Back in December 2016, I was lucky enough to get my hands on two of the early GH5’s. I was shooting a global campaign for Panasonic for the full launch of the GH5 at CES in January 2017.
The evolution from the GH4 to the GH5 is more like a quantum leap than a natural progression, which is a good thing. I have been using Lumix cameras for over three years, since moving to a mirrorless system. With technology moving so quickly, Panasonic really has embraced the needs of Photographers and Filmmakers. I have been shooting on the GH5 for a while and putting it through its paces. As you will see, the rumours are true…”It’s a Beast”.
GH5 First Impressions
To hold the GH5 feels comfortable and snug, without bulk. It is only slightly bigger than a GH4, but it does feel well balanced. The joystick on the back is a great addition, as are the Dual Card Slots. The welcome news that it is now Freezeproof down to -10c is again a nice little feature to the already dust and splash proof protection.
As a Portrait and Commercial photographer, I sometimes need a camera that can react quickly to get the images that I want. I have been a fan of 4K Photo for a long time and hearing 6K Photo announced at Photokina really excited me. One improvement I was hoping for was low light shooting on video. I am not disappointed, in fact, I am over the moon. With being able to shoot at 3200iso in 6K Photo mode I can really exploit that high frame rate of 30fps in 6K Photo and 60fps in 4K Photo mode.
.In the Studio:
One of the things I like about the GH5 is how versatile it is in the studio. I don’t use High-Speed Sync lights (HSS). I used LED Panels, which is perfect when I use 6K or 4K Photo modes. So the option now to choose between 4K (60fps) or 6K (30fps) is fantastic. The greater pixels (20.3MP), will certainly please a lot of people. I have printed 50-inch prints from the GX8 and know I can easily get prints this size from the GH5.
When I am on location, I like to travel as lightly as possible. Even if I shoot locally or abroad. It makes the day easier and more productive. In addition to having to carry external equipment as lights, hard drives and a laptop, while not getting some clothes and of course my camera. Therefore weight is at a premium.
It also performed well in the cold, -5C, and was so good to have to grab some beautiful sunsets and sunrises, as well as having a go at some Astro photography.
Now on to low light shooting. As I touched on above low light on the GH5. It is epic. A massive improvement and as you can see being able to get results from a video at 3200iso is a treat. Stills are obviously a huge improvement too.
With studio and location covered. I couldn’t end this post without mentioning the Dual Image Stabilisation 2 (Dual IS 2). First of all, the 5-axis/5 stops are jaw dropping. It’s one of those features you really have to experience, and consequently, it will be a favourite for all photographers and filmmakers. The photo below was made easy with the Dual IS 2.
Now the tech bit with all the specs:
- 20.3MP Sensor
- 5-axis Dual IS
- No Crop factor in 4K
- 3680k 0.76x OLED EVF
- 1620k 3.2” RGBW rear monitor
- Improved low light
- Improved AF speed using new DFD tech
- No Low Pass filter
- Reduced rolling shutter
- Unlimited recording time
- 4K 60/50P (150mbps, 4:2:0 8-bit)
- 4:2:2 10-bit internal recording (DCI and UHD up to 30p + HD 60p*)
- 400mbps All-intra (DCI and UHD up to 30p**)
- Variable frame rate (up to 180fps in HD)
- Full-size HDMI Type-A
- Dual Card Slots (UHS-II U3)
- LUT display
- High-res Anamorphic Mode**
- Simultaneous recording internal and external
- Waveform + Vector monitors
- 709-like Gamma + Knee control
- Hybrid Log Gamma (for HDR video)
- Freezeproof down to -10C
- Cable lock included
- Optional XLR adapter to record 96kHz/24bit internally
My thoughts on the Lumix GH5
Finally, you may think I am biased, because I wouldn’t be shouting about a new camera if I did not believe it was up to the task. I need cameras like this to run my business. It is very important to have equipment that can go beyond my requirements. Like a good chef will have his favourite knife, I have a new favourite camera the Lumix GH5. Going forward I believe 2017 is already exciting.
In addition my normal studio work, I have been shooting in Thailand, New Zealand and Germany. With a camera doing two jobs, it’s one powerful piece of kit to have in your camera bag. In New Zealand, we put a large print from the GH5 up in Wellington Photographic. This was a 60inch print, and it looked beautiful. It was interesting to see peoples reactions when they discovered the image was taken on a M43rds camera.
Skip forward to September 2017. Seems like the announcement of the new firmware, the Lumix GH5 has flexed its muscles once again and both filmmakers and photographers are taking notice. Panasonic has announced that the firmware V2 update will be available from the end of September.
The Lumix GH5 for is a game changer, and I say that in all honesty. I know with a manufacturer thinking like this and listening to feedback. The future is a very exciting place to be for photography.