Merry Christmas to All With Some Lumix News

Posted Dec. 24th, 2017 by Daniel J. Cox

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Gift Giving, or whatever you celebrate as long as it’s positive to your fellow homo sapiens. I thought I would share some Lumix news snippets for the holiday season including some preliminary tests with the new Leica 200mm with 1.4X and 2X teleconverters and Lumix G9.

Panasonic Image App

First up is the updated Panasonic Image App. It’s a great tool for transferring photos from your Lumix cameras to your phone or tablet. I also use it to shoot some of the videos I do for myself. Like the one below I did for Mike’s Camera promoting my upcoming Denver, Colorado event.

I also use it to transfer images to my iPad when in the field shooting with our NE Explorers on our Invitational Photo Tours to make it easier to show exactly what I’m seeing. They love it! It’s much better than shooting an image and pulling it up on the back of the camera LCD. I find it’s a great teaching tool.

Panasonic Image app, wireless, Lumix

Look for the Panasonic Image App on Apple’s App store or Google Play.

The newest version has support for the GH5 and remote control via Bluetooth only. I’m guessing this feature is to take advantage of the lower power requirements of the newest Bluetooth technology. The app is something I use regularly, and thanks to constant updates by Panasonic each iteration makes the connection process easier and more consistent.

Lumix G9 Still Photographic Beast

I recently received the new Lumix G9—what a fabulous new piece of photographic machinery. The shutter sound is the finest I’ve ever heard on any camera. Obviously, that’s not imperative in the scheme of things, but it just sounds like pure, unadulterated quality! Silky, soft, super quiet, and very smooth. I’m planning a much longer in-depth review after I’ve had more time, but here are a few tidbits I’m loving right out of the gate and below that some things I hope to get used to.

         Love These Features
  • Smaller than the GH5, slightly larger than the G85
  • WB, ISO and +/- Exposure Comp button, best placement of any camera today
  • Same battery as GH4 & GH3. It’s a great advantage to keep same batteries across models.
  • Ability to charge the battery via USB while in the camera.
  • 6.5-stop in-camera image stabilization for shorter lenses
  • 20.3-megapixel sensor with no low pass filter
  • No blackout between frames even at 20 FPS
  • Huge 0.83X (in full-frame camera terms) EVF that has three adjustable settings
  • Two UHS-II SDXC card slots. Other cameras only have one that is SDXC UHS-ll. That’s a big deal.
  • Better high ISO noise characteristics. I’m seeing about 1 stop improvement. JPEGs look amazing.
  • 9FPS AFC with mechanical shutter. 20FPS AFC with electronic shutter
  • 60FPS electronic shutter in AFS mode.
  • 6K Photo Mode that like the GH5 gives us 18-megapixel stills shot at 30FPS in video mode.
  • 80-megapixel high-resolution shot mode. Can’t wait to try this on landscapes in New Zealand.
  •  Updated and improved DFD (Depth From Defocus) for better tracking of fast moving subjects.
  • Bluetooth LE 4.2 and Wi-Fi (5GHz) is also built-in, for connection to smart devices.
         Things I’m Trying to Get Used To
  • Top LCD panel like I had on my Nikons. Not a huge fan of this change. I prefer the GH5 setup but other reviewers are singing its praises.
  • Mode Control Dial on the left side of camera, ontop of the shutter frame dial. Hard to see FPS icons beneath dial with my aging eyes
  •  On/Off button beneath Shutter Button, just like Nikon’s I used shoot. Muscle memory has learned the GH5 and other Lumix On/Off switch placement and I’m having a heck of a time remembering its position on the G9.
  • Buttons on back of camera. Different positions than GH5, GH4, GH3. Hard to get used to

Leica 200mm & 1X & 2X Teleconverters Lens Test Charts

Like the Lumix G9, the new Leica 200mm F/2.8 is absolutely oozing professional grade. It has a buttery smooth aperture ring at the front of the barrel. The manual focus band, made of metal, also has the feel of polished perfection. The build of this lens is one of heft with ultra fine craftsmanship and gives the impression you could use it to crack ice for the celbratory drink you’ll want to enjoy after purchasing such a fine piece of glass. Panasonic is really perfecting their pro lenses and they’ve become impossible to ignore.

