Panasonic G95/G90/G91 Review

Introduction

Initially released in the spring of 2019, Panasonic’s G95 officially replaces the G85. It’s their latest midrange model to sit above the GX9 and below the flagship G9 and GH5. Its predecessor was arguably one of the most popular recent releases from Panasonic.

Namely due to its size, ergonomics, features, and price point. And this new release aims to build on its proven successes. On paper, it promises a larger sensor, updated video capabilities, unlimited recording time, refined autofocus, and updated ergonomics. And it takes inspiration from the higher-end GH5 and G9, in a more affordable and compact package.

Panasonic states they’ve designed this new camera with content creators and vloggers in mind. And they’re aiming it to compete with Sony’s A6400, Fujifilm’s X-T30, Nikon’s Z50, and Canon EOS RP. But, this midrange segment is arguably the most crowded and competitive segment of the industry. So how does this latest release stack up to rivals?

editors-choice-badge

“Panasonic’s latest sets a new benchmark in the midrange segment.”

Note: this camera is called the G95 in North America, or the G90 in Europe and G91 in Asia.

What are some of the goods, bads, and uglies of the Panasonic G95? 

Pros:

Image Quality

Gone is the long-standing 16MP sensor of its predecessor. Instead, it now features a 20.3MP Live MOS sensor without an Optical Low Pass Filter (OLPF) and the latest Venus Engine processor. This is a similar configuration as the flagship G9. With this new setup, the camera’s now properly oriented for large format printing and heavy cropping during post-processing. Overall, the updated sensor provides a nice step up in image quality and fine resolving power. However, this difference is more subtle than you’d imagine. But, even so, its images are sharp, detailed, and offer plenty of latitude in dynamic range. And the updated processor also yields slightly improved color science and signal to noise, closely matching the G9.

Panasonic has also updated and refined the camera’s Auto White Balance (AWB) and color science with this model. And the camera delivers even more pleasing and natural rendering. Plus, they added both the AWBc and AWBw options, increasing accuracy under certain lighting conditions.

Panasonic-G95-camera-specs

 

New for this release is the popular L. Monochrome D profile, in addition to the standard suite of color profiles. Like the predecessor, you can also enable the Grain Effect, which combines to deliver authentic film-like images.

The camera provides continuous shooting speeds of 9 FPS without AF and Live View or 6 FPS with continuous AF and tracking. These are the same figures as the predecessor. And the buffer depth also remains the same at 30 RAW or 600+ JPEGs before slowing.

Video Quality

It shoots 4K UHD video up to 30 FPS and 1080p full HD up to 60 FPS, like the predecessor. However, Panasonic’s added the High-Speed Video mode, which shoots up to 120 FPS in FHD rendered in-camera to 30 FPS. Otherwise, it offers largely similar video capabilities to its predecessor. In this case, it still shoots to the MP4 format via H.264 compression with data rates of 100 Mbps for 4K or 28 Mbps for FHD. And it supplies an 8-bit 4:2:0 signal. Overall, while mostly unchanged here, the video quality and the footage this camera delivers is excellent. The footage is sharp, with good dynamic range, contrast, and accurate color rendering.

The camera does, however, have a slight crop. In this case, shooting in 4K results in a 1.26x crop, a subtle increase over the 1.1x crop of the G80. But, shooting in 1080p does so at full sensor width. Nevertheless, this crop in 4K will reduce the camera’s field of view and alter focal length. So it’s essential to consider this when filming in 4K.

Note: shooting in the High-Speed Video mode removes both autofocus and sound. The camera will completely lock focus, and you cannot pre-focus using AF-S. The only workaround is to set your focus in the manual stills mode then switch to this mode. 

It obtains zebras for highlight warning and clipping indication.

Arguably the biggest improvement over the predecessor is the removal of the 30-minute clip limit. Instead, this camera now offers unlimited recording time, a key selling point outside the new sensor. Now, you can record so long as your battery or SD card allows. And the camera’s entirely free of any signs of overheating, making it a solid choice for long-form content.

Panasonic also included the V-Log L (Light) profile pre-installed on this camera. Shooting in this profile captures a flat and neutral gamma that increases the camera’s dynamic range to 12 stops. And it’s ideal when shooting in highly contrasting scenes, as it preserves more details in the shadows and highlights. It also offers more flexibility and greater control for post-processing. V-Log is another key selling feature. And the G90 becomes the cheapest LUMIX camera to obtain this high-end profile.

