Panasonic Lumix Gh5 4k Mirrorless Camera Review
Lumix GH5 can be said to be the best camera among the Panasonic Micro Four Thirds lineup and the much expected follow-up to the GH4 released in 2014. This new camera features a new image processor, referred to as “Venus Engine”.
The processor in the new GH5 provides an improvement to noise reduction through the use of a larger pixel matrix whenever it interprets the raw data from the sensor. This makes it possible to have a better differentiation of area with homogeneous color, especially the areas with fine structures, this improves the anti-noise filtering. Also, the color production with which the new image processor is upgraded, also produced a better skin tone at a high ISO setting.
A very important new feature of the Panasonic Lumix GH5 is the “Dual I.S.” 2.0 system. The new camera offers an integrated five-axis stabilizer system based on sensor-shift technology. This internal stabilizer can be used in combination with the optical stabilizer system of the lens in use, thus making it a Dual I.S. system. This setup worked very well in our tests.
We found it extremely helpful when using tele lenses like the brand-new Lumix G Vario 45-200mm f/4-5.6 II POWER O.I.S., which supports the Dual I.S. 2.0 system. The stabilizer system is also very helpful when using the comprehensive video recording functions of the Panasonic GH5.
The Build, Features & Handling
When compared to the GH4, we’ll find that the Lumix GH5 has quite a different design and a larger size too. Its body is well sealed and coated with a waterproof, the Panasonic has made a promise to offer better water proof lens systems in future time.
The Panasonic GH5 also has different setting dials and a large function on top of it. This large mode wheel can be locked, and ensures the settings remains set; the lock position can be released by a button in the center of the mode dial. To access white balance, ISO settings, and the EV compensation, an additional function button is provided. The photographer can select a button while looking into a viewfinder, due to the distinct feel of each button’s surface.
Three setup dials are being provided by the Panasonic GH5:
a) a dial close to the shutter release button
b) a second button which is easily accessible by the right hand thumb.
c) a third dial which is used as a cursor control field. Also, the camera has a small joystick on the back, so it’s easy to have the menu navigation and the parameter setting.
The Panasonic GH5 also has other function buttons which are user definable. In addition to this, there are other “virtual” function which are provided by functions on the touchscreen LCD.
An optional battery grip is provided by Panasonic and this increases the power duration and also provides a button for shutter release and also additional dials for setup; this grip makes the camera firmer when held.
In the previous Panasonic cameras, a function called “4k photo” is available and this combines both photo and video technology. “4k photo” provides the user the opportunity to shoot about 30 frames per second (fps) in 4k resolution which has a photographic aspect ratio (4:3, 3:2). The images are being saved as video files (MP4) but single frames can be extracted from the video as an 8MP JPEG file.
The Panasonic GH5 provides “6K photo” function. It shoots up 18mp resolution to about 30fps, and the single frames have a size of 4992×3744 pixels (4:3 mode). The “4k photo” mode still works in this enhanced function, but at about 60fps. This is quite nice when recording fast-action sequences, despite the fact that it works in auto exposure mode.
Comments on Image Quality
Color: The Panasonic Lumix GH5 produced very rich colored images. The test chart was reproduced showing an average saturation of 108.1%. The blue nuances which are the main reason for this higher color level are boosted and over saturated, where as other colors just indicate minor or average shifts toward a higher saturation.
The Red nuances are being shifted towards the yellow and orange area in the GH5 images of the Panasonic, despite this, the red nuances are easily differentiated. The brighter skin tone is easily reproduced while the darker skin tones indicates a shift into the more saturated and orange-colored area of the color space. It is also to be noted that the new image processor gives an enhanced overall skin tone reproduction than the former one, specifically when the high ISO speed settings is being used.
Sharpness: In the GH5, a new sensor is being used that doesn’t have a low-pass filtering which increases its sharpness and detail in reproduction. The test chart was reproduced using a 3,414 of 3,888 lines for each picture height. The camera uses an intense filtering system to provide very crisp and sharp images.
This is visible on the hard contrast lines seen on the test chart. This effect is quite visible also in real life images, but must be on a very acceptable level.
Noise: using the new image processor, the noise is reduced through some algorithm which produced very good results in the noise tests carried out. Anti- noise filtering became quite visible in the images that were taken using ISO 3200 and higher. The camera was also used to achieve a maximum of about 11.6 f/stops of dynamic range, although this tends to drop seriously at ISO 12,800 to a lesser rating of 9f/stops, but it still has an overall excellent result.
Comments on Video Functions
The Panasonic Lumix GH5 remains an excellent still camera, it can also be used effectively as a video camera. It provides you with 4k recording, adding “real 4k” mode with about 4096×2160 pixels, and also numerous UHDTV modes with about 3840×2160 pixels.
There are so many video modes and video formats in the Panasonic GH5. It provides user with MOV and MP4 recording, as well as AVCHD formats for full HD recording with a good 1920×1080 pixels and also supports quite a lot of different frame rate as well as data rate settings. More importantly is the new file format which supports a 4:2:2 Chroma subsampling as well as a 10-bit color depth, which are important parameters needed by professional video production facilities and broadcast stations. The better “color resolution” and bit depth ensures high-quality videos for easy post production. In addition to this, the camera makes video recording on an external recording systems using its HDMI interface.
The Panasonic GH5 provides one with video recording in “LOG” formats. The VLOG mode makes use of a logarithmic gradation curve while processing raw data from the sensor. Although the output lacks contrast and tend to look quite flat and the color saturation still looks very slow. Yet, these VLOG videos are nice materials used in post-production. The videos can be graded and optimized with the use of an editing software and LUTs (Look- Up Tables) which is used for color conversion and can as well be used for film simulation, this makes the GH5 videos look like an analog film material.
Using the Panasonic GH5 allows you to record video without any time limits. Although, most digital still cameras have a video limit of 30 minutes, or probably just for five minutes, using the Panasonic gives the user an opportunity to have endless shoot in sequences.
All manual settings in the video mode is offered by the Panasonic GH5. The photographer can use the second shutter release to start and stop the movie recording while working in photo modes. To make use of the video options like the VLOG recording or video files with the 4:2:2 Chroma sub sampling and the 10-bit, the camera has to be switched to “manual video mode” using the mode dial. While in this mode the standard shutter release button is easily used to start or stop the video recording. Also, the camera permits the control of sound level manually and also interfaces for the external microphones as well as the earphones.
Comments on Video Quality
Using the Panasonic Lumix GH5 gave excellent performance in the video tests. When recording was done in Full HD mode it showed a new record of about 1, 030 of about 1,080 lines; 4k videos in 4:2:2/10-bit mode appeared very crisp and clear. Also, the result of the GH5 showed that the laptop will be effective in a professional environment.
An impressive color reproduction is gotten in the Panasonic GH5’s standard video. The white balance system works quite well in all the different lighting system that we tested, although the colors are quite over saturated. Just like in the photo mode, there is a high saturation of the blue nuances.
In the video mode, the noise results are comparable to that in the photo mode. The Panasonic GH5 provides clear and smooth videos at ISO 200 to ISO 3200; at ISO 6400 color noise artifacts become quite visible; and when it gets to ISO 12,800 videos becomes very noisy and grainy.
Dynamic range results are very high in the ISO 200 to ISO 400 range. The camera also achieved a maximum of about 10.9 f/ stops, which is usually too high for video recording.