Leica 200mm with 1.4X and 2X teleconverters Lumix G9

The Lumix G9 and new Leica 200mm F/2.9. Photo courtesy of Lumix G Experience

The lens incorporates Dual IS capabilities when used with a Lumix body with IBIS and by all accounts, mine included, it’s getting 6.5 stops of Dual IS. In other words, the rule of thumb that states you should use a shutter speed equal to or greater than the lens you’re shooting to get sharp handheld images is out the window. With 6.5 stops of Dual IS you can take that 400mm down to a shutter speed of 1/15th to 1/8th of a second, handheld for goodness grief. This technology is hard to believe.

Leica 200mm with 1.4X and 2X teleconverters Lumix G9

A series of images shot with several lens combinations including the Leica 200mm F/2.8 by itself as well as with the new Lumix 1.4X and 2.0X teleconverters. I also included samples of the Olympus 40-150mm F/2.8 with the Olympus 1.4X teleconverter and for good measure I added the Leica 100-400mm. Click on this link to Download full size Tiffs Password: lenstests

One thing that becomes pretty obvious is the difference between all the lens combinations relating to vignetting. When you look at the comparison of pictures in Mylio above, you notice there is one—the last image in the lower right corner—that exhibits pretty serious vignetting. That image is from the Leica 100-400mm zoom. Quite frankly this doesn’t surprise me since zooms are always more problematic when it comes to lens vignetting. Thankfully, in real world shooting situations I’ve almost never noticed this vignetting effect and it’s easily fixed with my favorite RAW conversion software DXO PhotoLab. Lightroom and Luminar 2018 also have great vignetting removal tools.

Leica 200mm with 1.4X and 2X teleconverters Lumix G9

A view of DXO’s PhotoLab with the image I fixed vignetting on.

However, sharpness is another issue. From what I can see, the new Leica 200mm F/2.8 is considerably sharper than the Leica 100-400mm. That doesn’t surprise me either. Fixed focal length lenses almost always have an advantage over zooms. What did surprise me is how good the 200mm is with teleconverters. Based on my 57-year-old eyes, the 200mm, when combined with the new Lumix 2X teleconverter, is sharper than the Leica 100-400mm when the 100-400mm is extended out to the 400mm position. That puts both lenses at an equivalent 800mm. That’s pretty amazing and will be welcomed news for those who want the slight light advantage of the 200mm with the 2X telecenter at F/5.6 compared to the 100-400mm at 800m being F/6.3. For those who wish to pixel peep I’ve uploaded originals of all the test images for download. Links to those files are below.

Leica 200mm with 1.4X and 2X teleconverters Lumix G9

Leica 100-400mm zoom processed with DXO PhotoLab using vignetting removal tool.

Lens Chart Photos for Download

Just click on the following link: Leica 200mm lens tests. Password: lenstests

Lens Chart Capture Details

All photos of the lens chart were shot with a single  Lumix FL580 strobe placed in a Speedbox 70. The single strobe was fired wirelessly using a main flash (Lumix FL360) on-camera as a commander to control the wireless FL580. All frames were shot at the widest opening, since it’s the fast glass we’re all paying for when shooting any of theses lenses. I don’t care what the lens looks like at F/8 since very seldom do I shoot in light that bright. Also, I do these tests with a flash since using stobes eliminates any possibility of softness due to camera shake or movement. With a flash you get as sharp as a lens can get.

Leica 200mm with 1.4X and 2X teleconverters Lumix G9

Lens test chart photos have been simplified by using the Strobebox 70 with the Lumix FL-580 wireless flash.

