Panasonic G1 vs Sony A9
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 and the Sony Alpha A9 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in September 2008 and April 2017. Both the G1 and the A9 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are based on a Four Thirds (G1) and a full frame (A9) sensor. The Panasonic has a resolution of 12 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 24 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 and the Sony Alpha A9? 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.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Panasonic G1 and the Sony A9 is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony A9 is notably larger (17 percent) than the Panasonic G1. Moreover, the A9 is substantially heavier (87 percent) than the G1. It is noteworthy in this context that the A9 is splash and dust-proof, while the G1 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
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. A larger imaging sensor will tend to go along with bigger and heavier lenses, although exceptions exist. You can compare the optics available for the two cameras in the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog (G1) and the Sony FE Lens Catalog (A9). 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 G1 gets 410 shots out of its DMW-BLB13 battery, while the A9 can take 650 images on a single charge of its NP-FZ100 power pack. The power pack in the A9 can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. 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.
|1.||Panasonic G1||124 mm||84 mm||45 mm||360 g||410||n||Sep 2008||599|
|2.||Sony A9||127 mm||96 mm||63 mm||673 g||650||Y||Apr 2017||4,499|
|3.||Olympus E-410||130 mm||91 mm||53 mm||435 g||500||n||Mar 2007||699|
|4.||Panasonic GF6||111 mm||65 mm||38 mm||323 g||340||n||Apr 2013||499|
|5.||Panasonic GF5||108 mm||67 mm||37 mm||267 g||360||n||Apr 2012||499|
|6.||Panasonic GF3||108 mm||67 mm||32 mm||264 g||300||n||Jun 2011||549|
|7.||Panasonic G10||124 mm||84 mm||74 mm||388 g||380||n||Mar 2010||499|
|8.||Panasonic G2||124 mm||84 mm||74 mm||428 g||360||n||Mar 2010||599|
|9.||Panasonic GF2||113 mm||68 mm||33 mm||310 g||300||n||Nov 2010||549|
|10.||Panasonic GF1||119 mm||71 mm||36 mm||385 g||380||n||Sep 2009||749|
|11.||Panasonic GH1||124 mm||90 mm||45 mm||385 g||300||n||Mar 2009||899|
|12.||Panasonic L10||135 mm||96 mm||78 mm||556 g||450||n||Aug 2007||599|
|13.||Sony A9 II||129 mm||96 mm||76 mm||678 g||690||Y||Oct 2019||4,499|
|14.||Sony A7 III||127 mm||96 mm||74 mm||650 g||610||Y||Feb 2018||1,999|
|15.||Sony A7R II||127 mm||96 mm||60 mm||625 g||290||Y||Jun 2015||3,199|
|16.||Sony A7S II||127 mm||96 mm||60 mm||627 g||370||Y||Sep 2015||2,999|
|17.||Sony A7 II||127 mm||96 mm||60 mm||599 g||350||Y||Nov 2014||1,999|
|Notes: 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 listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The G1 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 87 percent) than the A9, which puts it into a different market segment. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. 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.
The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to 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.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Panasonic G1 features a Four Thirds sensor and the Sony A9 a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the A9 is 276 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 2.0 and 1.0. The sensor in the G1 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the A9 offers a 3:2 aspect.
With 24MP, the A9 offers a higher resolution than the G1 (12MP), but the A9 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.94μm versus 4.33μm for the G1) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the A9 is a much more recent model (by 8 years and 7 months) than the G1, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.
The resolution advantage of the Sony A9 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the A9 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30 x 20 inches or 76.2 x 50.8 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24 x 16 inches or 61 x 40.6 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20 x 13.3 inches or 50.8 x 33.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Panasonic G1 are 20 x 15 inches or 50.8 x 38.1 cm for good quality, 16 x 12 inches or 40.6 x 30.5 cm for very good quality, and 13.3 x 10 inches or 33.9 x 25.4 cm for excellent quality prints.
