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Panasonic Lumix GH5 II Review

We review the new Panasonic Lumix GH5 Mark II - an update to the GH5, with an emphasis on improved video and image quality. Find out how it performs here.

| Panasonic Lumix GH5 II in Mirrorless Cameras

Panasonic Lumix GH5 II Review: Panasonic Lumix GH5 II (19)
The new Panasonic Lumix GH5 Mark II updates the GH5 with a number of updates, designed to give improved image quality, improved video recording, plus live streaming support. Improvements have been made to the autofocus system, with animal, body, face and eye-detection, with Panasonic's Depth-from-Defocus (DFD) contrast-detection focus. The camera features an updated 20mp Micro Four Thirds sensor, 5-axis In-Body Image Stabilisation (IBIS), a 3inch vari-angle touch screen, and a 3.6m dot EVF. The Panasonic Lumix GH5 II is available for £1499 body only, and also available with the Panasonic 12-60mm f/3.5-5.6 lens, or the Leica 12-60mm f/2.8-4.0 lens.

Panasonic Lumix GH5 II Features

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The Panasonic Lumix GH5 II is the update to the GH5, a camera that has been extremely popular for video use, and as a "Hybrid" camera, as Panasonic call it, it will most likely be something videographers are going to be most interested in. Stills photographers, could instead look at the Panasonic Lumix G9, which offers more photo-centric features, including quicker continuous shooting, as well as high-res shooting modes, and has the added bonus of being quite a lot cheaper. In this review, we'll look at both the photo and video features, and find out how the camera performs.

For those interested in video, here are some of the key improvements made with the GH5 II for video, with 4K 60fps 10-bit video being possible on the GH5 II, compared to 4K 60fps being recorded at 8-bit (internally) on the GH5:

New Video Features - GH5 II vs GH5:

  • C4K/4K up to 60fps, 10bit internal / external
  • Simultaneous internal/external recording
  • Live streaming function / Wireless live streaming
  • V-Log L pre-installed (with 12 stops of Dynamic Range)
  • 6K-A 4:3 Anamorphic shooting
  • Red frame indicator
  • Up to 180fps FullHD video
  • Vertical video support
  • Update video display available
  • USB-PD power delivery support with USB C connection

Some of the new video features available change depending on the frame rate selected, for example, 4:2:0 10bit internal recording is available at 60/50fps, or 4:2:2 10bit internal is available at 30/25/24fps.

Wireless live streaming uses the RTMP/RTMPS protocol, and this lets you stream live to any platform that supports RTMP/RTMPS, including YouTube. You simply connect to your smartphone's Lumix Sync app and can stream over your mobile phones internet connection, or via a wireless internet connection. You can also connect the camera to your computer using the Lumix Webcam software. 

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In terms of photography use, much remains unchanged, however, there are a number of updates that have been implemented that should deliver improved image quality. This will benefit both stills use and video use, with improvements in image quality, focus performance and features, as well as improvements made to the image sensor, and the image stabilisation system.

Image quality and other improvements:

  • 25% improved dynamic range
  • Improved skin tones and colour gradation (improved colour science)
  • Improved detail, improved highlight retention
  • Anti-Reflective coating on sensor reduces ghosting
  • Improved Dual IS - up to 6.5stops
  • Improved screen brightness
  • New BLK22 (2200mAh) battery support
  • AF improvements, including animal and people tracking

Other changes include a smaller 3.0inch screen, but a higher resolution of 1.84m dots, and Panasonic say it is 150% brighter than the screen used in the GH5.

If you're interested in stills shooting, then the GH5 II offers 12fps continuous shooting, or 9fps with continuous AF using the mechanical shutter, and up to 60/30fps when using 4K photo or 30fps when using 6K photo, using an electronic shutter. 4K photo gives you an 8mp image, while the 6K photo gives you an 18mp image. The shutter unit has mechanical shutter speeds up to 1/8000s. Electronic shutter speeds can be used up to 1/16000s.

Like the GH5, the camera has an ISO range from ISO100 (low) to ISO25600 for stills, and ISO100 to ISO12800 available for video.