The camera also obtains both Cinelike D and V profiles, which increase its dynamic range and make the footage more suitable for editing.

The camera also outputs a clean 8-bit 4:2:2 4K signal via HDMI for use with external recorders or monitors.

Low Light Performance

Low light performance remains mostly unchanged from the predecessor, which is great considering the increase in sensor size. It features a native ISO range from ISO 200 to 25,600. And users can expect usable images up to ISO 3,200 or 6,400 with post-processing.

Focusing Performance

It obtains Panasonic’s long-standing 49-area contrast-detect AF system with Depth-from-Defocusing (DFD) technology. On paper, it’s the same system as the predecessor. And it also offers both Face and Eye-detection and AF support down to -4 EV. However, Panasonic overhauled the DFD technology with this release by improving its color, size, and motion vector detection algorithms. And this translates into better subject tracking performance, particularly when using continuous face and eye-detection. DFD is acclaimed for its speed and responsiveness when shooting stills, quickly focusing in as little as 0.07 seconds. But, even so, the G80 wasn’t great when using continuous AF. And it tended to back focus and lose track of subjects. However, with this release, Panasonic’s seemed to resolve many of these issues. And the overall AF experience is greatly improved and far more reliable than the G80.

The camera also obtains several manual focusing aids to help when manually focusing. These include focus peaking, MF guide, Touch MF Assist, and focus magnification.

Display & Viewfinder

It obtains the same OLED Live View Finder with a resolution of 2.36M dots, 0.74x magnification, and 60 Hz refresh as the predecessor. While unchanged, it’s sharp, bright, and reasonably large for a camera of this class.

It features a 3.0-inch vari-angle TFT touchscreen LCD, now with a resolution of 1.24M dots. This is an 16% improvement in resolution over the predecessor 1.04M dot display.  But otherwise, the display is mostly unchanged. Its free-angle articulation is quite versatile, particularly for hybrid shooters. And the display offers plenty of contrast, brightness, and accurate color rendering. Like the predecessor, it also offers excellent touch functionality. And it supports touch focus, touch shutter, swiping in playback, pinch to zoom, and full menu navigation.

User Interface

It features the standard Panasonic interface and menus, which closely resemble the newly released S5 and G100. The menus use a streamlined category hierarchy, and they’re well-organized. Newcomers to Panasonic and existing users should find them easily mastered and intuitive to operate.

It offers two custom shooting banks on the Mode Dial, C1 and C2, which recall registered shooting settings.

The camera offers 11 function buttons, Fn1-Fn11. And these give you enormous flexibility in customizing the physical layout to suit your style.

It obtains the Quick Menu, allowing you to change frequently used settings without using the main menu.

It obtains the customizable My Menu so you can preset a list of all your favorite main menu settings.

Physical Layout & Ergonomics

Physically, the camera obtains several design refinements from the flagship G9, but in a smaller and lighter body. In this case, it now weighs 484g body alone, a 6% increase over the predecessor. Nevertheless, it’s not a substantial enough change to notice in hand. And the camera remains exceptionally lightweight for this class.

And it still provides DSLR-styled controls and ergonomics. The vast majority of which fall on the right side of the camera, making one-handed operation quite comfortable. But, it does have a slightly deeper grip, which is quite comfortable, and well suited for those with large hands.

Additionally, the camera uses a full magnesium alloy and die-cast frame, which provides full weather sealing. It also makes the camera exceptionally rugged, tough, and freeze-proof. And this construction ultimately becomes a key selling feature over other midrange cameras at this price.

Otherwise, little has changed over the G80. The only differences are the removal of the 5-key d-pad, replaced with a rear control dial. But, this control dial does make scrolling actions substantially faster. Panasonic has also added extra buttons on the top deck, including ISO, WB, and exposure compensation, similar to the GH5.

Like the G80, it offers dual control dials to control Aperture and Shutter Speed. And it also has a dedicated video record button on the top deck for quick access.

