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Categorized | Articles, Gear, Jason DiMichele

Gear – Panasonic Lumix GH5 (full review)

Review by Jason DiMichele

Every once in a while, a product comes to market that is highly anticipated. When Panasonic started the teaser ads to unveil the Lumix GH5, it created a lot of buzz and excitement in the industry. Professional photographers and videographers were looking forward to getting their hands on one. The Panasonic Lumix GH series of cameras have always been their flagship video cameras. With all the pro-level video features on the GH5, how beneficial is it for still shooters?

Panasonic Lumix GH5

Panasonic Lumix GH5

The Panasonic Lumix GH5 can be purchased as body-only ($2,699) or as a kit ($3,499) with the Leica 12-60mm f/2.8-4 lens.  The camera with a battery and memory card weighs 725g and measures (W/H/D) 13.85 cm x 9.8 cm x 8.74 cm. Made of magnesium alloy, it’s rugged as well as splash, freeze and dust-proof. It’s a micro 4/3 sensor camera, and a first for the GH series at 20 megapixels. As with newer Panasonic cameras, it doesn’t have an optical low-pass filter, and images are stabilized with the Dual IS v2. Aside from the plethora of pro video features, some of the more notable still photography features include mind-blowing 6K Photo, a joystick focus point selector, up to 12 RAW frames per second, a USB 3.1 port, 5Ghz/802.11ac Wi-Fi, 1.62-million-dot LCD, a completely revamped 3.68-million-dot OLED viewfinder, dual SD memory card slots, a 100-shot RAW buffer and the latest Venus Engine for improved image processing speed and even less noise (up to two stops).

Panasonic Lumix GH5 In The Fieldsh

The GH5 is somewhat larger than its predecessor, the GH4. The main reasons for the larger body are to add features such as a full-size HDMI port, and other various buttons and dials. The ergonomics are very well thought out, there are a ton of options and plenty of flexibility with how you can use the GH5 and customize it to your shooting style. The size of the GH5 is similar to an entry-level DSLR. There’s also an option of adding a battery grip, which provides the necessary camera controls in portrait orientation. During my time reviewing the GH5, I went on shoots with and without the grip, and the camera fit well in both situations. If you have small hands you’ll most likely opt for not using the grip.

Exploring In The Fogsh

Panasonic has worked closely with Adobe to provide camera profiles to be used with Camera Raw (Photoshop/Lightroom). You can choose between Vivid, Standard, Scenery, Portrait, Natural, L/Monochrome and Cinelike profiles. They are very accurate, providing the colour I expected, only requiring minor creative tweaks.

Those familiar with the Lumix cameras have heard of 4K Photo. The GH5 has introduced 6K Photo, which allows capturing 18-megapixel JPGs at 30 frames per second, or 8-megapixel JPGs at 60 frames per second! If your jaw hasn’t already dropped, you might want to read that last sentence again. These capture speeds have raised the fast shooting bar, and it’s going to be quite difficult to miss the shot you’re hoping for. 6K Photo is going to put a smile on the face of many sports and wildlife photographers!

With the GH5 having so many performance and feature enhancements, make sure you only use fast, high-quality, secure digital (SD) memory cards. You’ll want to purchase the U3/Class 10 cards, and I suggest buying the largest ones you can afford. Memory card prices have dropped a lot, and the technology is very reliable. It’s now safe to have a few larger capacity cards, versus having lots of smaller capacity ones. Since the GH5 also has dual SD card slots, it can’t hurt to have cards in both slots when going out on a shoot. I suggest using the Panasonic or SanDisk memory cards.

To say the Panasonic Lumix GH5 is a welcome addition to the mirrorless market is an understatement. In many ways, it pushes the limits and breaks new ground in the industry. Unfortunately I didn’t get to spend as much time as I wanted with it, because I’m not sure you could ever spend enough time with the camera. It’s just that good. If you’re in the market for a professional mirrorless camera, the GH5 should be on your short, short list.

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