Panasonic G9 vs G85: How Impressive Is It?

Panasonic has just released their upgrade to the G85 -> the G9, and the changes are quite impressive.

From a sensor upgrade to over 20 megapixels, and the addition of 60fps on the 4K video, they certainly know how to tantalize us into buying new gear.

There are also a whole bunch of big and small changes to this model, which are definitely worth exploring further.

To make it easy to compare, I have included a table below with the majority of the main / important features and specs. 

Then, below that is a more detailed comparison, so you can dive into the areas that matter more to you.

PANASONIC LUMIX G9 Mirrorless Camera Body, 20.3 Megapixels plus 80 Megapixel High-Resolution Mode, 5-Axis Dual I.S2, DC-G9KBODY (USA Black)
PANASONIC LUMIX G85 4K Mirrorless Camera, with 12-60mm Power O.I.S. Lens, Dual I.S. 2.0, 16 Megapixels, 3 Inch Touch LCD, DMC-G85MK (USA BLACK)
Size
3.8 x 3.6 x 5.4 inches
2.9 x 3.4 x 5
Weight
1.45 lb / 658g (Body Only)
1.11 lb / 505g (Body Only)
Sensor
20.3 MOS sensor
16 MOS sensor
Autofocus
225 points
49 points
View Finder
3,680K-dot OLED Live View Finder with 100% field of view
2360K-dot OLED Live View Finder with 100% field of view
Stablization
5-Axis Dual I.S. 2.0 (up to 6.5 stops at low shutter speeds)
5-Axis Dual I.S. 2.0 (up to 5 stops at low shutter speeds)
Video
4K: 60p, 30p, 1920 x 1080 (Full HD): 60p, 30p, 24p; 1280 x 720 (HD): 60p, 30p; 640 x 480 (SD): 30p
4K: 30fps, 1920 x 1080 (Full HD): 30p, 24p; 1280 x 720 (HD): 60p, 30p; 640 x 480 (SD): 30p
Aspect Ratios
1:1, 4:3, 3:2, 16:9
1:1, 4:3, 3:2, 16:9
ISO Options
100 - 25600
100 - 12800
Shutter Speeds
1/8000 to 60 sec
1/4000 to 60 sec
Continuous Shooting (fps) Max.
9fps (AFC) and 12fps (AFS)
6fps (AFC) and 9fps (AFS)
Built-in Flash
3.0 inch Touch LCD Screen
Timelapse
Wireless Connectivity
Wifi, Bluetooth
Wifi
Battery Life
400 shots
330 shots
PANASONIC LUMIX G9 Mirrorless Camera Body, 20.3 Megapixels plus 80 Megapixel High-Resolution Mode, 5-Axis Dual I.S2, DC-G9KBODY (USA Black)
Size
3.8 x 3.6 x 5.4 inches
Weight
1.45 lb / 658g (Body Only)
Sensor
20.3 MOS sensor
Autofocus
225 points
View Finder
3,680K-dot OLED Live View Finder with 100% field of view
Stablization
5-Axis Dual I.S. 2.0 (up to 6.5 stops at low shutter speeds)
Video
4K: 60p, 30p, 1920 x 1080 (Full HD): 60p, 30p, 24p; 1280 x 720 (HD): 60p, 30p; 640 x 480 (SD): 30p
Aspect Ratios
1:1, 4:3, 3:2, 16:9
ISO Options
100 - 25600
Shutter Speeds
1/8000 to 60 sec
Continuous Shooting (fps) Max.
9fps (AFC) and 12fps (AFS)
Built-in Flash
3.0 inch Touch LCD Screen
Timelapse
Wireless Connectivity
Wifi, Bluetooth
Battery Life
400 shots
PANASONIC LUMIX G85 4K Mirrorless Camera, with 12-60mm Power O.I.S. Lens, Dual I.S. 2.0, 16 Megapixels, 3 Inch Touch LCD, DMC-G85MK (USA BLACK)
Size
2.9 x 3.4 x 5
Weight
1.11 lb / 505g (Body Only)
Sensor
16 MOS sensor
Autofocus
49 points
View Finder
2360K-dot OLED Live View Finder with 100% field of view
Stablization
5-Axis Dual I.S. 2.0 (up to 5 stops at low shutter speeds)
Video
4K: 30fps, 1920 x 1080 (Full HD): 30p, 24p; 1280 x 720 (HD): 60p, 30p; 640 x 480 (SD): 30p
Aspect Ratios
1:1, 4:3, 3:2, 16:9
ISO Options
100 - 12800
Shutter Speeds
1/4000 to 60 sec
Continuous Shooting (fps) Max.
6fps (AFC) and 9fps (AFS)
Built-in Flash
3.0 inch Touch LCD Screen
Timelapse
Wireless Connectivity
Wifi
Battery Life
330 shots

