Panasonic Ups the Ante on 4K Video With Lumix GH5

The Panasonic GH5 mirrorless camera updates the company’s GH lineup for the first time in two years. The Micro Four Thirds camera was available for hands-on use at CES in Las Vegas, Nevada on Jan. 5, 2017. Photo by Kyle Davi/BU News Service

By Kyle Davi
BU News Service

LAS VEGAS— It’s been almost three years since Panasonic released a new mirrorless camera in their Lumix GH lineup.  At Photokina in September of 2016, the company announced the Lumix GH5, but details were sparse.  Now at CES 2017, they are giving us the full picture and hands-on experience. 

Put simply, the Lumix GH5 is a beefed up version of its predecessor, the GH4, both internally and externally. 

Users of Panasonic’s lineup will feel at home with the new GH5, even though it’s a much bulkier camera.  Panasonic claimed it increased the size by 14 percent to add features like a full-size HDMI port into the camera.

However, the Micro Four Thirds camera is still lightweight and easy to hold.  Even with the relatively small size, Panasonic packed in specs that will attract many stills and video professionals to its device.

While the Panasonic GH5 remains compact, the camera is bulkier than its predecessor. However, users upgrading to the camera will still likely feel at home with it in their hands. The GH5 was featured at Panasonic’s booth at CES in Las Vegas, Nevada on Jan. 5, 2017. Photo by Kyle Davi/BU News Service.

The biggest draw of the GH5 is 4K video recording at 60 frames per second, without cropping in on the sensor.  Also, it was just announced that the GH5 will be able to record 10-bit 4:2:2 video internally, so you don’t need an external recorder to get professional color reproduction.

But if you don’t want to record at such a high resolution, the GH5 can now do 1080p video recording at 180 fps for those slow motion shots. 

And the best part is that the GH5 allows for unlimited recording length, so long as your SD cards can handle the data transfer.  There are dual SD card slots in the GH5, both UHS-II compatible for faster transfer speeds. 

A final videographer’s note is that the GH5 has a redesigned internal microphone that Panasonic claims will cancel out camera noise.  They also included the ability to add an XLR microphone adapter directly onto the hot shoe to record and adjust audio from two different inputs.

Panasonic redesigned the rear of the GH5 camera to feature a new joystick and easier access to the focusing switch. The camera was featured at the Panasonic booth at CES in Las Vegas, Nevada on Jan. 5 2017. Photo by Kyle Davi/BU News Service

 

The layout of the top of the Panasonic GH5 has been redesigned with a video record button and a new locking mechanism for switching modes. Panasonic made the GH5 available for demonstration for the first time at CES in Las Vegas, Nevada on Jan. 5, 2017. Photo by Kyle Davi/BU News Service.

Panasonic didn’t stop with video features in the GH5.  The mirrorless camera is also built to draw still photographers to its system.

A new 20.3-megapixel sensor is featured with 5-axis in-body image stabilization.  Panasonic claims the GH5 should be the equivalent of two stops better with noise reduction than the GH4, even with the improved resolution.

The electronic viewfinder also received an upgrade to make it one of the highest-resolution viewfinders on the market at 3.68 million dots.

Panasonic says that the autofocusing is twice as fast compared with the GH4, and has been improved from 49 to 225 focusing points.  Still photographers can now do 9 frames per second in continuous autofocus mode, with a buffer of 100 RAW photos. 

However, the feature that Panasonic is pushing is the “6K Photo” mode.  In this setting, you can shoot a few seconds of video at 30 frames a second and pick out a frame to use as a photo.  In the past only 8-megapixels stills could be pulled, but on the GH5 it is upgraded to 18-megapixels.  This brings the resolution of the frames close to 6K, hence the name. 

There’s a lot to love as both a video and stills shooter with the Panasonic Lumix GH5, and the company sure knows it.  When it releases in late March, the body will cost consumers $1,999.

The Panasonic GH5 features a 6K Photo Burst mode, which allows the user to take short videos and pick a specific frame to use as a photo. The new mirrorless camera was available for hands-on use during CES in Las Vegas, Nevada on January 5, 2017.

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