Which Camera – Lumix G9 or S5?

I need to write about this in the future to clarify my thoughts. But… the Panasonic LUMIX G9 is superb. The Panasonic LUMIX S5 is superb, too. The lenses for the G9 are small and light. The S5 has a full frame sensor.

The G9 with its smaller sensor isn’t great in low light. The S5 is perfect, but the lenses are too heavy.

As I wrote in my latest newsletter, less choice is better. Whenever I leave the house I have to choose between the G9 and the S5 and I don’t like that anymore. Micro decisions.

Sensible comments and thoughts on both systems here.

But it all sounds ludicrous. What a pointless thing to be worrying about with all that’s going on in the world today.

June 7th, 2021

Today I decided to sell all of my micro four thirds gear. I can get a good price for what I have and less gear takes priority over potential weight savings. I’m also tired of choosing between systems. The Lumix S5 is full frame and smaller than the Lumix G9 (but ever-so-slightly heavier) and more up to date. Yes, the lenses are generally bigger and heavier but for the most part I rarely shoot above 70mm so it won’t make that much of a difference to my photography. Besides, I can use the money I get from trading in my micro four thirds gear to buy the Panasonic 70-300mm or something similar if I decide I ‘need’ a telephoto lens.

One of the main reasons for deciding to part with one system is that lots of smaller considerations build up over time and become tiresome. Different batteries to manage, various chargers, cables, and SD cards to keep track of, slightly different menu systems and button layouts to remember, fewer filters to pack, different ISO considerations… the list goes on and on and on. Subtle differences I know but they gradually build up and can be mentally exhausting. Having one system eases and simplifies things – less choice – and has become worth the weight and volume penalties that full frame entails. It also means fewer cameras and lenses lying around the house.

Another reason is that I have three lenses for the G9, the 12-60mm Panasonic Leica, the 45-200mm II, and the Laowa 7.5 f2 but I rarely ever use the 45-200 or the Laowa. I use the 12-60mm fairly regularly but still not as much as the two lenses I use on the S5 (the Sigma 35mm f2 and the Panasonic 24-105mm).

Honestly, I could have chosen either camera system – they are both wonderful – but at the end of the day photographing my daughter with a simple 35mm prime at f2 on the full frame S5 gives me more photographic joy than anything else and so that’s why I’m choosing the S5 over the G9.

The last photo taken on the G9 was of my daughter smiling. That makes me happy.

May 14th, 2021

  • There is absolutely no need to sell the LUMIX G9. It is far better for hiking than a full frame camera.
  • If you are going to buy a new lens the only one I can think of is the Sigma 65mm F2. All other lenses, including Zeiss ZM lenses, would be a waste of money.
  • You don’t need to sell the Panasonic 24-105 F4 either. Use that when you don’t need to carry it around all day. It’s also weather sealed and is a macro lens.
  • I don’t like the size of the LUMIX 24-105mm but I also don’t like how plain the 12-60mm Leica is either. So the 35mm F2 Sigma as well as the 65mm F2 would be a good combination (that’s why Sigma released them together no doubt), especially as they both have aperture rings.
  • It’s not about the aperture it’s about how the lens feels to shoot with. The Zeiss feels good when focusing but the Leica 12-60 feels the best overall. But as I mentioned above, there’s no real joy or creativity in the photos. There is with the Zeiss and the Sigma. They have more character. The Laowa does too actually but that’s too wide for me most of the time.
  • Two prime lenses reminds me of photographing India and Cambodia etc.

 

May 6th, 2021

A few days ago I used the G9 with the Panasonic Leica 12-60mm on a hike to Ashihama hike to Ashihama and it was perfect. Earlier today I used the S5 with the Sigma 35mm f/2 in the local park while photographing my daughter. Both cameras were perfectly suited for each situation. I guess that’s the answer. Just use what you need for each situation.

Based in Japan since 2001 I spend free days adventuring into the mountainous regions of central Honshu and occasionally Hokkaido. In 2021, I plan to slow down and talk to more people. Feel free to email me.