Sorry man. tl;dr, but basically, the GX9 is a direct descendent from the GX7, and pretty strongly related back to the GF1. It's a pretty clear compact/RF form. If they had NEVER released a GX8, there would be no confusion, really.
 

L0n3Gr3yW0lf

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Olumps has no EVF rangesfinder style camera, so far, Pen F is just a more fancy and expensive E-P5 with 20MP sensor with no AAN

The reason I switched to Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II was because it has some features Panasonic G80 didn't had (or else I would have gone with that one instead):
1) Better IBIS with non IS lenses
2) 12 bit RAW compared to 10 bit RAW in electronic shutter
3) Bigger EVF
4) Live Composite/Live Bulb modes
5) 40MP composite (but Im learning the limitations of it more and more)
6) More compact size

I have yet to learn all the ins and outs yet but I am sure I will be hangig with this camera fr a couple of years till new sensor and processors come out.
 

JensM

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The "trouble" with this one is that it is something in between the current line-up and models, I was rooting for the somewhat smaller form factor, but not giving up on the top end specs of the GX8. This so-called GX9 are much more a GX90 as I see it, taking the natural step and getting the 20mp sensor and upgraded shutter and that is pretty much it, if one disregards the optional hand grip and eye-mussel.

The GX8 is a high end model, this one, not so much but it makes a mess of the GX model line-up with 1, 2 and 3 numerals for the different segments of cameras. So much for consolidation...

Wonder where they jump next?
 

50orsohours

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Olumps has no EVF rangesfinder style camera, so far, Pen F is just a more fancy and expensive E-P5 with 20MP sensor with no AAN

The reason I switched to Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II was because it has some features Panasonic G80 didn't had (or else I would have gone with that one instead):
1) Better IBIS with non IS lenses
2) 12 bit RAW compared to 10 bit RAW in electronic shutter
3) Bigger EVF
4) Live Composite/Live Bulb modes
5) 40MP composite (but Im learning the limitations of it more and more)
6) More compact size

I have yet to learn all the ins and outs yet but I am sure I will be hangig with this camera fr a couple of years till new sensor and processors come out.

The PenF indeed has the AA filter.
 

rezatravilla

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:hmmm: I though no AA filter is on trending. GX9 also no AA filter. Also Pen F is a rangefinder style camera.

I think GX9's name should be GX86 since the body looks similar with GX85. Well GX85 that goes gym to add more muscles.
 

kingduct

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You know, I can see why people wanted a GX9 that was truly a followup to the GX8.

That said, I don't think it's the end of the world that that won't be coming. The G9 essentially offers everything you want, except for the body style. Heck, the G85 does as well (though it uses the 16mp sensor). And, the E-M5 is due for a refresh and it'll also likely meet all your needs.

My guess is that Panasonic decided that most people who want a rangefinder-style camera want the camera to be small. So, they decided to make that camera.
 

bikerhiker

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I totally understood why they went with a GX9 design and abandoned the GX-8 design. GX-8 never did sell that well. It's too expensive, too big and chunky hovering on the size of the Sony A7 series which is full frame. The GX-8 lost some of m43 mojo, which is a compact rangefinder which made the GX-7 and GX85 popular. I always thought the GX-8 should be a $999 US camera rather than the $1199 US camera. Traditionally, medium tier cameras are sold below the $1000 USD level, which is exactly the price the GX-9 is now. In order to achieve this price reduction, weather sealing and 1/8000 will need to go. IBIS took on the older tech as this technology had already been amortized in earlier models. What happened is that, Panasonic went back to the true and tried tactics that cameras in the 90s, 2000s and 2010 before the camera sales crash did. Produce a mid-tier product with some trickle down tech from the flagship model and sell it below $1000 USD.

Weather sealing is not a top priority for the majority of shooters as those who tend to shoot in the rain either will get a GH series or the OMD E-M1/M5 series anyhow. And you need weather sealing lenses which are mostly higher priced zoom lenses. Mostly people think just because you have a weather sealed camera, you can use a non-weather sealed lens and get weather sealing. Nope, but I see this often in meetups where people had this distorted knowledge -- buying the best weather sealed OMD only to have a non-weather sealed lens attached to it shooting in inclement weather. At least, most of these people stop shooting when the rain starts.

