BACK & FRONT THE (COMPACT) CAMERA WITH DANIEL M : The Panasonic Lumix G95 / G90: Back to basics!

Many of us have a special affection for the Panasonic Lumix MFT products. Their functional esthetic reminds me all these German designs of the begin of the 20th century with simplicity, durability, and efficiency as essential characteristics of their products. Nothing flashy except maybe for the connoisseurs. But I must add that the different Panasonic Lumix models have never disappointed me over time starting with my tiny Lumix LX5 in 2011.

The Panasonic Lumix G95 (G90) is incorporating the common 20MP image sensor following the actual standard used into almost every high and mid-range Micro Four Third image sensor format (MFT) camera models. The previous Lumix G85 (G80) has been such a successful camera model (both for users and critics) that Panasonic seems to have mostly replicated the basic design of it to its newest Lumix G95 (G90) which is in a sense a indirect homage of the pertinence of the ideas implemented onto the original G85 (G80). We must underline that the Lumix G95 (G90) doesn’t use the exact same camera shell compared to the previous one (G85) therefore being a little bit larger and a little bit heavier. The camera model might appear more robust although there is no way to prove this assert.

The Lumix G95 (G90) is a weather resistant camera which is qualifying it as a real all-around photographic tool even in more adverse contextual conditions. Of course, the camera body must be a couple with a lens which is accordingly weather resistant (WR) to be able to get a total profit from this feature. Panasonic is already offering in many worlds marketplaces the Lumix G95 (G90) with the Lumix G Vario 12-60mm Power OIS zoom kit (WR) lens. So, you just must be aware to select an additional optic that is WR.

The ergonomic of the Lumix G 95 (G90) might be conquer you when you will handhold the Lumix G95 (G90) for the first time. The G95 sense of proportion seems to be ideal (at least, for some of us!). The front and back control dials and the different function push-buttons are well positioned. The back thumb rest give a good prehension that complete the one (prominent) of the front face. The On- Off switch isn’t perfectly located but, at least, it is positioned on the Lumix G95 (G90) right side. No joystick is available, but the touch screen optionality may be considered as a useful substitute.

The shutter release button has a two-stage (focus lock/shutter release) feather touch, and its action sound is discrete, a good characteristic for the photographer who must operate in quiet surroundings. The two major control dials are rightly located in the right upper front and back of the G95.

The electronic viewfinder (EVF) eyepiece is noticeably recessed from the camera body living a breathing space for your eye and … for your nose! The EVF image is clear and sufficiently detailed to be able to focus manually with accuracy. The Live Viewfinder (LVF) panel is fully articulated and can be appreciated by both photographer and videographer. All information data can be reviewed on the EVF or the LVF although they don’t rotate to accommodate a vertical (portrait) composition.

Except for the lens release button, the Lumix G95 (G90) body front is exempt from any others function lever or button. The camera body top deck remains a model of simplicity. The ISO, the White Balance (WB) and the exposure correction bias have a direct access through dedicated push buttons. The exposure mode dial (P/A/S/M) is complete with two custom modes (C1, C2), creative and scene modes and a fully automatic mode (iA) is available on the spot if necessary. The B setting is available through the manual mode (M). On left side, the shutter mode dial gives access to single and continuous shooting sequences, 4K and back focus modes, and finally interval and self-timer modes. Each camera body sides have specific accesses for the memory card and for the wired different connectivity options. The in-board tiny flash is practical for an emergency short distance flash fill-in and is rightly positioned into the false pentaprism.

Other functionalities are positioned on the back side of the Lumix G95 (G90) and can also be reconfigured at will for some of them. Therefore, at some point, it can be difficult to remember all the functionalities selected for the multiple functions press buttons or for D-pad. It is up to you to stay familiarized with the G95 by reviewing the functionalities regularly.

The Panasonic Lumix G95 (G90) despite its basic presentation gives you access to a very large spectrum of different ways of experimenting your creativity. You can set the camera the way you want, and it will behave to your own satisfactory. The menu is extended but comprehensible. Wireless connectivity is practical with both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi availabilities. The Lumix G95 (G90) is a very easy-going camera to work with since its interface is vastly intuitive. Playing with its different functionalities (even using the menu guide) will allow you to better understand and set the Lumix G95 (G90) your personal way.

The camera is quick to wake up and to be available to photograph. Therefore, the battery consumption is high compared to others competitor products. It is prudent to have on hand an additional battery pack and the use of the optional DMW-BGG1 power (vertical) grip can give you an extended power autonomy, but it stays an expensive accessory although it offers an excellent vertical grip for portrait or action shooting.**

The autofocus system is efficient for still photography although the tracking option doesn’t have the accuracy and reactivity compared to more recent competitor models that have both contrast and phase detection focus operation capabilities. The continuous follow focus is managed with a good success picture taking rate as long the subject movement is not too much erratic. Manual focus can be done through the EVF that have good definition to do so.

The Lumix G95 (G90) stability system is a big part of its successful photographic ability. It prevents efficacy to blur generated by the operator unintended movement especially in handheld picture taking situations. It is almost inconceivable today that the modern digital camera models didn’t have that specific functionality. Moreover, Panasonic is offering a selection of different optics that carry their own optical stability system (OIS) that can be rightly paired (Dual IS) with the sensor stabilization of the Lumix G95 (G90). It is a win-win situation when you are coupling the camera with a telephoto lens.

The picture review button is located just beside your right thumb and looking to your last recorded image is fast and logically easy compared to some other manufacturer camera models.

The image output.
When it comes to appreciate the Panasonic Lumix imagery output, my first very favorable impression (if not my everlasting) is about their black and white (B&W) special rendering. Coming for that (dark!) age of B&W analog-film, you cannot avoid the pleasure to set the Panasonic Lumix G95 (G90) at its monochrome mode (there are three actually) and enjoy it extendedly. I must add that the color rendering is good equally. The pictures are nice and well detailed especially into the lower ISO sensitivity scale but even in the higher setting (more than ISO 1000), the results are noticeably pleasing.

The creative filters are useful. I love creative filters because they often open our mind to other pictures interpretation bias. Some of them are more anecdotic but some are clearly less intrusive to the picture rendering and can be assimilated as a basic image canvas to explore and exploit. And many of these creative filters (as for the monochrome modes) have a nice setting range in regard of their final effect.

The future of Micro Four Third image sensor format.

Again, we must answer this inevitable questioning about the MFT long term perspective as a system. First, we may notice that the MFT system is already a very mature one in terms of offer and variety of products such as camera models, lenses, accessories. Second to consider, compare to the larger sensor size format other systems, MFT is still more compact and will stay considering its smaller sensor advantage. Third, although the dead of MFT has been anticipated several times, the two major manufacturers, Panasonic, and OM System, are maintaining the availability of the complete line of products. Nobody can clearly predict what will happen in the next 3 or 5 years because it is the way things are working now but don’t you to adopt and stay faithful to MFT prevent even if some reviewers or other format fanatics were implying that you must do .

In Brief.
The Panasonic Lumix G95 (G95) is a good camera model that reunite all the characteristics of a competent, durable, and enjoying photo device. For a photo enthusiasm like me, the G95 (G90) answers my search for a compact camera (and lenses) that replicate many “pro” advantages without breaking my small budget. The G95 (G90) can be conveniently coupled with the BGG1 power (Vertical) grip for more battery autonomy, with an external electronic flash for more additional light output and with other specific accessories that are meeting your own choices and needs. The G95 (G90) ergonomic is excellent and its interface complete and easy to interact with. Finally, its image output is very satisfying even for the more asking ones if you stay out of the eternal image sensor format web war. Yes, the Panasonic Lumix G95 (G90) is a fine evolute successor of its beloved predecessor, the G85 (G80).

** If you can afford the purchase of the additional BGG1 power (vertical) grip and the size increase of the camera body, it could be an excellent recommendation for getting a noticeable better handholding of the Lumix G95 (G90). In some country markets, the BGG1 already comes with an additional BLC-12PP battery pack to be use with this accessory.

© Photos Daniel M: Lumix GX8 / G Vario 12-60mm Power OIS; Lumix G95 / G Vario 12-60mm Power OIS / G Vario 45-200mm Power OIS; G Vario 100-300mm Power OIS

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