Autofocus is FAST!

I haven’t had a chance to really test the AF capabilities of the new camera or lens, but on the day I shot the video for Mike’s Camera, I jumped a small flock of mallards on an open pond. Once airborne the G9 locked on and followed their flight almost perfectly. Below is a screenshot of Mylio showing the thumbnails I’ve rated with with the typical star rating I use for AF tests. 1 star is out of focus. 2 stars is not razor sharp but good enough for Internet or general use. I  should mention I never keep any photos rated two stares based on focus. For me it’s either in focus or it’s out. But I do take into consideration images that are close to perfect for all my AF tests. Finally there is the 3 star rating that represents perfect, razor sharp focus.

Leica 200mm with 1.4X and 2X teleconverters Lumix G9, birds in flight, BIF

A screenshot of Mylio showing the thumbnails and rating for this quick group of images of mallards in flight. Lumix G9 with Leica 200mm F/2.8

The first frame is not sharp but all frames thereafter are crisply focused. You can even see water droplets falling from the underside of one duck as he flies off. I would have loved to have the birds flying at me since that’s an even tougher challenge for any AF system, but I’m very encouraged to see the AF accuracy as they made their getaway.

Birds in flight, BIF, Leica 200mm with 1.4X and 2X teleconverters Lumix G9

A trio of winter mallards take flight and head for the mountains. Lumix G9 with Leica 200mm F/2.8 lens. Notice the water droplet falling from the middle mallard.

Current RAW Support for Lumix G9

And that’s about it folks. That’s all I’ve got on this beautiful Christmas morning, snow falling outside our window and Andy Williams on Pandora. I hope this finds one and all in great spirits and hopefully surrounded by friends and family.

Leica 200mm with 1.4X and 2X teleconverters Lumix G9

Merry Christmas to one and all. Love Mother Earth and your fellow man.

Editorial Note

Please note that I work with Panasonic as a Lumix Luminary. Some may think this will affect my integrity regarding these kinds of reviews. Nothing could be further from the truth. I worked with Nikon, unofficially, for nearly 35 years and I never received a dime. But I did so because I believed in their products. I now feel the same about Panasonic Lumix. Panasonic approached me to become a Luminary almost ten years after first purchasing one of their cameras, the Lumix GF1. Though Panasonic pays me a small stipend annually, no amount of money is worth the trust I’ve established with my readers and people who know me. I feel it’s important for my readers to know my connection to Panasonic so you can decide for yourself. 

Add Your Voice!
There are 24 comments on this post…
  1. Evan KaminerOn Feb. 14th, 2018 (1 month ago)

    Thanks for this review Daniel. I am new to MFT with a brand new Panasonic G9. I am travelling to Costa Rica later this year to shoot the rainforest. I am debating on whether I should take my tried and true Canon 70D or my new G9. Specifically I am concerned about the speed of G9 autofocus for birds and low light dynamic range, both have had negative comments in reviews. On the other hand, I would live to take advantage of the all the MFT benefits. What is your opinion? Am I overthinking this? Maybe I should bring both? Thanks in advance.

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Feb. 15th, 2018 (1 month ago)

      Evan, I took both systems with me for a couple of years but I sold my last piece off Nikon gear 4 months ago. That was my beloved 600mm F/4. I kept that lens until the very end not wanting to have to buy it again if I changed my mind. For birds in flight I’m using the Set 2 AF Custom feature and I’m getting great results with the G9. As far as low light is concerned, with DXO PhotoLab, I feel I’m losing very, very little compared to my Full Frame Nikons. Finally I have to ask, what are you doing with your pictures? I’m printing as large as 24×36 inch Fine Art prints and if I go larger I might want to shoot full frame but up to 24×36 inches I’m extremely pleased. Let me know what you decide. Would love to hear how it goes.

