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Everything You Might Not Know About the GH5

Everything You Might Not Know About the GH5

This week I had the pleasure of visiting Adorama in NYC, for a deeper look at Panasonic’s groundbreaking camera. While there, I discovered some interesting specs that aren’t being talked about. Let’s take a look at the innovations and pitfalls of the camera at a deeper level.

Whether it’s the dual-SD card slots, the built in image stabilization, or the use of a 4:2:2 color space; we know a lot about the GH5. More than that, we know what we want to get from it. So hopefully this extra guide will help readers narrow down what they really need, and plan for when it arrives in two months. This article is rather technical, but that’s largely the point.

In full disclosure, there wasn’t any production cameras at this event. The cameras used were all prototypes, apparently built by hand, but they ought to be as close to the real thing as we’ll get for now.

SD Cards

We all know and love our SanDisk Extreme Pro cards, which have been spearheading the 4K revolution over the past few years. This may change with the GH5, as Panasonic are recommending a new standard of media. The V60 and V90 cards will be the SD card of choice for GH5 users, since they’re pushing the envelope of possibilities open even farther. These aren’t to be confused with UHS cards, as DPReview points out.

Another thing to consider is that the dual SD card slots allow you to record a proxy file to the 2nd card. This means that one card would contain the full 4K files, while the other would contain a smaller and more manageable resolution for a quick turn around in post.

Panasonic are not giving up on the SD card anytime soon, apparent since they doubled down on the slots this time around. The reason they won’t switch to CF cards, SSDs, or anything else is because Panasonic are one of the founders of the standard. Along with SanDisk and Toshiba, the SD Association was born in 2000. Panasonic would have to pay patent fees if they used any other type of card, and since they’re involved with creating the standard, it makes sense to push the technology as far as it can go.

The Sensor

Kicking off, the native ISO is 400. It was confirmed that by going down to ISO 200 you’ll lose about a stop of dynamic range in V-LOG since it’s an extended ISO. What’s important to consider is that you will not be able to reach ISO 100 unless shooting in a regular mode, since Panasonic feel you’ll lose too much dynamic range at that level.

Auto-ISO now includes thresholds which could be extremely handy for run and gun shoots. You can select how high and low the camera is allowed to go, meaning that you don’t have to worry about noisy shots and can trust the system more often.

The new sensor and engine is looking at being far more efficient, possibly adding a whole stop of light. This could prove very handy for such a small sensor size. Along with this the blue channel is much improved, and with the intraframe codec arriving in the summer update, we’re in for a much better look overall.

Rolling shutter isn’t all that bad on the GH5. We gave it a decent shake and it was more than usable, even when switching from 1080p to 4k. I wouldn’t hesitate to take this camera out on a run and gun shoot, especially with the built in stabilization.

Slow Motion/4K

What’s interesting to note here, is that Panasonic is aiming to get rid of pixel binning. When shooting in higher frame rates, the camera will no longer downgrade the quality. Previously the GH4 looked sharper at 60fps than it did at 96fps – this is no longer an issue to worry about. The same goes for 4K, when shooting at 60fps. This may not include 180fps, which could face moire issues.

However one caveat is that autofocus will not work when shooting at high frame rates. I can only guess that Panasonic couldn’t get the system couldn’t keep up when shooting slow motion footage.


We will need to fork up $100 in order to unlock V-LOG capabilities on the camera, something generally frowned upon. In response to this, the Panasonic Rep that I met essentially said that the price is a barrier for people who don’t know how to use V-LOG footage. “If it's not working, we get a call and it'll take up an hour of a tech rep's time trying to help them download software.” he said at the event, “Frankly we don't make very much profit from that $100. It's there to prevent people from using it who shouldn't.”

On the plus side, we’ll be able to throw a LUT over the monitor in order to keep an eye on the final look. What’s even better is that you can choose whether you want the LUT on the camera’s monitor, the HDMI output, or both. This is perfect for showing your client how the final shot will look on a monitor, but keeping the V-LOG on your own camera monitor for reference. It’s important to keep in mind that you will not be able to install your own .cube LUTs, but instead Panasonic’s proprietary LUT format. I’m sure we can all live with converting our regular old LUTs though.

Syncing with Your Phone

A handy feature that’s not often talked about, is the ability to sync your camera to your phone with Bluetooth (BLE) and Wi-Fi. While you won’t be able to transfer over footage, you will be able to preview it for review, and get a live view of your camera.

Aside from the obvious though, there are two elements to this that are particularly useful. The first is that you can set timecode on your camera, using the time on your phone. Since there’s no physical way to force timecode, this feature will allow you to accurately sync multiple GH5 cameras on the same set. They don’t need to stop recording, so you could leave those suckers going for an entire interview and not have to worry about any syncing later on. Wonderful news!

