The Panasonic GH5 Announcement Is A Breath Of Fresh Air After A Fairly Stagnant Summer For Filmmakers

by Bret Hoy7 Comments

If you’re a filmmaker that’s been frustrated and somewhat let down by the recent Canon announcements, today was probably like a breath of fresh air.

When Panasonic announced that the Lumix GH5 will have 10bit 4:2:2 and 4k at 60fps, you can’t say that you weren’t excited.

If you’re a professional videographer but you’re not using camcorder style bodies, you’re most likely pretty accustomed to the idea of having to adapt photo style bodies for your workflow. Luckily, these past couple of years have shown that hopefully that mentality is a thing of the past.

With Panasonic releasing the GH4 and Sony’s success with the Alpha Mirrorless line, we’re seeing that there’s a substantial amount of enthusiasm and a sizable market behind these types of bodies. The Panasonic Lumix GH5 is exactly (almost, exactly) what filmmakers have wanted – a body and a line made just for them.

Related Article: Panasonic GH5 “Development” Announced But… ** UPDATED

The largest critique at this point is honestly, just a lack of information about the Lumix GH5 in general. However, if they can deliver on their base promises of 10 bit, 4:2:2 and 4k at 60 frames a second, they can make a lot of wrong decisions and still end up with a very forward thinking filmmaking tool.

6k-here-we-come_-here_s-the-new-panasonic-lumix-dmc-gh5_-digital-photography-review

Here’s what I feel are perfectly reasonable expectations from the Lumix GH5:

  • It will be a Micro-Four Thirds camera. Any speculation otherwise is just a fantasy. Considering Panasonic’s nigh constant affirmation that the GH line will be purely a Micro-Four Thirds line, we should be able to lay this APS-C speculation to bed.
  • The GH5 will be sub $2,500. Plenty of people might imagine that Panasonic will hike the price of the GH5 because they can compete on a straight, “spec sheet” comparison, but experienced shooters, andPanasonic themselves know that it’s best to not try to price in competition with the Full-Frame Market.
  • The Panasonic GH5 will be a camera that’s focused on improvements in the resolution and bit rate department. By this I mean that it would be a quite a stretch to assume that the GH5 will make vast improvements to the ergonomics of the GH4. In fact, I’d say the only improvements will gravitate around avoiding overheating issues and a new card slot.
  • The Panasonic GH5 will have an updated card slot. I have absolutely no clue how they’ll be able to record 10 bit 4:2:2 to SD cards, so I’m assuming they’ll adopt the XQD Memory Card system from Sony. I find it doubtful they’d go the CF or CFast card route, so this seems most likely considering the form factor.


Do I have doubts about the Panasonic Lumix GH5? Of course I do! The whole concept of recording these unbelievable specs internally must create all sorts of design headaches, and unless the engineers at Panasonic are even more ingenious than I think, we’ll be inheriting at least some downside of this design. Also, it's still going to be a Micro-Four Thirds body, and I will only ever purchase Full-Frame Mirrorless or Super 35 Camcorder bodies.

Does it make me any less enthusiastic about this announcement? Absolutely not!

The Panasonic Lumix GH5 is a signifier that the market will continue to gravitate more and more towards filmmakers and if you’re a filmmaker how could you not be excited?

Read planet5D's article about the Panasonic GH4 Announcement: Panasonic GH5 “Development” Announced But… ** UPDATED

(cover photo credit: snap from Dpreview article at photokina)

Bret Hoy

Bret Hoy

Bret Hoy is a filmmaker, photographer and writer based out of St. Louis, Missouri. Mainly focused on documentary and experimental film, he has produced, directed, shot and edited many short films and a few long form works.