  2. DeanOn Jan. 18th, 2018 (2 months ago)

    Promise not to gloat (too much)! I just placed my order for the G9. Not abandoning my Olympus E-M1 Mk 2, but figured the G9 will be a valuable addition to my gear. I’ll let you know how the two bodies stack up against each other. Fun, fun, fun!

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Jan. 24th, 2018 (2 months ago)

      It’s all good for MFT shooters for sure.

  3. KieronOn Dec. 31st, 2017 (3 months ago)

    Hi Daniel,

    I came across this review as it was linked from another well known m43 site. Your review is probably one of the best review I’ve seen on the G9 so far. I’m currently an Olympus EM1 mark 1 user with some really good glass – both Olympus Pro and Panasonic-Leica and I’m actually considering moving to Nikon. I’m wondering if you can comment on one specific aspect of the G9 which would convince me to stay with M43 overall. Does the camera nail the AF and exposure most of the time? More specifically with regards to AF, when the camera confirms it has AF lock in AF-C mode, are the images tack sharp (assuming the correct shutter speed to eliminate motion blur)?

    With regards to exposure – Nikon DSLRs such as the D850 are known for being accurate with Exposure readings and accurate ISO performance. Some other manufacturers tend to underexpose at rated ISO. My EM1 for example always seems to be a 1/2 stop underexposed when using evaluative metering.

    Overall I love everything else about the m43 ecosystem – size, weight, affordable pro glass (comparatively speaking) and would love to stay – but the frustration of not nailing critical focus is driving me bananas right now.

    Note I’ve also rented both the EM1 Mark II and the GH5 to test for AF-C accuracy, and I can say that both are improved over my MK1, but not to the extent where I would justify spending +$2k Canadian on a body for that little of an upgrade.

    Thanks in advance,

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Jan. 10th, 2018 (2 months ago)


      I’ve not had a chance to really test the AF indepth. I plan on doing that with a final version of the G9. I currently have a prerelease model. As far as exposure, it’s working perfectly but then I’ve never felt exposure accuracy was ever an issue on any of my Lumix cameras as long as I’m following the histogram. AF is a different story. I’m hopeful the G9 will finally be THE camera to equal what I used to get with my Nikons when shooting fast moving action. I’m planning a test of both a Nikon D500 with a Nikon 400mm F/2.8 and the G9 with the Leica 200mm F/2.8 (400mm equivalent) and put them head to head with my speeding pooch test. I most likely wont be able to get this all together until I get back sometime in March. Hopefully sooner but it could be that late.

  4. Robert DessertOn Dec. 31st, 2017 (3 months ago)


    Thanks for the nice review.

    I have a question on your lighting of the ISO 12233 test chart group. Did you use another speed light on the other side to illuminate the charts more evenly or could you get by with just one?

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Dec. 31st, 2017 (3 months ago)

      I just used the one Lumix FL-580 strobe with the Speedbox-70 attached. I may purchase another Speedbox to get a little more even lighting if I continue to do these tests. My lighting isn’t perfect by any means but it does give quality enough results to judge sharpness. Thanks for joining the conversation Robert.

  5. RomainOn Dec. 30th, 2017 (3 months ago)


    Thank you for this nice review.
    I have noticed that you have tested (at least on charts) the G9 with the Olympus 40-150mm pro. Did you test it in the field ? Is there a big difference in term of autofocus performance with lense that does not support DFD tech?
    I love my 40-150mm pro on my olympus bodies, but this G9 seems to have every aspect I was expecting from E-m1 mk2. If AF performance is good with the 40-150mm I may be switching to Pana for my main body.