Here in Canada, used GX-8s can be had for $650 Cad to $750. GX-9 is actually a pretty good body for what it is..
 

Hypilein

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I paid 550€ for a new GX8 after selling of the 12-35 f2.8 that came with it. I assume if one is looking for a deal, GX8s will be amazing value for money very soon. I am happy to live with the slight restrictions on tech (although I seriously don't get why the GX8 didn't get focus stacking via Firmware).
 

D7k1

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I for one will be looking at either the EM5 III or the PenF III and that's after buying 2 Gx8 and a Gx85. I often use my Gx8's with 12-35/PL100-400 in the rain because I live in Oregon. If I want a a bigger format I'd be shoot an A7 of some sort or a D500 and a 300 f2.8 and TC 1.4. The new Gx9 is a nice 20 mp upgrade to the Gx85 but they sold so many of the Gx85's with the "deals" that I don't know if any of those folks will "upgrade". As I am thinking now I will probably go PenF or wait a year a get a refurb G9 at the same price I would have paid for a "real" Gx9.

But in reality for what I shoot, my Gx8's and Gx85 plus Edge 7 S phone really cover it all. So waiting a year or two to what shakes out in the market is really no big deal. I love Panasonic cameras and Olympus cameras as well, so I will happily use my current stuff.

L0n3Gr3yW0lf said
"Panasonic GX8 did not get it as firmware upgrade even though it should be capable" Yes it did in a firmware upgrade called "post focus".
 

WT21

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In order to achieve this price reduction, weather sealing and 1/8000 will need to go.

I agree with everything else you posted, but just wanted to point out -- the GX7 had 1/8000 shutter speed, but the GX85 and GX9 use the new electro magnetic (or whatever it is) shutter. On the GX85, that has 1/160 flash sync speed and did 8fps. On the GX9, it is 1/200 sync and 9 fps. It would be nice if they continue to improve that shutter so the GX10 would have 1/8000 and 1/250 sync (For me, 8 or 9 fps is plenty. YMMV).

On a side note -- Let's compare to the Fuji lineup.
  • XT series, for DSLR-like handling (Panny's G series),
  • X-A series for no VF and compact (GX850),
  • XE series (GX85/GX9)
  • Xpro series (GX8)
Even in Fuji land, that "big" rangefinder is a niche product for them, gets the fewest revisions, and clearly is beloved by those who love it, but not their hottest seller.

I don't think the GX8 concept is dead to Panny, but I think revisions will be fewer between, and the next time, it will have some funky new name.
 
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On a side note -- Let's compare to the Fuji lineup.
  • XT series, for DSLR-like handling (Panny's G series),
  • X-A series for no VF and compact (GX850),
  • XE series (GX85/GX9)
  • Xpro series (GX85)
Even in Fuji land, that "big" rangefinder is a niche product for them, gets the fewest revisions, and clearly is beloved by those who love it, but not their hottest seller.

I don't think the GX8 concept is dead to Panny, but I think revisions will be fewer between, and the next time, it will have some funky new name.

I disagree with that comparison. The Fuji XEs would be the GX85 while the Xpro's would be equivalent to the GX8 or Pen F. They are Fuji's high end product.
 

WT21

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I
The GM “line” was only two cameras.

GM1 was replaced by the GF7 and current GX850.

GM5, which is what I use, is replaced by the GX9. GX9 is heavier, but at least it’s lighter than the GX85 (GX7 Mk II), it’s predecessor. That gives me hope for the GX10.

I believe the GM1 and GM5 are simply a dead line. Neither was actually "replaced" by anything. Their form factor and functions are orphaned, which is a shame.
 

Hypilein

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I'm new to Panasonic and am curious how many new features have been added down the road in firmware upgrades (other than fixes and new lens support). I get the feeling that rarely happens.

The GX8 did get the 4k focus feature (whatever the name), which makes the absence of focus bracketing even more strange (and sad). I just don't care about a picture mode that gives me 8mp jpegs.
 
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