Niche Features/Extras

It obtains the 5-axis in-body stabilization system from the G80. This system pairs with compatible lenses with Optical Image Stabilization (O.IS) to compensate for 5.0 EV stops of handshake. And it effectively lets you shoot handheld exposures at 1/5 second shutter speeds. The camera also offers E-Stablization for video, which adds a crop but enhances the results. Plus, you can also use the I.S Lock feature, which maximizes the stabilizer creating a locked-off tripod effect. Overall, while mostly unchanged in this regard, the stabilization system works well, and it’s a welcomed addition.

It features Wi-Fi and Bluetooth LE (Low Energy) connectivity. And you can wirelessly transfer images, geotagging your location, and remotely control the camera.

It has a built-in flash.

It has a microphone input. And you can adjust the levels, enable a wind noise filter or a limiter via the menu. Panasonic also repositioned the port, so it doesn’t impede the articulation of the rear screen.

It now features a headphone output, a key selling feature over the G80, which lacks the feature.

It now supports both charging and continuous power via USB.

It now has the Live View Composite Mode. In this mode, the camera records images at a set time interval and only captures changes in brightness. Doing so, you can see long-exposures develop in real-time.

It obtains HDR.

It obtains built-in panorama.

It obtains Multi-Exposures.

It obtains Panasonic’s full suite of 4K Photo Modes, including Burst, Pre-Burst, and Start/Stop. These 4K modes allow you to pull 8MP still photos from a 30 FPS video. And they’re a great option to make capturing decisive movements easier than ever.

It obtains 4K Live Cropping, which uses the 4K resolution to record digital pans or zooms while outputting a 1080p file. It’s an excellent option to perform these movements without having to do so physically or in post-processing.

It obtains the 2x Digital Teleconverter and 4x Digital Zoom. The Digital Teleconverter allows you to zoom digitally up to 2.7x times when recording HD videos, giving you more reach without a loss in quality.

It obtains Post Focus, which takes a 4K Burst while shifting the focus to different areas. And you can select the desired focus area afterward.

It obtains Focus Stacking, which uses the Post Focus feature to save an in-camera render. And the camera automatically corrects any misalignments in the images caused by shake.

It offers several bracketing options, including Auto-Exposure (AE), Aperture, Focus, and White Balance.

It has a built-in intervalometer for Time-lapses and Stop Motion Animation.

It obtains Sequence Composition, which allows you to select multiple frames from a 4K burst and combine them into a single sequence.

It has a fully silent electronic shutter. And it also obtains the Silent Mode, which disables all of the camera’s operation sounds.

It offers extensive RAW processing, allowing you to adjust white balance, photo style, saturation, filters, sharpness, and more.

Cons:

Video Capabilities

It doesn’t offer 10-bit video or the 1080p 180 FPS and 240 FPS frame rates of its more expensive siblings. For these features, you’ll want to look at the GH5.

Autofocus Performance

The camera uses the same 49-point contrast-detect AF system as the predecessor. So sadly, it doesn’t receive the higher-end 225-area system from the GH5 or G9. With that, the coverage is substantially less than these cameras. And despite the updates to DFD, it still struggles and hunts when subjects are backlit or slightly underexposed. And this AF system, while otherwise is excellent, fails in comparison to the hybrid AF systems of equivalent Fujifilm and Sony cameras.

Battery Life

It uses the BLC12PP battery, but battery life under normal circumstances is below average. Panasonic rates its battery at only 290 shots per charge or 90 minutes of 4K video, a 14% decrease from the predecessor. Thankfully, it offers the Power Save LVF Mode, which increases the lifespan to approximately 1,000 shots per charge. Typically, 350 shots per charge during everyday use is the standard for a mirrorless camera.

Lacking Features

It lacks a USB-C port. Instead, it uses the same USB 2.0 port as the predecessor, which offers substantially slower speeds than newer connection types.

The camera still uses a Micro HDMI port, which isn’t quite as sturdy when using external devices.

It doesn’t obtain the extended ISO ranges from the G9, allowing you to shoot at ISO 100. And without this range, you have slightly less control when shooting in bright scenes.

It doesn’t obtain the High-Resolution Shot Mode of the G9. Nor does it obtain the more advanced 6.5 EV stop stabilization system, AF joystick, or dual card slots. For these features, you’ll want to look at the G9.

Is this a good beginner camera?

