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Olympus E-M1 III vs Panasonic G9

The Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III and the Panasonic Lumix DC-G9 are two enthusiast cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in February 2020 and November 2017. Both the E-M1 III and the G9 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are equipped with a Four Thirds sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 20.2 megapixels.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Olympus E-M1 III
versus
Panasonic G9
Olympus E-M1 III   Panasonic G9
Mirrorless system camera Mirrorless system camera
Micro Four Thirds lenses Micro Four Thirds lenses
20.2 MP – Four Thirds sensor 20.2 MP – Four Thirds sensor
4K/30p Video 4K/60p Video
ISO 200-25,600 ISO 200-25,600
Electronic viewfinder (2360k dots) Electronic viewfinder (3680k dots)
3.0" LCD – 1037k dots 3.0" LCD – 1040k dots
Swivel touchscreen Swivel touchscreen
18 shutter flaps per second 20 shutter flaps per second
In-body stabilizationIn-body stabilization
Weathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
420 shots per battery charge400 shots per battery charge
134 x 91 x 69 mm, 580 g 137 x 97 x 92 mm, 658 g
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Check E-M1 III price at
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Check G9 price at
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Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III and the Panasonic Lumix DC-G9? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison

The physical size and weight of the Olympus E-M1 III and the Panasonic G9 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Olympus E-M1 III vs Panasonic G9
Compare E-M1 III versus G9 top
Comparison E-M1 III or G9 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic G9 is notably larger (9 percent) than the Olympus E-M1 III. Moreover, the G9 is markedly heavier (13 percent) than the E-M1 III. In this context, it is worth noting that both cameras are splash and dust-proof and can, hence, be used in inclement weather conditions or harsh environments.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. In this particular case, both cameras feature the same lens mount, so that they can use the same lenses. You can compare the optics available in the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog. Mirrorless cameras, such as the two under consideration, have the additional advantage of having a short flange to focal plane distance, which makes it possible to mount many lenses from other systems onto the camera via adapters.

Concerning battery life, the E-M1 III gets 420 shots out of its BLH-1 battery, while the G9 can take 400 images on a single charge of its DMW-BLF19 power pack. The battery packs of both cameras can be charged via USB, which can be very convenient when travelling.

The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.

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Body Specifications
    Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Olympus E-M1 III 134 mm 91 mm 69 mm 580 g 420 Y Feb 2020 1,799 amazon.com
2.
 
Panasonic G9 137 mm 97 mm 92 mm 658 g 400 Y Nov 2017 1,699 amazon.com
3.
 
Olympus E-M5 III 125 mm 85 mm 50 mm 414 g 310 Y Oct 2019 1,199 amazon.com
4.
 
Olympus E-M1X 144 mm 147 mm 75 mm 997 g 870 Y Jan 2019 2,999 amazon.com
5.
 
Olympus E-M1 II 134 mm 91 mm 67 mm 574 g 440 Y Sep 2016 1,999ebay.com
6.
 
Olympus E-M1 130 mm 94 mm 63 mm 497 g 350 Y Sep 2013 1,399ebay.com
7.
 
OM System OM-1 135 mm 92 mm 73 mm 599 g 520 Y Feb 2022 2,199 amazon.com
8.
 
Panasonic GH5 II 139 mm 98 mm 87 mm 727 g 400 Y May 2021 1,699 amazon.com
9.
 
Panasonic G95 130 mm 94 mm 77 mm 536 g 290 Y Apr 2019 999 amazon.com
10.
 
Panasonic GH5 139 mm 98 mm 87 mm 725 g 410 Y Jan 2017 1,999ebay.com
11.
 
Panasonic G85 128 mm 89 mm 74 mm 505 g 330 Y Sep 2016 899ebay.com
12.
 
Panasonic GX8 133 mm 78 mm 63 mm 487 g 330 Y Jul 2015 1,199ebay.com
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The G9 was somewhat cheaper (by 6 percent) than the E-M1 III at launch, but both cameras fall into the same price category. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

Sensor comparison

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units in a sensor of the same technological generation. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature a Four Thirds sensor and have a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 2.0. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the review cameras among the medium-sized sensor cameras that aim to strike a balance between image quality and portability. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3.

