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The Panasonic GH5 is everything low-budget filmmakers have been asking for, jam-packed into one small camera. The many great features and excellent image quality have made this of one of the most anticipated video cameras to ever be released. The Panasonic is a medium sized Micro Four Thirds camera with a 20.3MP Digital Live MOS Sensor with no optical low-pass filter. It is slightly larger than its predecessor the GH4 but at the same time feels very comfortable in your hands and ergonomically well designed. The GH5 is a robust camera that is also weatherproof, so as long as the lenses you are using are also weather sealed you won’t have to worry about rain, snow or dust getting in the way of your filming experience. This makes this camera a great camera for outdoor filmmakers.
The new 20.3 Digital Live MOS Sensor is amazing as it has no optical low-pass filter
Panasonic claims that the new Venus Engine Image Processor used in the Panasonic GH5 has the best image quality out of any Lumix camera ever to be manufactured.
Unlike the GH4 which cropped its sensor to record 4K. It didn’t use the full image sensor to record 4K Video, the GH5 records 4K Video with no crop. The great thing about this is you are now able to record a much wider angle, which is great for establishing shots and time lapses.
Another great recording feature is the teleconverter extension. This crops the amount of pixels the image sensor uses to record 4K video from, but it doesn’t downscale the recording resolution meaning that you are able to zoom in for a tight angle while continuing to record in 4K without any loss of quality.
One feature that is turning heads is the GH5’s ability to record 4K video at 60p internally.
The noteworthy recording formats include 4:2:2 10 bit 4K 30p at 400mbps, 4:2:2 10 bit 4K Video at 24p, as well as 4:2:0 8 bit 4K Video at 60p. With the new Firmware update V1.1 Panasonic has added a few new motion picture recording formats including 4K 4:2:2 10 bit Anamorphic at 24p, 25p and 30p. This allows you to record video using the entire image sensor by shooting video in 4:3 and later converting the video to 16:9 in post-production.
As far as recording formats go, editing footage from the GH5 is simple and straightforward in Premiere Pro. Since Adobe released the Premiere Pro Update 11.1.2 in june, the editing suite now fully supports the 10 bit video files recorded by the Panasonic GH5
Another great feature which is unusual to find on a $2000 camera is Variable Frame Rate, The VFR on the GH5 is not just a feature to fancify this prosumer camera but in fact is exceptionally good quality and is better than some more expensive broadcast camera that cost a lot more than $2000. This allows you to film slow motion up to 180 frames per second. The variable frame rate records well at 180 fps but seems to perform best when recording at 120 fps
One of features of the GH5 that impressed me the most is its in body 5-axis sensor stabilization and Dual I.S when using Panasonic Lenses that have built in optical stabilization. The two reasons why this is incredibly useful are for everyday filmmaking is:
The Autofocus System on this camera is not one of its strong points and is the only feature that I could really find fault with. This did not affect my decision in buying the Panasonic GH5, because I fortunately I hardly ever make use of continuous auto-focus which is where the camera lacks. An easy way to get around this is by pushing the shutter button halfway down before recording and then press the Video Record Button to record. This camera’s push to focus autofocus system works perfectly and the focus with Panasonic Lenses is sharp and quick.
The problem lies in the GH5’s inconsistencies when in Continuous Auto Focus Mode, the camera seems to forget where it was trying to focus on and shifts its attention to other objects with even the slightest of movements. There seems to be no way of getting around this and for now Panasonic has shown no sign of correcting the “infamous” continuous auto focus on the GH5. For many people this is disappointment but truthfully speaking there are actually very few of us that require Continuous Auto Focus for everyday use. Yes, it is a nice to have and yes, you would expect it on Panasonic’s flagship consumer camera, but it doesn’t and that doesn’t take away all the phenomenally good features this camera does have. I personally prefer to use Manual Cine Lenses so this hasn’t affected me much.
The camera features dual UHS-II SD slots which are hot swappable, meaning that you can theoretically film forever. For filmmakers, this does come handy when filming live events such as concerts and weddings.
