Reviews

Panasonic Lumix G90/95 Review

Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr

The Panasonic G90/G95 aims to be the perfect camera for both stills photographers and video bloggers, so it’s not really a specialist in any one area but has powerful features for all kinds of photography and film making.

New features include Panasonic’s latest 20-megapixel sensor, which is a step up from the 16-megapixel sensor in the G80/G85 and Panasonic’s cheaper mirrorless cameras, but still not quite up to the level of the larger 24-megapixel sensors in rival digital cameras like the Canon EOS M50, Sony A6400 and Fujifilm X-T30.

But what it lacks in outright sensor size (Micro Four Thirds sensors are roughly half the dimension in the area of APS-C), the G90/G95 makes up for with high-tech features, dual-lens and body image stabilisation, 4K video with the option of Panasonic’s pro-level V-Log L mode for 12-stop dynamic range when colour grading video footage on a computer, new Live View Composite and ‘stromotion’ modes and more. You can find out more about this camera’s functions in our Panasonic G90/G95 news story.

Specifications

Sensor: 20.3MP Live MOS Micro Four Thirds
Image processor: Venus
Autofocus: DFD contrast AF
Video: 4K UHD at 30p, 25p, 24p
Viewfinder: OLED EVF, 2.36m dots, 100% coverage, 0.74x magnification
Memory card: SD (UHS-II compatible)
LCD: 3-inch free-angle touchscreen, 2.1m dots
Max burst: 9fps, 6fps with CAF
Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
Size: 148.9 x 110.0 x 96.7mm (body only)
Weight: 1,016g (body only, with battery and SD card)

Build and Handling

Unlike Panasonic’s rectangular rangefinder-style GX80/GX85 and Lumix GX9 models, the G90/G95 is styled more like a compact DSLR, with the electronic viewfinder mounted centrally on the lens’s optical axis on the top of the camera, just like the Lumix G80/G85 before it, and like a smaller version of Panasonic’s range-topping Lumix G9 model. The body feels about the same size as a concise DSLR, but the smaller Micro Four Thirds sensor format means that the lenses are correspondingly smaller sized too, so the Panasonic 12-60mm kit lens fitted to the sample cameras is quite light and compact, despite its wide 24-120mm effective zoom range.

Your body itself feels light but well made and has a magnesium alloy front frame and extensive weather sealing around every joint, dial and button. Panasonic says it’s been redesigned and improved for maximum comfort and easy one-handed operation. It already feels chunky and ‘grippable’, but it will also be possible to fit the same optional battery grip used by the existing Lumix G80/G95.

The electronic viewfinder has a resolution of 2.36 million dots, which is less than half that of the new Lumix S full-frame cameras, but thanks to its OLED technology it still looks very sharp and crisp nonetheless and contains a decent 0.74x magnification as well as 100% frame coverage. Unusually, the vari-angle touchscreen display on the back of the camera uses OLED technology too. The screen flips out to the side but can also be folded flat against the back of the digital camera, either facing outwards for image and information screen or dealing with inwards to protect it during viewfinder shooting – and the hinge mechanism feels reassuringly solid.

The menu system on this camera is bold, clear and concise, and a lot nicer to navigate through than some we’ve tried. One noticeable design change compared to the previous model is the addition of three new buttons at the top of the camera for adjusting the white balance, ISO setting and exposure compensation – and they have different top surfaces to make them easier to recognise by touch alone.

There are two separate front and rear control dials on the top of the camera, and the rear dial includes a central button which, when you press it, enables white balance and ISO settings via the two control dials. There’s a third spinning control dial on the trunk, and external controls are clearly one of this camera’s strong points because they can be customised to practically any user preference with no fewer than 11 various configurable Fn dial/button settings. You can switch the autofocus mode using a lever to the right of the viewfinder eyepiece, and modification the focus area setting by pressing left on the trunk controller. The autofocus itself is extremely fast and positive and certainly seems to justify Panasonic’s faith in its contrast-based DFD autofocus system.

The top of the camera also houses the main mode dial, on the proper hand side, and a drive mode dial on the remaining – this also offers direct access to Panasonic’s trademark 4K photo modes. With the Post Focus mode, the ability to select a focus point after you’ve taken a picture still feels quite uncanny even now, though you are restricted to 8MP images (the resolution of 4K video). All of the dials and controls feel really firm, ‘tight’ and good. The G90/G95 is far from being a cheap digital camera, but along with its advanced specifications, its quality build and handling do feel in line with its price.

The memory card door opens to reveal just a single SD/SDHC/SDXC memory slot, it is UHS-II compatible. The quoted battery life of 290 shots is mildly disappointing, but Panasonic states the G90/G95’s power save setting can extend the electric battery life to 900 shots between charges. This camera also supports USB charging, so it’ll be feasible to top up its battery utilizing a portable power bank if you find yourself away from an electricity supply.

Performance

It feels like Panasonic has ticked every possible box for specifications with this camera, and that it’s achieved the same thing with its performance. Panasonic has stuck with its DFD (depth from defocus) contrast-based autofocus where other makers have swapped to hybrid phase-detection systems, but here it’s so fast and so positive it feels as though Panasonic’s faith is justified. Focussing feels near-instantaneous, and while it’s very common to find the AF point in the wrong place when you put the digital camera to your eye, that’s typical of cameras with touch-screen focus control – it is rather easy to brush the screen with your hand or fingers as you handle the camera and change the focus stage accidentally.

The image quality is excellent too, both in the lab and in real-world shooting. The Panasonic G90/G95 will usually be sold with Panasonic’s own 12-60mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens and that’s the one we used for our tests. It’s a step down from the more expensive Leica 12-60mm f/2.8-4 option, but it still delivers great edge-to-edge detail right across its focal range.

The zoom lens range and lens performance is an important factor when choosing a camera, and the Lumix 12-60mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens offers a zoom range and an optical quality that’s a step above the average.

The colour rendition and white balance are very good. The Lumix G90/G95 renders outdoor scenes with vibrant but natural-looking colours, and indoors it’s auto white balance does a good job of removing much of the yellow cast of artificial lighting.

We had a couple of shots where the exposure was just a little bright, mostly with backlit subjects, but that’s easy enough to correct with a little exposure compensation and other cameras are just as bad or worse for this (like the Canon EOS Rebel SL3/250D).

Check Out: Best Lenses For Panasonic Lumix G95 

Verdict

The Panasonic Lumix G90/95 feels like a very well made and likeable camera with such a long list of features that it owners might never get to try them all. It’s an extremely capable stills camera, but even more impressive for 4K video capture – a Panasonic speciality. The inclusion of a V-Log mode will attract serious videographers who want the best possible video quality and are prepared to spend some time in post-production colour grading to get it.

Check Panasonic Lumix G90/95 Price and Bundles 

Write A Comment