Whilst Panasonic has given some specs of its next flagship Micro Four Thirds camera, the Panasonic GH-5, the company formally announced the final specs this am at CES 2017, and impressive specs they are if you are into videography!
Panasonic has for some years now been focusing primarily on video capabilities rather than flash or still photography for their mirrorless cameras, and particularly with their GH series which have been very popular amongst videographers despite the 2x crop factor of the sensor.
Their current model, the Panasonic GH4 was one of the first to incorporate 4K video.
Panasonic retained the same GH4 battery for the GH5, and say the GH5 will be shipped in March-April 2017 and have priced it at $US1995 body only which is the same as the new Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II.
Now the GH5 raises the bar to a completely new level by adding in:
- 20mp sensor without low pass filter for greater image detail
- new Venus 10 engine which is said to give 2 stops better high ISO image quality thanks to new High Precision Multi Process NR and even better DFD AF tracking thanks to 480 fps drive speed and the time for measuring the distance to the subject is 6x faster, while factoring the distance into in-plane or in-depth is 2x faster
- ultra-high-speed AF of approximately 0.05 sec
- By analyzing every single frame precisely, it achieves a maximum 200% higher precision frame detection with minimum motion detection error for higher tracking tolerance against moving subjects
- “Multi-pixel Luminance Generation renders clear, sharp images by referring to a 9x larger area of pixel information during the de-mosaic process for precise detail reproduction”
- a lovely new electronic viewfinder with 3.68 million dots
- 2 SD card slots, each capable of using UHS-II cards and supporting U3 class cards as well as V60 class cards for 60mb/s read/write
- SD cards are hot swappable – if recording video, one fills then can automatically keep recording to the 2nd card and while that is happening, eject and replace the 1st card so recording can then continue unlimited when the 2nd card is full!
- on sensor CDAF autofocus points substantially increased to 225 points but still no PDAF points as they are relying upon their DFD technology
- at last a 5 axis sensor based image stabilisation system similar to Olympus, and more recently Sony and Pentax, and this will work in Dual IS 2.0 with lenses with optical image stabilisation which includes most Panasonic lenses (Dual IS is presumably not compatible with Olympus lenses – you only get the sensor IS).
- mechanical shutter burst mode increased to 9fps with continuous AF or 12 fps without C-AF
- USB 3.1 USB-C type port
- full sized type A HDMI port
- 5Ghz 802.11ac WiFi and Bluetooth 4.2 for smartphone remote control and transfer of GPS data, etc
- new XLR audio hotshoe adapter powered through the hotshoe to give Phantom power to external mics and manual audio level controls
- the GH4’s 4K 30fps Photo mode has been taken up a notch to 4K 8mp 60fps or 6K 18mp 30fps photo modes (upscaled 6000×3000 pixel 2:1 aspect ratio)
- the 4K video has been given an enormous boost in quality options as well as features:
- uses the full sensor so no longer a further crop
- movie length is now unlimited
- no longer requires external HDMI output – the GH5 will record internally ( although the really high end 4K modes will require HDMI output)
- internal recording 4K 4:2:0 8bit 150mbps 60p/50p
- internal recording 4K 4:2:2 10bit 150mbps 30p/24p
- internal recording 4K 8bit 100mbps 30p/24p
- firmware updates will provide even higher HDMI modes such as 400Mbit ALL-I codec for 4K (10bit 4:2:2)
- Anamorphic 4K mode
- 1080HD can now do up to 180fps to give 7.5x slow-mo effect if desired
- firmware updates will provide 10bit in 1080p mode and 200Mbit ALL-I codec for 1080p (10bit 4:2:2)
- choose between MOV, MP4, AVCHD Progressive and AVCHD formats at a variety of frame rates
- ‘Cinelike D’ and ‘Cinelike V’ as well as ‘Like 709’ for compatibility with HDTV
- control over the highlight response rolloff (Knee point and Knee Slope)
- unlike Sony, Panasonic requires that if you want V-LOGL and VLogL View Assist Function, you need to purchase this as an additional option for $US99
- embeds SMPTE-compliant Time Code either in Rec Run or Free Run count-up method
- dramatically reduced rolling shutter skew
- display now also shows Gain and Shutter Angles, waveform or vectorscope monitor display and luminance level settings for 10-bit video
- new rear AF point toggle
- new rear dial
- new built-in microphone that helps cancel out camera noise
- can now use autoISO in manual exposure mode with exposure compensation set, and can assign slowest shutter speed for use in other modes
- Post Focus enables users to select the specific focus point even after shooting – particularly helpful in situations like macro shooting where severe focusing is required. In addition
- Focus Stacking
Compared to the similarly priced Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II:
- far better video capabilities, especially now that it also has the sensor based image stabilisation and the high end 4K modes (but then it also beats current Sony, Nikon and Canon cameras for video features as well and at much lower price points)
- far better electronic viewfinder
- GH5 can do flash sync to 1/2000th sec with electronic 1st curtain shutter which might be very handy!!
- Post Focus mode – user can select focus point after the shots were taken
- similar sensor
- both the SD card slots are UHS-II whereas the Olympus only has one which can use UHS-II
- both weathersealed and freeze proof
- no PDAF points as it relies on DFD technology although this only works with Panasonic Micro Four thirds lenses
- the Olympus is far better looking aesthetically with its retro styling
- no Dual IS with Olympus OIS lenses such as the brilliant Olympus 300mm f/4 (but then the Olympus does not have Dual IS with Panasonic lenses)
- still photography features generally not as good as the Olympus, for example:
- 20mp RAW burst rate is only 9fps with C-AF and 12fps without C-AF (Olympus can do 18fps with C-AF and 60fps without C-AF) – although the GH5 can do 8mp 60fps and 18mp 30fps in the 4K and 6K Photo Modes respectively
- the Olympus PDAF points allow faster AF of moving subjects with both Olympus and Panasonic lenses whereas the GH5 only works with Panasonic lenses
- Olympus has a range of still photo techniques eg. HiRes 50mp mode, Live Composite mode for night shots, 20mp RAW Pro Capture mode (GH5 can do this pre-capture burst but only in the 18mp 6K jpeg Photo Mode), etc
- Olympus has arguably better jpeg colours
- although it has face detect AF, it doesn’t do closest eye detect AF as does the Olympus
- electronic shutter only goes to 1/16000th sec not 1/32000th sec
For more information on the GH5 and updates as well as links to reviews see my wiki page.