Is sensor size really that important?

Is sensor size really that important?

By: Kevin Allen Pepper

One of these photo were taken with the LUMIX G9, one was taken with a full frame camera…

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There is one question that I get asked most often… Does shooting with the LUMIX G9 negatively effect the image quality?

Well, lets look at two very similar images… one taken with the LUMIX G9 and the 200mm f2.8, one taken with my full frame camera with my Sigma 150-600mm f5 to 6.3… The subject is the same, the point of view was the same, the same ISO settings were used. The final image size is the same, and I made sure the exact same sharpen, and denoise adjustment edits were applied to both photos just for this comparison…

I am not here to tell you that when pixel peeping of both images on my large 27″ screen there is the same exact image quality when looking side by side… after all, I am comparing a micro 4/3rd sensor to a full frame sensor. I can definitely tell the difference…

But if I looked at them for their individual merit, without a side by side comparison… I would have been happy with either image…

My point here is this. Do you take magazine cover images, or make a living off of your images? Or do you need a camera that takes quality photos to capture your vacation photos so you can post on social media, print and share with your friends and family?

Based on my experience using this LUMIX G9 for wildlife, landscape and northern lights over the last few months… you may want to consider saving some money, reduce the weight of the camera gear you carry, and take a look at the new LUMIX G9 as a VERY viable alternative.

Here is a run down on the LUMIX G9 features…

20.3MP Digital Live MOS Sensor and Venus Engine
Optimized for high-speed high-resolution imaging, the G9 packs in both a 20.3MP Light MOS Micro Four Thirds sensor and an enhanced Venus Engine processor to create sharp, detailed stills and UHD 4K video. This configuration maximizes resolution while keeping noise to a minimum, permitting the use of sensitivities up to ISO 25600. It is also very fast, enabling continuous shooting rates of up to 60 fps with AF-S and 20 fps with AF-C when using the G9’s electronic shutter or 12 fps for AF-S and 9 fps for AF-C using the mechanical shutter.

UHD 4K Video Recording
Supplementing the camera’s stellar stills feature set is UHD 4K video recording at up to 60p. The G9 offers internal recording with an 8-bit color depth and 4:2:0 sampling using Long GOP compression to keep files sizes manageable. Users also have access to various frame rates, including 60p, 30p, and 24p in UHD 4K and 60p and 24p in Full HD. Slow motion video is available in the Creative Video Mode with support for 60 and 48 fps resolution in UHD 4K and up to 180 fps in Full HD.

In order to maximize image quality, the G9 features a full-size HDMI output for using an optional external recorder to receive 8-bit 4:2:2 footage at all resolutions up to UHD 4K at 30p. Also, both a 3.5mm headphone jack and 3.5mm microphone input are available for improving audio capture.

6K and 4K PHOTO
Utilizing the G9’s video recording capabilities, a trio of still shooting modes are available for recording continuous 8MP stills at a 60 or 30 fps shooting rate or 18MP stills at a 30 fps shooting rate:

Burst: This mode will allow you to continuously record, making it ideal for instances where you need a fast frame rate in order to capture the best moment.
Pre-Burst: This mode is ideal for times when you’re unsure of the critical moment to press the shutter button and will record images one second prior to and one second after pressing the shutter button in order to give you 60 frames to choose from.

Burst (S/S): This mode most closely follows the video recording process, and allows you to playback your video, pause at the chosen moment, and use the shutter button to mark a chosen frame from the video and save it as a single 8 or 18MP frame.

Dual I.S. 2
Helping to achieve the utmost sharpness when photographing handheld, Dual I.S. 2 combines the G9’s sensor-shift image stabilization technology with lens-based image stabilization to compensate for a broader range of movement types to render sharper, clearer imagery. Dual I.S. 2 requires the use of compatible Lumix lenses featuring O.I.S. This stabilization system is able to compensate for approximately six stops of camera shake.

Body Design and Built-In Wi-Fi
A large OLED Live View Finder has an impressive 3.86m-dot resolution and 0.83x magnification for eye-level composition. This viewfinder also has a maximum refresh rate of 120 fps for clear, lag-free imagery.