SD card speed is important to consider when buying this camera and a card like this will be more than fast enough to record at 150mbps. Panasonic is expected to update the firmware to the Lumix GH5 pretty soon and this will include a recording format of 400 Mbps 4:2:2 10-bit video recording in 4K 30p, 25p and 24p. But for the moment these 300 Mbps cards work seamlessly.
The Panasonic GH5 is able to connect to both Apple and Android devices through the Panasonic Image App. This App makes it possible for you to shoot video and photos remotely, view everything the camera is recording in real time while giving you full control over the camera functions. This feature is amazing for times when you need to be in two places at the same time, like when you need to film yourself, or when you need to man two cameras at the same time, which is incredibly handy for Wedding and Event Videographers.
To download the Panasonic Image App click one of the Download Links below:
App Store Download
Another strong point of this camera is that it has both a Swivel Touch Screen and a OLED Electronic Viewfinder. The 3.2″ Swivel LCD touch screen makes this camera great for handheld filming and for one man run and gun operations. The Swivel Touch Screen is also great for vloggers while the EVF makes it easy to monitor the camera in harsh sunlight. The LCD Touch screen is bright enough to use in the harsh sun even under harsh African sunlight. Another great feature of the touch screen is the ability to focus by simply touching on the screen wherever you want to.
A quick note: Even though most people think the GH5 is not a suitable camera for vlogging, with the use of a manual wide angle lens, it is very easy to insure that you, the subject, are always in focus.
The Electronic Viewfinder works exceptionally well much like on any broadcast camera and is extremely useful for accurately setting exposures and for making sure your focus sharp. This is a far more reliable method and you can always switch back to viewing with the touch screen LCD before pressing the record button.
The GH5’s Buttons
Speaking of the record button, many filmmakers will be happy to know that it is placed exactly where you would expect it to be, on top!
The GH5 has fully customizable Function Buttons which allows you to program the camera to your heart’s desire. This is a great feature and not something you would expect from a $2000 prosumer camera but more professional camera bodies. The buttons are well placed and easy to locate in a hurry, even for that have never used a Panasonic Lumix Camera before.
The GH5’s Menu:
The menu is simple and easy to use. It is straightforward, uncomplicated and user-friendly. It is the easiest to use camera menu I have ever used and has a quick guide reference for all the function buttons in case you forget. There are many great options and settings without over complicating the menu.
Choosing Lenses for the Camera
One of the biggest reasons many low-budget filmmakers are looking at the Panasonic GH5 is the low cost for Micro Four Thirds lenses compared to full frame Lenses which can cost twice the price. This extreme price gap means that buying good quality glass has never been easier. Owners of EF Mount lenses are able to pair them up with the Panasonic GH5 with the use of the Metabones Speedbooster which also allows the GH5 to perform incredibly well in low light conditions. There are many good quality Micro Four Thirds Lenses from $250 to $500. Rokinon, SLR Magic, and Veydra all make Cine Lens designed especially for Micro Four Third Mount Cameras and are all great lenses to use. Rokinon is leading the way when it comes to low cost Cine lenses and they work brilliantly with the Panasonic GH5. The Panasonic Lumix Lenses are phenomenally sharp and excellent lenses to use. If you only have money to buy one lens then the Panasonic Lumix G Vario 14-140mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH. POWER O.I.S. Lens s the perfect lens for almost every situation.
Rokinon’s 12mm T2.2 Cine Lens is an amazing low aperture manual lens that will allow you to achieve great wide angle shots while still maintaining a shallow depth-of-field like many DSLR filmmakers have grown to love. This is also a great lens to use with the Panasonic GH5 as it has a geared focus ring and a de-clicked aperture ring. Many people still think that it is impossible to achieve shallow depth of field images on Micro Four Thirds cameras but this is not the case and the GH5 is definitely fully capable of producing striking low depth of field images, but this will depend on the lenses that you choose to use.
My personal Panasonic GH5 Camera Rig: