Home Features Panasonic G9 v Olympus OM-D E-M1 MkII: The definitive comparison

Panasonic G9 v Olympus OM-D E-M1 MkII: The definitive comparison

  Panasonic Lumix G9 (Image Jason Hannigan)
Panasonic Lumix G9 (Image Jason Hannigan)

Earlier this month I set down my thoughts on Panasonic’s new G9 in relation to the older, but still excellent, Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II. I judged it a close call and I think most other writers are of a similar opinion. I’m on record as saying that if you own mainly Panasonic lenses, go for the Lumix. If you’re Billingham is stocked with Olympus Pro lenses, then choose the OM-D. 

  Panasonic Lumix G9 and 42.5mm Leica DG Nocticron (Image Mike Evans)
Panasonic Lumix G9 and 42.5mm Leica DG Nocticron (Image Mike Evans)

I was therefore very interested to read one of the best comparisons of the two cameras I’ve seen — by Mat Gasquet and Heather Broster at Mirrorless Comparison (see below). There is a tremendous amount of detail and dozens of comparative shots from the two cameras, all leading to a very similar conclusion to mine. Mat concludes: HEATHER BROSTER/MATHIEU GASQUET

“….once you stop thinking about who came first, and simply look at what is available today, I can’t help but notice that some features on the OM-D are starting to appear a little outdated, the EVF resolution being a good example. Other specifications have been matched (60fps and 20fps) and the brand still struggles to compete more seriously in the video department. Yes, Olympus’ image stabilisation is still the best, but even there the gap isn’t as big as it used to be.

“For now the E-M1 II remains our favourite choice for wildlife and birds in flight for the reasons I already explained, but the mirrorless market has become more competitive than ever before. I believe that Olympus will need to work extremely hard on the next flagship if they want to remain on top.”

  Panasonic Lumix G9 and Leica DG 15mm Summilux (Image Jason Hannigan)
Panasonic Lumix G9 and Leica DG 15mm Summilux (Image Jason Hannigan)

Read the full comparison story at Mirrorless Comparison

See also Panasonic Lumix G9 first impressions and Panasonic — to G9 or not to G9



  1. After much heartache, I recently purchased the G9 and love it so much that I purchased a second one because it was on sale and I like having a second camera so that I have an alternate lens without having the delay of changing lenses. I am new to M43, coming from Leica full frame. I had migrated from M to SL due to aging eyes. However, the size of the SL and SL glass was tiring after a long outing. The SL was more than gorgeous and the rendering was incredible but I wanted something much smaller. After much navel gazing after the release of the G9, partially stimulated by your review, I felt there was enough serious glass and maturity in M43 to more than meet my needs. It took me 3 hours to wrap my mind round the menu options but I now have the camera basically set up like a Leica and it is rapidly becoming 2nd nature to use. I never did master the Sony interface and missed a lot of decisive moments after years of use. The G9 viewfinder is close enough to the SL to keep me happy. I have to say the G9 has been quite liberating. I enjoy the extra reach of the Panasonic 12-60 – had to exchange first lens as it was soft outside the central third of the frame. My second lens is an amazing Oly 45/1.2. It is splitting hairs choosing between it and the Pany 42.5/1.2. I just received the Pany 200/2.8 and it has amazing sharpness across the frame and bokeh and was surprisingly comfortable to carry. The G9 and M43 experience is less than a month but has been very liberating and dramatically increased the joy of photography. Your post stimulated me to explore the option and I am very grateful! Cheers! Brian

    • Hi Brian,

      That is an interesting photographic journey, is there any particular reason why you opt to not purchase the Leica CL? As the Leica glass you enjoyed would still be of use.



    • Brian

      I’m glad our various articles have helped your decision process. Today at the Photography Show I picked up the new Leica DG 50-200 for the first time and was surprised how compact and light it is. I think this could be my next addition. Hope you continue to enjoy the G9 twins.

  2. I just settled on M43 as my travel system from Nikon and Leica FF. I sold my M240, but kept the glass. I had so many missed opportunities, slightly out of focus shoots and instances of cutting off the bottom of the frame because I couldn’t see it with glasses on that I realised an M just isn’t a useful tool for me now.
    I bought the EM 1. Well, two of them. For me the choice was made by the lenses in the end. As a working photographer, the Olympus lenses just have Panasonic beat in terms of build and focal length choices. I wanted the G9 really but since I wanted 100% lens/body functionality, the EM 1 it was.
    Also, there will doubtless be a Mark 3 in 18 months or so and that will almost certainly correct the minor faults like EVF quality and so on that the G9 currently leads on.

  3. Hi Dave, I was seriously considering the Leica CL and almost pulled the trigger but in the end the native AF glass available was too limiting for my purposes and I want to return to a single camera system. I wanted things like prime telephotos and so on. In the end, the M43 sensor allows a valuable significant drop in the sizes of the lenses and incredible image stabilization and more than adequate image pixels for me. I was a bit concerned about 12 bits versus 14 bits but I expose to the right and have not had any problems in image joy so far. I just received the Panasonic Leica 15 1.7 and what an incredibly small jewel – reminds me of the joy of Leica M lenses for size and has swift accurate autofocus. Initial brief usage has impressed me on rendering. I was originally thinking of a Fuji 100F for compact street camera but the G9 with the 15/1.7 will be better from my point of view. I used to have 2 systems: Leica M and Sony A7R. The Leica M glass: 18mm (amazing, 35 1.4, 50 1.4) and the Sony had AF lens: 24-70 (event), 85 1.4, 70-200 2.8. I loved the Leica M but it was not great for me for telephotos (I tried 90 and 135) due to the terrible auxiliary EVF). I loved the size of the A7R but did not like its user interface and never got used to it. I found having two camera systems was awkward to carry and confusing on grabbing the decisive moment. The Leica CL would have meant an additional camera system and the glass is inherently bigger than the M43. The G9 offered me all the features on my must list for new camera system: a great EVF, tilting LCD, image stabilization that is incredible, available fabulous glass from both Olympus and Panasonic. The G9 is current state of the art M43 and any Olympus glass "incompatibility" is really insignificant in my opinion. I also love the grip on the G9 and the shutter release is amazing once you adjust to it. I also love that I can hide the LCD to protect it and it removes my temptation to constantly check images and just stay in the moment of observing things. I guess I should end here – but I am having as much fun as when I started using an M and that says a lot. I am a perfectionist and engineer and I am trying to stop excessively worrying about specifications (14 versus 12 bit) and focus on am I having fun and capturing the emotion I want.

    • Hi Brian,

      Thank you for the in-depth response. I enjoy hearing about how people decide on the kit they use, and how it fits their need. Weirdly all photographers do the same thing, and we all get the result we want from which kit we use. I would love an M, but sadly cannot justify the expense, so the CL and the Q are on my consideration list, more because I enjoy the images that come out of my Leica X, and the lighter weight than I used to get from my DSLR’s.



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