The GH5 was announced back in September last year, but Panasonic kept many features of the camera close to the chest. Today, at CES, Panasonic pulled back the curtain. We have the full feature list and were invited to an exclusive prior GH5 hands-on event in Los Angeles. Spoiler alert, the camera looks great and it’s a cinematographer’s dream. Features, pricing and availability below:
The built-in flash found in the old GH4 is gone and a whole new array of magical features aimed squarely at indie filmmakers have taken its place in the MFT Panasonic DMC-GH5, unveiled today at CES in Las Vegas. However, the Panasonic GH5, like a fine wine, will need to age gracefully into the summer to reach its full potential. More on that later.
Back in May of 2014, the Panasonic Lumix GH4 hit the market and became an instant favorite. Lauded for its internal 4K, variable frame rate option, XLR input module and professional video features such as peaking, zebras and cinema color profiles, it was clear that Panasonic built the camera with the cinematographer in mind. On paper, engineers have outdone themselves in every way with the new GH5.
Panasonic will be squishing features like 4:2:2 10bit 4K with a bitrate of 400Mbps and 180fps FHD variable frame rate recording into the tiny 2.0 pound body of the GH5. Over the years you get used to seeing specs like this from companies such as RED Cinema, but with the price point of a BMW 5-series. For the GH5, we are more in 1998 Honda Civic territory with a camera body price point of $2,000.
In short, the GH5 looks stylish, feels great to hold and shoots gorgeous video.
The camera launches with a max resolution of 4096×2160 up to 60fps with a bitrate of 150Mbps. Notice the differences from the features in bold above? That’s because Panasonic is rolling out a free firmware plan upgrading the camera into the summer, and 4K (400Mbps) All-Intra recording will unlock by July.
Of course, it would be great to have all the banner features right as you open the box, but like many video games these days, you’ll need to wait for updates before the camera has its full feature list, but what a list of features it is.
Here is the full firmware breakdown:
GH5 Firmware Upgrade Path:
4:2:2 10bit – Available April, 2017
6K/24p Anamorphic Video Mode (4:3) – Available Summer, 2017
(200 Mbps) FHD 4:2:2 10bit ALL-Intra – Available Summer, 2017
(400Mbps) 4K 4:2:2 10bit ALL-Intra – Available, Summer 2017
V-Log Color Profile – Available at launch, Cost: $100
6K/24p Anamorphic Video Mode will be available in a 4:3 aspect ratio in the Summer and the very fact we are talking about getting 6K, or close, Anamorphic out of a $2,000 MFT body is exciting. Panasonic is calling this upcoming mode: “High Resolution Anamorphic” as it is 6K resolution in terms of pixel density, but not 6000 pixels of horizontal resolution.
**Update: The camera ships with Anamorphic 4K (4:3) with H.264 compression enabled. Come Summer 2017, 6K (4:3) will be shootable in H.265 compression with free firmware update. Firmware schedule below.
While the GH5 has the same dynamic range as the Panasonic GH4, it has slightly improved lowlight performance, but I wouldn’t call this a lowlight camera by any means. We were presented with a ISO 6400 video sample and noise in the picture was very evident. On top of that, when shooting with high ISO settings, the camera will automatically reduce noise internally. This feature cannot currently be turned off and can only be controlled via the menu with high/mid/ and low settings. Panasonic is certainly willing to listen to feedback and might consider adding a complete “off position button” if there is a demand for it.
Color depth is improved and the GH5 will eventually shoot internal 4:2:2 10bit, compared to the 4:2:0 8bit of its predecessor, but launches with 4:2:0 8bit only in IPB compression. 4:2:2 10bit color is double the information of 4:2:0 and provides greater grading flexibility in the post process before the image falls apart.