Olympus E-M1 III and Panasonic G9 sensor measures

The two cameras under review do not only share the same sensor size, but also offer an identical resolution of 20.2 megapixels. This similarity in sensor specs implies that both the E-M1 III and the G9 have the same pixel density, as well as the same pixel size. It should, however, be noted that the E-M1 III is much more recent (by 2 years and 3 months) than the G9, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that neither of the two cameras has an anti-alias filter installed, so they are able to capture all the detail the sensor resolves.

The E-M1 III has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.

Both cameras have the capacity to capture high quality composite images by combining multiple shots after shifting the sensor by miniscule distances. This multi-shot, pixel-shift mode is most suitable for photography of stationary objects (landscapes, studio scenes).

The Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III has a native sensitivity range from ISO 200 to ISO 25600, which can be extended to ISO 64-25600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Panasonic Lumix DC-G9 are ISO 200 to ISO 25600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-25600.

Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors. Both cameras use a Bayer filter for capturing RGB colors on a square grid of photosensors. This arrangement is found in most digital cameras.

E-M1 III versus G9 MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.

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Sensor Characteristics
    Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
1.
 
Olympus E-M1 III Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/30p23.313.1135676
2.
 
Panasonic G9 Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/60p23.112.8113874
3.
 
Olympus E-M5 III Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/30p23.313.1132476
4.
 
Olympus E-M1X Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/30p23.213.0125475
5.
 
Olympus E-M1 II Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/30p23.712.8131280
6.
 
Olympus E-M1 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p23.012.775773
7.
 
OM System OM-1 Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/60p23.413.4155377
8.
 
Panasonic GH5 II Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/60p23.713.1113679
9.
 
Panasonic G95 Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/30p23.213.0127375
10.
 
Panasonic GH5 Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/60p23.913.080777
11.
 
Panasonic G85 Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34484K/30p22.812.565671
12.
 
Panasonic GX8 Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/30p23.512.680675
Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the G9 provides a faster frame rate than the E-M1 III. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/60p, while the Olympus is limited to 4K/30p.

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The two cameras under review are similar with respect to both having an electronic viewfinder. However, the one in the G9 offers a substantially higher resolution than the one in the E-M1 III (3680k vs 2360k dots). The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Olympus E-M1 III and Panasonic G9 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.

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Core Features
    Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Specifications
(inch/000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Max
Shutter
Speed *
Max
Shutter
Flaps *
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Olympus E-M1 III2360 n3.0 / 1037 swivel Y 1/8000s 18.0/s n Y
2.
 
Panasonic G93680 Y3.0 / 1040 swivel Y 1/8000s 20.0/s n Y
3.
 
Olympus E-M5 III2360 n3.0 / 1040 swivel Y 1/8000s 10.0/s n Y
4.
 
Olympus E-M1X2360 n3.0 / 1037 swivel Y 1/8000s 18.0/s n Y
5.
 
Olympus E-M1 II2360 n3.0 / 1037 swivel Y 1/8000s 18.0/s n Y
6.
 
Olympus E-M12360 n3.0 / 1037 tilting Y 1/8000s 10.0/s n Y
7.
 
OM System OM-15760 n3.0 / 1640 swivel Y 1/8000s 10.0/s n Y
8.
 
Panasonic GH5 II3680 n3.0 / 1840 swivel Y 1/8000s 12.0/s n Y
9.
 
Panasonic G952360 n3.0 / 1240 swivel Y 1/4000s 9.0/s Y Y
10.
 
Panasonic GH53680 n3.2 / 1620 swivel Y 1/8000s 12.0/s n Y
11.
 
Panasonic G852360 n3.0 / 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 9.0/s Y Y
12.
 
Panasonic GX82360 n3.0 / 1040 swivel Y 1/8000s 10.0/s n Y
Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.

One feature that is present on the G9, but is missing on the E-M1 III is a top-level LCD. While being, of course, smaller than the rear screen, the control panel conveys some of the essential shooting information and can be convenient for quick and easy settings verification.