The menu system benefits from the same design and layout as other recent Panasonic Lumix cameras and features a customisable My Menu section, as well as an area to save your favourite video recording resolutions.

The 20-megapixel sensor has no optical low-pass filter, and is designed to give improved image quality thanks to a new anti-reflective coating. The camera also benefits from the latest Panasonic Venus Image processing engine, which should give better detail, as well as improved colour performance.

The Image Stabilisation (IS) system, "Dual I.S. 2", has been improved with up to 6.5 stops of IS, with the in-body sensor-based 5-axis image stabilisation working in combination with any lens with optical image stabilisation.

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The GH5 II 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

  • 20.3mp w/o LPF m43 sensor, new Venus engine
  • 5-axis dual image stabilisation 2 (sensor and lens IS), 6.5 stops
  • 6K photo 30fps (18mp) - unlimited, 4K photo at 60fps (8mp)
  • 225 Area multi-AF, DFD, Custom multi, Zone AF, intuitive joystick control
  • Customise AF according to shooting intent
  • 3680K dot 0.76x OLED LVF, 21mm eyepoint, eye sensor
  • 3.0inch vari-angle touch-screen, 1.84m dot
  • 12fps continuous shooting (at 20mp)
  • 9fps with cont AF
  • ISO100 (low) to ISO25600
  • Splash, dust, freezeproof, magnesium alloy body
  • 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
  • FullHD 180fps high-speed video
  • Simultaneous internal recording
  • HDMI Type A Terminal
  • HDMI Cable lock holder (provided)
  • HDMI time code output
  • HDMI rec control (start/stop)
  • HLG / “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 included
  • LUT (Look Up Table), V-LogL View Assist
  • Live streaming support
  • XLR mic adapter (optional)

Panasonic Lumix GH5 II Handling

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The Panasonic Lumix GH5 II has a very subtle design update, with a smaller screen, but with a higher resolution of 1.84m dots, and is said to be brighter by 150% than the GH5.

The camera feels excellent in the hand, with the ON/Off switch feeling extremely well positioned, the grip is large but very comfortable in use, making the camera comfortable to use over longer periods of time.

The elephant in the room is that whilst the Micro Four Thirds system uses a smaller sensor than APS-C cameras, the GH5 II is larger and heavier than some full-frame mirrorless cameras including Panasonic's own full-frame Panasonic Lumix S5, however, this hasn't stopped the GH5 being extremely popular as a video camera, being used by a number of world-famous shows. The camera weighs 727g with a battery and memory card, which is only slightly heavier than the GH5, and the use of a Micro Four Thirds lens helps keep the weight down.

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 now red like on other recent cameras.

There are numerous customisable function buttons on the camera, 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. An additional 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 II Review: Gh5 Ii Custom Buttons1
GH5 II Custom Buttons1
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GH5 II Custom Buttons2
Panasonic Lumix GH5 II Review: Gh5 Ii Custom Buttons3
GH5 II Custom Buttons3

Panasonic Lumix GH5 II - Customisable 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. 

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Compared to the GH5, the GH5 II benefits from the latest Panasonic menu system - with fewer pages to scroll through (as they’ve fit more on one page), clearer colour coding for each section, and when options are greyed out, the camera will tell you why. There is a My Menu section where you can put your most commonly used settings.

The electronic viewfinder offers a high resolution at 3.68million dots, and offers 0.76x magnification - 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 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 camera will automatically detect humans and animals, although you can switch off animal detection if you want.

The shutter is relatively quiet in use, and quiet with a weather-sealed Leica 12-60mm lens attached.

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Battery life - The camera has a battery life of 400/410 shots (depending on the lens), which can be extended to 1200 shots using the "Power Save LVF mode". This can be doubled, with the use of the optional weather-sealed battery grip. You can charge the battery in the camera, or use the camera while powering the camera. An external battery charger is included in the box. You can also get 120 minutes of 4K/60p video or 140 minutes of FullHD/60p video (continuous), actual 60/70min. The camera uses the new BLK22 battery.

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