Panasonic LX15 versus Panasonic G9
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX15 (called Panasonic LX10 in some regions) and the Panasonic Lumix DC-G9 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in September 2016 and November 2017. The LX15 is a fixed lens compact, while the G9 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on an one-inch (LX15) and a Four Thirds sensor. The LX15 has a resolution of 20 megapixel, whereas the G9 provides 20.2 MP.
The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Panasonic LX15 and the Panasonic G9. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter. You can also toggle the display to switch to a percentage comparison if you prefer that the measures are being expressed in relative terms (in this case, the camera on the left – the LX15 – represents the basis or 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic G9 is considerably larger (109 percent) than the Panasonic LX15. It is noteworthy in this context that the G9 is splash and dust-proof, while the LX15 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the LX15 has a lens build in, whereas the G9 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can find an overview of optics for the G9 and their specifications in the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible comparisons there.
|Camera Body Specifications
|Panasonic LX15 (⇒ rgt)||4.2 in||2.4 in||1.7 in||10.9 oz||260||no||2016||699||latest||check|
|Panasonic G9 (⇒ lft)||5.4 in||3.8 in||3.6 in||23.2 oz||400||YES||2017||1,699||latest||check|
|Olympus E-M1 II (⇒ lft | rgt)||5.3 in||3.6 in||2.6 in||20.2 oz||440||YES||2016||1,999||latest||check|
|Panasonic GH5 (⇒ lft | rgt)||5.5 in||3.9 in||3.4 in||25.6 oz||410||YES||2017||1,999||latest||check|
|Panasonic G85 (⇒ lft | rgt)||5.0 in||3.5 in||2.9 in||17.8 oz||330||YES||2016||899||latest||check|
|Panasonic GX8 (⇒ lft | rgt)||5.2 in||3.1 in||2.5 in||17.2 oz||330||YES||2015||1,199||latest||check|
|Sony A6500 (⇒ lft | rgt)||4.7 in||2.6 in||2.1 in||16.0 oz||350||YES||2016||1,399||latest||check|
The listed prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The LX15 was launched at a lower price than the G9, despite having a lens build in. 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.
The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tent to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Panasonic LX15 features an one-inch sensor and the Panasonic G9 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the G9 is 94 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 2.7 and 2.0. The sensor in the LX15 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the G9 offers a 4:3 aspect.
With 20.2MP, the G9 offers a higher resolution than the LX15 (20MP), but the G9 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.34μm versus 2.41μm for the LX15) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the G9 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 1 month) than the LX15, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the G9 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
Unlike the LX15, the G9 has the capacity to capture high quality composite images (80.6MP) by combining multiple shots after shifting its sensor by miniscule distances. This multi-shot, pixel-shift mode is most suitable for photography of stationary objects (landscapes, studio scenes).
For most cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|Panasonic LX15 (⇒ rgt)||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|Panasonic G9 (⇒ lft)||Four Thirds||20.2||5184||3888||4K/60p||-||-||-||-|
|Olympus E-M1 II (⇒ lft | rgt)||Four Thirds||20.2||5184||3888||4K/30p||23.7||12.8||1312||80|
|Panasonic GH5 (⇒ lft | rgt)||Four Thirds||20.2||5184||3888||4K/60p||23.9||13.0||807||77|
|Panasonic G85 (⇒ lft | rgt)||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||4K/30p||22.8||12.5||656||71|
|Panasonic GX8 (⇒ lft | rgt)||Four Thirds||20.2||5184||3888||4K/30p||23.5||12.6||806||75|
|Sony A6500 (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||24.5||13.7||1405||85|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the G9 provides a faster frame rate than the LX15. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/60p, while the LX15 is limited to 4K/30p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the G9 has an electronic viewfinder (3680k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the LX15 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Panasonic LX15 and Panasonic G9 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras. The full specs-sheets can be found in the camera manual or, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.
|Panasonic LX15 (⇒ rgt)||no||no||3.0||1040||tilting||YES||4000||10.0||12.1||YES|
|Panasonic G9 (⇒ lft)||3680||YES||3.0||1040||swivel||YES||8000||20.0||no||YES|
|Olympus E-M1 II (⇒ lft | rgt)||2360||no||3.0||1037||swivel||YES||8000||18.0||no||YES|
|Panasonic GH5 (⇒ lft | rgt)||3680||no||3.2||1620||swivel||YES||8000||12.0||no||YES|
|Panasonic G85 (⇒ lft | rgt)||2360||no||3.0||1040||swivel||YES||4000||9.0||6.2||YES|
|Panasonic GX8 (⇒ lft | rgt)||2360||no||3.0||1040||swivel||YES||8000||10.0||no||YES|
|Sony A6500 (⇒ lft | rgt)||2300||no||3.0||922||tilting||YES||4000||11.0||6||YES|
Both the LX15 and the G9 are current models that good online retailers will have in stock. You can check the latest prices, for example, at amazon. The LX15 replaced the earlier Panasonic LX7, while the G9 followed on from the Panasonic G85.
So what is the bottom line? Is the Panasonic LX15 better than the Panasonic G9 or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Advantages of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX15:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Ready to shoot: Has a lens build-in, whereas the G9 requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (106x60mm vs 137x97mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a build-in lens (unlike the G9).
- Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a build-in lens.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in September 2016).
Arguments in favor of the Panasonic Lumix DC-G9:
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- High quality composites: Can combine several shots after pixel-shifting its sensor.
- Better image quality: Is equipped with a larger and more technologically advanced sensor.
- Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (4K/60p vs 4K/30p).
- Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image framing and settings control.
- Easier setting verification: Has a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
- More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- Faster shutter: Has a higher mechanical shutter speed (8000/sec vs 4000/sec) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (20 vs 10 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (400 versus 260) out of a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
- More modern: Was introduced somewhat (1 year and 1 month) more recently.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the G9 is the clear winner of the contest (13 : 7 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.
In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras is instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it says nothing about, for example, the handling, responsiveness, and overall imaging quality of the LX15 and the G9 in practical situations. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate. This is why expert reviews are important. The table below summarizes the assessments of some of the best known camera review sites. The detailed reviews can be accessed, respectively, on the websites of cameralabs.com, dpreview.com, ephotozine.com, imaging-resource.com, and photographyblog.com.
|Panasonic LX15 (⇒ rgt)||HiRec||81/100 Silver||4/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||2016||699||latest||check|
|Panasonic G9 (⇒ lft)||..||..||..||..||..||2017||1,699||latest||check|
|Olympus E-M1 II (⇒ lft | rgt)||HiRec||85/100 Gold||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||2016||1,999||latest||check|
|Panasonic GH5 (⇒ lft | rgt)||HiRec||85/100 Gold||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||2017||1,999||latest||check|
|Panasonic G85 (⇒ lft | rgt)||HiRec||84/100 Gold||5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||2016||899||latest||check|
|Panasonic GX8 (⇒ lft | rgt)||Rec||82/100 Silver||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||2015||1,199||latest||check|
|Sony A6500 (⇒ lft | rgt)||HiRec||85/100 Silver||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||2016||1,399||latest||check|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.
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