September 24, 2016

Photokina 2016: Panasonic Lumix GH5

All my Panny prayers answered with the GH4 upgrade

Lumix DMC-GH5

Post updated January 2018: I have never been firmly in any "camp" with regards to photography. I used to use Nikon film SLR's (Nikon F3 and F5) and a Bronica medium format camera way back when. I also worked for Nikon in Surrey for a while too but I now mainly use Canon gear for my stills photography work.

With regards to video, I love Sony and have used their HD Handycams since 2006 for filming in 1080p HD. However, since the release of the ground-breaking 4K Panasonic GH4, things have changed.

I have used this wonderful camera a fair bit for my professional work with great results (even better when coupled with the Metabones EF to M43 Speedbooster, Canon glass and the superb Atomos Ninja Flame with its 10-bit, pro res 4:2:2 output).

There has been a huge buzz going on for a while as to what upgrades the GH4 would get when the Lumix DMC-GH5 was announced. It seems that most of my wants, as well as many other people's, were met as a whole.

Panasonic GH5 Specifications so far:

Lumix DMC-GH5
  • 6K, 18mp Photo Capture at 30fps (approx. 9 times the pixel count of full HD)
  • 4K video at 60fps (yay!)
  • 4K video with 10-bit, 4:2:2 internal recording (30p and below only)
  • 8MP/60fps Burst Photo (could be from the 4K/60p stream)
  • "Possible" IBIS (in-body image stabilisation) - Very cool if so!
  • Available first half of 2017

If Panasonic can improve stills image quality and low light performance in the GH5, this camera will surpass the popularity of the GH4 in a flash. People who already own the GH4, like myself, will be keen to add the GH5 to their video camera arsenal. All whilst keeping the trustworthy and superb GH4 as a second/backup/B camera of course.

GH5 best bits

I am personally very excited with this upgrade as the ability to shoot 4K video at 60fps. This is great for slow motion, coupled with 4K, 10bit 4:2:2 internal recording for smooth grading. That's huge and up to now, reserved for much pricier, and heavier cameras.

The high resolution, high speed photo bursts are also high on my list of "fun" features and, as long as the image quality is up to par, many people will be excited by this.

In-body stabilisation if it happens will also be a huge addition. Judging by the similar cameras being released right now, I hope Panasonic run with this. I think that perhaps Panasonic went to Photokina to announce a "work in progress" whilst checking out the competition.

By then giving a release date of mid 2017, this gives them time to add all the appropriate goodies to capture and dominate once more, the M43 (micro four thirds) market place.

By using the Metabones Speedbooster adapters, anyone owning fast, high end Canon or Nikon lenses can capitalize on the GH4/GH5's incredible video quality whilst adding a stop of light and wider angle of view.

You can see in the video below (which is still a work in progress), the quality of video from the GH4. Starting at 36 seconds (the rest was shot with the DJI Inspire/X5/Osmo set up):


For recording audio on the GH4, I have always used the Rode VideoMic Pro for "run and gun" filming. Plus a Sony wireless lavalier mic for interviews and YouTube videos where I am talking to camera.

The GH4 had the cumbersome DMW-YAGH Interface Unit for attaching, recording and monitoring audio via XLR inputs. It was never very well received. However, it seems that Panasonic are developing a new audio interface for XLR input for the GH5 that goes on the hotshoe mount. Interesting.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH5 hopes

If Panasonic were to offer/include a couple of other features in the GH5, I would be in camera nirvana:

  • 1080p at 120fps
  • V-Log included in the price
  • In body, 5-axis image stabilisation

Saying that, the camera as it stands is good enough for me to upgrade from the GH4 whilst keeping it as a second camera. Once that is bought, I should be good for a few more years of filming and photography before needing to upgrade again. My wallet can take a break!

Lumix DMC-GH5
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