3 Superb Video-Centric Cameras from Panasonic...
Panasonic GH6, GH5 and S1H. They are all highly capable, feature rich and reasonably priced cameras so how do you decide which is best for you? Below is a basic, general comparison of the cameras side by side.
Panasonic GH6 Specs
The Panasonic GH6 is the new powerhouse Micro Four Thirds camera with a feature set that leaves you wanting for little.
M43 Live MOS Sensor
CFexpress Type B and SDHC/SDXC
Max Photo Resolution
11552 x 8672 (XL)
Max Video Resolution
Max Frame Rate with Audio
FHD 10-BIT 240FPS HFR
Max Frame Rate VFR
FHD 10-bit 24p/300fps VFR
7.5 Stop DUAL IS 2
7.5 Stop DUAL IS 2
Li-ion Battery Pack (7.2V, 2200mAh, 16Wh)
7.5 Stop DUAL IS 2
Front and Rear
Built in, DMW-MS2 and 3.5mm
Full Details at Panasonic
Buy from B&H PhotoVideo
Panasonic GH6 - Was it worth the wait?
I will focus this post mainly on the Panasonic GH6 from a Panny user point of view. However, if like me you are somewhat invested in Panasonic, you may like to see how the Panasonic GH6 compares to the GH5 and S1H.
I am including the Panasonic S1H because a lot of the features in this camera have made their way into the GH6 which is amazing.
Specs and Thoughts on the Panasonic GH6
Many people have waited a long time for the release of this camera. The GH line has been superb (IMO) and I have owned both the GH4 and GH5.
Panasonic's GH5 was rather ground-breaking due to the sheer number of features available including 4K, 10bit, 4:2:2, 400mbps internal recording. For such a small camera this was incredible and 5 years on, I still use this camera today.
The Panasonic GH6 had a lot to live up to, especially with the incremental releases GH5 II and GH5s (below). From what I have seen and apart from a couple of small issues, I think this camera is a winner and comes highly recommended.
GH5, GH6 and S1H specs side by side
400Mmbps 4:2:2 10-bit
400Mbps 4:2:2 10-bit
3.5mm Mic Jack
Unlimited (no fan)
Unlimited with fan
Unlimited with fan
CFexpress + SDXC
Dual ISO V-Log
Weight (body only)
*The first number is in normal mode on rear monitor, the second number is in Power Save LVF Mode
I think the Panasonic GH6 is an amazing M43 camera and I don't think Micro Four Thirds is dead yet. There is definitely still a market for cameras at this size and price point, especially when they are so feature-rich.
The two downsides for me are the "elephant-in-the-room" autofocus and quirky "Dual Native ISO" alternative. From what I have seen in some reviews, the image quality (video) suffers a bit and being forced to use ISO 2000 in daylight for V-LOG is a bit meh.
Why compare these three cameras?
The reason I decided to compare these particular cameras is:
- 1The GH5 is still an amazing camera and I still use mine
- 2I also own the incredible S1H and the GH6 is almost a "mini S1H"
- 3The GH6 fits neatly in between the GH5 and S1H
There are a lot of features that are in all three cameras. Only time and newer tech separates these features but overall, all three are capable of producing stunning footage.
Only one though, also shoots the quality of stills that I need. This fact has played a large part in my decision as to whether I will buy one or not...
Will I buy it?
Not right now.
My Panasonic S1H is a beast and has most of the features present in the GH6 plus a full frame sensor and true dual base ISO. In low light, the S1H performs incredibly well and the stills quality beats M43 sensors IMO.
The only things the GH6 has that I wished the S1H had are:
- 15.9k 60 and 4K 120 but I can live without them (I do have 180fps VFR in FHD if I need to go super slow)
- 2ProRes Internal however I can record ProRes externally to my Atomos Ninja Recorder
- 3Faster stills bursts. The S1H is pretty poor
If I didn't own the S1H, yes, I would buy the GH6 in a heartbeat. I love grabbing the GH5 for reviews, general days out and times when I need something lightweight.
The Panasonic GH6 packs much of what the S1H has (including one of the best rear screens on the market) in a much smaller package. However, my trusty GH5 still produces the goods for a lot of things that I film (product reviews, daylight stock, B-roll etc).
I was lucky enough to get a Panasonic S1H, brand new, for just £2,400. Not that much more than the GH6 and am really happy with the S1H for now.
If £2999 was my only option for the S1H, I would have waited for the GH6 or splashed out more for the Canon EOS R5c.
Should you buy the Panasonic GH6?
If you own the GH5/GH5 II or GH5S and don't need the faster frame rates, slightly better low light performance, ProRes and 5.7k video, I would probably not buy the GH6 right now.
The GH5 will still be highly relevant for most "prosumers" for a while yet. Maybe you'll buy it "just because" and for the hell of it (like I tend to do : ). after all, there may come a time when you need those things right?
For those that are doing more professional film making and on occasion need the additional features then yes. The GH6 would also make a superb B-roll camera to compliment any of the more professional Panny cameras.
If you are just starting out or coming from a lesser camera than the GH5, absolutely. The GH6 will blow you away and keep you busy with a smile on your face for many years!
The good, the bad and the ugly (AF)
Ugly: I cannot understand why Panasonic didn't listen to the deafening feedback from so many people regarding the AF. If they had upped their game and spent the past 5 years working on a superb phase detect system, this camera would have rocked the world...
As it is, all the Panny users that got fed up waiting for decent AF have more than likely already jumped ship to Canon, Sony, Nikon, Fuji or Olympus (and their wonderful new OM-1).
The positives for me greatly outweigh any small niggles though and to be honest, the Panasonic GH6 would be a perfect B camera to the S1H so never say never.
At the end of the day, get a camera that does what you need. Use it, enjoy it and don't always be swayed by newer tech that you might never use in the real world. Especially when the end results aren't that noticeably different.