A larger screen means for image composition and playback, the 3.0″ 1.04m-dot rear LCD monitor has a free angle, tilt and swivel design to support viewing from a variety of angles. It is also a touchscreen, which permits intuitive menu navigation and settings control.

A backlit top status LCD provides immediate access to current settings without needing to raise the camera to eye level.

Dual UHS-II SD card slots are present, which provides settings such as Relay Recording to automatically switch cards when one is full; Backup Recording, which records the same data to both cards simultaneously; and Allocation Recording, which lets you save certain files to each card for easier organization.

Constructed from magnesium alloy with a die-cast frame, the G9 features a durable design that also incorporates extensive sealing at each joint, dial, and button to render it both splash- and dust-proof as well as freezeproof to 14°F.

A joystick is available on the rear of the camera to make changing many settings easier and more intuitive, such as changing a focus point.

The sleek flat-body profile incorporates both front and rear dials for intuitive control over aperture and shutter speed settings. Multiple assignable function buttons are also available, including a function lever.

Built-in 5 GHz Wi-Fi connectivity with NFC and Bluetooth 4.2 Low Energy allows for wireless image sharing and remote camera control from linked smartphones and tablets. Bluetooth LE also enables a constant connection to your mobile device, allowing for functions such as geolocation and automatic image transfer.

225-Area Advanced Depth-From-Defocus AF System
For accelerated autofocus performance, and Advanced DFD (Depth-From-Defocus) technology is employed to quickly calculate the distance to subjects and adjust the focusing position in as little as 0.04 seconds, which enables continuous shooting up to 20 fps with continuous AF. This contrast-detection type focus method benefits both still and video recording modes, as well as subject tracking applications where subject color, size, and motion vectors are used to intelligently lock-onto the moving subjects and ensure precise focus. The sensitivity and speed can be adjusted to further improve performance with certain subjects. It also features 225 AF areas, which provide excellent control over where the camera will focus. Additionally, supporting working in low-light conditions, a Starlight AF feature enables accurate AF performance down to -4 EV.

Benefitting manual focus operation, focus peaking is available that highlights bright edges of contrast with a colored outline for quickly recognizing your focus point, as well as Touch MF Assist for touch-to-focus operation. Other AF features include an AF Point Scope setting that temporarily magnifies the subject by 3x to 10x for confirmation of the focus position and a custom selectable AF zone for Multi AF / Custom Multi AF.

80MP High Resolution Mode
By using sensor-shift stabilization technology the G9 can use a High Resolution Mode to capture and compile eight separate images to create a single 80MP raw file. This system creates a more highly detailed and color accurate image than a single shot alone can produce and can create an image with a 10368 x 7776 resolution.

Other Camera Features
A mechanical focal plane shutter enables a fast maximum shutter speed of 1/8000 sec, as well as a top flash sync speed of 1/250 sec. An electronic shutter function also avails a top shutter speed of 1/32,000 sec to better enable working in bright conditions and with wider aperture settings. This shutter is rated for approximately 200,000 actuations.

A Night Mode will automatically adjust brightness of the EVF and LCD for comfortable viewing in low-light conditions.

An optional external USB power pack can be used to supply power to the camera via its micro-USB port.

Depending on the lens in use, the included DMW-BLF19 battery provides approximately 400 shots per charge when using the rear monitor, or less with the electronic viewfinder. But put the camera in battery saver mode and you can expect up to 900  shots per charge.

Photo Style modes: Standard, Vivid, Natural, Monochrome, L. Monochrome, Scenery, Portrait, Custom, Cinelike D, and Cinelike V.

Creative Control modes: Expressive, Retro, Old Days, High Key, Low Key, Sepia, Monochrome, Dynamic Monochrome, Rough Monochrome, Silky Monochrome, Impressive Art, High Dynamic, Cross Process, Toy Effect, Toy Pop, Bleach Bypass, Miniature Effect, Soft Focus, Fantasy, Star Filter, One Point Color, and Sunshine.

Here is a link to the LUMIX G9 on the Canadian Panasonic website. CLICK HERE