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Panasonic Lumix GH5 Review

Read our full review of the Panasonic Lumix GH5 - the ultimate video and stills camera - with FullHD video at 180fps, 4K video at 60fps, 6K photo at 30fps, and 20mp stills at 12fps - the camera offers everything you could possibly want.

| Panasonic Lumix GH5 in Mirrorless Cameras

Panasonic Lumix GH5 Review: Panasonic Lumix GH5 Leica 12 60mm Lens (1)

Panasonic’s new professional Lumix GH5, first shown at Photokina 2016, is the update to the GH4/R, and features a new 20 megapixel Micro Four Thirds sensor, in-body 5-axis image stabilisation, a 3.2inch vari-angle touch-screen, and a new 3.6m dot electronic viewfinder. The Panasonic Lumix GH5 will be available from March for £1699 body only, £1899 with the Panasonic 12-60mm f/3.5-5.6 lens, or £2199 with the new Leica 12-60mm f/2.8-4.0 lens

Panasonic has the widest range of 4K cameras in the market, and has expanded the 4K video recording capabilities of the GH5 (in comparison to the GH4R), as well as introducing a 6K photo mode, that can record 6K video at 30fps, for 18 megapixel still photos. The GH4/GH4R will remain on the market.

Panasonic Lumix GH5 Features

Panasonic Lumix GH5 Review: Panasonic Lumix GH5 (3)

The GH5 offers 12fps continuous shooting, 9fps with continuous AF, improved AF speeds, updated DFD (Depth-from Defocus) technology for quicker focus with improved motion detection (and prediction), as well as an improved ISO range from ISO100 (low) to ISO25600 for stills, and ISO100 to ISO12800 available for video.

The shutter of the camera has been improved, to make it quieter, and features less vibration compared to the GH4, (reduced to 1/6th of the GH4) and it is rated for 200,000 shots. The shutter unit now features a floating construction with mechanical shutter speeds up to 1/8000s. Electronic shutter speeds can be used up to 1/16000s.

The AF system can now be customised based on your intended use, with 4 custom AF modes available, and 225 focus points. The menu system has been updated to be clearer to use, and adds a customisable My Menu section.

The 20-megapixel sensor has no optical low-pass filter, and is designed to give improved levels of detail (leaves etc) compared to the 16mp GH4, and 20mp GX8, with better edge detail. It's said that improved image processing has meant that edges are sharper and detail improved, whilst not being over sharpened. Colour is also said to be improved with a new 3D colour control system. 

Image Stabilisation (IS) - "Dual I.S. 2" is said to give up to 5 stops of IS, with the in-body sensor based 5-axis image stabilisation working in combination with any lens with optical image stabilisation.

Panasonic Lumix GH5 Review: Panasonic Lumix GH5 Leica 12 60mm Lens (4)

6K Photo - With a new 6K photo feature, you can now record 18-megapixel photos (5184x3888) at 30fps, with an unlimited recording time, and the camera has the same burst options as other Panasonic cameras with 4K photo, including Burst, Burst (Start/Stop), and Pre-Burst. 4K Photo has been updated to shoot at 60fps, and both 6K and 4K photo modes can now benefit from auto noise reduction, as well as rolling shutter distortion correction.

Video features – All video modes benefit from the new 5-axis sensor based image stabilisation. Video specifications have been massively upgraded so that the camera is suitable for professional use, with the camera recording CINE 4K at 24fps, 4K video at 60fps, 4K 4:2:2 10bit at 30fps, and FullHD video up to 180fps. Video recording time is unlimited, and the camera uses the full-sensor, compared to the GH4 which used a cropped area of the sensor. The camera body also features a full-size HDMI connection, and comes with a HDMI cable lock in the box. Nb. See below for a more detailed list of video features (of which there is an almost never ending list).

The camera will also receive firmware updates to support the recording of 4K HDR (High Dynamic Range) video, with a firmware roadmap (below) showing further video improvements that will be released in April and Summer 2017. From release, the camera can record 4K at 150mbps, which will be upgraded to ALL-Intra 400Mbps with the Summer 2017 firmware.

Firmware update schedule:

  • April 2017: FHD 4:2:2 10bit (NAB)
  • Summer 2017: 4K 2:2:2 10bit ALL-Intra, FHD 4:2:2 10bit ALL-Intra,
  • Summer 2017: High-resolution Anamorphic Video Mode, Hybrid Log Gamma for 4K HDR Video (for use with 4K HDR TVs)

Panasonic Lumix GH5 Review: Panasonic Lumix GH5 (4)

Physically, the GH5 offers a larger 3.2inch vari-angle touch-screen with a high resolution of 1.62m dots (RGBW, Whitemagic display), and a new 3.68million dot Electronic Viewfinder (EVF), with 0.76x magnification. The GH5 has a weather-sealed magnesium alloy body that is splash, dust and freeze proof. The camera also supports Dual SD (UHS-II) card slots.

Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth are built-in. The full-time Bluetooth connection is available for auto transfer of images, plus easy remote control, and the ability to copy settings from one camera to another, which will help when setting up a number of cameras.  

