Sample Video Quality
Sample Image Quality
Value for Money
My Prediction? Panasonic GH5 Wins Camera of the Year 2017!
The announcement came earlier this month and early indications are that the new Panasonic GH5 is going to be everything it has been hyped up to be.
I have been using the Panasonic GH4 for a few years now and cannot fault the quality and ease of use of the video features. The 4K footage is so sharp, clean and with such high quality, especially when output to an external recorder.
I have used it on a number of commercial contracts and not only does it produce the goods, it is easy and fun to use.
Note: If you can’t stump up for the GH5 just yet, you are about to see some absolute bargains on the GH4…grab one (although I won’t be selling mine just yet).
Panasonic Lumix GH5
GH5 Key Features
It takes a lot for me to get excited about a new camera these days, particularly after the 5D Mark IV fiasco (even though I still bought it as a stills camera). It seems to me that there are soooo many cameras being released right now, it must be confusing to the amateur photographer or person just getting started in their career.
If only there was a perfect camera…
Well, there isn’t, sorry, but if anything is looking to come close right now, it has to be the Panasonic GH5. As I said, I have used the GH4 for a couple of years now but rarely for stills photography. The quality simply doesn’t match my full frame DSLR’s.
Looking at the specs for the new GH5 however, has me wondering…
- 20MP Four Thirds sensor (no OLPF)
- 225 autofocus points to the GH4’s 49
- 6K 24p (Anamorphic)
- 4K/60fps, 1080p/180fps (up to 7.5x slow motion)
- Internal 4:2:2 10bit Recording (from April…great for green screen and grading)
- No sensor crop (less noise, no crop from stills to video)
- 5 Axis Internal Stabilisation (with ‘Dual IS 2’ support)
- Dual UHS II SD Cards (V60 Ready)
- Better Weather Sealing
- Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and NFC
- Firmware updates: April: FHD 4:2:2 10 bit, Summer: 4K 4:2:2 10 bit ALL-Intra, FHD 4:2:2 10 bit ALL-Intra, High Resolution Anamorphic Video Mode, Hybrid Log Gamma for 4K HDR Video
- Paid upgrade to enable V-LogL video capture
- HDR Video
- h.265 for more compression giving better file size for same quality
- Full HDMI (strong)
- Reduced Rolling Shutter (22ms to 15ms)
- Free Angle Touch Screen
- Better autofocus with more points
- 8m dot viewfinder (0.76x)
- Waveforms and Vector scopes
- 12fps @ 20mp (9fps with continuous AF)
- 30fps @ 18mp
- 60fps @ 8mp
- Pre-Burst like Sony Handycam (pre-buffer)
- Mic and Headphone Jack
- Optional XLR Mic Adapter (DMW-XLR1)
- Electronic Viewfinder
- 50+ Minute Recording
- USB 3.1 Type-C
Wow! Seriously, that is a lot of camera packed into a small-ish body for a superb price! It is 100% on my list.
Let’s look at a few of those in more detail.
GH5 Video – 4K 60fps, 1080 180fps
Yes, the GH5 does 6K video (of sorts) but it is a little more specialist and for me, not so important right now. Hopefully it will help when stabilising 4K footage internally using the 5-axis system in so much as it will reduce the need for cropping into a 4K clip…we’ll see.
However, 4K video at 60fps is amazing and something Canon sadly left out of the 5D Mark IV. This will allow you to create super smooth, 4K video with the ability to slow down up to 2.5 times in post-production if you output to 24p.
If you output 4K to 1080p (as this creates much cleaner files than native 1080p in most cases), having the ability to shoot at 60p and slow it down as well as stabilising the footage and cropping in post production for more effects is incredible.
I will have to wait to see just how crisp and sharp the images from 1080p/180fps are because in my experience with less expensive cameras, image quality is sacrificed when speeding things up.
Think about it, if you are speeding things up that much, you either need a hell of a lot of light or you have to compromise in other areas. My old Sony handycam had this feature, as does the GH4 at 96fps but the image quality suffers on both cameras.
I hope to be pleasantly surprised!
4:2:2 10bit Internal (great for green screen and grading from April Via Firmware Upgrade)
This again is huge. Being able to record 4K internally at 10 bit per channel will be a God send. At the moment, I have to use an external recorder (Atomos Ninja Flame) to get the same results but was is the difference between 8 and 10 bit?
10 bit footage carries way more (about 4x per channel) information meaning you are able to do more things in post production such as green screening, colour grading and so on without introducing that horrible banding in the skies for example.
- 8-bit = 256 tones/shades per colour (red, green and blue) = 16.78 million tones
- 10-bit = 1024 tones/shades per colour (red, green and blue) = 1.07 billion tones
My Ninja Flame will still be used as it is great for having a bigger screen, larger recording media, focusing, using V-Log LUTs and so on.