Both cameras have an articulated rear screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This feature will be particularly appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies.

The reported shutter speed information refers to the use of the mechanical shutter. Yet, some cameras only have an electronic shutter, while others have an electronic shutter in addition to a mechanical one. In fact, both cameras under consideration feature an electronic shutter, which makes completely silent shooting possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (risk of rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (risk of flickering).

The Olympus E-M1 III and the Panasonic G9 both have an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the E-M1 III and the G9 write their files to SDXC cards. Both cameras feature dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. However, while the G9 supports UHS-II cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 312 MB/s) on both slots, the E-M1 III supports UHS-II only on its first slot and UHS-I (data transfer speed up to 104 MB/s) on the second one.

Connectivity comparison

For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III and Panasonic Lumix DC-G9 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
    Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Mic / Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Olympus E-M1 IIIYstereo / monoYYmicro3.1Y-Y
2.
 
Panasonic G9Ystereo / monoYYfull3.0Y-Y
3.
 
Olympus E-M5 IIIYstereo / monoY-micro2.0Y-Y
4.
 
Olympus E-M1XYstereo / monoYYmicro3.0Y-Y
5.
 
Olympus E-M1 IIYstereo / monoYYmicro3.0Y--
6.
 
Olympus E-M1Ystereo / monoY-micro2.0Y--
7.
 
OM System OM-1Ystereo / monoYYmicro3.0Y-Y
8.
 
Panasonic GH5 IIYstereo / monoYYfull3.2Y-Y
9.
 
Panasonic G95Ystereo / monoYYmicro2.0Y-Y
10.
 
Panasonic GH5Ystereo / monoYYfull3.1Y-Y
11.
 
Panasonic G85Ystereo / monoY-micro2.0Y--
12.
 
Panasonic GX8Ystereo / monoY-micro2.0YY-

Both cameras feature a PC Sync terminal to control professional strobe lights, which will be appreciated by studio photographers.

Both the E-M1 III and the G9 are recent models that are part of the current product line-up. The E-M1 III replaced the earlier Olympus E-M1 II, while the G9 does not have a direct predecessor. Further information on the features and operation of the E-M1 III and G9 can be found, respectively, in the Olympus E-M1 III Manual (free pdf) or the online Panasonic G9 Manual.

Review summary

So what is the bottom line? Which of the two cameras – the Olympus E-M1 III or the Panasonic G9 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

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Arguments in favor of the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III:

  • Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 78g or 12 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • More modern: Reflects 2 years and 3 months of technical progress since the G9 launch.

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Advantages of the Panasonic Lumix DC-G9:

  • Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (4K/60p versus 4K/30p).
  • More detailed viewfinder: Has higher resolution electronic viewfinder (3680k vs 2360k dots).
  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.83x vs 0.74x).
  • Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
  • More solid recording: Has a full-sized HDMI port for a sturdy connection to an external recorder.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in November 2017).

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the G9 emerges as the winner of the match-up (6 : 3 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. A professional wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

E-M1 III 03:06 G9

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Olympus E-M1 III and the Panasonic G9 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.

In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the E-M1 III and the G9 in practical situations. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable.

Expert reviews

This is why expert reviews are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.

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Expert Camera Reviews
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DCW 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Olympus E-M1 III5/5..5/583/1004.5/54/5 Feb 2020 1,799 amazon.com
2.
 
Panasonic G9..+ +5/585/1005/55/5 Nov 2017 1,699 amazon.com
3.
 
Olympus E-M5 III5/5+5/582/1004.5/54.5/5 Oct 2019 1,199 amazon.com
4.
 
Olympus E-M1X4.5/5o5/585/1004.5/5.. Jan 2019 2,999 amazon.com
5.
 
Olympus E-M1 II5/5+ +5/585/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2016 1,999ebay.com
6.
 
Olympus E-M15/5+ +..84/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2013 1,399ebay.com
7.
 