Key Features

  • 20mp w/o LPF m43 sensor, new Venus engine
  • 5-axis dual image stabilisation 2 (sensor and lens IS), 5 stops
  • 6K photo 30fps (18mp) – unlimited, 4K photo at 60fps (8mp)
  • 0.05s AF, with advanced DFD (new motion detection), and 480fps AF drive
  • 225 Area multi-AF, Custom multi, Zone AF, intuitive joystick control
  • Customise AF according to shooting intent
  • 3680K dot 0.76x OLED LVF, 21mm eyepoint, eye sensor
  • 3.2inch vari-angle touch-screen, 1.6m dot RGBW (Whitemagic)
  • 12fps continuous shooting (at 20mp)
  • 9fps with cont AF
  • ISO100 (low) to ISO25600
  • Splash, dust, freezeproof, magnesium alloy body
  • 200,000 shutter life, Dual SD slot (UHS-II)
  • Wi-Fi (5GHz), Low-Power Bluetooth v4.2, HDMI type A, USB3.1
  • Customisable My menu
  • 410 shot battery life, up to 1000 with energy saver mode
  • Optional BGGH5 battery grip, adds a second battery

Video Features

  • Full pixel readout 4K/60p 4:2:2 10bit 4k30p unlimited recording time (upto 400Mbps with Summer 2017 firmware update)
  • FullHD 180fps high-speed video
  • 4:2:2 10 bit HDMI Live output to external recorder
  • Simultaneous internal recording
  • HDMI Type A Terminal
  • HDMI Cable lock holder (provided)
  • HDMI time code output
  • HDMI rec control (start/stop)
  • “709 Like” Photo Style
  • Knee control to suppress overexposure, by high luminance video signals.
  • Luminance level for 10bit
  • Wave form monitor display
  • V-Log / V-LogL upgrade available (optional) for 12 stops
  • LUT (Look Up Table), V-LogL View Assist
  • XLR mic adapter (optional)

Panasonic Lumix GH5 Handling

Panasonic Lumix GH5 Review: Panasonic Lumix GH5 (9)

The Panasonic Lumix GH5 has a subtly updated design, with a larger screen, and higher resolution electronic viewfinder (EVF), which looks great. There’s also a new function button on the front of the camera, and a joystick on the back. The camera does not feature a built-in pop-up flash, unlike the GH4/R, and the camera is larger and heavier than the GH4/R.

Build quality is excellent, with a tough magnesium alloy body that is weather sealed. The top buttons are cleverly designed, with the WB button raised, the ISO button has two raised dots, and the exposure compensation button is lower. The video button is also larger than on the GH4/R, and this has been moved to the top of the camera. The handgrip has been improved, giving excellent grip, and it is quite large. 

There are numerous customisable function buttons on the camera, 6 physical buttons in total, far more than most cameras provide. This gives you good control over customisation, so you can set up the camera as you'd like it. 5 are available using the touch-screen. You can also customise the 4-way controller and the joystick on the back, giving you another 9!

Panasonic Lumix GH5 Review: Panasonic Lumix Gh5 Function Buttons
Panasonic Lumix GH5 - Function Buttons

The layout of controls and buttons is well thought out, with the front top and rear command dials falling neatly to hand. You can also reach the majority of controls and buttons on the back with your right hand thumb. There are just a few controls on the left hand side of the camera, including the drive mode dial on top, and the playback and LVF (Live ViewFinder / Electronic ViewFinder) buttons. 

Panasonic Lumix GH5 Review: Panasonic Lumix GH5 (1)

There’s an improved menu system – with less pages to scroll through (as they’ve fit more on one page), clearer colour coding for each section, (see video), and when options are greyed out, the camera will tell you why. There is a My Menu section where you can put up to 23 of your most commonly used settings. The autofocus system has been updated, and there are now a range of different AF scenarios, with settings for AF sensitivity, AF area switching sensitivity and moving object prediction.

The electronic viewfinder offers an impressively high resolution at 3.68million dots (only the Leica SL is higher at 4.4m), and offers 0.76x magnification (an improvement over the 0.67x of the GH4/R) – you can’t really tell that you’re looking at an electronic display when using it, apart from the overlay of graphics. The eyecup surround is large, and eye-detection means the camera automatically switches between the EVF and screen.

The touch-screen on the back is now 3.2inch (1.6m dots) and catches up with other premium ILC cameras (such as the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV). The screen and EVF colour reproduction match each other, which is what you expect from a camera at this price point. The rear screen can be viewed in bright sunlight, and the ability to alter the angle and position also helps here. 

There are 225 focus points, and the camera can focus down to -4EV. You can use the touch-screen to set the focus position, and this can be set to anywhere on the screen, even into the far corners. 

The shutter is quieter than the GH4, and very quiet with the weather-sealed Leica 12-60mm lens attached. 

Panasonic Lumix GH5 Review: Panasonic Lumix GH5 (10)

Battery life - The camera has a battery life of 410 shots, which can be extended to 1000 shots using the "Power Save LVF mode". This can be doubled, with the use of the optional weather-sealed battery grip. 

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Photographs taken using the Panasonic Lumix GH5

whoopsHappy Garfield Christmas to you allpencil sketchwell hello Boyspartial moonShhhhCan you guess what it is yet?1935 Deusenberg SSJLest We Forgetthe most active thing about me is my-imaginationoh Mickey your'e so fineThe late Diana Shervington - distant relative of Jane Austen (see below)G,D IS IN THE HOUSEamerican actor caricaturerooster Cogburn

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ChrisV Avatar
ChrisV 17 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 Avatar
Niknut Plus
13 3.7k 82 United Kingdom
18 Feb 2017 11:34AM
£1700 ????????????......unbelievable !!SadSad
maaggy Avatar
maaggy 7
18 Feb 2017 6:47PM
Panasonic looks like a better camera than the EM1 II - AGREE
Milva Avatar
Milva 11
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 Avatar
EspenB 6
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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