The A9 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600, which can be extended to ISO 100-3200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Alpha A9 are ISO 100 to ISO 51200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-204800.
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). Of the two cameras under consideration, the A9 offers substantially better image quality than the G1 (overall score 39 points higher). The advantage is based on 3.8 bits higher color depth, 3 EV in additional dynamic range, and 2.9 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
| DXO |
|1.||Panasonic G1||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||none||21.1||10.3||463||53|
|2.||Sony A9||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||24.9||13.3||3517||92|
|3.||Olympus E-410||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.1||10.0||494||51|
|4.||Panasonic GF6||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60i||20.7||10.6||622||54|
|5.||Panasonic GF5||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60i||21.4||11.6||618||61|
|6.||Panasonic GF3||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60i||20.6||10.0||458||49|
|7.||Panasonic G10||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||720/30p||21.2||10.1||411||52|
|8.||Panasonic G2||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||720/30p||21.2||10.3||493||53|
|9.||Panasonic GF2||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60i||21.2||10.3||506||54|
|10.||Panasonic GF1||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||720/30p||21.2||10.3||513||54|
|11.||Panasonic GH1||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||1080/24p||21.6||11.6||772||64|
|12.||Panasonic L10||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.3||10.8||429||55|
|13.||Sony A9 II||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||25.0||14.0||3434||93|
|14.||Sony A7 III||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||25.0||14.7||3730||96|
|15.||Sony A7R II||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||4K/30p||26.0||13.9||3434||98|
|16.||Sony A7S II||Full Frame||12.0||4240||2832||4K/30p||23.6||13.3||2993||85|
|17.||Sony A7 II||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.9||13.6||2449||90|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The A9 indeed provides for movie recording, while the G1 does not. The highest resolution format that the A9 can use is 4K/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The two cameras under review are similar with respect to both having an electronic viewfinder. However, the one in the A9 offers a substantially higher resolution than the one in the G1 (3686k vs 1440k dots). The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Panasonic G1 and Sony A9 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|13.||Sony A9 II||3686||n||3.0||1440||tilting||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y|
|14.||Sony A7 III||2359||n||3.0||922||tilting||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y|
|15.||Sony A7R II||2400||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||Y|
|16.||Sony A7S II||2400||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||Y|
|17.||Sony A7 II||2400||n||3.0||1230||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||Y|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The G1 has one, while the A9 does not. While the built-in flash of the G1 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.The G1 has an articulated LCD that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in snapping selfies. In contrast, the A9 does not have a selfie-screen.
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, the A9 is one of those camera that have an additional 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 G1 writes its imaging data to SDHC cards, while the A9 uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. The A9 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the G1 only has one slot. The A9 supports UHS-II cards on its first slot and UHS-I on its second one, while the G1 cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD cards.
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 Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 and Sony Alpha A9 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|13.||Sony A9 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||Y||Y|
|14.||Sony A7 III||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||Y||Y|
|15.||Sony A7R II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|16.||Sony A7S II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|17.||Sony A7 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the A9 offers wifi support, which can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location. In contrast, the G1 does not provide wifi capability.
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Sony A9 (unlike the G1) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the G1 and the A9 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The G1 was replaced by the Panasonic G2, while the A9 was followed by the Sony A9 II. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Panasonic and Sony websites.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Panasonic G1 or the Sony A9 – 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.
Reasons to prefer the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1:
- More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- More compact: Is smaller (124x84mm vs 127x96mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 313g or 47 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (87 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in September 2008).
Arguments in favor of the Sony Alpha A9:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 12MP), which boosts linear resolution by 44%.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (39 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (3.8 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (3 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (2.9 stops ISO advantage).
- Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 4K/30p video.
- Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
- More detailed viewfinder: Has higher resolution electronic viewfinder (3686k vs 1440k dots).
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.78x vs 0.70x).
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1440k vs 460k dots).
- Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (20 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (650 versus 410) out of a single battery charge.
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
- Faster buffer clearing: Supports Ultra High Speed (UHS-II and UHS-I) SDXC cards.
