Cameras Editorial Panasonic

The Panasonic LUMIX S9 Is the LIVE News Camera

Panasonic has introduced an interesting new camera (and concept) targeted to content creators who want to be able to shoot high quality JPEG stills and up to 15-min short videos, and almost instantly be able to post them to their social media sites. (Panasonic claims a JPEG photo or a 5-sec video takes only 30 seconds to post.) Impossible, you say? Not if it is the Panasonic LUMIX S9 (paired with the new Lumix Lab app).

Anyways, that is the interesting LUMIX S9 proposition.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Shoot the news event (a still photo and/or a short up to 15-min video).
  2. Apply a LUT (cinematic Look-Up Table) out of 39 possible selections (that you have previously downloaded to the camera from the Internet or that you have created yourself, if you are so creatively inclined, using the Lumix Lab app). Traditionally used on videos only, the S9 LUTs can now be also applied to photos. Just think of them as “Film Simulations” or creative filters. The S9 even has a dedicated button for that. Of course, you may safely skip this step.
  3. Post using your smart phone (the automatic image transfer function on the Lumix Lab app transfers images and videos automatically to your smartphone every time you shoot). That’s it! Your news is instantly LIVE on your site.

Now, why would a content creator use the S9 instead of just their smart phone? Because the S9 uses a full-frame image sensor for high image and video quality that the tiny image sensor in your phone would never ever be able to compete with.

Some of us traditional photographers may be excused in thinking that a Panasonic camera targeted to content creators would most probably be a MFT (Micro Four Thirds) mirrorless model, but then we’d be wrong. In fact, the LUMIX S9 does not just use a full-frame image sensor, but it is at its core the excellent and powerful LUMIX S5II full-frame mirrorless camera with the same full-frame 24.2 MP CMOS image sensor, L-mount for access to quality interchangeable lenses, 3.0-in. 1,840K-dot free-angle touch LCD, fast and accurate PDAF (Phase Detection Auto-Focus), the same 16 Wh DMW-BLK22 battery used in the S5II, and one of the best (no gimbal needed anymore) 5-axis IBIS (In-Body Image Stabilization) at 5 stops (6.5 stops when used with a compatible lens with OIS). Plus, Open Gate video shooting means that you don’t have to worry about which format to shoot in: just shoot once, and then later switch to horizontal or vertical format for the site you are uploading to. That is to say, it is not a “beginner” camera. Though it is easy to use, that is by design.

Panasonic LUMIX S9 (Night Blue)

Panasonic LUMIX S9 (Night Blue)

All of this professional quality and performance is housed in a quite compact and lightweight body, and attractively priced at under US $1,500 (though still expensive for some of us). For that price, and to fit into that compact size, there is no EVF, only electronic shutter, no weather-proofing, no second command dial, no AF joystick, one card slot, and no hot shoe (only a cold shoe). There is also no internal fan, and thus limiting the video to a short (guaranteed no overheating) 15 minutes.

With these specs, it is quite obvious that the LUMIX S9 target audience is definitely NOT your traditional advanced photographers who need and demand more photography-related features and who shoot long videos for YouTube.

It would be even incorrect to say that the S9 is aimed at all social media content creators. The S9 target audience is in fact a vertical subset of social media content creators who usually shoot short video clips and post them as soon as they are able to upload them to their sites. Usually that might be some time later after they have uploaded them to their computer, do some minimal editing and then post them to their sites. Now, this workflow can be almost instant while they are still at the scene of the news event.

The S9 “seamless content creation” is a very interesting concept, and one that we believe is going to be more and more the trend with more and more content creators.

We are not talking here about those who shoot and then post-process and stitch things together, and eventually post a creatively interesting or funny video to YouTube or TikTok. Or about traditional photo and videographers who make long YouTube interviews or streaming.

No, we are talking about those who see something interesting happen, shoot a short (up to 15 minutes) video clip on the spot (never mind about editing it), and post it right away “LIVE” for their audience.

In fact, the LUMIX S9, with this new “seamless content creation” concept (made possible when paired with the new Lumix Lab app) may well single-handedly help create a new category of public “news” reporters. In fact, even bona fide professional news reporters may also well decide they do not need to carry a “biggish” camera anymore — but the LUMIX S9 may well fit their requirements for shooting and reporting the news instantly, LIVE, in high quality full-frame photos and short video clips.

Improvement suggestions for the S9 II:
– Automatic pairing with Lumix Lab.
– Weather-proofing to allow shooting in ALL weather conditions.
– A couple of lighter and faster prime and zoom auto-focus lenses.