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Panasonic Lumix GH5 Expert Review - Verdict

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Panasonic Lumix GH5 Leica 12 60mm Lens (2)

Value For Money

The Panasonic Lumix GH5 is available for £1699 body only, which is less than the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II (at £1849), and Nikon D500 (£1729), but more than the Sony Alpha A6500 (£1499) and Fujifilm X-T2 (£1399). Another option for those interested in video, would be a BlackMagic Cinema 4K, with 4K at 30fps, with a price starting at £2455. 

Have a look at more compact system cameras in our Top 13 Best Premium Mirrorless Cameras (with EVF). You'll also need to buy a (large) memory card and a case or bag to keep your camera safe and protected - have a look at our complete guide to camera bags.


Panasonic Lumix GH5 Verdict

The Panasonic Lumix GH5 features a 20 megapixel Micro Four Thirds sensor, with sensor based 5-axis image stabilisation, combined with the lens' optical image stabilisation, which gives benefits for both stills photography and video recording.

You've also got 6K Photo, an upgrade over 4K Photo, and you can shoot unlimited photos at 30fps, giving you 18 megapixel images. 4K Photo has been upgraded as well, letting you shoot unlimited photos at 60fps, although these are at a resolution of 8 megapixels. The shooting modes available, and the way you can easily save 6K Photos makes it easy to use this feature when needed.

Image quality from the camera is very good, with the camera producing pleasing images, with good levels of detail, and good colour. The introduction of automatic white balance (AWB) with a "Cool" setting is a godsend for product photography, and catches up to other cameras on the market.

The introduction of automatic white balance (AWB) with a "Cool" setting is a godsend for product photography.

The use of a Micro Four Thirds sensor, which is smaller than APS-C CMOS sensors means that at high ISO settings noise performance isn't as good as the 24mp Sony Alpha A6500 and Fujifilm X-T2, or the 20mp Nikon D500, however the camera does produce usable results up to ISO3200 and ISO6400 at a push. This is likely to be the case until Micro Four Thirds sensors make the next leap in sensor technology, to backside-illumination. A little disappointingly, the GH5 isn't quite able to match the noise performance of the E-M1 Mark II for JPEG images, although we expect raw processing of images to give similar results, and raw processing will also help get better noise performance.

The GH5 offers a list of video features and specifications longer than your arm. The key video requirements are catered for, including CINE 4K @24fps, 4K @ 60fps, and beyond this, the camera will be updated to support HDR video. Something broadcasters such as the BBC are already using. The Micro Four Thirds system is ideally suited to 4K video, as the compact range of lenses means the system is much smaller than if you were to use a full-frame (or APS-C) DSLR for 4K video recording, and if you've been watching The Grand Tour on Amazon Prime in UHD resolution, then you may have been able to spot the Panasonic Lumix cameras suction cupped to the front windows of the cars. High speed FullHD video recording is also available at up to 180fps.

If CINE 4K is something you need, or you do any video, then the 5-axis image stabilisation system will help here, dramatically improving the stability (and professional look) of your videos, without the need of a tripod, and this gives the GH5 (and other cameras with in-camera IS) an advantage over most DSLRs.

Panasonic has also released a roadmap for future firmware updates to add features to video, and we wouldn't be surprised if future firmware updates also improved other aspects of the camera, including stills performance.

The Panasonic Lumix GH5 offers a solid magnesium alloy body, with weather sealing, and build quality is excellent. The camera is quite large, for a Micro Four Thirds camera, which has often been one of the main benefits, and while the GH5 is larger than previous cameras, it still benefits from the wide range of small lenses. You also benefit from an excellent electronic viewfinder (EVF), which features a high resolution of 3.68m dots, and the magnification is good at 0.76x. This makes using the EVF a pleasure, with impressive levels of detail visible. The 3.2inch touch-screen is also very good, letting you quickly change settings and options. Battery life can be extended to 1000 shots with energy saving options switched on.

If you do any form of video work, then the Panasonic Lumix GH5 will be an obvious choice. 