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Dec. 30th, 2017 (3 months ago)

      Romain, sorry I’ve not tested the new G9 with any of the Olympus lenses, but I should. I’m on my way for a month long shoot and I’ve brought the Olympus 300mm. Had I read your comment before I left I probably would have thrown my Olympus 40-150mm in as well. But unfortunately I did not. I’ll shoot some tests with the G9 and the 300mm. That should give us a good idea of how the G9 does with a lens that is not using DFD technology due to it being an Olympus lens. When I get home I’ll do some additional tests, my world renowned speeding pooch test, with the 40-150mm. Be patient and stay tuned. I most likely wont get to the speeding pooch test with the 40-150 until mid March. On the road until then.

  6. Wayne WilliamsOn Dec. 30th, 2017 (3 months ago)

    Hi Dan,

    First, thank you for all the great information and insights you have shared over the years, and still continue to share. I have only commented on your blog once before, but I frequently visit your site, and really appreciate your willingness to share your knowledge and experience with others.

    Second, I have a hypothetical question for you. If you could only have one micro four thirds pro super telephoto lens, and had to choose between the Panasonic 100-400mm F4.0-6.3 pro zoom, the new Panasonic 200mm F2.8 pro prime with both teleconverters, or the Olympus 300mm F4.0 pro prime with teleconverter, which one would you choose? I believe in the past you have indicated a preference for pro zoom lenses due to their versatility, but I am curious if your preference might be different in this case.

    Thank you,

    Wayne Williams

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Dec. 30th, 2017 (3 months ago)

      Thanks for the kind comments Wayne. I enjoy sharing the many years it’s taken to TRY and prefect my photographic techniques. Still haven’t done it so that’s a good thing since I love creating stories so much and I would have nothing to do if I got it right every time. Regarding my choice of the three amazing super telephotos we now have access to. This is a very timely question since I’m struggling with this exact dilemma even as I right this.

      As you most likely know I’ve been shooting the 100-400mm ever since it was released. I also bought the Olympus 300mm F/4 and though the Olympus is a tad sharper than the 100-400mm, I’ve not shot that lens for almost a year. It’s currently sitting on a shelf in my studio. There’s two reasons. First, a zoom is just so much more convenient AND allows you to capture images that you would miss with a fixed lens like the 300mm. When I first began shooting seriously back in the late 70’s I actually purchased, what was considered the first professional quality zoom, a Nikon 80-200mm F/2.8. I was ridiculed by other photographers who thought I was nuts for buying a zoom and thinking I was going to produce professional work. At that time in my career I was specializing in what was called the Hook and Bullet magazine industry, shooting for the likes of Field & Stream, Outdoor Life and Sports Afield. My argument with these other photographers was that even if the lens is slightly less sharp, I’m going to gain so many more pictures than they were due to my ability to not have to run back and forth. And, if you understand composition, a zoom is tremendously beneficial due to ability to quickly and easily change your vision. With wildlife and natural history that’s even more important since your subjects rarely hold still. I went on to use the 80-200mm for more than four decades and still use it today and I feel the same today as I did back when I first had this epiphany.

      OK, so where do I stand with the new Leica 200mm with teleconverters, the Leica 100-400mm zoom and the Olympus 300mm F/4? Right now I’m on the fence between the new Leica 200mm and the Leica 100-400mm zoom. I’m going to know more after the month of January since I’m leaving today for Bosque del Apache to spend almost the entire month shooting the new Leica 200mm and converters. My gut feeling is I will still be reaching for the 100-400mm attached at times but I’m going to give them both a chance, side by side, and make my mind up after this shoot. Without a doubt the 200mm is sharper than the 100-400mm but once again, you can’t argue or deny the benefits of a zoom that allows you to change focal lengths with the twist of your wrist.

      Thanks again for the kind comments and even more for coming to join the conversation. I’m glad you stop by now and again. Would love to have your input when you feels it’s appropriate.