- More modern: Reflects 8 years and 7 months of technical progress since the G1 launch.
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the A9 is the clear winner of the contest (25 : 7 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera. A professional wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Panasonic G1 and the Sony A9 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 technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the G1 or the A9. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.
This is where reviews by experts come in. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], 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.
|1.||Panasonic G1||..||+ +||70/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2008||599|
|2.||Sony A9||5/5||+ +||89/100||5/5||5/5||Apr 2017||4,499|
|3.||Olympus E-410||..||86/100||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Mar 2007||699|
|4.||Panasonic GF6||..||+ +||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2013||499|
|5.||Panasonic GF5||3/5||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2012||499|
|6.||Panasonic GF3||3/5||82/100||71/100||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2011||549|
|7.||Panasonic G10||3/5||..||70/100||4/5||4/5||Mar 2010||499|
|8.||Panasonic G2||..||..||72/100||4/5||4.5/5||Mar 2010||599|
|9.||Panasonic GF2||3/5||82/100||70/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Nov 2010||549|
|10.||Panasonic GF1||..||85/100||69/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2009||749|
|11.||Panasonic GH1||..||+ +||72/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2009||899|
|12.||Panasonic L10||..||85/100||+||3.5/5||4/5||Aug 2007||599|
|13.||Sony A9 II||..||..||90/100||5/5||5/5||Oct 2019||4,499|
|14.||Sony A7 III||..||+ +||89/100||5/5||5/5||Feb 2018||1,999|
|15.||Sony A7R II||5/5||+ +||90/100||5/5||5/5||Jun 2015||3,199|
|16.||Sony A7S II||5/5||+||..||4.5/5||5/5||Sep 2015||2,999|
|17.||Sony A7 II||5/5||+||82/100||4.5/5||5/5||Nov 2014||1,999|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.
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. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
Specifications: Panasonic G1 vs Sony A9
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 Model||Panasonic G1||Sony A9|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Micro Four Thirds lenses||Sony E mount lenses|
|Launch Date||September 2008||April 2017|
|Launch Price||USD 599||USD 4,499|
|Sensor Specs||Panasonic G1||Sony A9|
|Sensor Format||Four Thirds Sensor||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||17.3 x 13.0 mm||35.6 x 23.8 mm|
|Sensor Area||224.9 mm2||847.28 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||21.6 mm||42.8 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||12 Megapixels||24 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4000 x 3000 pixels||6000 x 4000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.33 μm||5.94 μm|
|Pixel Density||5.34 MP/cm2||2.83 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 1,600 ISO||100 - 51,200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 3,200 ISO||50 - 204,800 ISO|
|Image Processor||Venus HD||BIONZ X|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||53||92|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||21.1||24.9|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||10.3||13.3|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||463||3517|
|Screen Specs||Panasonic G1||Sony A9|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||1440k dots||3686k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||460k dots||1440k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Swivel screen||Tilting screen|
|Touch Input||no Touchscreen||Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Panasonic G1||Sony A9|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||On-Sensor Phase-detect|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000s||1/8000s|
|Continuous Shooting||3 shutter flaps/s||20 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||no E-Shutter||up to 1/32000s|
|Image Stabilization||Lens stabilization only||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDHC cards||MS or SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Dual card slots|
|UHS card support||no||Single UHS-II|
|Connectivity Specs||Panasonic G1||Sony A9|
|Studio Flash||no PC Sync||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Microphone Port||no MIC socket||External MIC port|
|Headphone Socket||no Headphone port||Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||no NFC||NFC built-in|
|Bluetooth Support||no Bluetooth||Bluetooth built-in|
|Body Specs||Panasonic G1||Sony A9|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||410 shots per charge||650 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||no USB charging||USB charging|
124 x 84 x 45 mm
(4.9 x 3.3 x 1.8 in)
127 x 96 x 63 mm
(5.0 x 3.8 x 2.5 in)
|Camera Weight||360 g (12.7 oz)||673 g (23.7 oz)|
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