He shoots a lot and often.
Bret Hoy

Comments

  1. Great article, I agree with most of what you said, however the blackmagic 4K recorder records 10bit 4:2:2 to SD cards no problem. And we’re probably looking at data rates of 237mbps or 346mbps depending on the codec (h.265?). I agree with the sensor size and WISH Panasonic would introduce a new line with ASP-P sized sensors (super35) at least for those of us who don’t want to have to rely on speedboosters. I mean I love my speedboosters don’t get me wrong, but that is really the ONLY limitation as far as IQ goes… the lowlight capabilities with MFT sensors just isn’t there and the tech hasn’t gotten much better sensor wise since the GH4 so I think we’ll see the most suffering in the lowlight capabilties. We shall see. Great piece though and thanks for covering it!

  2. I used both full and S35 sensors for more than five years. I thought the MFT was too small. However, I got a GH4 because of the anamorphic capability of using the full 4:3 sensor. After using the GH4 for over a year both shooting anamorphic, and with a Speedbooster and Nikkor lenses, and as a doc-style camera with Panasonic zooms, I am sold on the sensor as well as other aspects of the camera.

    When I purchased the GH4 I was still skeptical about it, but I was eager to shoot some anamorphic and I thought that was all I’d do with the camera. I kept my FS100 and A7R for “normal” shooting. However, they now live on a shelf because I’m shooting everything with the GH4. The MFT sensor is a little smaller than APSC but it has not been a problem. I can still get as shallow DOF as I ever want. The camera isn’t as good in low light as the FS100, but I did an short anamorphic film shooting all available light at night and it looks great on a 38 foot theatrical screen.

    Getting 4:2:2 in a GH5 would be great. Internal stabilization would also be nice because I could do hand held with my prime lenses without a shoulder rig.

      1. I’ll put it up Youtube after the Kansas International Film Festival, which is early November.

  3. Surprised to read you say you will ONLY purchase full frame or S35. I realize that’s all the hype at the moment, and has been since the debut of the 5D Mark II. However, having migrated from the Cinema EOS lineup and 5D Mark III systems over to Lumix I found that I prefer M43 in chip size because in many ways it offers more aesthetic options in certain situations that I often find myself.

    If I REALLY need shallow DOF it’s surely available with their incredible list of fast primes, Leica primes no as well. Otherwise the ability to get deeper DOF is a blessing when filming at f/2.8 or f/4 sometimes. Full frame is overkill at 1.2, so I’d rather a camera that is more capable in this regard.

    Also, when working on a gimbal, without somebody pulling focus, this extra depth is pretty awesome as it is forgiving. I say just choose the right lens for the look, and M43 easily becomes my preferred format.

  4. I agree with a lot of the comments made here on the benefits of the adaptability of the micro 4/3 system for lenses. For me, the biggest advantage of a larger sensor is better low light performance at higher ISOs. Sony’s FS100 put out great low light footage off an APS-C sensor (albeit a lower megapixel count) back when it was introduced in 2011. Now JVC has introduced their GY LS300 that uses an APS-C sensor with a micro 4/3 mount.

    While there is a way to incorporate an APS-C sensor with micro 4/3 mount as JVC has shown, I would not expect Panasonic to develop a new line of lenses that provide APS-C coverage to support one camera in their line up. It would be interesting to have some passive lenses (or better yet, electronically adapted lenses) that provide APS-C coverage via an adapter from third party manufacturers so we could have the best of both worlds for stills and video.

    Looking forward to the release either way as the GH5 will provide a useful commercial and cinema camera at an affordable price point.

  5. Ummm, I have the G7 (basically same sensor and video as DH4). I lost my G7 last month at my kid’s day care and it was not returned. So I need another 4K camera that has the G7 performance (or better) as close as possible to the G7 price. I couldn’t find it. I’m stuck looking at the A7Sii as the next step up from the G7 because of the low light performance, but am having trouble spending 5x the money for a sensor that is 4 x larger than the G7 with around 4x better low light performance. Why can’t camera companies just all compete with the low-light of the A7SII but at 1/5 the price? Why keep releasing small sensors that don’t have usable performance at ISO 200K?

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