    • Wayne WilliamsOn Dec. 30th, 2017 (3 months ago)

      Dan, thanks again for more great information and insights. I look forward to hopefully hearing more on the subject after January. I believe Bosque del Apache was also one of the main locations you visited while evaluating the 100-400mm zoom, so it seems fitting to evaluate the 200mm prime with teleconverters at the same location. Wayne

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Dec. 30th, 2017 (3 months ago)

      Astute observation Wayne. Yes, Bosque del Apache is where we first got our hands on the new Leica 100-400mm. Just kind of coincidence really. Wasn’t intentionally planned this way. However, it is such a great place for flying birds and I love action shooting so it’s part of the raison I get there now and again.

  7. James RomeOn Dec. 30th, 2017 (3 months ago)

    But they ruined the camera with the artificial 29-minute video limit. I can’t use it to video our orchestra concerts. Why did Panasonic do this? The GX-8 has no limit other than battery and SD card size.
    Maybe you can convince Panasonic to change this?

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Dec. 30th, 2017 (3 months ago)

      James, I’m sorry to hear you feel the G9 is “ruined” due to a shortened video capture time. You have to realize that Panasonic built this camera mainly for still photography. I was actually at a meeting with them in Osaka, three years ago, when I first saw the prototype GH5 and it was during that meeting that I suggested we needed a more “stills centric” camera. To my dismay they built one! That’s what the G9 is with some better than average video thrown in. But… if you need even better video capabilities they have the world class GH5 with unlimited video capture. I appreciate you wanting me to discuss the idea of the G9 needing more video time but quite frankly, they’ve given me exactly what I thought was important in a stills camera and it would be unfair to drop them a note now and suggest otherwise. With the G9 and the world class leading video of the GH5 we now have the best of both worlds in cameras that cost a fraction of what this same technology cost in past video cameras. And technology that’s not even been available in even the top end Pro DSLR’s for stills. We’ve got it really good James and Panasonic should be commended for having the courage and the interest in building specific models for both stills and video shooters. Sorry not to see it from your point of view but from mine, Panasonic is hitting the ball out of the filed on a regular basis and the G9 is just the latest example.

  8. John HInkeyOn Dec. 28th, 2017 (3 months ago)

    I cannot get the password to work to get the 200mm test images – is there something I’m missing?
    The message it gives:
    “Sorry, we can’t find an account matching that email and password. Please re-check your information and try again.”

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Dec. 28th, 2017 (3 months ago)

      John, I made a mistake with the password on the backend. Please try it now and let me know how it goes. Password: lenstests
      Sorry for the confusion and thanks for joining the conversation.

  9. frankOn Dec. 27th, 2017 (3 months ago)

    This camera promises so much. What I am really happy about is the great resolutions that bring when shooting landscape.
    it has better video because of the higher frames this mirror less easily reach new audience because of the outstanding features of stabilization . I have been a big fan of this camera that has inspired me to write a short review myself.
    a quick detail review is here:

    hope this camera really delivers

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Dec. 27th, 2017 (3 months ago)

      Thanks for your input Frank.

  10. ZiggyOn Dec. 26th, 2017 (3 months ago)

    What were your AF custm settings for the birds? Default?

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Dec. 27th, 2017 (3 months ago)

      Ziggy, my AF settings were as follows:

      1). Camera set to AFC
      2). Shutter Burst Set to High
      3). AF Setting (photo) Set 1 (Default options)

    • Louis BerkOn Dec. 30th, 2017 (3 months ago)

      Daniel, thanks for the review. Do you use mechanical or electronic shutter? If electronic do you see much or any rolling shutter? I have a G9 on order so I’m interested in what other are discovering about the camera. I’m still a bit in two minds as I own the GH5 and I would not want to keep both cameras.

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Dec. 30th, 2017 (3 months ago)

      I almost always shoot in mechanical shutter Louis. But I can certainly do some tests and give you some feedback. I’m headed for Bosque del Apache for three of our Invitational Photo Tours for the month of January. I’ll be shooting the G9 and the new Leica 200mm F/2.8 so I’ll add Rolling Shutter tests to the list of things I hope to check on. Thanks for joining the conversation.

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