The Difference In Features & Specs

The following are the differences in the specifications that are worth noting:

  • Weight & Size: the new G9 is significantly larger and heavier than the G85, with nearly 1 inch width and 0.5 inch height, giving us 1/3 of a pound more weight. But that is about the only downside.
  • Battery life: Of course, the G9 has some awesome benefits too, one of them being the extra battery life (400 shots vs 330 shots on the G85)
  • check
    Autofocus: WOW! The G9 has 225 focus areas vs 49 in the G85. What more do you need to say about that. Oh yeah, autofocus is as fast as 0.04 seconds in some conditions too.
  • Burst rate: 12fps instead of 9fps on the AFS, quite a jump in burst mode.
  • Movie formats: We all know Panasonic excels in this area, and it is not surprising they have upped their game with 60fps on 4K. They also give you up to 180fps in 1080p, a special slo-mo mode many of you will love. Something the G85 has no chance keeping up with. So those that love movies, will have to consider the G9.
  • check
    Image Stablisation: Both use the ever-impressive IS from Panasonic, but the G9 has slightly more stabilisation at 6.5 stops vs 5.0.
  • Bluetooth: This has been added to the G9, which is always a welcome addition given how painful wifi can be for connecting to anything from a device.
  • check
    SD Card Slots: Ok, the G85 has a single UHS-II card slot, which is fine. But the G9 has given you way more options with 2! Backup, relay, or format allocation recording are now available.
Panasonic Lumix G9 vs G85 Top View

Panasonic Lumix G9 vs G85 Top View

The Difference In The Body & Controls

The G9 is quite a bit larger and heavier, and comes with some impressive features, but how does it differ in the body?

The biggest things that stand out to me are:

  • Backlit LCD status screen: Great for knowing  exactly what you are shooting in (ISO, shutter, mode etc) at a glance, the LCD status screen is here for the first time on this camera
  • View Finder: The LCD screen is great, but we all know that in bright conditions you really want to immerse yourself in the camera and see what it sees - exactly. Panasonic have taken this a step further with the over 3k dots and 0.84 magnification (you can scale it back if it is too much). You can also see the nice round rubber seal on it to help immerse you too.
  • check
    AF Joystick: The 225 focus areas on the G9 are impressive, but now you can also move them either on the screen or via a toggle (bottom right of the viewfinder)
  • ISO/WB and Exposure: If you are shooting stills on the G9, you will love the easy access to these functions right by the adjustment dial behind the shutter button. Instead of having to fish for the on the back of the camera like on almost any other camera
  • Custom Function Switch (on front): Set your own favorite settings and switch between them with ease with the dedicated custom function switch on the front of the G9.
  • check
    External Power vis USB: With more of a professional use in mind, Panasonic have not only added 2 SD card slots in this camera, but also the ability to power the camera from the battery charger view the USB port. Great for those extra long shoots, or just when you forgot to charge your battery the night before! (Might also pay to have a backpack with built-in charger on hand :>)
Panasonic Lumix G9 vs G85 Back View

Panasonic Lumix G9 vs G85 Back View

Shared Features

Aside from all those differences, what do these cameras have in common?

  • Weather Proof Body: both have decent weather proofing. Don't throw it in a river just yet, but mild snow/rain and dust should not be a problem.
  • Wide ISO Range: From 100 - over 25600, you have lots of low light options if your lens does not have a wide enough aperture (always the better option)
  • Quality LCD: The 3 inch flip LCD with 10400 dots provides you with lots of shooting options and angles and combines with the view finder to give you all the choices you need to get that perfect shot.
  • Stabilisation: Panasonic is at the fore in this area, and both cameras are quite similar with both the in-body and lens stablisation (as well as electronic/crop style stablisation to help)
  • Video: With 4K on both, and up to 60fps on the G9, this still photo style camera also does a decent job at video, albeit with a shooting limit of 30 mins (G9). If you want unlimited, go with the GH5 as it's built for video!

Yes, there are quite a few differences between these cameras, but the shared features are also impressive.

The big question is now, is it worth forking out that extra cash for the G9 over the G85?

Panasonic G9 Review

Panasonic G85 Review

Is The Upgrade Worth It?

The G85 is impressive enough to just grab at the more affordable price, for sure. But, the G9 is kinda tempting too, right?

If you intend on shooting a bit more action with your photography, the G9 has a slight edge with the faster shutter, great auto-focus points and the better stabilisation.

The G9 is also more for the pro with the dual SD cards, external power, easier controls and customization and better view finder. So, if you are getting more into your photography or want to, this is a better bet. Just keep in mind it's a bigger commitment, literally (size and weight).

Panasonic have given their all in the G9, so there is a lot to love!