If you do any form of video work, then the GH5 will be an obvious choice. If you primarily want a camera for stills photography, with video a secondary consideration, and you want a Micro Four Thirds camera, then you may be better served by the E-M1 Mark II, which offers higher (stills) shooting speeds, and a more compact body, whilst also offering 4K Cine recording. Whichever you choose, there are benefits to each camera, both capable of producing excellent images, and we’ll look at the differences in more detail shortly.

The GH5 benefits from easy to use menus and a wealth of customisable controls. For those that like a Digital SLR sized camera, the GH5 will suit, but with the benefit of the latest technology and advances, including 5-axis sensor image stabilisation, a high resolution electronic viewfinder, high speed continuous shooting, and more video features than most of us can possibly ever need. Panasonic has thrown everything it has in to the GH5, and produced a camera that delivers excellent results.  

Panasonic Lumix GH5 Pros

  • Unlimited CINE 4K Video
  • High speed video (up to 180fps)
  • Great image quality
  • New AWB Cool setting
  • Wide range of compact lenses available
  • Dual SD card slots
  • Large, high resolution EVF
  • 3.2inch touch-screen
  • Weather-sealed body
  • Updated and improved menu system
  • Firmware updates planned
  • 410-1000 shot battery life (energy saver)
  • Quiet shutter

Panasonic Lumix GH5 Cons

  • Quite large for a Micro Four Thirds camera
  • Does not feature USB charging
  • No built-in flash

Overall Verdict

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Photographs taken using the Panasonic Lumix GH5

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ChrisV 15 2.3k 26 United Kingdom
9 Jan 2017 2:25PM
What I do find a little bit opaque is the 5 stops of stablisation with dual IS. Most of the Panasonic lenses OiS are [off the top of my head - correct me if I'm wrong] quoted as having 3-4 stops of IS. Does that mean that the 5 axis IBIS is only offering an additional 1-2 stops? Would that be similar with a non-stabilised lens or is it just the fact that you don't get much more than a smaller incremental gain by using an optical + sensor based combination? Olympus' 5 axis system gives up to 5 stops just by itself [It is almost uncanny].

At the moment overall this Panasonic looks like a better camera than the EM1 II [and not quite so jaw-droppingly expensive - and I have to wonder if Panasonic actually pushed it up a bit after seeing the launch price of their Olympus rival]. But the devil's in the detail. Each of these cameras has strengths and weaknesses and it would be nice to accurately gauge how each stacks up.

I don't shoot a lot of fast action, so the speed of the GH5 would be more than enough for me [and perhaps as good as is usefully practical], but the critical thing in that respect might be how effectively each tracks subject movement - I'd love to see a proper head to head on that amongst other things.

I'm more of a stills shooter, but even ignoring the Panny's film-making chops, its ergonomics, EVF and joystick control make it seem like the more usable system; and for some of us that's perhaps the most important thing.
Niknut Plus
12 3.3k 82 United Kingdom
18 Feb 2017 11:34AM
1700 ????????????......unbelievable !!SadSad
maaggy 6
18 Feb 2017 6:47PM
Panasonic looks like a better camera than the EM1 II - AGREE
Milva 9
18 Feb 2017 9:09PM
I agree. The GH5 is bigger but it is far better value with what it has than the E-M1 II. It is clearly more suitable for the usual needs for most people have, unless you shoot a lot of fast actions. Getting 18MP photos from video at 30 fps is more than I ever need, and I also get the video. Nice.
EspenB 5
18 Mar 2017 7:51PM
Panasonic lens is is not 3-4 stops. And certainly not 5-axis. Trying a lens only IS for handheld video is a quick way to confirm that.

Furthermore 5 stop of stabilization is the practical limitation of todays technology due to the earths rotation.

The stabilization in the GH5 kicks ass and if Lens IS + 5-axis IBIS is not enought you can add a third layer of electronix stabilization on top of it during video recording for rock solid results. Basically its the same as using a Steadicam.

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