OM System OM-15/5....87/1005/54.5/5 Feb 2022 2,199 amazon.com
8.
 
Panasonic GH5 II4.5/5..4.5/585/1004.5/55/5 May 2021 1,699 amazon.com
9.
 
Panasonic G954.5/5+4.5/583/1004.5/54.5/5 Apr 2019 999 amazon.com
10.
 
Panasonic GH54.5/5+ +..85/1004.5/55/5 Jan 2017 1,999ebay.com
11.
 
Panasonic G85..+ +..84/1005/54.5/5 Sep 2016 899ebay.com
12.
 
Panasonic GX85/5+..82/1004.5/54.5/5 Jul 2015 1,199ebay.com
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

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Check G9 price at
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Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make your choice using the following search menu. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.

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    Specifications: Olympus E-M1 III vs Panasonic G9

    Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.

    Camera Specifications
    Camera Model Olympus E-M1 III Panasonic G9
    Camera Type Mirrorless system camera Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens Micro Four Thirds lenses Micro Four Thirds lenses
    Launch Date February 2020 November 2017
    Launch Price USD 1,799 USD 1,699
    Sensor Specs Olympus E-M1 III Panasonic G9
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format Four Thirds Sensor Four Thirds Sensor
    Sensor Size 17.3 x 13.0 mm 17.3 x 13.0 mm
    Sensor Area 224.9 mm2 224.9 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 21.6 mm 21.6 mm
    Crop Factor 2.0x 2.0x
    Sensor Resolution 20.2 Megapixels 20.2 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 5184 x 3888 pixels 5184 x 3888 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 3.34 μm 3.34 μm
    Pixel Density 8.96 MP/cm2 8.96 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter no AA filter
    Movie Capability 4K/30p Video 4K/60p Video
    ISO Setting 200 - 25,600 ISO 200 - 25,600 ISO
    ISO Boost 64 - 25,600 ISO 100 - 25,600 ISO
    Image Processor TruePic IX Venus 10
    Screen Specs Olympus E-M1 III Panasonic G9
    Viewfinder Type Electronic viewfinder Electronic viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.74x 0.83x
    Viewfinder Resolution 2360k dots 3680k dots
    Top-Level Screen no Top Display Control Panel
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 1037k dots 1040k dots
    LCD Attachment Swivel screen Swivel screen
    Touch Input Touchscreen Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Olympus E-M1 III Panasonic G9
    Focus System On-Sensor Phase-detect Contrast-detect AF
    Manual Focusing AidFocus PeakingFocus Peaking
    Max Shutter Speed (mechanical) 1/8000s 1/8000s
    Continuous Shooting 18 shutter flaps/s 20 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy400 000 actuations200 000 actuations
    Electronic Shutterup to 1/32000sup to 1/32000s
    Time-Lapse PhotographyIntervalometer built-inIntervalometer built-in
    Image StabilizationIn-body stabilizationIn-body stabilization
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards SDXC cards
    Single or Dual Card Slots Dual card slots Dual card slots
    UHS card support Single UHS-II Dual UHS-II
    Connectivity Specs Olympus E-M1 III Panasonic G9
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash PC Sync socket PC Sync socket
    USB Connector USB 3.1 USB 3.0
    HDMI Port micro HDMI full HDMI
    Microphone Port External MIC port External MIC port
    Headphone Socket Headphone port Headphone port
    Wifi Support Wifi built-in Wifi built-in
    Bluetooth Support Bluetooth built-in Bluetooth built-in
    Body Specs Olympus E-M1 III Panasonic G9
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
    Battery Type BLH-1 DMW-BLF19
    Battery Life (CIPA)420 shots per charge400 shots per charge
    In-Camera Charging USB charging USB charging
    Body Dimensions 134 x 91 x 69 mm
    (5.3 x 3.6 x 2.7 in)
    137 x 97 x 92 mm
    (5.4 x 3.8 x 3.6 in)
    Camera Weight 580 g (20.5 oz) 658 g (23.2 oz)
    logo
    Check E-M1 III price at
    amazon.com
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    Check G9 price at
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