Panasonic Lumix GH5S Released
The camera announcements at CES 2018 were few and far between this year. However, Panasonic revealed what looks to be a significant upgrade to the popular GH5. For filmmakers anyway…
Both of these cameras have great video specs for such small cameras in a reasonably low price bracket.
I have never been a massive user of the stills facilities on either the GH4 or GH5 as I tend to use full frame DSLR’s for that. I think I’m not alone and Panasonic have listened to the majority of users and created something special.
The new GH5S is most definitely geared towards video people and more away from stills shooters. For one, the pixel count has halved from 20mp to 10mp but the pixel size has almost halved.
This is to allow the sensor to gather more light thereby making it a true low light video shooter. Check out this short sample video for quality:
The biggest surprise to many though, was the fact that Panasonic have removed the in-camera sensor images stabilisation.
Personally, I either use a tripod, monopod, slider or gimbal for most shots so even though it is lovely to have on the GH5, I think the GH5S benefits outweigh this disappointment.
GH5S Specifications (updates over the GH5)
- Low Light/Dual Native ISO (160 to 640 and 800)
- Multi-Aspect Sensor (no cropping in even at 4K DCI)
- DCI 4K at 50/60p (previously only 24p on the GH5)
- 14-bit RAW stills shooting (losing 1fps when continuous shooting)
- No stabilisation (removal of this actually helps when using a gimbal)
- VFR (Variable Frame Rate) Increased to a whopping 240fps at Full HD!
- New mic options allowing line in and phantom power input
- Viewfinder refresh rate of 120fps
- VLOG-L now comes with the camera and no need to purchase separately
- Slight autofocus improvement focussing down to -5EV
- Increased ISO range of 160 – 51200 (from a max 25,600 on the GH5)
- Weighs 660g as opposed to the GH5’s 725g (same dimensions though which is great for cages/gimbals etc)
- Longer battery life
One other notable difference to the GH5 is to do with the resolution.
On the upside, less pixels should mean less rolling shutter (are you listening Canon ; ) and a slight improvement in dynamic range. The downside however, is that we lose the 6K anamorphic modes along with the 6K photo modes.
However, with regards to the 6K photo, you can still pull stills from the 4K DCI or 4K UHD footage in post production. Something I do a lot of with great results. We even have a huge 40″ x 30″ canvas print on our wall taken from a 4K screen grab.
The benefit of doing this is that you are effectively shooting 16mp stills at up to 60 frames per second!
Conclusion/Thoughts on the Panasonic GH5S (so far)
Looks like I will be keeping the GH5 for a while although I am keen to get hold of the GH5S at some point. The benefits of the GH5S are pretty good and very tempting right now but what will the GH6 bring?
However, I already have 4K 10-bit 400mbps internal recording and VLOG-L with the GH5. This produces stunning video. I can also shoot 4K 60p (albeit only at UHD and not DCI). Then there is the Full HD shooting at 160fps which is already awesome.
Then I have all the photography related benefits of the GH5.
Overall, it seems as though Panasonic have shifted the boundaries between photo and video with the GH5S. What was pretty much a 50/50 hybrid stills and video shooter in the GH5, now becomes a 30/70 video-centric camera in the GH5S.
I can see this NOT appealing to stills shooters in any way over the GH5 but for movie makers, the GH5S is very exciting indeed and I cannot wait to get my hands on one. If you already own the GH5, the choice isn’t so easy.
You need to ask yourself if these improvements are worth the $2,500 (£2,199) price tag. If I were a mostly low light shooter, I would hold out to see what the Sony A7S Mark III brings to the table.