Yes.

It makes an excellent choice as a high-end beginner’s camera. It offers both the Intelligent Auto and Auto Plus Modes, which give the camera varying levels of automatic control. But, given the enormous selection of bonuses and advanced features, it’s a supremely capable platform for long-term growth. Panasonic tends to throw every imaginable feature into their cameras, and this camera continues that trend. For that reason, it’s a strong choice for beginners and enthusiasts looking to master photography.

What are the best lenses & bundles for the Panasonic G95?

General Photography: 

LUMIX G VARIO 14-140mm, F3.5-5.6 II ASPH

Macro Photography:

LUMIX G Macro Lens 30mm, F2.8 ASPH
LUMIX G LEICA DG MACRO-ELMAR 45mm, F2.8 ASPH

Landscape & Astrophotography Photography:

LUMIX G LEICA DG SUMMILUX 15mm, F1.7 ASPH

Portrait Photography:

LUMIX G X VARIO 35-100mm, F2.8 II ASPH
LUMIX G Lens 42.5mm, F1.7 ASPH

Sports & Wildlife Photography:

LUMIX G VARIO Lens, 45-200mm, F4.0-5.6 II

Product & Still Life Photography:

LUMIX G LEICA DG MACRO-ELMAR 45mm, F2.8 ASPH

Extra Batteries:

Panasonic DMW-BLC12 Battery 

SD Cards:

Sandisk Extreme Pro 64 GB  
Lexar Professional 2000X 128GB

Tripods & Gimbals:

Manfrotto Befree Advanced Travel Tripod
E-Image 2 Stage Aluminum Video Tripod
Zhiyun Weebill S Compact Gimbal Stabilizer

Microphones & External Recorders:

Rode Wireless Go
Rode VideoMicPro

Battery Grip:

Panasonic LUMIX Battery Grip

Is this a good camera for you?

Yes.

For vloggers and content creators, this camera is a solid option for the price. And considering Panasonic aims this camera directly at this demographic, it makes sense. With its unlimited 4K, V-Log, articulating screen, headphone, and microphone ports, it’s quite a package at this price point. And it becomes arguably the most capable option, easily surpassing the A6400, EOS RP, and X-T30.

For photographers, this camera offers both the sensor and processor from the flagship G9. And it does so in a more compact and affordable package. For photography, this camera represents an attractive alternative to get the best from Panasonic, at a fraction of the price. And it’s an excellent camera for this purpose.

For hybrid shooters, it’s an excellent mid-range option that offers a serious challenge to the popular Fujifilm X-T30.

For videographers, this camera is quite capable. But, it may not suffice professional cinematographers or power users since it only offers an 8-bit 4:2:2 signal via HDMI. And it doesn’t offer 4K 60 FPS video or more advanced video-centric features such as waveforms. Thus, the GH5 or G9 would be the better options here. Otherwise, for amateurs or casual users, it’s a strong run and gun option. And at this price, it’s one of the better mirrorless cameras for video.

Current Panasonic G85 users should consider upgrading if they want the updated sensor, 1080p 120 FPS, improved autofocus, and the headphone output. These features make the G90 a worthy upgrade.

In the end, Panasonic G95/G90 proves they’re committed to developing the Micro Four Thirds ecosystem. And despite the onslaught of several mirrorless full-frame releases, it doesn’t appear they’ve moved on just yet. As a package, the G95 truly builds on the successes of the G85.  And it’s a great addition to the lineup and a capable hybrid camera. It obtains much of the high-end professional-level features from the GH5 and G9, in a small, easy to use package. Sure, it’s more of an evolution in the lineup. But, the steady refinements here have created one of the better current mid-range mirrorless cameras and a strong all-rounder.

Overview
  • Image Quality
  • Video Quality
  • Focusing Performance
  • Low Light Performance
  • Dynamic Range
  • Battery Performance
  • Display & Viewfinder
  • User Interface
  • Physical Layout & Ergonomics
3.8

Summary

Panasonic’s G95/G90 is a strong refinement over the capable G85. It brings improvements in video capabilities, a larger sensor, and better handling at a very attractive price. And to date, it’s one of the better hybrid mirrorless cameras in this segment. Panasonic has excelled and has gone light-years in functionality over rivals.