Adding to this, you’ll be able to save settings from your camera, on your phone. This means that when working with multiple cameras, you can ensure that they all have the same exposure, picture profile, and white balance.

The Others

  • The $400 audio accessory will include Phantom Power, be powered by the hot shoe, and allow for 96khz 24bit recording.
  • Skin tones ought to look better, and it’s advised to try the Natural picture profile instead of CineD if you’re concerned about skin tones.
  • The Variable Frame Rate modes can be triggered by custom buttons, so there’s no fiddling about with menus.
  • JPEG compression is set to be far better than the GH4, which gives Panasonic’s new “6K Photo” feature more to look forward to. We’ll be able to shoot 30 images, in a second.
  • This is the first camera in its price range to include full resolution anamorphic shooting. We tested it out with some SLR Magic glass and it worked a charm.
  • 10bit 4k 60p will need to be recorded externally, something they were originally ambiguous about.
  • You can wake it up at 4am to start a time-lapse, while you sleep in.
  • The internal mic isn’t recommended for getting great audio, but if you have to, there’s also a mic beside the sensor to cancel out the noise from the built in IS.
  • The viewfinder is really great, anecdotally, and could absolutely see myself using it.

I hope that this helps anybody who was concerned about the nitty gritty details of this camera. The GH5 is shaping up to be a huge success, and I'm looking forward to getting some real hands on time with it in the future. If anybody has any more questions, or I've gotten something the wrong way around, let me know!

Stephen Kampff's picture

Working in broadcasting and digital media, Stephen Kampff brings key advice to shoots and works hard to stay on top of what's going to be important to the industry.

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What wifi speed does it have?
And does the speed booster xl work with it and IS? It was super close to the gh4 sensor...

Wi-Fi speeds weren't discussed unfortunately, only that you wouldn't be able to transfer over the full files. You will be able to preview the files just like the GH4 though.

We didn't dive into speed boosters, as the rep explained that they ought to work in the same way as they did with the GH4. I can understand that it's not their job to ensure the quality of third-party devices though.

A few errors:

1. The dual SD card slots do not allow the recording of proxies. There are three modes:
a. Extended run time
b. Mirror footage on both card
c. Save stills to different card.

2. ISO 200 is not extended, but standard. ISO 100 is extended, and is indeed available.

3. High VFR's still requires diminished processing, and have more visual artifacts. For example, you can find examples of 180 FPS footage with visible moire.

4. The GH4 was previously updated to shoot anamorphic.

Proxies were brought up in the session, and it was confirmed that it could do 4K to one card and 1080 to another. Perhaps the rep didn't get the question right, but I have it clear as day in my notes.

As for ISO, I think you're right.. looking back on the notes it could be pertaining to V-LOG recording. I'll update the article to be clearer on these!

Is there any news on dual card proxies? I’ve been searching how to set up in-camera proxies and all I can find are mentions of it, but no actual settings workflows. I currently only have the options listed out above, but would LOVE built-in proxy creation!

After investigating myself I found that I couldn't get any proxy workflow either. I think this was a communication breakdown between us and the Panasonic rep that was giving us the demo. I'd specifically asked if we'd see compressed video proxies and was told that we would – perhaps that feature was being tested (we only had a hand built prototype that day) or the rep thought I was referencing photography features, like their 6K photos.

Sorry about the confusion!

Hi there, still looking for some clarity on one key feature. So much has been said of the 5-axis stabilization and that it will only work with Lumix lenses. But what about the in-body stabilization working with non-Lumix lenses? Will that be possible, or does the in-body stabilization only activate in conjunction with compatible IS lenses to complete the 5-axis? Basically, I'm trying to see if this has the same functionality as the A7sii in that regard.

So far as I remember, we'll be able to get the regular (in body) 3-Axis stabilisation all the time. The rep was using a non-Lumix anamorphic lens on the day. I'm looking forward to seeing how some Sigma Art lenses look on it!

Is 60p considered a HFR for AF not to work or will AF work with 60p?

Looking back at my notes, it says that AF will not work with any VFR modes. Then looking at this chart, it looks as though 60p is being thrown in with the regular VFR.

To be honest though I'm not 100% on that, since a lot of cameras can keep up just fine at 60p so it'd be a nuisance to remove that kind of tech.

Hi, you've tell about phone and GH5 sync. What about GPS ? does the GH5 can use phone position (or other Bluetooth source) to geo tag in real time the taken photos ?

I haven't the foggiest, likely because we focused on being able to sync two cameras to each other using a phone. Sorry!

I would love 2 see how 2 setup the timecode on the gh5. With the image app, it doesn't work.