The Most Exciting Feature on the Highly Anticipated Panasonic GH5

Over the next few months, Olympus and Panasonic will release their highly anticipated flagship products, the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II and the Panasonic DMC-GH5. But whereas the E-M1 Mark II has now done the rounds of critically acclaimed reviews, the GH5 is still shrouded in mystery. Of the small list of specs we do know, there is one that will capture the imagination of filmmakers.

While both AV giants share the micro four-thirds technology, they have been marketing and developing their flagship products in almost completely separate sectors, with just a hint of overlap for versatility. The E-M1 Mark II is a DSLR killer; it’s a camera that a photographer can put their faith into on a professional level, giving them every opportunity to capture fleeting moments in 20.4 MP. Olympus should be applauded for its outrageous speed, revolutionary image stabilization system, resolution bump, and video improvements. But at $1,999, it’s not a camera one buys because of its video capabilities; rather, it is a camera that is plenty capable if required to shoot video.

From its release date in May 2014, the Panasonic GH4 began to attract a huge following in the indie filmmaking market due to the previously unseen video capabilities inside a mirrorless camera, and they are about to reward this following with the GH5. The highlight feature we're talking about is internal 4:2:2 10-bit 4K video recording. We don’t have bitrate figures as of yet, but expect it to be in the 400-800 Mpbs range. For an elegant explanation of 4:2:2 10-bit recording, check out Griffin Hammond’s video below. But essentially this gives a lot more to play with when coloring your video.

Rumors of a similar price point to the E-M1 Mark II has been suggested for the GH5. If this is true, and given the few specs we do know about, this is will be good value for money in my opinion. By building in 4:2:2 10-bit recording internally, filmmakers can make do without an external recorder such as the Atomos Shogun at first. I only say “at first,” because having that big 7” screen to monitor your video is incredibly useful. But you will be separating with another $1,995 for the privilege.

This is all without mentioning its abilities as a camera for stills. Very little is known apart from a slightly confusing "6K burst photo format." Either way, the GH4 was an impressive performer shooting stills — maybe not as cultured as the OM-D E-M1, but the GH5 will undoubtedly not shy away from the everyday demands of stills work.

I’ve owned and worked with both the E-M1 and the GH4 for a while now, with the former being my go-to for photography, the latter for video work and second camera body for stills. While it doesn’t seem like their paths have changed with this latest generation of flagship models, the prices have significantly increased. Rather than investing in both flagship models as I previously did, the decision at this price point is now one or the other. As my work is heavier on the video side, I shall be waiting it out for the GH5 due to the confirmed video specs, but also because as a second body on photography jobs, it will likely be more capable than the GH4. Whilst the GH5 spec list is still a closely guarded secret by Panasonic, the information we do know about its video recording capabilities means they will undoubtedly fly off the shelf when released in early 2017, and I cannot wait to get my hands on one.


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Mike Briggs is the Co-founder & Creative Director of Ranch Creative, a UK based content-creation agency. Mike has created content across many genres of industry & commerce including global sports brands, fashion houses & tech companies.

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GH4 and E-M1... We're in the same boat. Except, I just sold my E-M1 to make a little money for the Mark II. Looks like it could be an awesome b-camera for my eventual GH5. It may even be primary for stabilized video work. I'm not holding my breath for a GH5 with IBIS, either at all or one that even matches Olympus.

Of course, that URSA Mini looks like a damn good step up from my GH4. So out of my league right now.

That bitrate isn't sufficient for legitimate 4K, but the downsampled HD should be pretty good. The big question is how bad the rolling shutter will be, and how noisy the thing is.

Prores 422HQ at 4k comes in at 750mbps, so having it at, if we hold on the maximum mentioned in this article, 800mbps, it would be more than decent enough for 4k. Of course, compressed raw recordings come in at 1.5gbps for 4k, but no one is expecting that from the GH5, right?

The GH5 will be the BEAST to have. But I have a big question about slow-motion capabilities... Is someone aware of a high frame rate, minimum 96fps? We would love 120fps at 1080! Please Panasonic, do it :-D