Panasonic Lumix S9 review: a great shot-snapper with a compact footprint

The Panasonic Lumix S9 is a compact camera with clout, offering brilliant image quality and useful features

The Panasonic Lumix S9 on a wooden platform against a white background
(Image credit: Sam Cross)
T3 Verdict

The Panasonic Lumix S9 delivers superb image quality and an innovative way to process video without the need for a computer. Sure, the layout is fiddly and, at times, infuriating, but take the time to get used to it and you'll almost certainly reap the rewards.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Brilliant image quality

  • +

    Innovative Open Gate video

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    No viewfinder

  • -

    Crop zoom relies on fiddly touchscreen

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If you're on the hunt for one of the best mirrorless cameras these days, there are a whole lot of options for you. Most brands have multiple options, spanning different price points with different feature sets.

Another consideration for most people is size. While mirrorless cameras have never been obscenely large, getting something as compact as possible is really beneficial for most people. It's at least part of the reason why the Fujifilm X100VI is such a popular option.

Now, another has hit the market. It's called the Panasonic Lumix S9. Is it any good? Well, let's find out.

Panasonic Lumix S9 review: Price and Release Date

The Panasonic Lumix S9 was launched on the 22nd of May 2024. Prices start from £1,499 for the body only, or £1,799 with the 20-60mm kit lens. Units are expected to begin shipping towards the end of June or the beginning of July.

The Panasonic Lumix S9 on a wooden platform against a white background

(Image credit: Sam Cross)

Panasonic Lumix S9 review: Features

There's a lot to like about this camera. Inside, a full frame 24.2MP sensor offers astounding resolution. That fits within the smallest and lightest full frame mirrorless camera in the brand's S series.

Shot-snapping is a breeze with up to 6.5 stops of five-axis image stabilisation and phase detection auto-focus. You'll get up to 779 points of auto-focus, too, which should be useful to ensure pinpoint accuracy.

On the rear of the camera, a new LUT button is present. That gives users access to their LUT of choice at any time, for an instant view with the preset engaged.

The Panasonic Lumix S9 on a wooden platform against a white background

(Image credit: Sam Cross)

It's not just the hardware which gets the good stuff, either. The Open Gate video format can be found on this camera. If you aren't familiar, that sees the full frame captured, before allowing editing in the new Lumix Lab app. A host of popular file sizes can be quickly implemented, for sharing on different platforms.

That's not the only cool bit for users looking to minimise their social media setup. The Lab app allows for full editing of an "MP4 Lite" file, with the brand claiming video can be shot and shared to social media within 30 seconds.

That app is also the home for all things LUT. Users can download LUTs created by Lumix themselves, as well as by selected influencers and ambassadors. It's also where users can create their own LUTs, ready to upload to their camera.

Last, but by no means least, the camera also comes in four funky colours. Okay, actually make that three funky colours – Crimson Red, Dark Olive and Classical Blue – as well as a Jet Black option for a more classic appearance.

The Panasonic Lumix S9 on a wooden platform against a white background

(Image credit: Sam Cross)

Panasonic Lumix S9 review: Performance

Still, all of the specs in the world don't matter if it doesn't perform. Fortunately, the Lumix S9 creates monstrous imagery. Colours are vivid without being false, while pairing with the right lens offers a really pleasing bokeh.

One of the Lumix S9's key features is the crop zoom. That offers a digital zoom range of 3.1x the focal length, even on a fixed focal length lens. My test unit had a 50mm lens, but could zoom into a 156mm focal length with the crop zoom.

That's a really useful feature. Far more than just allowing users to get closer to their subject, the crop gives users the lens compression of a telephoto focal length. You can see that in action with the images below:

In use, those images look ten times better than I expected. On the display, the crop zoom renders a less sharp image than it does at the standard focal length, and I suspected the images may follow suit. Thankfully, that's not the case, but you'll likely need to take a few test images before you believe it for yourself.

Talking of that display, you'll have to be fond of it quickly as there is no other way to view your imagery. The lack of a viewfinder really did throw me off – it will certainly take some getting used to if you've come from any other camera setup.

It's something you'll need to do, though, as almost everything is controlled from there. That includes the crop zoom, which can only be adjusted with an on-screen slider. It's a really fiddly way to operate it – I'd have preferred the option to set the manual focus ring on the lens to take care of that, particularly when using the autofocus mode.

It's certainly not an insurmountable task, but it's worth bearing in mind. If you're used to snapping everything through an eye-level viewfinder, your shooting style is going to have to adapt.

Panasonic Lumix S9 review: Verdict

All in all, the Panasonic Lumix S9 is a decent camera. There's a lot to like about the features on this device, and the resulting image quality is undeniably good.

The way the camera is setup does need some learning, however. The lack of a viewfinder does feel very unusual, and certainly won't suit everyone.

If you can get beyond that, though, there's a nifty camera at the end of it for you.

The Panasonic Lumix S9 on a wooden platform against a white background

(Image credit: Sam Cross)

Panasonic Lumix S9 review: Also Consider

If you're on the hunt for a compact full frame camera, the Sony A7C is still worth a look. That's a classic in that market segment, and for good reason. It's a slightly older camera, but that just means you can snag an even better deal.

Of course, if you're interested in a compact camera – but don't necessarily need an interchangeable lens system – the Fujifilm X100VI is an undeniably good choice. That's the hot property of the moment, and is perfect for capturing snaps on the move.

Sam Cross
Staff Writer

Online news writer at, Sam has five years of experience in online and print journalism, with work featured in publications like Metro and Last Word on Sports. After years writing about music and football, Sam now turns his hand to bringing you news about new phones, smart home products, smart watches, laptops and TVs. Sam is a longtime fan and user of Apple products, including iPhones, MacBooks and Apple Watches.He’s also T3’s resident football expert, bringing you everything you need to know about the big games, including how to watch them. In his spare time, Sam is a keen guitarist, watch lover and (very) amateur golfer.