5 Axis Internal Stabilisation
Apparently this works as well as the Olympus system which is already amazing. Having the ability to stabilise footage “in camera” is superb as it means you can now use your cinema or “non IS” lenses when shooting hand held for greater stability.
Using the 5-Axis internal stabilisation with a good IS lens means you can throw that tripod away (not quite, but you should be able to use it way less).
Waveforms and Vector scopes
For anyone seriously into video, waveforms and vector scopes can be very useful when exposing for the perfect picture. I won’t go into it too much here but will just say it adds more tools to your arsenal when shooting well exposed video.
Full HDMI Out
The HDMI out on the GH4 is the much smaller micro HDMI which can be a pain to keep in. I had to buy a specific, coiled cable to enable me to use the Ninja Flame without worrying about the cable falling out.
Having a strong, full HDMI input on the GH5 will be a welcome addition.
12fps @ 20mp (9fps with continuous AF), 30fps @ 18mp & 60fps @ 8mp
Having variable frame rates like these for stills photography could be great although the faster you go, the more resolution you lose.
60fps at 8mp is effectively the same as shooting 4K video at 60p and pulling stills from that footage although when doing that, you always need to keep an eye on the shutter speed and make sure it is relatively fast depending on the subject matter.
This is something that I first saw way back in 2006 with the afore-mentioned Sony Handycam when shooting slow motion. The camera is “always recording” using the buffer and when you finally press record, the camera has already captured the previous second of footage (prior to the press) as well as whatever else you record until you press stop.
Could work well in some situations such as fireworks, explosions etc but in most cases you would be running anyway so this could quickly become a gimmick.
Mic, Headphone Jack & Optional XLR Mic Adapter (DMW-XLR1)
The GH4 already had a mic and headphone jack which is vitally important for good video work. The GH4 also had a rather cumbersome interface unit for the base of the camera allowing the use of external, XLR microphones.
Thankfully, the GH5 has a much neater unit that sits on the hotshoe and even had a cold shoe on top for using additional peripherals such as a shotgun mic.
No Limit Video Recording
At last! Ridiculous EU regulations in the UK meant that when the GH4 was released (pre-GH4R), you could only record internally for 29m 59s. Any more and it would become a video camera which would introduce more tax…don’t you just love modern life and tax laws!?!?
Anyway, the GH5 loses this (probably hence the price hike) which means now you don’t need an external recorder to be able to film for longer than 30 minutes…bliss.
Sample 4K 60p Footage
Panasonic GH5 Price
The Panasonic GH5 will be released at a price of $1,999 which is around $300 more than the GH4 on release. When you consider what you get for that money, I think this is a very reasonable price and worth considering…who am I kidding, if you are in the market for such a camera, this is a great price point.
However, living in the UK in time that we do, I expect the GH5 will be priced closer to £2,000 so beware. Maybe you would be better of holding out for a few months until the deals start coming.
In either case, when you compare the specs of the GH5 to many other cameras out there right now, it looks as though it is going to hit the camera world (video and stills hopefully) by storm!
Panasonic GH5 Summary
Going by the incredible legacy of the Panasonic GH4 and the features announced for the GH5, I am thinking the new GH5 will be my go to camera for professional, commercial videography as well as general stills photography.
I am still thinking that my Canon EOS 5D Mark II and IV’s will still do the bulk of my stills work but I am hopeful that the stills from the GH5 will be leaps and bounds ahead of the GH4.
I have a few weddings to film this year and I think the GH4 (with Ninja Flame)/GH5 combo will be perfect and will produce some exceptional footage.
I am already picking out the older kit that I own to put on eBay to help fund this new camera…that’s how good it is.
- The Flash has gone!
- No Low pass filter!!!
- Sturdier build quality and size
- Record button now on top plate
- New AF point joystick
- Auto ISO improvements such as Auto ISO in Manual Mode (stills and video)
- Same battery as GH4 (although usage time is shorter)
- Bluetooth and faster Wi-Fi
- DMW-XLR1 microphone adapter
- Bigger, brighter, higher resolution viewfinder
- 225 autofocus points to the GH4’s 49
- Still native ISO 200 in video mode (full frame DSLR equivalent ISO 800)
- Huge 400mbps 4K file sizes (not necessarily a bad thing but processor hungry)
- Not much else until camera is released and image quality scrutinised…
Some people may think the M43 system is a bad point but for video, it works well and for stills, we will have to wait to see but like I said before, it won’t match the quality from a full frame DSLR.
As always, I will do a full stills and video review of the Panasonic GH5 once I have used one for a while!